Some information about opportunities, internships, resources, award and grant sources, and more.
Internships (many have deadlines – click on links as soon as possible)
Grants/scholarships available to undergraduates
Be sure to read emails and check the websites of your major department for information about fellowships, scholarships, and other opportunities, some of which are open to undergrads rather than grad students (or to both). READ THE INFORMATION CAREFULLY to make your application the most effective it can be. Keep track of deadlines, ask a faculty member to look over your application, and be sure to apply -- you won't get if you don't ask.
Additional sources of information:
One benefit to applying to some of these things while you're a student is that you develop skills that will help as you enter the field. Filmmaking almost always involves fundraising, and the more effective you are at writing a proposal/application/request, the better.
Storytelling Skills (documentary and drama)
Read the publications of the organizations below.
Read, study, map out screenplays -- you'll find many of this year's Academy Award nominees here, courtesy of Script magazine, available for download as PDF files: http://www.scriptmag.com/features/get-downloads-award-season-screenplays
Read, study, map the transcripts of major documentary programs -- most of what's on the PBS series NOVA, American Experience, Frontline and more have transcripts available online. And many of their films are online, too.
Read interviews with industry professionals. One really good source, which has excellent online articles and interviews, is Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West -- http://www.wga.org/writtenby/writtenby.aspx
Take advantage of your time at UAlbany to explore the books and periodicals available at the university libraries
ATTEND EVENTS AT THE NEW YORK STATE WRITERS INSTITUTE on the uptown campus, always free. They offer a film series and many events with filmmakers, playwrights, musicians and more. In recent years, guests have included John Sayles, Alex Gibney, Muffie Meyer & Ronald Blumer, Jeanne Jordan & Steven Ascher, J. Hoberman and more.
What follows is is a very partial list of international, national, and regional organizations, some of which offer discounted student membership. Many also offer opportunities to follow them, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or by email subscription, which can be a good (free) way to stay informed.
From the International Documentary Association (which does offer student memberships), what filmmakers say they want interns/recently-graduated employees to know: http://www.documentary.org/content/so-you-want-work-documentary%E2%80%A6tips-getting-started
A partial list. It can be useful to see if a festival is seeking volunteers to help out behind the scenes (check the festival website) -- in exchange for some work, you may get free admission and a chance to meet others in the industry.
Festivals in the U.S. include:
Here's a great calendar for filmmakers from POV (another wonderful series you should be watching)
South by Southwest/SXSW (March, Austin) - http://sxsw.com/film
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (April, Durham, NC) - http://www.fullframefest.org/
Tribeca Film Festival (April, NYC) – http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (April, Toronto) - http://www.hotdocs.ca/festival/
Silver Docs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival (June, Silver Spring, Md.) - http://silverdocs.com/
DOC NYC (November, NYC) - http://www.docnyc.net/
World Congress of Science & Factual Producers (December) - http://www.wcsfp.com/
Impact Media Summit (January, NYC) – www.impactmediasummit.com
This is only a partial list. Some of these programs offer a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) degree; others offer an M.A., M.S., or Certificates of Advanced Study.
There are lots of these, but here are a couple specifically targeting film: