My First Job in Film, a UK-based career planning community focused on aspiring film and television industry professionals, has launched in North America. The program helps students and others get a foot in the door in the entertainment industry through a wealth of career planning tools and access to short- and long-term employment opportunities and internships across a range of production and post-production roles. Begun in 2011, the company’s UK program has successfully helped hundreds of aspirants embark on industry career paths.
Founder Sam Kirkwood says My First Job in Film provides a level playing field for young professionals eager to join an industry where landing entry level positions has historically depended on personal connections. “Many talented people find it hard to get started in the entertainment industry due to nepotism, discrimination and other factors beyond their control,” Kirkwood observes. “We address that problem by creating a level playing field, so that landing that first job is less about who you know and more about skills and talents.”
More than a job search site, My First Job in Film actively assists its members with the resources, support and industry knowledge necessary to plan, launch and develop their careers. It offers a suite of tools for career planning and resume creation, as well as mentoring and advice from industry veterans. It also operates a 24/7 Facebook group where members can ask questions and get answers from experienced professionals. A basic membership in MFJF is free.
The community lists current employment and internship opportunities in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Vancouver and other production markets in the U.S. and Canada. Employers include film and television studios, production companies, post-production facilities and other employers and range from production assistant and “runner” positions to entry-level posts in editing, camera, hair and make-up, art direction and more. “We encompass every department and sector of the entertainment industry,” Kirkwood says.
Employers featured on My First Job in Film are subject to a thorough vetting process and must adhere to industry standard guidelines. Additionally, the program allies with universities, film schools and training programs to ensure a deep pool of highly-skilled talent. “While we cannot guarantee that everyone in our community will find career-track employment, we have many amazing success stories,” Kirkwood notes. “The entertainment industry is highly competitive and landing that first job requires persistence. We make finding the right path easier by helping people improve their industry knowledge and develop a sound career building strategy. We support our members through each step in the process.”
In the UK, My First Job in Film members have found employment with dozens of film and television productions including The Crown, Billions, Mission: Impossible 7, Jurassic World: Dominion and No Time to Die. Gregg Mira joined the program after losing his job as a production assistant with a live event producer during the covid lockdown. It helped him revise his resume and refine his career goals, a process that led him to a position as a production assistant on a feature film production.
At the end of the 3-month project, he says, “I had the phone number of every person in the production, location, AD and art department, and that helped me find more work. Now, I have five industry credits and receive texts from people every month checking on my availability.”
Shyam Popat joined the program in 2014 and that led to entry-level work in production accounting. He leveraged that opportunity into a role as a script reader and is now a successful freelance screenwriter. “Having a community like My First Job in Film where I could browse different opportunities and career options was incredibly helpful in getting me started,” he recalls. “Now, I’m a working screenwriter with projects in development, several short films produced and two amazing agents watching my back. I’m not sure I’d be here with MFJF.”
Kirkwood says the My First Job in Film has not only helped many young people find meaningful, career-track work in the UK, it has helped to standardize and improve employment conditions. “Our first campaign shined a light on unpaid internships,” he adds. “We helped to establish a framework where unpaid positions could not exceed four weeks and had to offer a genuine learning experience. Today, we have thousands of members and promote PA roles on the latest features and internships across the industry from development to distribution. To date, we have posted over 10,000 opportunities and offer 1-2-1 career advice, mentoring, ‘Meet the Industry’ events and competitions.”
Kirkwood adds that My First Job In Film is actively looking to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations interested in supporting aspiring professionals. “If you run an internship program or hire junior crew then we would love to hear from you,” he says.