Tough times indeed for those in the film and television industry.
But compounding that problem is the state of the economy, which has constricted the number of available jobs.
Fineburg started by approaching as many camera houses as possible, hoping to get a lower-level job working with the equipment and learning the day to day operations.
“Generally there wasn’t very much response at all,” Fineburg said.
At the same time, he reached out to friends, friends of friends and acquaintances, pursuing every possible way in. While he met some interesting people, it didn’t help him pay the bills.
He did have a third option, and here he got a bit of luck. Fineburg heard about an internship program with Panavision that often resulted in gainful employment.
Interns spend one year familiarizing themselves with the equipment, and the second year they get opportunities working with assistant cameramen, gaining experience and making connections at the same time.
Fineburg missed out on the internship -- he can apply again in January -- but he did get three days of work on a Radio Shack advertisement out of it.
The problem? That’s all the work he’s gotten so far.
That means he’s headed behind the counter at Trader Joe’s, or, embracing the go-to for the unemployed in Hollywood, looking for work at bars and restaurants. Then again, he has never worked at a restaurant and even those jobs are being filled with more experienced employees.
And there’s the rub for young people in the modern job market.
Every industry is teeming with over-qualified applicants willing to take low wages to get off the unemployment rolls.
If you’re a kid just out of college, good luck. To get a job in any industry, Hollywood included, you need more experience.
Even if you have a good pedigree its still a steep uphill climb.“When I look for general production jobs or even just jobs as an assistant to somebody, it’s no longer an entry-level position, it says we want three years experience, or two years,” Fineburg explained.
That means trouble for someone like recent USC graduate Ben Cohen, who has the kind of pedigree most young writers would dream of.
Cohen, who hails from the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, studied in the exclusive USC screenwriting program. That gave him not just the luster of a reputable film school but also a bevy of connections.
It also helped land him internships while he was in school, one with Laura Ziskin Productions, and another with creative agency DDO.
Selling a script right out of college has always been a tall task, but even finding a job in the industry to make connections and sustain a living has proven almost impossible.
“The catch 22 at this point is every job posting says, ‘minimum two years desk experience preferred,'” Cohen said. “They can say that because so many people are looking for jobs now, and they can easily pull from the group of people that does have that experience.”
While that may be rational in the minds of agencies and production companies, that does little to help Cohen. He said that he has applied to more than 100 different places and only been called back for a handful of interviews.
None of those worked out.
“Because all those jobs require that experience, how are people with zero experience supposed to get to that level?” he asked.
That means that Cohen, who needs work to finance his life while he shops his scripts, has taken up not one job, but two part-time gigs and an internship.
Come Monday and Tuesday, Cohen interns for an online-only show called “The Morning After,” where he conducts research for the show’s pop-culture-focused discussion.
These stories are not unique in fact its the norm. Something the article touches on is how people with years of experience are fighting for entry level potions in the industry. This is making it extremely difficult for those with little experience to break in.On top of that, he works in sales at Best Buy and as a proctor for the Princeton Review.
Right now its a buyers market and it looks like its going to get alot worse before it gets better.