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How to Become a Driver for Movie Productions
Many people are attracted to the glamor of the movie industry. The polished finished product, however, bears little resemblance to the extensive work that goes into creating the film. The transportation department, for example, is responsible for mobilizing crew shuttles, star trailers, picture cars and more between each location during filming. To become a driver in the transportation department, you must be willing to build relationships with transportation department heads and movie producers. If they enjoy working with you, you will have access to driving on future productions, which could lead to a successful career in the movie business.
Obtain a valid driver's license and full coverage on your auto insurance.
Contact your state's film commission. Many states market their geography and tax incentives for producers to lure in movie productions that bring important revenue to the state. The film commission is typically the department that manages this effort. However, if your state does not have a developed film marketing initiative, contact the department for economic development and speak with the entertainment liaison. Ask about the name of film productions coming to your state and for a list of organizations for film professionals.
Attend networking events held by film organizations. Bring a copy of your resume or business card. It may be difficult to catch a busy producer at a networking event, but you may meet a production coordinator or intern who can offer more insight on opportunities on set along with contact names. Send your resume to the local production offices of the coming feature films as well as to the leads you uncover at your networking event. You may find that everyone else at the networking event is also looking to break in to the industry. Keep in touch with people. Sooner or later, someone will land a job and will be able to provide you with important lead information.
Follow up with each person you meet at your event and the film commission. Offer to work as an intern on their productions, where relevant. Filmmakers rely on free help to build their reels, and the state agency may need additional office help. The key is to remain visible. While looking, keep a clean driving record and updated auto insurance. You will likely be listed as an additional insured for the transportation department once you are hired, but for large-scale productions a background check will be required before you can begin working.
Visit a production location if you can get the address from the film commission in advance. The film commission is a resource for out-of-state producers seeking locations and permits to shoot in the state. They will likely have details on shooting information and, if you have built a relationship as an intern or volunteer, you will have a better chance of learning this information before shooting ends. On location, introduce yourself to drivers and the transportation department head or a producer. Be brief, as they will likely be busy. Let the department head or producer know you have been volunteering with the film commission and would like to help with prepping or wrapping his or her production. These are unattractive entry-level positions that staff drivers may not want. Ask politely for his or her contact information to follow up in case help is needed.
Call the local production office for the movie to follow up with the production supervisor and leave your contact information for the transportation department. Wait several weeks before contacting the department head to follow up. Movies require long hours and he will likely be tired, but if a driver becomes sick, or they need additional help processing paperwork, the transportation department will have your information to contact you if help is needed.
Be pleasant. A pleasant demeanor makes you appear easy to work with, which is essential to the high-stress environment of the movie business.
This process usually requires multiple attempts and lots time working for free until you become a trusted resource. The key is to remain visible, as producers and department heads call on people who have a strong work ethic and with whom the department heads are familiar.
Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.