We’re all nonconformists in the video production industry. However, the existential dread of having an income to barely sustain a diet of canned tuna and rice for the remainder of your mortal life is only too real. Whether you’ve just graduated or you’re searching for a casual role at a production company to complement your freelance work, this wisdom will help you nail the interview for a video production job.
Fortunate to have a loving, polygamous relationship with clients like the Untitled Group to help grow our Melbourne video production company, we’ve grown our team substantially in the past six months. Having completed another hiring round within our video editing department, we saw our younger selves in the enormous number of talented applicants we interviewed. Unable to hire everyone yet wanting to assist in their professional development, we created this guide to assist young talent in navigating their way through the hiring process to land a production position.
- Know Where To Look
- Reinvent Your Showreel
- Learn how to explain your work
- Write a custom cover sheet
- Present yourself creatively
- Have a portfolio website
- Address your blind spots
1. Know Where To Look
If Michael Bay made another Transformers film and nobody went to see it, did it ever really exist? Equally, if you’re not looking in the right place, it may feel difficult to apply for production jobs. But just as there’s no shortage of ill-conceived films with talking robots, there’s no shortage of video production jobs in Melbourne.
If you’re an industry heavyweight you’re likely to have industry connections, an extensive showreel and the support of a creative recruitment company to land your next video production job. For those who’ve recently graduated, just turned freelance, or even those who’ve changed career pathways, below are the platforms we’ve used to search for new hires (ranked in order from least to most effective):
- Seek ads, LinkedIn ads
- Advertising in Facebook Groups (like this one)
- Referrals from University faculty (RMIT University, Latrobe). While “P’s get degrees”, contacts win contracts. Like any business, referrals are always given more weight than cold emails.
- Contacting contractors we’ve previously worked with (why it’s important to do lots of work experience)
- Creative recruitment companies
2. Reinvent Your Showreel
See our advice on how to avoid common mistakes for video production showreels.
3. Learn how to explain your work
Before a face to face interview, every applicant at Enamoured Iris is given a project that requires them to articulate their creative and technical decision making. We’ve found it to be the most invaluable addition to our recruiting process, and often the most revealing of a person’s openness to acquiring new skills.
Marketing icon Simon Sinek said it best, “Start With The Why”. Whether it’s narration over your showreel, a separate promotional video or a written document, include it in your initial job application. If you’re an editor, explain your process for approaching an edit. If you’re a DOP, prepare discuss why and how you achieved the lighting in your favourite shot. If you’re a director explain your methodology and how you draw the best performances from talent.
We’re all in the industry of communications. A great showreel will always come second place when a good showreel is supported by a clear explanation of the applicant’s philosophy and reasoning behind their creative decisions.
5. Write a custom cover sheet
If you’re too busy to write a cover sheet for a video production job, we’re too busy to read your email.
6. Present yourself creatively
From promotional to corporate video production companies, we’re all nonconformists in this industry. Whether you identify as a misfit, a maverick, or someone more mainstream, you’re searching for a job in a creative industry which values novel approaches to existing problems. With this in mind, would you hire yourself with a templated resume, showreel and personality?
Kill the uninspiring resume. Reduce everything down to a single page and present it in such a way that aligns with your personality. Make it an interactive PDF, stage reenactments on video, create animated explainers, reduce everything to a single image. Whatever it is, do not follow the herd and submit an academic resume for a creative job.
7. Have a portfolio website
Creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum; anyone in video production who understands the tension between “the competing demands of art and commerce” is a unicorn. If you can demonstrate an awareness of a production company’s imperative to “ensure continuous innovation” you will instantly appear as a more valuable an asset to a production company than someone with technical skills alone.
One of the best ways to do this is to market yourself as a business. Build a personal website and back this up with a non-freemail account. In combining the two you not only project a professional image but an understanding of marketing, a key characteristic sought by employers of smaller production companies.
8. Address your blind spots
In the words of Ray Dalio, “get to know your blind spots”. Self awareness is perhaps the single most important attribute we look for in applicants (and we’re not the only video production company) to think so. If you can identify and express the areas you want to develop as an employee during an interview, you’ve already displayed the radical open mindedness required to take feedback and grow exponentially in our creative field.
Enamoured Iris wasn’t created to be a company. We built it as an experiment to work with the type of creatives we admired, and on the type of work we found inspiring. Our process of self-discovery enables us to place our values first, and it’s for this reason we’re so protective of our company culture. We only hire those who align with our values; independent thought, an affinity for cinema, and a pursuit of excellence.
If you don’t get the position you’re applying for, do more work experience and try again. Not only do you build valuable skills, but with such a tight-knit Melbourne video production industry you might impress someone enough to get a referral for a position.
Enamoured Iris is a creative video production company producing online video content marketing for lifestyle brands in the Travel, Health and Entertainment industries. The company’s head office is known as “The Owlery” and is based in Melbourne, Australia.