How to get your first commission after university.

Being proactive is a trait that will serve you well in the film industry. At Asare Simms, we're continually creating our own opportunities through developing our branding, creating new projects and allowing ourselves the time to learn more about our field, programmes and techniques.

Photography by Adjust Your Set

Things to remember when applying for a commissioned job:

  • Make sure your website, social media and contact details are up to date and truly reflect who you are and the work you can create.

  • Read the brief thoroughly to identify the actual problem the client has and how you can solve it with your skillsets.

  • Build intrigue with your idea. Learn how to write well and source media to support your vision further.

Applying for the commission

Getting to the interview stage, we understood our film To Dear Charlie sealed the deal for us getting the commission. The piece was a conversation starter, and they were interested in hearing about our story and what lead to our inspiration for our work.

Photography by Raphael Boamah-Asare


  • Only submit work that you are confident about. It's about quality, not quantity.

  • Find out what films they've commissioned before. What could you bring to the table?

  • Be prepared to talk about your creative story and have questions ready about the brief and company.

Photography by Raphael Boamah-Asare

The pressures of expectations

Once we got given the job offer, we quickly realised that we had to make sure that the end result hit the expectation of the work in our portfolio. No matter how experienced you are the feeling of self-doubt comes to mind as you wonder if the client will end up liking the end result.

• Keep in contact with the client. Make sure they're aware of what the current idea is and when/how it'll be completed.

• Never leave communication up to the client, they will most likely have several projects going on and have clients of their own. Don't hesitate to call and e-mail them within reason.

• Don't oversell what you can do. The client wouldn't expect more than what's in your portfolio. Being open about your skills is critical.

Working with others will always be challenging, but it is part of the process of creating work on a larger scale. Learning how to best communicate and work with clients will bring great successes to your career, however, depending on client work will also have some downfalls.

Pro’s about working on commission

• Spread the word about your company and services in your industry
• Earn money to develop your own projects
• Work on a variety of briefs

Con’s about working on commission

• A lack of personality to work
• Relying on commissions to earn money/start new projects
• All work feels the same

Ending thoughts

Doing commissioned work should fuel your creativity, not become the only time you're creative. Make time to work on personal projects that give you complete ownership. Our motivation for working on commissioned work was to make money to fund our feature film, Doll Factory, which made the process and excitement for booking commission that much sweeter.

Article by Shaneika Johnson-Simms