Film studies is a unique field in that it is not solely academic in nature. While the research and academic discussion in the classroom is extremely important, connections and experiences obtained in the field or “real-world” only add to what you need to make a successful career out of film studies.
Students are encouraged to take on internships whether they are film studies minors or majors in order to obtain real-world experience. Local film production companies offer unpaid internships to students in all levels, and this allows students to build up their resume and portfolio. Many internships can be done for credit in the event that they are unpaid. Check with the department career services office to locate a list of available opportunities.
Students should begin preparing both an academic and professional portfolio once they begin studies, including internships and apprenticeships. A portfolio is the primary way for a student to prepare for graduation and applying for positions. The portfolio should include your transcript and academic record, internship reports, evaluations from peers as well as faculty members. Including a DVD documentary, digital shorts, or narrative is necessary, as well, but make sure you back these up and maintain copies for multiple applications. If possible, record experience you receive from the internship, along with a letter of recommendation. This portfolio should be updated consistently and kept in a professional and clear format.
Some of the best but most hidden opportunities are found in workshops and film festivals, so students are encouraged to investigate where and when these are and attend these. Most workshops are intensive one-day workshops, allowing students to tap the experience of professionals in the industry. Networking is a huge reason for attending these programs, as well.
Film arts series, workshops and exhibitions are located everywhere throughout the year. Try to diversify which ones you attend so that you can make new and more connections in different geographic areas. Further, these events can be excellent ways to either find new internship opportunities or potential job leads. They also are ways for students to stay up-to-date on current trends.
Seattle University Film Studies: http://www.seattleu.edu/artsci/film/