How To Design Your Filmmaker CV
Your filmmaker CV plays an important role in acquiring jobs in the film industry.
A lot of filmmakers believe that they don’t need a CV. This has been proven wrong throughout my career. Not only do you need a CV to apply to jobs online. On professional productions, the Producer will ask to see your CV before hiring you.
For some freelance work recommendations are enough. However, when breaking into professional Film and TV crew work you will need to do some extra convincing. This is were you filmmaker CV comes in, it is on here that you show off your skills and previous accomplishments.
In this following article, you will learn about how to design your filmmaker CV from top to bottom.
The Top Of Your CV
Firstly, your filmmaker CV needs only be one page long. This will be easy if you are just starting out. If you have a lot of experience list only your best and most relevant credits. You can personalise your CV with font style, bold text or italics.
Your Name and Job Title
At the top of your CV should be your name and job title. This makes sense as it is the first thing people will read, and the first thing a hiring producer would like to know (who are you and what job you want).
Most Importantly your job title should be the same as the job title you are applying for.
This might sound obvious but a lot of filmmakers don’t do this. For example, if you are applying for a job as an editor, label your job title as editor. Do not make the mistake of listing many job titles or not focusing your job role. Some filmmakers make the mistake of writing the generic title ‘filmmaker’ at the top of their CV. Make sure to pick a specific film crew job role when applying for film and TV crew work.
Keep in mind that on professional film sets only one person is hired per job role.
Next comes your contact details. Make sure to include your email address and mobile number. If you have a visual job role also include a link to a showreel or portfolio. If you have a nonvisual job role (e.g production assistant, camera assistant) then there is no need to include a showreel link.
The Middle of your CV
After your job title and contact details comes your personal brief.
This is simply a few sentences explaining who you are and what can bring to the production. This should not take up a lot of space on your CV. Use this section to talk about your previous experience to convince someone that you can do the job. Here is an example of a short personal brief –
‘I am a Camera Operator based in London. I have extensive experience working on music videos for numerous record labels. I am hoping to progress into more narrative and creative based work’
Your Film Credits
The majority of your CV will be filled by your work credits. List your credits neatly down your CV including details on the – name of the project, your job role, the name of the director, producer or name of your departments HOD, and the year you worked on it.
You can also include details on anything impressive. Such as, mentioning that you worked for a well-known production company or if you worked with anyone famous. I mention the names of famous actors who I have worked with on my filmmaker CV – this shows that you were previously trusted to work with professionals (it’s OK to show off on your CV).
If you have too many credits List these under the section title ‘selected credits’. Students can list their work under the title ‘student films’ and you can list day jobs under ‘work experience’.
If you have no film experience consider how the skills you do have from previous day jobs could be transferred over to a film job (for example, the skills from a previous admin job could transfer well over to office PA work).
If you have no experience at all then find some experience on low budget films. Low budget work can still be placed on to your CV. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to escape some low paid work in the film industry. Just a few credits on your CV can make a big difference.
The bottom of your CV
Lastly, list your education and skills. For education list any higher education (university level plus) or film related workshops. It’s OK to mention any degrees or masters you have outside of the film industry.
For skills consider what skills someone in your job role would need. ScreenSkills is a great place to find film job profiles and what skills are needed for each role. For example, for a production assistant having a car and driving license is a valuable skill to mention. For a 1st AD having first aid training and good interpersonal skills is desirable.
What to do with your Filmmaker CV
When you apply to jobs online you will always need to apply with a CV attachment (save this in PDF format). You can place your filmmaker CV up for viewing on online databases, checkout our Film Crew database here.
You can also put your CV up on your own personal website or via a link on social media. Keep your CV updated, when you gain more experience remove credits and replace with better more relevant ones. Ideally, your CV should always be one page long.
I hope this article helps If you still need further advice and wish to see more examples I have created an e-book Find Work In Film which goes into more detail on CV design, cover letters and applying to jobs. I also have a CV service where I can design your filmmaker CV for you.
Good luck with the job hunt!
If you have any questions about your own filmmaker CV then post them below.