Sure, getting your name in lights is great, but for many, the real magic happens behind the camera. If the words, “Lights, camera, action!” make you giddy, then a position in the film industry might be just the ticket to a fulfilling career. Once you’ve landed an interview, check out our handy interview prep guide; then, ensure you’re ready for your close-up by reviewing our 10 essential film interview questions and answers below.
Table of contents:
- Why are you interested in working here?
- Tell me about your communication style.
- What’s your favorite movie/TV show? Who’s your favorite director?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Are you comfortable working long and/or odd hours?
- What’s your experience with video editing/production software?
- Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict and how you resolved it.
- Do you prefer to work independently or with others?
- How do you stay organized and prioritize tasks?
- Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond.
Film is one of those industries that attracts creative, passionate people. This is your interviewer confirming that you’ve done your homework; will bring value; and are truly enthused about the company, the role, and the film industry in general. Do your research, know why you want to work there over anywhere else, and highlight the skills you’ll bring to the table.
“I’ve loved film since before I can remember, and your studio’s films are among my favorites. Honestly, I got into film editing because of you. Being behind the scenes and being a part of that magic—even in the smallest of ways—is an amazing feeling, and I would be so honored to bring my knowledge to work here. Additionally, I do my best work as part of a team, and watching your behind-the-scenes production videos on your website made it clear that you value collaboration and movement across roles.”
In film, and especially on set, you’ll be working with people, day in and day out. And while many jobs allow for a quick text check-in, film often has you face-to-face with editors, producers, actors, investors, screenwriters, and more. You need to be an effective communicator to work with this diverse group as you seek their buy-in and opinions. Put your interviewer’s mind at ease by emphasizing your diplomacy, flexibility, and efficacy.
“Having worked with film crews in the past, I’m well versed in interacting with a diverse array of personalities and know how to tailor my communications to different types of people. I like to be transparent and avoid miscommunication at all costs, so I try to have all important conversations in person, and I jot down any key takeaways at the end to ensure we’re on the same page. Also, in the fast-paced world of film, I find that you need to be ready for anything, so my phone is on me 24/7. That way, anyone, anywhere can get to me if they have a crucial need.”
Good producers watch movies. Your interviewer is trying to learn more about you as a person and as a film buff. You don’t need to talk about something particularly critically acclaimed—rather, focus on a film or director that truly resonated with you, and use it as a way to share something new about you. A solid, creative answer might look like this:
“I just love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It combines so many genres—sci-fi, romance, comedy, drama—in a really clever, memorable way. The films that matter to me are interesting and creative, but also enjoyable and accessible. Great films need to appeal to a lot of people so that they can have an impact, and I feel like Eternal Sunshine really did that. I can watch it again and again and keep discovering new things.”
The interviewer wants to know that you’re in the industry for the right reasons and for the long haul. Make it known that you have no reservations about this being the job for you, and emphasize what drew you to this career path. When you consider the future, you don’t have to have a specific role in mind, but ensure your career goals follow a natural progression from this position to more senior roles in film.
“Once I’ve completed the production assistant internship I’m currently doing, I’m excited to build my skill set as a junior production coordinator for your organization, learning everything I can from your expert team. Over time, I’d like to work my way up and diversify my knowledge—I’m really interested in learning about video editing, specifically. Ultimately, I want to be a producer, but until then, I want to keep moving forward and using my creativity to support great films.”
If you’re looking for a 9–5, film is probably the wrong industry for you. Your interviewer wants to make sure you won’t resent pulling an all-nighter to shoot a vital scene or answering your phone at 5:00 am when they need last-minute script changes. Support your answer with specifics if possible, like so:
“I’ve never been interested in sitting in an office all day. When I worked on my capstone project, which was a short film that I wrote and directed, I had to work with all the actors’ schedules—and that meant a lot of 11:00 pm shoots, followed by power naps throughout the day. I found it exciting and invigorating—it made me feel like I was a part of something truly special.”
Your interviewer wants to know about your technical experience. You’re certainly not expected to be an expert in every film-adjacent software out there, but this is your chance to share your specialized knowledge, whether it’s editing videos with Final Cut Pro or tracking budgets with Excel.
“I love learning about every aspect of the film-making process, from storyboarding to shooting to release, and everything in between. I’m especially interested in graphic design and 2D animation, and I’ve used online videos to teach myself After Effects. I’m learning Adobe Audition, too, so that I can do sound editing. Because of my history of teaching myself new technologies, I’m confident that I can learn any software used by your team.”
Film brings out people’s passion and creativity—but it can also bring out egos and frustration. Your interviewer wants to ensure you can keep your cool and problem solve effectively when emotions run high, even if the other party can’t. Craft your answer carefully, focusing on your actions and responses, rather than the other person’s. And remember to use the STAR method for this behavioral interview question:
“In my film theory class last fall, our final project was a group debate. One of my classmates and I had very different ideas about how to move forward with our argument. While we both believed we were in the right, we agreed to sit down and discuss each of our ideas, and soon realized they both had merit. So, we combined them and presented a unified, stronger front to the professor. By practicing empathy and understanding my classmate’s perspective, we won the debate. I try to take that lesson into any disagreement—listening to the other person and seeing the situation from their perspective, too.”
Every job prefers you to play well with others, but in film, you’ll be spending a lot of time partnering with other crew members, followed by quite a bit of solo time, particularly in editing and production roles. Your interviewer wants to ensure that you’re versatile, so the best response should incorporate what you enjoy about each style of working:
“On any film, I consider the whole crew to be my team, and I love that. As a production assistant in particular, you work with all sorts of people, and I really thrive in that environment. It’s incredibly creatively inspiring. At the same time, I enjoy those times where I can focus and be in my own head—printing, checking scripts, even making coffee runs. I can ensure everything’s on track. I have sole responsibility for what happens, and that’s a good feeling, too.”
Whether you’re a production assistant, buying coffees and printing scripts, or a video editor, synchronizing sound effects and assembling footage, you’ll have a lot to do—and you’ll need to stay on top of all of it. Your answer should reflect your organizational and time management skills, your ability to meet deadlines, and your flexibility. Clearly state how you keep track of your various tasks (and their respective timelines) and how you separate the less-important projects from the urgent ones.
“There’s always so much going on in film—that’s one of the things I love about it. As a production coordinator, I need to know what everyone’s doing, and that means I need to be extremely organized. I use Smartsheet to track project deadlines, and I work through multiple projects accordingly. I create a separate project folder for larger tasks, breaking them into more manageable pieces so that I can track my progress. If an urgent need arises, I notify any affected parties of the shifting deadline so that we’re all on the same page. And, if I have two urgent tasks at once, I’m a firm believer in transparent communication—I’ll speak to each party to see which task is more important.”
It takes a village to make a film, and especially in entry-level roles, a lot is expected of you. The interviewer is checking that you’re willing to put in the time and effort to ensure deadlines are met and the film gets made. As with other behavioral interview questions, use the STAR method. Stress your willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done—and done well.
“At my marketing internship with the local theater last summer, I was asked to call a few of the board members to see how they thought our big fundraising event went, so that we could start planning for next year. I did so, but then I thought, ‘But what did everyone else think?’ After getting my supervisor’s permission, I sent out a post-event survey to all attendees, soliciting their thoughts on a few important issues. This way, we were getting feedback from a range of people in an unobtrusive way—so we could create an event that works for everyone. I loved that internship, and when I really love something, it makes me proud to go beyond just what’s expected of me.”
From storyboarding to videography, editing to cinematography, film has something for everyone. By reviewing and crafting your own answers for these 10 essential questions, you’re sure to nail your interview and be cast in a leading role!