Not All Roads Lead to Oscar

It is a tough reality that we all must face: not everyone who goes to film school, or writes an amazing screenplay, or who has mad directing skills is going to win an Oscar. Or sign a 3-picture deal.

That being said, strive for your wildest dreams!  But while pursuing them, you’ve got to support yourself, and it’s all the better if you can find a job that allows you to use and hone your filmmaking skills.

Here are a few industries, outside of filmmaking, that will enable you to turn your interests into a career.


Commercials are all around us – on TV, in front of a YouTube video, even on your Pandora station. Each and every one of those commercials has to be written, produced, shot, and edited.  In fact, lots of directors find their way into the industry by directing commercials.  Telling a story in 30 seconds or less is tough, but if you can do it well, it really showcases your directing skills, and a stellar commercial portfolio can help you get other work.

Video for Websites

Online video is a versatile way for businesses to reach their customers. For professional video creators, this is a growing and relatively untapped market.  Even Buzzfeed and Huffington Post are in the video market, because according to Cisco, video consumption will account for 69% of all internet traffic by 2017.  An enterprising filmmaker can create a career by catering to people who need video for the web.

Media for Churches and Missions

Churches, often have a media department or at least a staff media person that creates video content and runs the AV equipment on Sunday mornings.  If you have a heart for using your talents in the context of a church, this can be a wonderful job opportunity.  Missions and humanitarian organizations also frequently use video to shed light on the places around the world where they work.  Working as a video creator with a non-profit organization is a fantastic way to serve God and serve others with your creativity.

In-house Media Production for Companies

Some companies, particularly larger ones, keep in-house production people for their media and communications.  This could mean working in marketing, internal communications, web media, or a variety of other areas.  If you like the idea of working in a stable job in a corporate environment, this could be the right move.

University Video Production

Most universities have a media department or instructional technology department, and video is rapidly becoming a necessity for them.  That means more jobs for people with a media background and a creative eye.  Online higher education is a fast-growing industry.  With that comes the need for video and other types of media to aid in instructing learners.  Universities can be a fun place to work, and a perk is that you will be learning something new all the time!

Wedding Videography

Wedding videography gets a bad rep in the filmmaking world.  But wedding videography is a beautiful art, and a challenging one. Imagine: you have a demanding producer (the bride), you have to be ready for all the one-take performances (especially the kiss), and you have to handle everything the production throws at you (particularly garters and bouquets).  You have to capture the essence and spirit of the couple and their day, but at the same time, you also have some room to take creative liberties with how you shoot and edit the video.  And, once you get really good at it, the pay can be quite nice.


Even while working at a “normal” job (what even is that?), you can still totally work at your creative pursuits on the side.  Push that side hustle as much as you can, and if your ultimate goal is to work in the film or television industry, I’m willing to bet there are lots of things you learn in your day job that will help you in the movie business too.

Chalk it all up to experience, and make the most of the season you’re in, whatever it may be.


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