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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

How to Get Started Working in Production

Breaking into a field that isn’t common for women can be hard. While some may think that the modern workforce doesn’t have hangups like this any longer, that’s not always true.

If you’re interested in working in production, don’t let these possible obstacles deter you. I’ve put together a basic checklist to help you get started in this creative, hardworking field that needs more women! Take a look below.

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Learn Some Basics On Your Own

Starting over in any industry is a huge challenge. You’ll need a lot of determination, but you can teach yourself anything. And working in production is one of those areas where experience and networking matter a lot more than any degree.

You can start by learning some basic skills on your own. Get on YouTube and teach yourself over-under cable wrapping. You absolutely cannot work any load out without this skill or you’ll never be asked back.

If you don’t have a library card, you need one. Start by getting one of those (it’s almost always free). Then ask the reference desk if they have any subscriptions to web classes like LinkedIn Learning or Sophia. Use your library card to access those databases for free and sign up for web courses in basic production.

Gain Some Experience Working in Production

Volunteer at church or with a local band that plays Friday and Saturday nights at a local VW post or legion. Chances are they’d be happy to have a lackey to carry PA and help with load in and load out.

Offer to help at a concert for free in exchange for tickets. Not every venue is open to this, but some are looking for volunteers.

Try a local theater. They are always looking for help in more than just the props department, and they probably have many types of lights and audio equipment that you can learn about.

Continue learning now that you have a direction to go. If you want to learn more about power distribution, for example, get on Thrift Books and purchase some DIY courses you can work on at home. Next time you’re working an event, pay special attention to where wires run, the types of receptacles they’re plugged into, and the order they get plugged in and turned on. If you have questions and there is an opportunity, ask!

If you want to learn more about audio engineering and sound mixing, pay attention during mic check. Download an RTA app on your phone and a decibel meter. Watch YouTube videos about compression and equalization (be aware that compression for recording studios is a lot different that compression for live sound). Learn about how sound waves travel and how the acoustics of a room change the way you mix. Ask about what kind of sound board the audio tech is using and then go home and research that board (a lot of people on Reddit can give you the pros and cons of different equipment).

Get Stronger and Revamp Your Wardrobe

Production equipment is heavy. Many of the cases and speakers require team lifting. Yet it’s also helpful if you develop the skill to maneuver the cases and even lift them on your own.

The more you practice, the stronger you’ll get by virtue of the job. However, you can also lift weights or do body weight exercises at home (like pushups). Another option is to buy an inexpensive pull up bar and use it every other day (give the muscle tissue the opportunity to heal in between).

If you’re working in the AV booth in the back of a room, you’ll probably need to be wearing black. You may need to revamp your wardrobe so you’re prepared to work a show. In production we want to blend in, not stand out. Invest in some good work pants that aren’t jeans (gray is a great option) and a few black t-shirts. One thing you won’t have to worry about? Covering your tattoos. Most production crew members have ink.

Start with Contract Work

Freelancing is a good way to gain experience. You can work contract gigs for multiple tech and production companies without having to pledge allegiance to one. Work with different teams, learn how they do things, and figure out what you like about each one’s style.

Later if you decide to apply for a full time position, you will know whether a company is a good fit based on your prior work experience.

Apply for Jobs

Be bold about asking for references or letters of recommendation from your contract gigs. Let them know specifics about what you’re interested in doing or which positions your applying for so they can be specific in their letters. If you know which skills will be vital as you move on, ask your references directly to include those details.

Include these as PDF attachments when applying for jobs.

Women in Production

Working in production has brought me so much joy. If it’s an industry that you’re interested in, I truly hope you pursue the opportunity. Don’t let naysayers or challenges hold you back. Please send me a message or leave a comment if you want to talk more about how to get started or need a listening ear.

Be sure to follow us on socials for more daily insider info on women in production. You can also check out these other posts by A Wild Lass.

Powerful Women in Film and Television

Best Ride On Toys for Adventurous Moms and Kids

Learn on the Job: Easy Tips for Beginner Public Speaking

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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