Getting Started in Utah’s Film Industry

Aug 11, 2022
'Hunting Ava Bravo' (2022) / Top Dead Center Films

The Utah Film Commission is committed to helping you find your way, no matter where you are in your career path. We want to foster the development of our local talent and crew whether you are a student at a local university, interested in training programs or are just looking to be an extra so you can experience for yourself what life is like on set.

As a growing industry, film and television productions employ a diversity of skills and trades. From special effects technicians to makeup artists and wardrobe design, writers to set builders, actors to ticket takers, producers to directors, it takes a whole team to make movie magic.

First, get connected with the Utah Film Commission and stay up-to-date on the latest news in Utah’s film industry by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Then, start exploring the information below to better understand how to choose the best path for you.

Higher Education

Utah has a number of film and media degree programs. We work with all of them in different ways and all have their unique focus.  Learn more about their programs below.

Brigham Young University
Salt Lake Community College
Southern Utah University 
University of Utah
Utah Tech University
Utah Valley University
Weber State University

Training Programs

If you are new to the industry, our training programs are developed with you in mind. All courses are taught by local industry veterans and are a great first step to learn more about working on Utah film, television, and commercial sets. Please visit our partner, Fade to Black Productions for more information.

Background Work

As a background actor or “extra”, you can experience for yourself what life is like on set. Learn more

Utah Crew & Support Services Directory

The Utah Film Commission provides free listings in the Utah Crew & Support Services Directory to Utah resident crew and locally based support services (vendors or businesses). Select from two listing types: CREW or SUPPORT SERVICES and list yourself in one or both areas.  This can also be a great place to reach out to those who are already working in these disciplines for mentoring. This helpful database will allow you to customize a search by category, name, or company.  Categories range from accommodations, animal equipment/services, to locations, stunts, wardrobe, and more.

If you already have the skills, check out film job opportunities for productions hiring crew and other full-time, part-time or contract positions the industry.

Derek Mellus, Production Manager with the Utah Film Commission offers the following advice:

“For almost every department there is an entry level position. For example, someone who wants to pursue a career as a Costume Designer might start off as a Costumer, or maybe they might work as a Seamstress. If they have great fashion sense, it helps to get to know the ins and outs of production and the people involved.  After you build up your credits, reputation, and relationships you could be moved up to Costume Dept. Supervisor or a Buyer and eventually with enough experience work as a Costume Designer. Talent and the type of production and budget are both factors.  A smaller budgeted show might be willing to take someone on without much experience- especially if it is a passion project like a short or a local band’s music video, etc.

It is the same with the Art Dept. Usually, people start off as Set Dressers and work their way up to Leadman, Set Decorator, and then (much later) to Production Designer. They can also get there through the Props or Construction Departments in the same way.

There are other ways that film productions can utilize talented creatives. For example, a Set Decorator may rent or purchase a local artist or artisan’s work to decorate a scene. A Costume Designer might commission a fashion designer to create the lead actor’s attire, or a Property Master might higher a craftsman to construct a prop or a special weapon, etc.

Not only creatives work in film and TV.  There is a lot of “real world” knowledge that transfers to production positions. A good driver or mechanic could be a candidate for the Transportation Dept. An electrician could easily work in the Grip & Electric Depts. An organized secretary could easily become an Asst. Production Coordinator.”

A strong local economy depends on a strong creative economy—and it all starts with a story. Contact our office with any questions.