A person is only as experienced as the number of chances people are willing to take on them.
As a part of the entertainment industry from 2011, I have seen an active increase in the number of people (especially the youth), who switched from jobs with a better shelf-life to jobs that were more ‘fun’. I will not quote statistics because I am basing this information merely on my observations while working as an Assistant Director on advertisements, independent feature films and other visual content in India.
Coming back to the point of this piece: Experience. Fun job or not, one of the biggest roadblocks I have experienced while working in this field is my (lack of) experience, as future (or maybe not) employers are quick to point out at every interview. “You know…”, they say with a thoughtful pause, “… we’re looking for someone really experienced. Someone like *insert famous name 1* and *insert famous name you’ve never actually heard of*, you know?” And you shake your head, surprisingly calm, wondering why they even called you for an interview in the first place, confirming the fact that despite asking for your resume, they never actually opened it and really have no idea who you are and what work you’ve done. (What also confirms the aforementioned fact is when they tilt their head sideways and say, ‘Tell me about yourself’ in the same tone as they would ask a 3-year-old about their favourite poem – but more on that, later.)
Which leads me to the question: How on Earth can someone be “experienced” if they don’t actually get work in their field?
Another aspect that plays an important role in defining the kind of “experience” employers are looking for (in the entertainment industry), is the kind of movies you’ve worked on. ‘Good experience’ is directly proportional to the number of commercial (Such glam! Much wow!) films on your resume. “Koi badi pikchar nahi kari naa! (But, you haven’t done any BIG films!)” they say, turning you away. The independent (or small) films listed on your resume do not matter. “Kaunsi film kari? Acha? Nahi suna yaar. Sorry. (Which film was this? Really? No man, haven’t heard of it. Sorry.)”
Yes, I know this sounds like a bitter rant – but it’s really not. What it is, is an ardent plea to employers (in the film industry and otherwise) to take a chance on the ‘inexperienced’ lot, just like someone took a chance on the ‘experienced’ lot and watch as the heavens open their gates and shower your with money and fame and …
Okay, no. Not all that. Take a chance on us and watch the work get done in a timely, efficient manner, because the number of films on a resume has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of hard work a person is willing to put in. True story.