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Guiding Your Teen Towards a Career in Film

London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
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It can be a little worrying for parents when their growing children express an interest in a career in a creative industry. Filmmaking in particular, with all the different aspects that go into movie production, is more accessible and appealing to teens than ever.

Modern technology, with its wide accessibility, encourages their film interest, along with the relative ease for just about everyone to find an audience through YouTube or TikTok.

London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
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But whatever the reason, if your young adult has a serious interest in developing a career in film, there are positive things you can do to encourage them, pave the way for them, and help them open the doors that lead to success. 

Encourage Their Portfolio

London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
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With no more than a mobile phone or a standard DSLR camera, it’s possible to start experimenting with cinematography.

Maybe suggest making a family film together if they’re not sure how to get started. Talk about potential genres and storylines, shooting locations that will help build the atmosphere of the scene being shot, and help or encourage scriptwriting. Older kids might not want you to be too hands on, preferring to involve their friends, but they’ll surely appreciate that you support their interest.

A portfolio of work is an important part of any filmmaker’s career development, and vital if studying filmmaking is part of their wider career plan. Film schools will expect applicants to have created some film productions and have a body of work to show.

Help to Direct Their Studies

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If they’re still at school, maybe studying for GCSE exams, teens may find the fundamental STEM subjects tedious if all they want to do is make movies. But all kinds of skills are necessary in the film industry, both creative and technical. 

Getting on with people is also an important but sometimes overlooked skill. In many ways movies are built on team collaborations, so developing people skills to bring out the best in film crews can be a challenging but valuable talent.

Everything is related, building on what went before. For instance, most in-depth filmmaking courses are postgraduate, such as the London Film School MA in Filmmaking. Most applicants have completed an Honours university degree, which started with getting good grades at A level and before that, decent GCSE results. 

London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
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So, try and keep your teen grounded while encouraging filmmaking activities in their spare time. If you can, find ways to relate schoolwork to the world of film. 

An example could be developing their critical thinking, some of which is taught in English classes in school. They can use those skills to actively watch films, thinking about why they like particular movies or genres of film, how atmosphere is built, the role of music or sound effects, camera angles, lighting and, of course, the script. Learning to write and develop an argument or storyline is very important for a filmmaker.

Explore the Width and Depth of Film Industry Careers

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It’s not all about camera work and acting. There is a wide range of practical skills needed to make films happen, from hair and makeup artists, carpenters, lighting technicians, location managers, sound engineers, music producers, editors, writers, cinematographers… the list is extensive.

The more teens understand and appreciate all the different roles that come together to produce a film, the better. They’ll be in a stronger position to identify, choose and study towards the area they’re best suited for.

You can gain more insight into some of the different jobs within the film industry by paying closer attention to the end credits. Casual film-watchers often skip over or ignore the credits but researching some of the job titles listed can give would-be filmmakers extra awareness of what goes on behind the scenes.

Encourage Your Teen’s Network Building

London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
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It’s never too early to start building a list of contacts within the film industry. A few ways to do this include:

  • Attending events such as screenings, charity events, festivals, local clubs or acting/filming groups.
  • Social media. It’s accessible to just about everyone andis a great way to connect with and follow people in the industry you admire or keep up with what’s happening and where.
  • Be interested in people – you never know who you might run into if you’re interested enough to ask questions and get to know people.
London Film School | The Wandering Mother Blog
Photo credit: Hivan Arvizu Soyhivan via Unsplash

The more people you know, the more likely you are to have someone in your contact list who can lend a hand or make an introduction if you need it. In turn, you can offer help and support to others. Teens sometimes struggle with esteem or confidence issues, and gently encouraging networking can help them be more outgoing as well as building their people skills.

Learning is also a great way of connecting with professionals in any industry – films being no different, so maybe encourage older teens to participate in a beginner’s summer school. Attending courses online counts too.

The film industry is competitive, yes, but there’s a growing shortage of professionals across the board in the UK that’s predicted to get worse over the next few years. If your teen is passionate about films, the outlook for career prospects has rarely been better.

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3 responses to “Guiding Your Teen Towards a Career in Film”

  1. As someone who studied filmmaking as a teen, it was a very different world. Fast forward 25 years, and my own daughter is looking to have a career in the entertainment industry, only in front of the camera. Very insightful and detailed post. Definitely given me something to think about

    Like

  2. Ooooh this is posh 🤣

    Like

    1. I think creative industries are so competitive now, in order to succeed you need to think bold and start developing those filmmaking skills as soon as you can. Most teens nowadays are pros with filming, recording and taking photos anyway! 🙌🏼

      Like

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