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Congratulations! You have just picked up a book that may help you to decide what to do with the rest of your life. You have decided to forego a college education, at least for now, and you have realized that you have to go to work. Drawing upon your skills and interests of the last few years, you have picked up this book to see what types of careers you might find in the film and television industry.

The opportunities are vast, ranging from acting to makeup to working as an electrician. In fact, there are so many avenues you might pursue within the broad field of film and television that all the possibilities cannot possibly be covered in a book this size. However, by reading this book you will get a generous sampling of the opportunities out there. You also will get advice on how to pursue various careers in the industry. One important thing to understand is that while there are many careers available in the industry, you cannot just walk in and expect to be hired. Most of the careers within the television and film industry require hard work and a lot of dedication, not to mention working for little or no money before you reach your goal. This is an industry in which, unless you are one of the extremely lucky ones, you will find it necessary to pay your dues, so to speak, before you make it to the big time.

At the end of each chapter you will find a directory. It would be nice if everything you need to know to work in a particular career could be found in each directory, but the fact of the matter is that each career's directory could easily encompass a full-sized book in and of itself. In fact, many such books exist and some will be mentioned throughout this book. It is in no way possible for this book to give you all the tools you need to launch a successful career in the film or television industry. It is possible, however, for you to get an idea of what to do, how to do it, and where to go for further guidance. Therefore, what you will find in each directory is a sampling of things you might look to in order to find work in that career field. This information will supplement the information within each chapter. However, in an industry such as film and television, where so many people do so many things, and where the competition is so tough, it will be up to you to prove your desire to work by going out and finding all of the resources that you need. Just remember what almost anyone working in this fascinating industry will tell you: “No one is going to hand this work to you. If you want it, you must go after it with everything you've got.”

This book is filled with career ideas that might interest you if you think you would like to work either in front of the camera or behind the scenes in the film and television industry. While you still may not know exactly what you want to do, at the very least this book will give you some tools to work with that will help you do further research and discover what you might want to do with your life. You will find that many of the career suggestions in this book depend on your having a certain type of personality. You will have to be strong, self-motivated, and willing to work very hard for what you want. The competition in the film and television industry is tough. If you think you have what it takes, then the good news is that you probably do!

Before you get started, there is one important question that you must ask yourself: “Where do I live?” If you are currently living in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, you are living right in the heart of the biggest television and film production centers in the country. These cities have the most opportunities, the greatest resources, and the most stuff actually going on. If you live in a smaller city such as St. Louis, Dallas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, or Miami, you will still find trade papers, classes, good photographers, and career opportunities. If you live in a town with a name like Duluth, Rockford, Elk Cove, Decatur, or Rock Falls, on the other hand, you will have to consider whether or not you are willing to relocate to find the career of your dreams. If you are not willing to move out of your small town and take up residence in one of the big cities, you might want to rethink this whole film and television career thing. After all, you simply cannot get a job where no job exists. However, if you are serious and you are willing to relocate, read this book and then get packing!

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Careers Without College