Sam Kirkwood
8 January 2015

How I Carved my Own Place in the Film Industry

By Cassio | Categorised in Alumni Interviews

 

Sam Kirkwood is a graduate of our Part-Time Producing course. He went on to launch the hugely successful Film Careers website My First Job in Film, a recruitment platform between the UK Film Industry and the individuals who wish to join the film industry as new entrants. He tells us about how he came up with the idea and his experience of the course at Met Film.

  1. What led you to work in the industry? Dare I say it, like most young people I found it very hard to know what career I wanted to do, creative or otherwise. I chose to study Law at University but my heart was never in it, basically because it’s so dull – don’t tell my wife as she is a Criminal Barrister! After graduating I needed a job and ended up working in finance, selling ‘financial solutions’ to large corporations and multinationals. It was hard work that paid well, but ultimately not something I had any real passion for.  At 25 I really started asking myself ‘what is it I want to do for the rest of my life?’ Basically, the short answer was to do something I enjoy for a career! Like so many, I love movies, I love watching and I love talking about them.
  2. How did you get the idea for My First Job in Film? I had absolutely no contacts in the industry, I was stepping into the unknown, it was exciting but daunting. Somehow I accepted that film internships and working for free were the expected norms for you to gain that vital experience. But it was so much worse that I could have imagined! Having worked in sales and believing that I had a strong CV, academically and professionally, I had (misplaced) confidence that I could crack it and get a paid job before my savings ran out. Companies would say to me that they struggled to find quality junior staff, which struck me as odd, but enough kept saying it.  So an idea slowly grew where I could help people like myself and satisfy a demand from the industry. Whilst there were a few jobs board websites dedicated to film jobs, none specialised in junior positions and none seemed to me to be for the reputable companies and productions we all dream of working on. So I decided to create a website where only junior level roles could be advertised and only by professional reputable companies and productions. It took 18 months to get it right but we have gone from strength to strength ever since
  3. What does My First Job in Film set out to do for the industry? Our goal is to be the one place where every junior level job gets advertised and every single one of them is from a respected and reputable organisation or production. The aim was, and I believe we have managed it, to create a transparent and equitable recruitment process- everybody and anybody can apply to actual job adverts and see what criteria is needed to get that job.It had never been done before at entry level for film so we are really pleased with where we have got to. Each month dozens of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds are getting work and opportunities from the site. We just need to keep working hard to find more and more jobs so more of you can climb up the film careers ladder!
  4. What made you decide to study on our Part-Time Producing course? Film is an opaque industry, knowing what careers are available and what the career paths are is very difficult. I chose the Part-Time Producing course because it suited my aspirations of being on the business side of the industry, i.e. not production, and would provide me with an insight above and beyond the books I had read. Importantly, Film is a ‘peoples industry’, you always rely on others, so meeting other individuals who shared the same ambition as me was really important. You learn just as much from them and can take comfort from their struggles too!
  5. What did you take away from the course? I knew that film was the career for me! I loved the entrepreneurial aspect of the course. There are no career paths and no one is there telling you you HAD to do this or that. You’re rewarded by working hard and thinking outside the box. What was particularly beneficial from the course was the mentoring that was provided. I am still in touch with my mentor now – pestering him for jobs to put on the site!
  6. What are your goals for the future? I had aspirations to work in film, an Exec Producer or something similar, but that has past really – mainly because of the success of My First Job in Film. We are branching out into TV presently but I think the big goal will be to see if we can make a success of it overseas, Canada or the USA maybe…’shoot for the moon! Even if you miss you may get the stars’…or so I hope!

Met Film School is London’s largest provider of filmmaking education, to learn more about Part-time producing course.

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