What do you want to be in filmmaking? A writer? A director? A cinematographer? A researcher? A runner? A 3rd Ad? A 1st Ad? A carpenter? A set designer? A line manager? A presenter? When I realised I wanted to be a writer/director, I assumed that from that point on, when I told people I wanted to work in TV and Film Production, they would automatically understand that I was talking about creating content. In fact, the TV and film industries are so large and so varied, that you have to really think and research what role you want and act accordingly. If you want to be a researcher, apply for work experience doing researching work. Are you good on the phone? Do you hate talking on the phone? If you do, chances are you won't enjoy researching. Do you want to become a writer? Then get writing. Write, write, write. I think the most common mix up is between those who want to be a director but confuse that with cinematography. You can learn how to use the camera and use it well and make very nice productions, but if you're really a director, don't spend all your time learning how to use the camera, spend it with actors instead. You'd even be better off directing some theatre to really learn your craft.
I made the mistake of getting work experience in areas I hated, just because I thought it was getting me closer to the industry. The best work experience I ever did was working as a runner for a few weeks on the BBC The Paradise. That was amazing because it allowed me to understand the whole workings of a drama production. I got to see almost every aspect and really watch the director at work. I got to see call sheets every day which taught me so much about scheduling and timing. I learned how I could direct my own films one day.
Have you thought about what you want to be? Do you know how you're going to practise and learn your chosen skill? Think about this stuff, especially if you're just starting out. It will save you a lot of wasted time.
Share your journey in the comments!