How to Build a 30-Year Career in the Film Industry

Richard RB Botto
Mar 29, 2017 · 3 min read

Recently, 30-year film industry veteran, Jason Roberts, stopped by the Stage 32 offices to host a free 60-minute webinar for hundreds of talented film creatives in the Stage 32 community.

In his over 3 decades in he business, Jason has amassed 70 credits as a 1st AD or Second Unit Director. Just some of the big budget blockbusters, indiefilm darlings and well respected television shows Jason has worked on include Jurassic World, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Danny Collins, About Last Night, Team Police: Mission Patrol, Almost Famous, U Turn, Escape From L.A., Empire, Gang Related, Better off Ted, Chicago Fire, Dexter and Party of Five.

Quite an impressive career, but, and those who attended will back me up, even a more impressive human being. Sure, Jason took the time to describe what services an AD brings to project as well as his on-set responsibilities, but most of Jason’s time was spent discussing drive and desire, sacrifice and, most of all, behavior.

In other words, those things that are completely and utterly in your control.

So how has Jason not only survived, but continue to thrive as one of the most in demand AD’s in the business? By keeping it simple. By staying humble. By having a sense of place and time.

Although I introduced Jason as the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, I spent the rest of the webinar as a student and jotted down some of the most enlightening, inspiring and empowering thoughts Jason put forth.

In the spirit of paying it forward, I share this list with you today.



10 Rules for Thriving and Surviving in the Film Industry

1 — You have to put yourself out there and be confident, but you have to do it in a way that’s not offensive.

2 — Find the opportunities and figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice. Are you willing to move where the jobs are? Are you willing to sacrifice other aspects of your life? You need to answer these questions for yourself.

3 — Take the jobs no one else will take. Night shoot, desert shoot, cold weather shoot? Nothing substitutes for experience.

4 — Surround yourself with willing, like-minded people who support you.

5 — This business is a business of relationships. How you handle yourself matters. It’s all about how you are with people.

6 — You can’t be afraid of hard work. There’s no substitute for hard work. And when you look back, it will be the hard work in the hard situations that shaped you.

7 — If you’re going to go after something, commit. Don’t waste other people’s time. Don’t waste your own time. Put in the effort. Make the sacrifices you’re willing to make. You have to give everything you have. Otherwise it’s not worth it.

8 — That means 100% effort, 100% of the time.

9 — Blaze your own path. No two people in the business, even if they work in the same job, travel the same path. If you do begin getting work, listen and respect every person of the cast and crew. They have a job to do, just like you. Understand what that job is and assist where you can.

10 — As you have success, always, always, always remember to give back.

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Interested in perfecting your online brand? Confused about how to go about building an audience for you and your content? Check out my book CROWDSOURCING FOR FILMMAKERS: INDIE FILM AND THE POWER OF THE CROWD.

The book is for ALL film creatives, business types and anyone else looking to increase their visibility and effectively create an army of boots on the ground in support of their efforts.

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Rather have a paperback or e-reader copy? No problem! Both are available through Amazon here!

And feel free to follow me and say hello on Stage 32, Twitter and Instagram

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Richard RB Botto

Written by

Founder & CEO @stage32 Screenwriter/Producer/Actor/Author. Master of my domain. Legendary wiseass. Get some.

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