What are film apprenticeships? (And how to find one)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 July 2022

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Apprenticeships are a beneficial way for job seekers to earn money whilst gaining real-world experience and training in a specific sector. This includes positions within the film, television and entertainment industries. If you're considering a career in the film and entertainment industry, it's essential to understand what an apprenticeship can offer you and how to secure one. In this article, we explain what film apprenticeships are, along with their benefits and how to find the right one for you.

What are film apprenticeships?

Film apprenticeships are specialised training programmes within the film and entertainment industry. These programmes help you gain first-hand experience while developing your skills for a specific trade, like screenwriting or directing. Apprenticeships are usually entry-level positions, so it's usually not necessary to have experience before starting them.

Film and entertainment apprenticeships can vary in length depending on the specific course. Many of them last between one and five years to help you gain extensive knowledge of the position within the industry. Some programmes may offer a stipend, paid time off and even holidays.

What are the different apprenticeships in the film industry?

The film and entertainment industry contains a vast number of different roles and career opportunities. A film and television apprenticeship can cover a wide variety of possible careers or specialise in a specific role within the industry. Roles in the film and entertainment industry include:

  • Storyboarding: This is an important part of the preproduction process where each scene and shot are planned and visualised before filming takes place. Learn from industry experts on how to plan and design films in advance to save both time and production costs.

  • Acting: Develop your craft as an actor by learning a variety of acting techniques directly from experienced actors. This can include character interpretation, memorising lines and performing in theatres or in front of the camera.

  • Scriptwriting: Expand on your writing, creativity and observational skills to be a successful screenwriter for the film and entertainment industry. Learn to work with producers, directors and other writers to create and pitch your screenplay effectively.

  • Directing: Learn the art of direction directly from experienced professionals. This includes developing a creative vision, planning filming locations and controlling the entire set while keeping everything on time.

  • Producing: Expand your knowledge of the administration and management aspects of the film industry. Learn to master all the small details that go into planning, launching and managing an entire project.

  • Hair and makeup: Help bring characters to life through the amazing art of hair and makeup. Learn to also work with the preproduction team to plan and perfect every look well in advance.

  • Visual effects and editing: Gain first-hand experience in the art of visual effects and film editing. Work with industry professionals to learn how to use professional software and tools to create stunning visual effects for the film and television industry.

  • Sound mixing: Expand your skill set in the art of sound engineering by learning how to include sound effects and atmosphere in visual media. Work with producers, directors and editors in the pre and post-production process of the film industry.

  • Lighting: Learn how to work with complex lighting equipment from experienced professionals. This includes how to plan, prepare and adjust equipment to get the perfect shot every time.

Related: 17 film industry jobs (With duties and salary information)

What are the benefits of a film apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship within the film and entertainment industry can come with a wide range of benefits. These programmes can help you start your career by providing the opportunity to learn from industry professionals. Benefits of a film apprenticeship include:

1. Start your career

Although an apprenticeship can supplement higher education, it can also be a great opportunity for graduates to gain real-world experience. Apprenticeships can be broad or specific to certain roles within the industry. In addition to this, these programmes can add experience to your CV.

Related: How to write a filmmaker CV (with template and example)

2. Expand your skill set

An apprenticeship provides you with the opportunity to learn directly from professionals within the film industry. This can help you expand your knowledge and develop a wider skill set. You may even develop skills that you weren't expecting to and can increase your versatility such as post-production skills, costume design and marketing.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set for Career Success

3. Find your passion

Industry apprenticeships are a great way to experience multiple career options. Although some apprenticeships are specific to a particular role, they can be an opportunity to find your individual passion. This can help you direct your career in the right way.

4. Grow your industry network

The people you meet and the contacts you make during your apprenticeship can be beneficial to you throughout your career. An apprenticeship, for example, may lead to future mentorships or even job opportunities. This is why it's important to treat your apprenticeship as a professional job and build strong industry relationships throughout your programme.

Related: Benefits of working with a careers mentor (with tips)

5. Add experience to your CV

An apprenticeship can provide you with an abundance of industry experience to add to your CV. Showcasing your experience on your CV can help boost employment opportunities throughout your career. It's beneficial to highlight not only your experience but what you may have learnt from your experiences on your CV.

Related: How To Write Work Experience on a CV (Tips and Example)

How do you find a film apprenticeship?

When looking for an apprenticeship, it's important to do research both online and directly with film companies. Examples of businesses and organisations that may offer film apprenticeships include:

1. Major film companies

Large television and film studios usually offer a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities. An apprenticeship with a large organisation is beneficial as it may offer rotation opportunities, allowing an apprentice to work in multiple roles during their time with the company. This is useful for individuals who are unsure which field they would like to work or specialise in.

2. Smaller production companies

Smaller production companies in film and television may also offer apprenticeship schemes. Smaller companies often have formal training programmes that offer real-world experience. An apprenticeship with a smaller company may have a lower pay rate but is likely to offer plenty of hands-on experience.

3. Arts and culture non-profits

There are many non-profits and government agencies dedicated to art, culture, production and film. These organisations often offer educational programmes that can lead directly to employment opportunities later on. Although some may not offer pay, they can still be a valuable addition to your CV.

Tips for starting a film apprenticeship

For many individuals, a film apprenticeship may be the first role of their career. It's essential an apprentice conducts themselves professionally in the workplace. Tips for starting an apprenticeship include:

Take the opportunity seriously

Although your apprenticeship may be temporary, aim to make a positive first impression quickly. Use the opportunity to learn as much as you can and impress the colleagues around you. Even if the position does not come with a salary, it can lead to opportunities in your career later on.

Related: Importance of first impressions (and how to improve yours)

Pursue opportunities

Experience helps to set your CV apart. This is why it's important to pursue any opportunity you can find as it may help you further your career in the industry. This includes taking unpaid apprenticeships or even volunteering for low-budget, student films.

Learn from your team and leaders

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn directly from the professionals working in the industry. This kind of experience is rare as it gives you the opportunity to observe and learn from the colleagues and senior professionals around you. Make the most out of the apprenticeship and stay open-minded.

Related: What is self-learning? (And benefits and tips for improving)

Ask questions

An apprenticeship provides you with the opportunity to learn new skills and develop your talents. When you start your apprenticeship, you don't have to know everything. If you're ever confused or unsure of how to do something, feel free to ask your colleagues or leaders for help. This is part of the learning process and they are going to appreciate your diligence.

Use the opportunity to find your passion

Working within the industry can allow you to have a closer look at a wider variety of roles. This can help you find the career path that you're most passionate about. For example, you may start your career off with an apprenticeship in cinematography, you may find out that you enjoy editing and special effects more.

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