AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY

Film Industry FAQs

Employment

  • How do I get a job on a film?
  • How do I get my foot in the door of film production?
  • Will the Austin Film Society get me a job on a film?
  • I have experience but I am still not getting work. Do you have any other advice?
  • I want to be a ___ for film. What should I do?

Career Advice

  • I want to be an actor. What do I do? Where are casting calls posted?
  • I want to be a screenwriter. What do I do?
  • I have a movie idea. Can I pitch it to you?
  • I need financing for my film. What should I do?

Studios

  • How do I tour the Studios?
  • I want to rent a stage at Austin Studios.
  • I want to be a vendor to the productions that shoot at the Studios.
  • What about other locations in Texas?
  • Where can I find crew?
  • How can I get in touch with the talent on your productions?

Filmmaker

  • How do I get distribution?
  • Can AFS show my film?

EMPLOYMENT

How do I get a job on a film?

The best way to find paid employment in Texas is through the Texas Film Commission Production Hotline, which lists weekly updates for cast and crew calls. Resumes are usually sent to the Production Coordinator of each film. Local websites, AustinActors.net and AustinFilmMeet.com also have listings for independent productions around town.

Once your career picks up, you should definitely get listed in the Texas Production Manual, which is also managed by the Texas Film Commission. There are other production guides that you might look into as well, including the Austin Production Guide, managed by the Austin Film Commission, and a directory by the Texas Association of Motion Media Professionals. These are the "yellow pages" of the industry.

It is also a good idea to join film-related organizations and meet the folks that are involved in the industry. Finally stay connected to the film industry using some of the local resources, such as The Austin Chronicle, our publication called Persistence of Vision and other internet forums, such as this Yahoo Group: Austin Film Forum.


How do I get my foot in the door of film production?

The nature of the entertainment industry is such that entry-level positions are usually unpaid. However, there are some great internship opportunities around town, some of which require school credit while others do not.

The Texas Film Commission organizes the Texas Production Manual, where companies that produce and create films are listed. Gaining an internship with one of these companies always helps to get your foot in the door. By networking with these companies, strong contacts within the Austin film industry are often forged.

While the Austin Film Society does not hire for any productions (not even those shooting at Austin Studios), AFS does offer office internships which alternate three times a year. Participants are offered several opportunities to make contacts in the film industry and involvement in our program is a good way to learn about the film community and meet local film leaders. Upon completion of the internship program, some participants may enter into the Film Referral Program, a program that rewards exemplary interns with direct referrals and recommendations to productions and media-related organizations in the Austin area. Referrals are made on a project-by-project basis according to the needs of the production and the availability and interests of the intern. The FRP does not guarantee employment, but it will get your resume in the office of a production with the recommendation of AFS. Interns at AFS can also gain film knowledge by participating in film-related workshops that vary by semester.

Though difficult, you should expect to work for free on productions. This will give you the connections and the reputation to get paid positions in the future. It is also a good way to get a title jump even when you are working regularly in a position. Again, it helps to check the crew calls listed on the Texas Film Commission's website and AustinActors.net. The listings will detail whether or not the crew on a film will be paid or not.

Finally, volunteering for a local film festival, such as SXSW or Austin Film Festival, can really give you great experience and is usually open to most individuals. Most festivals include information on how to volunteer on their website. This is a good way to both gain access to the festivals for free and to build your resume and contacts.

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Will the Austin Film Society get me a job on a film?

No, we do not do any hiring for film productions. Though we manage Austin Studios, we are not involved with hiring any crew. However, joining AFS will provide you with a strong knowledge of Austin's film community.

I have experience but I am still not getting work. Do you have any other advice?

One of the most helpful aspects of the Austin film community its supportive nature. There are several great organizations that provide training seminars and networking opportunities, such as the Austin School of Film. Attending courses give you exposure to production and allow you to network with other filmmakers who may ask you to help on their film, work on yours or connect you with other opportunities.

Aside from knowing the resources that Austin has to offer, one of the most important things is to be open minded. You are much more likely to find work if you can work in multiple departments. Most of the crew here who work regularly does so because they wear different hats. For example, if you a seeking work as a Set PA, don't limit your opportunities to working under the Director. Explore different areas to gain experience and make connections (Craft Services, Extras Casting, etc.) It is also tough when you are just getting started or have just moved to town, but don't limit your opportunities to full-time. Be willing to be a day player and work as needed. Those positions lead to more stable positions on productions, if not for this movie... maybe for the next. While you are getting started and building your resume, we recommend that you look into flexible jobs (temp services, restaurant/retail jobs, self-employment) so you can accept a position with little notice. This industry takes a lot of stamina and hard work. If you just moved to town, you have to earn your reputation again to some extent, but it will get easier. It just takes time and persistence.

In the spirit of independent film and Austin's very own talent (such as Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez), the best advice that will make you very proactive is to create your own work and give yourself the job that you want. Don't wait for that call; go make your own film. Places like Austin FilmWorks and Austin Community Access Center provide training and support for individuals that make their own productions. There are also Radio/TV/Film courses at the University of Texas and Austin Community College.

I want to be a ___ for film. What should I do?

Contact others in the industry that hold these positions. You can often find these contacts through the Texas Production Manual.

If you have no experience in a particular position, volunteer for productions so that you can gain as much experience as possible. If you have experience in this position, send your resume to the Production Coordinator on a project that is hiring in your area.

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CAREER ADVICE

I want to be an actor. What do I do? Where are casting calls posted?

Actors in Austin can find several outlets working on different projects:

  • Austin area actors can find audition notices and casting calls at AustinActors.net. Aside from the classes and workshops announced on this site, the group also offers monthly mixers that serve as networking opportunities for actors and filmmakers.
  • The Texas Film Commission lists casting calls. The listings are updated each Friday.
  • The University of Texas at Austin's Radio-Television-Film department manages a forum for headshots and resumes of area actors. You can submit your headshot to The CAGE.
  • Consider contacting area talent agencies. The Texas Production Manual and the Austin Actors website have agency contact information.

For additional acting resources, check:

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I want to be a screenwriter. What do I do?

Try enrolling in courses and workshops to learn new skills such as how to pitch your script, which you will have to do for any group interested in purchasing your script. Some local places that are helpful in checking out as far as workshops and resources are:

Check out books on screenwriting, and read other screenplays to find out how to write a professional screenplay in the appropriate format. These are recommended:

Research screenwriters' resources and study scripts. Here are some sites to start with:

Enter your script in festivals and contests, like the Austin Film Festival, which is held each October. Here are some other reputable competitions: 

Register your script with the Writer's Guild of America and research requirements to becoming a member. Register your script with the US Copyright Office for additional protection for your work.

I have a movie idea. Can I pitch it to you?

No, the Austin Film Society does not produce or develop projects. If you want to produce your film, it's best to find a film production company, agent or lawyer that expresses interest in new films and productions.

I need financing for my film. What should I do?

AFS administers the AFS Grant, which awards yearly grants to emerging TX film and video artists. Recipients receive monetary grants, as well as video and film stock grants, should they apply and be selected.

You should research fiscal sponsorship, where a 501(c)(3) organization umbrellas your project so that you can seek grants and donations - this is often a requirement for receiving foundation grants and tax deductions. There are non-profits in Austin that offer this service, including the AFS for Filmmaker and higher level members. If your project is issue-specific, you should approach organizations with similar concerns. In general, it is a very selective process and is not for an inexperienced filmmaker.

A great resource to look for other grants is The Foundation Center. You can sign up for a free weekly RFP (Requests for Proposals) newsletter, which frequents lists grants for film/video-related foundations & government agencies.

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STUDIOS

How do I tour the Studios?

Austin Studios is not open to the public. However, we do offer guided tours for classes and educational institutions who offer a film or media-based curriculum. All tours must be arranged in advance, please do not visit the Studios without an appointment. To inquire about a tour for your film or media-related group, please click here.

I want to rent a stage at Austin Studios.

If you work for a production interested in using the Studios facilities, please send an email to studios@austinfilm.org or call us at 512-322-0145, ext. 3208 and provide more information about the project. We can arrange appointments for facility viewing if given notice in advance. For beginning filmmakers, you should be aware that we do require all productions have insurance (available at a discount from Fractured Atlas to AFS Filmmaker and higher level members).

I want to be a vendor to the productions that shoot at the Studios.

We do not provide information about productions filming at the Studios and also do not accommodate sales calls without appointments, but you can generally find contact information through the productions' listings on the Texas Film Commission's website . You can often send/fax your information to the address on the production's listing. Austin Studios does not make referrals to the productions.

What about other locations in Texas?

You should start to scout for locations well in advance of your production's shooting dates. Independently owned businesses often have more leeway in allowing productions to film at their locations. A professional marketing packet often helps in attempting to secure a location. The Dougherty Arts Center offers audition space for casting calls for free, but is often booked for weeks in advance. In order to book space at the Dougherty Arts Center, reserve a room at least six weeks in advance. To gain a permit for a location in Austin, contact the Austin Film Commission, which is a part of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. They are able to provide suggestions, as is the Texas Film Commission. The Film Commission actually has files of Texas location photos. They can be reached at 512.463.9200.


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Where can I find crew?

Try the Texas Film Commission if you'd like information on listing a crew call for a production. In addition, we run the Film Referral Program, which places our former interns on productions. If you have any questions about our internship 

Other places to post or research crew include:

How can I get in touch with the talent on your productions?

The Texas Film Commission is your best bet. We do not give out any contact information. There are no guarantees that you will be able to contact the talent working on various productions in Texas. If you are interested in contacting talent for business reasons, find out who their agents and/or managers are. Here are some other places to do research on talent contact info:

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FILMMAKER

How do I get distribution?

Check out the networking center at Independent Feature Project (IFP) . The site contains links to national conventions, including the IFP Market, and job information.

Consider submitting your film to festivals and contests. AFS includes Calls for Entry from a host of festivals in our weekly announcements (free to subscribe). Distributors and sales agents scout festivals for new work. Chris Gore's book, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, can help you navigate the thousands of festivals to find the best strategy for your film. WithoutABox helps you streamline your submission process and delivering materials to festivals once you are selected; there are also occasionally discounts in submission fees through the service (free to subscribe).

Can AFS show my film?

AFS exhibits over 200 films a year.  Most of those films are classic and repertory titles, though we screen a limited number of new releases and indpendent films that have appeared previously on the film festival circuit.  Please note that we do not have a system for accepting blind submissions, and we rarely show films that have not screened at film festivals (except through our Works in Progress program, which we encourage all members to take advantage of, see above).  If you have programming suggestions, we invite all members of our community to join the discussion in our Facebook Group, called AFS Viewfinders.  

Austin Studios has a 40-seat screening room that can be rented for a fee (discounted for AFS Filmmaker and higher level members). Please contact Chris Engberg, Studio Manager, if you are interested.  

You can also rent out the AFS Cinema, a 278-seat theater at 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. You can submit a request here.

In addition, we are pleased to help publicize community screenings through our weekly announcements or calendar. Please email us at
afs@austinfilm.org.

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