Your first job in film: what I wished I'd known

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Hardish Matharu

Categories: Cinema Careers, FEDS Scheme

Hardish Matharu, one of the fifteen FEDS now graduating from our scheme, many into full time film industry jobs

We’re wrapping up the FEDS scheme, with some great results for the trainees. Many of them have achieved continuing roles in the film industry. We asked Hardish Matharu, one of our trainees working at distributor eOne, to reflect back on her experience and give some lessons for new entrants to the sometimes intimidating film business. Hardish has now taken up a role as Marketing Assistant.

I’ve always had an interest in each and every single aspect of the film industry and think this scheme allowed me to learn more about an area I didn’t really know much about at all. I didn’t realise how much thought, creativity and detail goes into film distribution. I do honestly think that learning about all the different areas in the industry is vital as it allows you to understand all the functions and be more knowledgeable. I think the problem most people have when they want a job in film they narrow it down so much that it can actually become difficult to find the right position. In fact, I was actually one of those people after I graduated. There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want but the tricky part is trying to figure out how to get there and that’s usually what scares people the most. One thing I’ve learnt is not to limit myself when it comes to those goals.

Hardish Beach

General tips I wish I could have given myself whilst looking for a job within film:

  • Be confident in yourself.
  • Never doubt your abilities and what you’re capable of based on rejections.
  • Don’t limit yourself in the positions you apply for.
  • Always do your research.
  • Skills are transferrable no matter what the role is.
  • You are capable of achieving your goals, even if you are working in a different area.
  • Any experience you gain will help you and improve your chances in finding a role more suited.
  • Create a portfolio and update it as regularly as you can.

When I first started the scheme I was nervous, confused and also grieving. I had lost my granddad two weeks before I began. I was anxious leading up to the day I started because this was my first real full-time job and I wasn’t sure whether or not I was capable. Most people experience that feeling when embarking on something exciting and new. I was really looking forward to this opportunity because it was within film, an industry I’d been trying to break into for almost two years since graduating. I remember coming across this scheme and applying thinking I wont get it but I’m thankful I was wrong. I had promised myself during University that I would not get comfortable in a job I didn’t want to do, that I would keep on pushing myself to find something in the field I wanted. And finally something did come along. And though my goal is directing, I’m finding that working in distribution is equipping me with more knowledge about an area that is important in the industry.

Mississippi Grind
Mississippi Grind, one of many of eOne’s titles released in the UK

Things I wish I could have told myself before I started the placement

  • Don’t always question whether or not you are capable of doing the job, you are.
  • There’s nothing wrong with asking questions if you’re confused and unsure about something. Even though you may feel like you are bothering your colleagues, it’s better to ask for help, that way they are able to explain things to you.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes: you’re new at this, and you’re not always going to get everything right. If a mistake is made, own up to it and find ways to rectify it.
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach others. That’s the only way you’re really going to build relationships with your colleagues.
  • Be patient.


The benefits of having a can-do attitude

There were a lot of times when I’d find myself running out of tasks and would often approach my line managers and ask them for more work. This was something my line managers would often praise me for in our one-to-one sessions. To them, it showed I was keen to learn and I don’t regret that one bit.

  • Colleagues feel comfortable approaching you for help.
  • You are constantly learning and improving your skills.
  • You are getting the most out of the scheme.
  • People will put you forward for certain tasks.
  • You’re not limited in the range of tasks you are carrying out.
  • Both you and your colleagues will feel confident in the work you carry out.
  • Improves your communication skills.
  • Strengthens your relationship with colleagues.
  • Opens doors for more responsibilities.

I remember when I first started this scheme and wondered whether or not I would benefit from it and I can say I definitely have. I’ve been lucky enough to work in an environment I feel comfortable and confident in. I feel like I’ve learnt a great deal about distribution and learnt the functions and processes of it. And through this experience I’ve learnt more about myself and my skills. I feel like all the experience I gained through this scheme will aid me not only as I continue in anew position at the same company but in the future too. I feel it has opened up new opportunities and I look forward to whats next.

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