Getting Started in Film
Start your new career in the Oklahoma film industry!
Welcome to Oklahoma’s film community, where there is a place for you! In 2019, nearly 40 film and television projects filmed in communities around the state, making it one of the busiest years Oklahoma has ever had for film and television production. As the entertainment industry continues to flourish both globally and here in Oklahoma, the need for the continued development and expansion of our local film industry workforce and companies is critical. We invite you to explore our website’s resources to learn more about ways you can plug in to the industry and start your careers now!
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- FOR BEGINNERS
- PITOTAL WORK: EARLY ACCESS VIDEO SERIES
- EVENTS + NETWORKING
- ONLINE GROUPS
- PRODUCTION DIRECTORY
Below you’ll find some beginning tips to consider for those who have never worked in film production, but are looking to move forward. The great thing about the film and television industry is there are positions for nearly every skill set, either in front of or behind the camera.
Opportunity Abounds for Every Occupation: It’s very common to associate film industry jobs with what is seen most on-screen: directors, producers, actors, etc. However, so much of what goes into bringing a film to life happens behind the camera. Nearly every trade imaginable has a role that easily translates to a position that is part of the film team. Such occupations and departments include accounting, attorneys, carpenters and construction, caterers and chefs, choreographers, costumers, drivers, electricians, graphic artists and illustrators, hair and make-up professionals, office assistants, painters, photographers, writers and so much more. There’s a place for you on a film set if you’re ready to jump into the action.
Don’t Forget About Post Production: Yes, there is the actual physical filming of the movie, but what happens after the project is wrapped? The movie enters a completely different, but critical, phase of production known as post production. If you’re a software or technical expert, this may be a place for you as there are so many skills needed in this realm to complete a movie. Color correction, editing, sound mixing, special effects and scoring are just a few areas of post production where workers are essential.
Learn Your Trade: If you know which area of film interests you most, learn more about it. There are a number of organizations and festivals around the state that offer annual educational panels and workshops, some for free, and even more learning opportunities abound in the virtual realm from specialty film blogs, online tutorials, master class videos and more. Endless books abound on film education as well, which may be purchased in your physical or online retailer or procured from your local library systems.
Meet Other Filmmakers / Network: Across the country in all markets, the film industry remains a business where professionals working in the field are closely connected with one another. With this in mind, try to attend as many film events as you can in an effort to meet people, some of whom are those who will be hiring crews and engaging support services for the next productions in your area. So many jobs are hired based on industry word of mouth and/or proven experience, so whether you’re just starting to meet people or you’re working on a film set, build a good reputation.
Make Stuff: The easiest way to learn is by doing, and in some cases, create your own opportunities. If you want to make that film or write that script, get out there and do it! No matter the scale or size of your project, a simple step forward is gained knowledge and experience. Events like the 48 Hour Film Race highlighted in the Networking/Opportunities tab are a great way for individuals of ALL interests to dive into making a movie.
Work on Other People’s Projects: Apply to participate as a cast or crew member in a student film or short film production. If there’s a mass call for extras on an independent film, submit yourself – even if you’re not an actor. The more you can observe or participate in film projects, the more you build up your contacts/relationships and learn about the process of filmmaking.
Building Your Team: The more you connect with people and make or participate in projects, the more likely you are to start building your team. Collaborating with like-minded people will only help you as you move forward in your career working on your own projects or others.
Workshop and/or Screen Your Projects: Whether it’s your completed film, script, creative drafts or ideas, share your work with a trusted audience – especially if you’re still in the editing or drafting process. Seeing reactions to your work live are important and will only improve your projects.
The Oklahoma Film + Music Office invites audiences to virtually preview our 2021 Oklahoma Film and Music Conference with the release of the “Pivotal Work: Early Access Series”. Join some of the state’s leading industry professionals for this free video series, which features workshops and discussions designed to educate and inspire audiences seeking to learn more about career opportunities within Oklahoma’s film and music industries. The “Pivotal Work: Early Access Series” launched in December with subsequent monthly video releases through March 2021.
Oklahoma’s wide variety of universities, colleges, trade-schools and more offer classes and added education for those looking to learn more about film and/or music production.
ACTING CERTIFICATIONS + WORKSHOP
Reel Talent Studio Located in the South Tulsa area, Reel Talent Studio is a training facility and hub for actors, whether well-established in the film community, or just starting out. Reel Talent Studio is your connection to the many film opportunities in Oklahoma. With on-going classes throughout the year plus summer camps for students, RTS will help equip you for your next audition or booking.
The Actor Factory Located in Norman, Oklahoma, The Actor Factory trains adults and young performers in the disciplines of Acting Technique, Improv, On-Camera Acting and Auditioning. Weekly classes are taught by working professionals; actors, casting directors and casting assistants. Weekend workshops are offered by other industry leaders from across the country; talent agents, talent managers, casting directors, screenwriters, film makers and more from Los Angeles to New York City.
Oklahoma City Community College Digital Cinema Production Enjoy hands-on filmmaking classes in the best-equipped filmmaking facility in the region, complete with a 6,000-square-foot sound stage and cutting-edge cameras, equipment and filmmakers.
FILM CERTIFICATIONS + WORKSHOPS
Oklahoma Arts Institute The Oklahoma Arts Institute (OSAI) hosts the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, an intensive, two-week academy in the literary, visual, and performing arts for Oklahoma’s most talented high school students, as well as the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute, a series of four-day weekend workshops for educators and adult artists of all ability levels.
Oklahoma Film & TV Academy Founded in 2020, the newly launched Oklahoma Film & TV Academy is working to develop a production-ready workforce for the Oklahoma film and television industry with instruction and classes in tiers such as Film 101, Specialized Courses and On-Set Experiences.
University of Tulsa – Screenwriting and Filmmaking Camps The Department of Film Studies at The University of Tulsa offers residential screenwriting and filmmaking camps for high school students. They will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the art and craft of screenwriting and filmmaking for one exciting week each.
TECH + TRADE SCHOOLS
Metro Tech The Digital Cinema and Web Specialist major at Metro Tech prepares students for emerging careers using digital video, web development and film studies. Students learn storytelling, video, audio, film production and editing, and finalizing content for various digital distribution. Students experience video production both in studio and in the field and develop digital portfolios to demonstrate their creative and technical skills.
Moore-Norman Technology Center Digital Video Production Receive hands-on training with digital video production equipment to learn all aspects of studio and field production, including directing, audio, lighting, graphics, videography, editing, color grading and sound editing. Class participation includes working on short films for the annual Moore-Norman Technology Center Red Carpet Film Festival.
Oklahoma City University Offering the only four-year BFA in Film Production curriculum in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City University film department nurtures thoughtful, hands-on filmmaking while providing up-to-date training in the technology and procedures of modern media production. Located in downtown Oklahoma City, the film program was started by Fritz Kiersch (“Children of the Corn”) with the support of Harbour Winn and others.
Oklahoma State University Screen Studies Program As one of six programs within the Oklahoma State University’s English Department, the Screen Studies program incorporates film studies, television studies, and studies in new media. The interdisciplinary nature of the program emphasizes scholarship and coursework across disciplines, and encourages diverse research approaches to film and media, whether avant-garde or genre, American or international, classical or contemporary. At the graduate level, the program seeks students who want to immerse themselves in critical theory as a way of opening up new ways of thinking about the moving image.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Digital Cinema Program The Digital Cinema degree equips students to compete and thrive in a media saturated world. Students develop their area of expertise while participating with other students in hands-on production labs, in the course of an internship experience and in a senior capstone project. Students emerge equipped to engage a marketplace where visual media plays a central role in nearly all communication. The Digital Cinema program at OKWU produces highly qualified graduates with the skills to succeed in the 21st Century Marketplace.
Oral Roberts University Cinema, Television and Digital Media Program Oral Roberts University’s Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Cinema, Television and Digital Media (CTD) is a residential program that can equip you to become a Holy Spirit-empowered professional in the ever-changing world of media production. You’ll blend theory, technology and creativity in extensive hands-on practical experiences.
University of Central Oklahoma College of Arts, Media and Design The University of Central Oklahoma’s (UCO) College of Arts, Media and Design is comprised of the Department of Art, Department of Design, School of Music, Department of Theatre Arts, Department of Dance and the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education. Now known as the College of Fine Arts and Design, the program strives to be a cultural resource for its students and the community.
University of Oklahoma Creative Media Production Program With state-of-the-art facilities and a second in the nation ranking, the Creative Media Production Program teaches students practical skills such as recording, lighting, and editing as well as critical analysis and research techniques that prepare students for work in the field or the studio. The CMP program is ideal for students who want to pursue careers in the film, corporate production, radio, or television industries.
University of Oklahoma Film and Media Studies Program The Film and Media Studies at the University of Oklahoma is an interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts and Sciences that combines courses offered in the Department of English, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics (MLLL), the Department of Communications, the School of Art and the College of Education. The program is designed to give students a broad understanding of the role of film and media in modern society.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), located in Chickasha, is the state’s public liberal arts college. Its mission is to provide the public with a distinctive and accessible liberal arts and sciences education. In combining an interdisciplinary core curriculum with superior instruction in major fields of study, USAO aims to provide a thorough education that prepares students for meaningful, purposeful lives.
University of Tulsa Department of Film Studies The 33-hour major leading to a B.A. in Film Studies at the University of Tulsa provides liberal arts students with the history, theory and production techniques of film. The Department of Film Studies equips its majors with the technical expertise to enter professional employment as well as the knowledge and experience necessary to continue study in graduate school.
From our own OF+MO events, like our Oklahoma Film and Music Conference, to statewide festivals and networking mixers, there are numerous opportunities to further educate yourself, build career development and network with working professionals in the Oklahoma film and music industries. Annual events, like the 48 Hour Film Project, can provide individuals with all levels of experience an opportunity to participate in most any film role or department by joining or starting their own competing teams. Opportunities abound at events like the deadCenter Film Festival, the state’s largest film industry gathering, which offers screenings, classes, panels, networking events and more in addition to their year-round educational workshops spearheaded by the deadCenter Institute. Subscribe here or follow us on social media (@okfilmmusic) for more information on these opportunities.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Social media has changed the way we connect with each other, and in addition to our own website, many local film and music groups offer their own additional events, job opportunities, resources and more.
Community CARES Partners Film and Music Jobs Retraining
The Communities Foundation of Oklahoma (CFO) partnered with others in the public and private sectors to support Community CARES Partners (CCP) to open an Oklahoma City resource center to help residents who are in need, having suffered loss due to the pandemic. The CCP seeks to positively impact Oklahoma City metropolitan residents by offering individual and family assistance to those who are facing housing crisis and eviction due to loss of wages or hardships related to COVID-19. The resource center provides support through eviction prevention, financial assistance and connection with wraparound services, including job retraining.
Entertainment Partners – COVID-19 Webinars
A series of free live workshops specifically designed for production professionals and everyone interested in production. Your guide to some of the most pressing topics facing producers, finance and studio executives today, hosted by Entertainment Partners’ team of legal and production experts.
Freelancers Relief Fund
While Freelancers Relief Fund Applications have been temporarily closed, a resource page lists state and federal government opportunities for new relief programs for independent workers impacted by the coronavirus.
JR Now Webinar – October 2, 2020
This episode provides an overview of Oklahoma’s thriving film and television industry with an emphasis on workforce development featuring Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO) Director Tava Maloy Sofsky alongside other special guests local filmmakers Todd and Alex Greenlee and Richard Janes, co-founder of the newly launched Oklahoma Film and Television Academy (OFTA). This is the first webinar within the series to focus on film and television with subsequent sessions beginning in November, where OF+MO will take a deep dive into industry sectors such as workforce, community and infrastructure development.
JR Now Webinar – November 13, 2020
“Take 2: Getting Started with Your Career in Oklahoma Film” further explores Oklahoma’s camera-ready workforce development with unique perspectives highlighting the state’s training and education programs as well as the immediate employment needs of current film and television productions filming in the Sooner State. This episode features Oklahoma Film + Music Office’s Director, Tava Maloy Sofsky, alongside esteemed professionals Jacob Snovel, producer of the feature film “Out of Exile”, Owner of Perm Machine and the former Adult Programs Coordinator at Moore Norman Technology Center; Trevor Rogers, Director of Outreach for NGP Productions and Executive Director of Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO); and Teresa Rose Crook, Executive Director of the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.
Motion Picture & Television Production COVID-19 Protocols Certification
In response to the highly transmissible novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which has caused a global pandemic, a new department of health & safety team members and COVID Compliance Officers are necessary for film and television production to continue. This program is designed to provide education on the virus and the most current health and safety information relevant to the community of filmmakers, producers, crew, and industry professionals. Students will learn steps for developing a job specific COVID safety plan to ensure that everyone on the cast and crew – from the lead actor to the makeup artist to the truck driver – follows social distancing and sanitation guidelines. This course is recommended for producers, supervisors, on-set leaders, coordinators, health & safety team members (including COVID teams and Compliance Officers), and general production staff.
Oklahoma Film & Television Academy Entry Level Courses (virtual and in-person)
These courses are intended for students who have not worked on a large number of studio movies and network TV shows. Even if you have attended other film schools or have worked on short films or indie features under $1.5M, we still require you to complete these entry level courses to move onto intermediate levels. If you are unsure if this applies to you, feel free to apply to your chosen course and our student support team will be able to advise.
Sundance Co//ab Training
In addition to financial resources, Sundance Institute identified urgent needs for support and training on several key topics — including mental health, community building, and distribution and marketing strategy. They are creating a series of free public and private offerings for independent artists on Sundance Co//ab, a community for global storytellers to learn, share work, and find resources.
Winter Film and Music Workshop Series
The Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO), alongside its partners, Nathan Gardocki Productions (NGP) and Castle Row Studios, are launching a series of film production and music workshops designated to help Oklahoma City residents that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants that are interested in retraining to work in one of Oklahoma’s fastest growing industries have the opportunity to learn from over thirty industry professionals in the fields of screenwriting, producing, film production, post-production and songwriting. Students will receive hands-on training with industry standard equipment from seasoned professionals that perform these jobs on a daily bases. Participants will also be eligible to apply for paid internships and fellowships with the three organizations, beginning in early December.