Guide To Getting a Job in Film

Dec 22, 2022

How Do I Get Added to the List of Available Crew for Film and Television Projects in Our Area?

When you are ready to start working in film, fill out the form online for This will get you on the list of potential crew available in our area. Independent and student fills will look to this list for potential crew members. They will never rely solely on this list. They will also ask the FLC Film Liaison and others in the industry for recommendations.

If you are interested in working for larger productions, you may need to be in a union or guild in order to be considered. IATSE local 480 is our local union. Currently, you will need to apply for their overflow list in order to be considered for work if there are not enough members available to fill spots on a production. You apply to the overflow list by going to the IATSE 480 website. After you are able to work 30 days on a union shoot from the overflow list, or 15 days along with having completed the DACC FTTP Program, you can then apply for official union membership.

The union that has jurisdiction in New Mexico is IATSE #480. IATSE stands for (the) International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts, of the United States and Canada. Many times, the union is referred to simply as the IA. This union covers production technicians in television and film production, live theatre, trade shows and exhibitions, and the concert industry. To become a member of the union, you must be 18 years old.

Sign-up on the Overflow list so that you can begin working even though you are not officially a union member. Below are your responsibilities of being on this list.

  • You must be 18 years of age to sign up.
  • You understand that a person on the Overflow List is not a Union member.
  • You understand that it’s your own responsibility to keep your contact and other information up-to-date with the Local 480 office
  • You understand that the Local has a duty to its members to make efforts to get them hired.
  • You understand that being on the Overflow List does not automatically get you hired and that Overflow work is often short and sporadic.
  • You understand that when you are working under the Union Contract, you’re responsible for paying 3% work dues, which may or may not come out of your paycheck. Better double-check! You’re responsible for paying these owed dues if they don’t. In fact, your application to join the local cannot be processed until you pay any 3% works dues owed. Be sure to fill out a 3% Work Dues Authorization form whenever you work.
  • You understand that you must submit pay stubs in order to move forward towards getting an application to join the union. The Local 480 office does not receive copies of your pay stubs, so you need to submit them. It is important to have them once you become a member so you should get into the habit of saving your pay stubs.
  • You understand that you are not a member of Local 480 until you fill out an application and return it with the full Initiation Fee.
  • You understand that, while anyone can work in any craft in which they are able to get hired, individuals on the Overflow List may only list one craft on their 480 profile.
  • You understand that because you are not a member, anyone who wants to hire you must get permission to do so from the Business Agent before you start working.

Crafts Covered by Local 480:


For a complete listing of these craft areas and the jobs they cover, go to the IATSE 480 Craft Areas section.

In addition to the Grip and Electric Union, there are unions for actors (SAG), directors (DGA), camera crew and other areas. We focus on grip and electric because they are the largest employer of crew on large productions and the area where we need more people in our community.

Next, get your credentials together so that you can increase your opportunities to work. These include:

  • Driver License or other state issued ID.
  • Social Security card.
  • Most recent New Mexico tax return.
  • New Mexico Vehicle registration
  • New Mexico resident card.
  • United States Passport (recommended)
  • 1st letter of recommendation (from anyone).
  • 2nd letter of recommendation (from anyone).
  • Maintain all travel documents and proof of residency so that they can be given to production accounting and so that you can travel freely, with little notice.

Prepare your resume’ and/or portfolio. This may include the following items:

  • Personal contact information so that the union and potential employers can get a hold of you.
  • Work history/work experience.
  • Collection of work examples, i.e., pictures and video clips from productions that you worked on.
  • Certifications and licenses. Keep documentation of these for proof.
  • Goals and interests (you may want to become a producer or director but starting as a Production Assistant can provide valuable experience and allows you to build skills.)
  • Be sure to also add and keep updated all of your contact information and work experience in the FLC Crew Database, IMDB, NM State Film Office and any other film related sites, including social media sites.

When you are admitted into the union, you will be required to pay a percentage of your pay to the union for their services. Current IATSE 480 dues are 3%. For this, you receive representation on labor issues as well as benefits that can be purchased at a group rate such as health insurance, retirement, disability, etc.   Check with your union for details on benefits packages and costs.