Do we create a resume? No! We make credits.
A resume is for a corporate job. We work in film and TV production. Writer, director, actor, producer, or crew, we do not have a need to create a resume. We do not need to talk about all the fabulous “shit” we did in our last six jobs, because we are looking for a new job every three to five years in the average corporate job that drones on for what seems like forever.Do we create a resume? No! We make credits. A resume is for a corporate job. Click To Tweet
In film and TV production we are looking for a job all the time. Sometimes every three to five days if you’re a grip or electric day playing. Or if you are doing some other production job (as a writer, director, designer, producer, UPM, production accountant or whatever) those jobs might turnover every three to five months. Whatever you are doing in production, you need to keep your credits up to date and sometimes often.
If you’re a writer, actor, director or producer, do not rely on your representation (manager or agent) to make sure your credits are up-to-date. Your representation will typically update your credits as you get work, but if they made a mistake or they forgot to add something, you want to make sure they are up to speed and they know exactly what is going on in your work life.
Point is, you need to be in charge of making sure your credits are current and relevant all the time.
You Are Telling A Story
The high-level point in this discussion: we create credits, not a resume – and your credits are going to tell a story about your career. They are going to tell a story about what you have done. They are going to tell a story about what you are capable of doing and it is going to tell a story about the job you are currently working toward.
We need to put our credits in a clear, understandable format. We list the show. We list credits, single page, your direct bosses and maybe what the show was – whether it’s feature, television, reality, whatever.
We are also looking to include shows that support our target job. So, I may go out and do some commercial that I made in the past and I probably did it because I needed to make a living or a friend asked me to do something as a favor. I am not going to include that on my credit list, unless I need to bulk up the list and fill a page to show that I have experience. That is an exception to the rule. Unless I need a bulk to fill a page, I will leave it out. And as I start to fill the page and I have more relevant and interesting content or projects that I have worked on, I’m going to drop the things that are not relevant to my goal, my target job.
The other thing I want you to include in your credit list is the software, just literally one sentence, of the software you have experience on. What kind of software you are accustomed to using. Obviously, Word and Excel and those kinds of things, no one really cares! Even though everybody uses them, include it anyway. But if you know how to use movie magic, budgeting, scheduling, or you know how to use final draft, include it. Because you may find someone who sees a software that they use and it might distinguish you from someone else.
Always, always, always include your university connections, if you have one. You never know who you are going to meet. You never know how you are going to get connected to them. So include the university that you went to, and that is one of the best ways to make a connection to people.
Put Big Shows At The Top
As you are putting your credit list together, you want to think in terms of what is identifiable to people in key positions – big show names, big Corp names where an executive can say, “Okay, this person has played in the game that I understand” – which leads me to the next thing.
One of the things that I often see people do on their credits is out at the end of a line, after the show name. They will often put the executive that they worked with or their hiring manager or the person who sat above them. The first thing I am going to do as an executive; I am going to go down the list and see if I know anybody who worked on the shows you list on your credits. If see a name I know, I am going to go call that person and say, “Hey, what’s your experience of [you]?” and if I get a glowing review, I will go to the next one and then I ask same question. So, as an executive looking to hire someone, I’m clipping down the list of credit. If you can make it easy for the executive or hiring manager (to be able to find the person that they might know) you should do it. I see the executive or producer, or show runner, or department head, and I think it is helpful and it’s valuable for an executive who is trying to make a decision about who to hire. That is assuming they have not already hired their friend, who they got a referral from, right? That is the other big distinction.
- Credits list, not a resume.
- Include shows that talk to what you do and what you do well,
- Projects that show the vertical you want to work in. The exception to this rule is when you need to build bulk If you do not have a lot of credits and you need to fill a page.
- Include big titles that we have worked on.
- Put your credits in order of what is important to the industry and your goal job.
- You DO NOT have to, and should not, put your credit in chronological order if better titles, that support your goal, are in your past.
- Leave out titles that don’t support your goal job, unless you need credits to fill the page.
- Include the names of the executives you worked with,
- The locations where you shot them,
- Maybe a studio name, like if you are shooting on the Paramount Lot, include it. The point is, if you do not have a lot of credits, you want to try to fill up that page with some kind of names that pop.
- Stack rank your credits by what has marquee value, not your interest or timeline, rather what the industry sees as prestige
- Include the software you know how to use and drop, or reduce, the line if you need the space in time – as you accumulate more experience
- INCLUDE your university connections, no matter what!
Now, create your credit list and share it in a Facebook group. Your community can review it and make comments if you would like the input. Share with your colleagues. Don’t be shy. If you are, stop it. Get Networked!