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Distribution Case Study

Alice Kidd, Junior Acquisitions Executive | August 2016


Working in the film industry for two and a half years, Alice works in acquisitions for a busy distribution company.

Can you tell our members a bit about yourself and what inspired you to enter the film industry?

I’ve wanted to work in film since the age of sixteen. I’ve always loved film as an art form and its ability to motivate, inspire, empower and transform people. I’m both a creative and business-minded person, and I think this balance is crucial to succeed in this industry.

What was the best piece of advice you were given by your tutors/teachers to prepare you for the working world? 

It’s a totally boring answer – but just work really hard! Be ambitious, work out what motivates you, and stay focussed on why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Did you take on any unpaid positions to gain experience, if so were they beneficial?

Yes. Whilst studying at university I volunteered as a marketing assistant at Flatpack Film Festival in Birmingham. I also worked on a variety of short films as a student. Doing voluntary work alongside my studies meant I was in a great position to go straight into paid work when I left university (and no longer had a student loan to support me!).

How long did it take you to get your first permanent paying job, and how long did it take you to consistently find paying work?

I was lucky enough to get offered a paid internship as soon as I finished my degree, which after two months turned into a permanent position. I did not go down the production route – instead I chose to begin my career in film sales and distribution.

Whilst taking internships what were your responsibilities?

My first internship was an administrative assistant role. The work was not particularly challenging but requires good organisation and strong communication skills. Having a good email manner is also very important. Writing well-formed, carefully considered emails (even to internal colleagues) is a massive plus, and means that your colleagues can trust you to email clients outside of the company.

I started off doing basic office jobs such as arranging deliveries and post office pick ups, updating and rearranging old filing systems to ensure contracts and archives were kept organised and up to date. Also, I did a large amount of data entry for their contacts-logging systems. As well as this, it was general jobs such as making tea and coffee for meetings. 

I think keeping yourself motivated when you’re doing a role that isn’t quite your dream job can sometimes feel like a challenge, but it’s a crucial part of getting to where you want to be.

Did the tasks you were assigned help you meet people in the office or help you make any connections?

Yes, during the two month internship I met lots of people –showing that I was keen to help take notes during meetings meant that I got to meet lots of filmmakers and distributors. I dealt with everyone in the office at some stage, due to the variety of tasks I was required to do (much of which was finding out people’s tea/coffee preferences…)

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I loved going to Cannes and Berlin in 2015, as they were hugely rewarding experiences and I learnt a lot early on in my career whilst having a great time. The film industry is filled with incredibly fun and inspiring people, and probably the highlight has been working with and making lifelong friends with the people who work in it. My current boss is an absolutely inspirational woman and working with her is definitely another highlight.

Are there any processes or elements of the job/industry that have come as a surprise and you would want to pass onto others?

I always knew that the importance of connections in the film world was huge, but only when I started working in the industry did I realise quite how helpful they can be! Knowing the right people is really helpful – both in shaping your career, but also just for getting advice from people who have experience where you may not. Having said that, ‘connections’ are by no means necessary for getting a job – my ‘foot in the door’/first internship was through My First Job In Film.

Having worked in the industry for a period of time what advice would you give to those just starting out?

Be persistent. The power of the follow-up should not be overlooked! And research the jobs you’re applying for meticulously – being unprepared for an interview or sending a ‘general’ CV (as opposed to tailoring it for each application) can look unprofessional.

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