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Janet Urban's "Friends in Film" and "Career on Fire" Training: An Honest Review

Jessica is an author, actress, filmmaker and coach. One of her greatest joys in life is reaching back to help pull someone else forward.

Janet Urban's "Friends in Film" and "Career on Fire" training: Is it a scam? Or is it legit? Find out here in my honest review.

Janet Urban's "Friends in Film" and "Career on Fire" training: Is it a scam? Or is it legit? Find out here in my honest review.

Friends in Film: Real or Scam?

Friends in Film. Janet Urban. FIF friends. Career on Fire training? Real or scam?

So here’s the skinny. Like me, you were probably scrolling through your feed on Facebook and came across Janet’s ad that asks if you want to enroll in her free “Career on Fire” two-week class. Free? Who does anything for free anymore? How awesome that I've stumbled upon this hidden gem!

That's probably how you felt (well, at least that's how I felt!). So, of course, you jump on board because what do you have to lose? For two weeks, you get to chat with this successful lady and other aspiring actors, actresses, directors, producers, and writers, in a “classroom-esque” setting in the Yammer program where you learn the secrets to set your career on fire.

Of course, nothing in life is free, so the entire time, you’re sitting there thinking when is the financial part of the situation going to arise and how much? Well, before we get to the price of the paid portion of the mentorship program, let me tell you some of what the program does for you and share my own FIF experience.

Holistic-Approach Mentorship

Basically, Janet Urban has a lot of years under her belt in the film industry, spanning from the news side of things all the way to working with famous stars in a slew of movies. Trust me, she has plenty of pictures to prove it.

She’s the sound engineer person and she gets paid big bucks to do what she does because she’s found a niche area that everyone isn’t talented, knowledgeable or experienced enough to do. She’s in hot demand. Everyone wants her on their film project. She even shows you legit checks that she’s received from doing what she does and just like me, you will be astounded with the amount of zeroes on that check. Is she legit? Yes, she’s legit. The woman knows her stuff. She wants to teach you how to become a hot commodity too, but at a much faster pace than the normal method that most actors and actresses use to make it to the top.

What she is teaching you is how to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that she made in the film industry while trying to make it to the place where you’re trying to go--and to do it much quicker! Think about it this way: it’s like having someone take you by the hand and lead you step by step through the film industry with gentle admonishments that says, no, don’t go that way, go this way instead, and instead of doing it in 10 years, you do it in 2 (sorta kinda).

What is the holistic approach that she uses? She doesn’t just focus on the film industry but she focuses on you as a person. She’s like an Iyanla Vanzant of the film industry. She teaches her “Friends in Film” mentorees how to think differently, how to think like a winner, how to be confident, how to address your fears head-on and overcome them. It’s like spiritual enlightenment and positive glow beams shooting out of the computer screen. If you take it seriously, it will really make you a more confident individual who views the world and the challenges that it throws at you in a whole new light.


The Set-Up of the Class & Money Back Guarantee

The "Career on Fire" training is a free two-week program. Once you sign up for the paid mentorship class, you get access to two free modules that are basically “freebies” for those who aren’t going to stay with the program long anyway. The upside of this program is that Janet offers a short, 2-week trial period where you get your money back guaranteed. So after 14 days, if you decide it's not for you, break camp. Nothing lost.

Then once the people who are just testing the program are locked out, the modules with greater material are presented.

For me, a lot of the module material became repetitive. It started off strong, but after a while, I started seeing the same things presented in new modules, which bothered me. For the amount that I was paying, I was expecting something more. However, each module does reveal something that you hadn’t thought about concerning an approach that you can take in the film industry. These new tidbits of information were like gleaming diamonds in an ocean of mediocre. So I started thinking, considering the amount that I’m paying a month for this program, was that tiny gleaming diamond worth those hundreds of dollars? Hmm...I wasn’t too sure.

Update: You must note, however, that I only stayed with this program for two full months, so this is a limited perspective of what the program offers for you. It's an eight-month program, and I have not the slightest idea of the material and information that the modules in later months offer. So your experience may not be the same as mine.


Yammer a.k.a The Bat Cave

Yammer is the Bat Cave and I must admit, this was my favorite part of joining Friends in Film. Yammer is just like it is when you’re in the free “Career on Fire” training class. However here, you have all the FIF Mentors posting, and they’re posting some pretty rad stuff. They’re talking about their successes, the amounts that they just got paid to do certain gigs, etc., etc. It is very inspiring and it gives you the feeling of, If they can do this, then I can do it too! For anyone who loves a challenge, such as myself, seeing people post their successes in Yammer all day motivates you to go even harder to create your own successes so you can post your own pictures and share your own financial earnings and/or film industry experiences.

A concise idea of what this mentor program will and will not do for you

What Janet Does Not DoWhat Janet Does

put in a word for you to the “big dogs”

mentor you

allow you to use her connects as a leg-up in the film industry

encourage you and inspire you

find work for you.

tell you if she thinks an opportunity is legit or if you should pass on it

post different PA jobs that you should look into

tell you how to make a film industry resume

post different places that are holding casting calls and looking for actors/actresses

tell you how to write off film industry expenses on your taxes

look at your resume (unless you have the Premium package)

have weekly calls with her mentorees to keep the morale up b/c the film industry is a tough nut and if you don’t keep up the morale, people will break camp

look at your emails (unless you have the Premium package)

allow you out of the program if you so desire without a hassle

The Film Industry Guidance Janet Gives

Janet will also give you some clear directions you should take, such as you should make production assistant business cards, you should do PA jobs for free, you should do paid extra work on major shoots, you should pass your business cards to the PAs on the major shoots, you should establish authentic relationships with people who are in the film industry because they will remember you and how you made them feel, you should go to film festivals and any events that have anything to do with the film industry. And then use these relationships to vector, vector, vector toward the final destination where you want to find yourself. The key is the vectoring, but most people don't know how to vector successfully, and this is what Janet teaches you in her modules, while also helping to shape you into a more confident individual.


The Cost

Okay so finally, what we've all been waiting for.

Finally, after the two weeks of free “Career on Fire” training, you are hit with two options that allows you to take Janet on as your film industry mentor for 8 months. At the time when I was in the program, it was $349 per month for 8 months for Gold; the other option was $499 per month for 8 months for Platinum. The $349 per month is high but attainable. Those who can afford $499 month, kudos to you! Believe it or not, some people actually do the $499/month plan because they want more direct access to Janet. I went with the $349 because it was more in my budget. After the 8 months, she will continue being your mentor for just $99/month--completely optional, not required.

Update: The price of the plans have increased now. This is what the program used to cost in 2016. I'm unsure of what it costs now.

Me on Set as an Extra in Fox's Shots Fired - FIF video

My Experience With Friends in Film

So after the “Career on Fire” training, I was pumped! I was so ready to go, as I'm clear you can tell from the above video :) . So I did the $349 and I was uber excited. I knew that my career was going to catapult to another level and here’s why. By the time I joined Janet Urban’s Friends in Film mentorship program, I had already been an extra in TNT’s Good Behavior, an extra in History’s Six, and an extra in Fox’s Shots Fired. So I felt like, I’m already doing this, I’m already “in” the film industry, but I’m on the “extra” side and I want to be on the “actor” side and Janet is about to show me how to get there.

Basically, Janet’s advice is to go through the backdoor, which is to use PA work as an entry level position into the film industry. I wasn’t too crazy about this. I didn’t want to PA. I wanted to act! But I realize that sometimes you have to crawl before you walk, so I started crawling.

The first thing I did was locate free local PA work to build a resume. It was simple. Within a week, I was doing my first PA job. See the video posted below to see how that went, which was a disaster, lol (get ready for a good laugh)! However, I appreciated the experience because it helped me to be more confident. Just like I told the guys in Yammer, I would much rather mess up doing PA work for free for a family-owned company than to mess up doing PA work for a major production company who will never hire me again.

About three weeks after my free PA work, I ended up with paid PA work on a professional set. It was my first major paid PA job ever. I got paid $155/day just to hold a walkie and direct extras around, pass out bottled waters, secure the location area, etc. It was for Cinemax’s Outcast filming in SC. But this was a “day player” role, meaning that they only call me to PA when they need me. So it’s more like an occasional gig than a job because they already have 20+ PAs on the roster. For that particular gig, I worked one day. That was it. One day.

Shortly after I landed that gig, my husband lost his job and Janet’s program was no longer affordable for me because I had to pay all the household bills. When I reached out to Janet to ask if I could take a hiatus from the program, I didn't receive a response from her, but my account was immediately deactivated. Just like that, I was kicked out of Friends in Film and kicked out of Yammer. The good news about it is that there was no hassle with leaving the program and no unauthorized charges were taken out of my account.

It's Cables Not Cords

Janet actually corrected me in Yammer and let me know that they're called cables, not cords. See, she is quite helpful! I learned something new.


Is It a Scam or Is It Legit?

Do I think it’s a scam? No. However, it’s not the type of program that I was expecting it to be, based off my full two months there. While I was a part of the program, the modules that I viewed were mostly confidence-building and facing your fears, which is a good thing. And in my opinion, her method shows you how to make great money in the film industry doing something that you don’t particularly desire to do, but it’s paying the bills while you’re “vectoring” toward what you really want to do, which for me is to be a leading role actress. Much of the film industry-related information that Janet gives (at least in the first couple of months of the program when I was there), you can find a lot of it on the internet, but it may take some hours of surfing and you might not know exactly where to look. But there's not much that you can't find on the internet these days, if we're being completely honest.

In the Friends in Film program, you do all the work. Janet doesn’t do any of the work for you. She tells you what you should do, and then you go out in the world, hustle and grind, and figure out how to do it. Simple as that. But that's life. You can't pay your way up; you have to work your way up. So if you're not willing to grind to make it happen for you, then you're wasting your time with the film industry anyway--whether you decide to go with Friends in Film or not. So no, I don’t think Career on Fire is a scam, but it might not be exactly what you’re looking for either.

While some might see it as paying a car payment per month to Mrs. Urban, others might see it as making an investment in him/herself. No matter the perspective, one thing remains unarguably true: What’s right for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. So even though it didn't work out for me, it might be perfect for you. Just guard yourself with knowledge and jump for your dreams, knowing that turbulence is the price you pay for flying high.

Me as an Extra posting with Tristan Wilds

Me as an Extra posting with Tristan Wilds

My First PA Job - Me Assisting with a Jib

My First PA Job - Me Assisting with a Jib

Reader's, Share Your Opinion

Would I Join the Program Again?

Knowing what I know now, would I go back and join the program again after the free “Career on Fire” training? Yeah, I would because Janet showed me a direction that I can take to make it to the top that I had never considered before. And for that, I’m forever thankful. Would I do the whole 8 months? Err...I’ll pass on that. Here’s why.

In the Yammer group, there was this one guy who had come to the end of his 8 months there. He discussed all the great things that he had done over the course of the 8 months. But by the end of the program, his gigs had dried up, his connects weren’t coming through the way he had expected, and to cut a long story short, he was at a low point--which Janet teaches you, low points will come and low points are expected. However, I looked at his situation and realized that while Janet’s program will open your eyes and give you the confidence that you need to tackle the film industry by the horns, there are still no guarantees, even after sticking it out to the very end.

So yeah, I would do the first two months, maybe first three months of the program, and that’s enough for me. I will continue my film industry career using the experiences that I’ve garnered so far. And for now gals and girls, in the words of the director: “That’s a wrap!”

If you are/were a mentoree of Janet Urban, feel free to drop a comment below and share your experience! This article isn't to bash the program; it's to share our honest reviews so that we all can be well-informed to make the decision that's best for us.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I'm new to the film industry and I don't know how to enter the industry. Will "Friends in Film" help get me in there?

Answer: "Friends in Film" will point you in some awesome directions to help you enter the industry. But you don't necessarily have to pay loads of money to get that information. The easiest way to get into the film industry is to start as an extra on a major set. I would recommend that every individual (actor, camera operator, production assistant, etc.) begin by starting as an extra on a major set. The experience alone is invaluable and it opens your eyes to so much! It gives you the real-deal and you get to network with other aspiring artists and you get to rub elbows with major celebrities. Other options for entry-level film enthusiasts are to collaborate with students who are doing student films and collaborate with independent filmmakers who are doing their own work with their own equipment. Look up film festivals in your area. Go and mingle. There's a really big competition that goes on every year called 48 Hour Film. Look it up in your area and go be a part. Also, film industry enthusiasts forget that social networking is not just for personal socializing. There are countless online groups on Facebook that you can join that makes you aware of so many opportunities that are going on around you that you're not privy to. What Janet does is point you in directions of how you can A) make connections (which I've already just shared a LOAD of them), and B) strengthen your connections so that you can use them to scale yourself up to the top.

Question: What I’m confused about is how do you get that first PA job? If she’s not giving her connections or referring you to people. I don’t get how it works. Are there job postings on the website? Does someone set you up with an interview?

Answer: You will not find a listing where they're looking for production assistants (PAs), at least not in the same manner that you would find a "normal" job. The easiest way to become a production assistant is to start on a student film or indie film. You find these opportunities by doing internet searches for your state like this "new york student film crew call." Once you find a crew call, you submit to it with a simple email to whatever email address is available to you. Most likely, this gig will be unpaid, but that's fine. You're initially not doing it to get paid but to get experience. Once you become a production assistant on a major set, that's when the money comes in.

Question: Are the "Friends in Film" and "Career On Fire" trainings mostly about making connections?

Answer: Yes, connections have a lot to do with the success of your career. Janet does not give you her connections. However, she does point you in the direction of how you can begin to make those connections or how you can better d activate the connections you already have.


Eusé Perez on July 25, 2020:

Hey there!

Like many people, I found Janet’s ad on my Facebook and decided to give the free courses a go. What really stood out to me was the vibrancy of the energy, and that we were talking with a REAL person in a REAL group. Most free webinars you get access to thru a Facebook ad, is a prerecorded spliff that’s 3 hours long that drags you thru the motions until they slam you with how much it would be to get the REAL information(I know, from way too many experiences!) In a three day program, not only did I get to ask questions to a real Emmy winner in her craft, but I also got to associate with people who had the same aspirations as me. This was my first green flag. After doing my own fair share of research, I realized she was legit, the results were real, that I just had to dedicate myself. For some people, staying committed is difficult, so safe to say if you’re one of these people, this program may not be for you. If you like to be the master of your own destiny, and want to take your own personal power in your hands with the assistance of an experienced mentor, this is for you.

I can understand your perspective, for everyone’s experiences are bound to be different! I have only been in the program two months now myself, and TODAY actually was my first paid PA gig! I had the opportunity to not only be an assistant but shoot behind the scenes for a documentary.

I can agree a majority of the content is self development, but when you think about the types of people who typically want to be in the film industry, they need it! Being a part of this program saves lots of time and energy when it comes to research and knowledge, if you take heed to the opinions of those who have worked it already, get on the calls, and actually DO the “homework” you are given, you’ll succeed.

Before FIF I had built very valuable connections in photography, since I have been a photographer for ten years. There was a lot of trial and error because even tho I went to school to learn the technicalities, a lot of things are learned in the field. With the FIF program, I’ve learned how to, not only organize, but utilize those connections, a skill I never really had. I have boxes and boxes of business cards I’ve been given at fashion shows(my niche) and other networking opportunities that I now know how to use properly. There are tips on how to find jobs within your local market, which I’m thankful for. Let’s think about it for a second tho, for those who think it is unfair that they have to find their own work; if Janet sat and wrote up job opportunities for every single person in the program, from every city, in both major and minor markets depending on experience, she’d have absolutely no time for her own work! You can’t have things spoon fed to you, it loses its value that way. But what she DOES do is tell you how to FIND those jobs yourself, giving essential tools and tips along the way. Even though I have ample experience as a photographer, I only have two years experience of video, mainly as second shooter or promo videos. The types of things I’d need to know within the film industry are different, and I wouldn’t have been able to get my foot in the door if it weren’t for the program. Currently, I have two video shoots coming up(thanks to tactics I used that I learned thru the program) as well as a few jobs I’m first-call for once the pandemic is over.

The biggest thing is be easy on yourself, really take in what the program can give, if something seems repetitive, it’s most likely because it’s important(although I haven’t run in to the same modules repetitively like mentioned in this post). Actually DO the work and don’t “rest on it” meaning, don’t watch a module then save all the work for last. You have to do it as you go through it for results. Looking forward to what future lessons are in store with the program. May give another review in a few months!

Brian on July 25, 2020:

I have seen friends that were the top of their classes in the best film schools struggle to find a job or make a living in film.

I have been a production assistant before and did not know how to get paid to be a production assistant.

Yes, there is a lot of free opinions on the internet. I could spend several lifetimes trying to figure out what is the right combination of those millions of opinions to get me a good-paying career in film.

So I shelved my plans for a career in film.

It was way too much risk to try it if I had no plan or support for success.

Then I found and joined Friends in Film because Janet has an action plan to get a career in film that could be executed quickly, unlike the 2 years of film school with their debt.

If I had seen job postings, I would not have joined. I did not want my life to be dependent on someone else's whim. I want my own network with my own opportunity that I control because I know that I can focus, work hard, and not give up. I want a career, not just a job. I can get a job somewhere else. I also wanted a career wherever I go. If I want to live somewhere else, I wanted my good-paying career to go wherever I go and my network to continue to support me.

So I studied the program just as hard as a university course. I started connecting dots and seeing opportunity that I could have never seen before - an advantage of having successful alumni and Janet refining her course over years.

From 1 extra job, I was able to get a production assistant job on that same project. From my experience as a production assistant, I was able to get an assistant director job.

And I still am in the studying phase of Friends in Film. I have not been actively looking for jobs. I cannot wait where I go full out on getting gigs 24/7. Can you imagine? :-)

Yes, you need the whole program. The program is built to take you from nothing to the point of getting a career in film, so that you focus on where you are now so that you do not shoot yourself in the foot by rushing ahead.

Is Friends in Film rocket science? No, of course not, but I can tell you this: just because something is simple, it does not mean it is easy.

Can you pay for the program and not take it seriously? Of course! I can see how other people would rush through it and not get anything out of it. But why would you do that? There is no teacher, grades, or final exam in the program. It is just your life. You can do what you like.

Is your time worth something? Do you value it? Are you going to take this seriously? Are you going to commit to studying the program like it is med school or law school? Are you going to do everything that the program recommends you to do and keep doing and learning from you mistakes until you are successful? If you said yes to these questions, then Friends in Film is for you. Because that is what it takes to be the best at anything in life.

Kitty on July 21, 2020:

OP is way to generous with her Review. Took this course recently and got up to Module 3 before dropping out. So just like OP, I cannot comment on what happened after I left. But I had to drop out due to something not feeling quite right to me about this course.

Here are My 3 Reasons Not To Sign Up for Janet Urban's Friends in Film Course.

1) I was massively skeptical about the PA route simply because of one small thing my Film Teacher once said back in the UK . He said, in the Film Industry, its VERY difficult to go from BTL to ATL(going from Below The Line to Above The Line).

If your career plan involves getting paid and being BTL then maybe this is for you. But as an Aspiring Screenwriter, there is no way being a PA will get you there, or anywhere close enough. Janet will tell you otherwise but I got good advice from new friends who are all WGA members who tell me I made the right decision dropping out. Because the path of a screenwriter is VERY different.

Thankfully, instead, I spent my time and money investing in the right Screenwriting Course in NYC and have since found myself in a better position rather than being stuck for years working my hands to the bone as a PA and getting nowhere.

2) The cost of the course is to simply put - ridiculously high! And to spend that much just to hear weekly motivational speeches from Janet is even more ridiculous. I had done a ton of Personal Development work on myself so I don't really need a lot of encouragement, I just wanted to figure out how to "get in" to the Film Industry.

On Yammer, I felt people didn't feel like they could complain. They were always putting a positive spin on anything bad that happened to them, just so they'd fit in. Didn't feel authentic to me at all.

3) Also no matter how much you pay, you NEVER get to keep the course materials, unless you go all the way to the end and pay the entire $8K plus (price keeps getting higher I hear).

When you think that right now, there are currently so many courses to take on Udemy where you pay no where near that kind of ridiculous amount of money yet get to keep all the course material for free. On Janet's course, they kick you out with nothing to show for all that money. What a rip off!

Since moving to America, I am learning to be very discerning with where my money goes. So many people claim to have your best interest at heart and use charming smiles and words that many naive people love to hear. But you've got to toughen up cos in this industry, many people know you have a dream and they will take your money and if you're not careful, they'll also take your dreams along with it.

So No. I do not recommend Friends in Film at all. Especially for those aspiring Talents whose goal is for Above The Line jobs.

T Smith on June 05, 2020:

Hi there,

I began Friends in Film very excited - it all started off well but sadly my mum passed away while I was doing the course. I wrote to Janet to explain what had happened while she did sympathise she suggested that I try to remain on the program even though I had left my job to deal with my mums passing. I needed to lower my membership policy - I was paying for the ‘gold standard’ instead of being empathic and suggesting to take a hiatus from the course she said it would be good for me to stay on. I paid for all 11 modules but then you have to pay for two more months to keep all the modules you’ve already paid for. I couldn’t make the final two payments - bear in mind I had fully paid for the entire course - they took me off the course and blocked me from all the conversation portals. This was really disappointing - I lost my mum but still kept paying for the entire course and still couldn’t keep the modules because of the final two payments. The system may work for some but after this experience I really feel Janet’s main concern is to make money. Even while on the gold standard membership she doesn’t give you the one on one advice your paying for - the emails felts rushed because she’s always busy. And I had a huge issue with her quoting Tony Robbins all the time - a millionaire who expects people to work for him on a voluntary basis. Could have been a good course until I realised the main thing Janet is concerned with is profit over pain.

James on May 01, 2020:


Thank you for publishing this. It is clear, and objective. I found out about the program about two weeks ago, and have been enticed by Janet's charisma and promises of a better life. And I believe that the knowledge she has can be very useful when starting a career in film. It has obviously helped the many former students who back her up and call FIF a "family." But seriously, I think we can all agree the price is too high to be a part of a "family." The current Gold level price is $497 and the Platinum level price is $597. And Janet told us the price will be going up soon.

Luanne on April 03, 2020:

I think you have been to nice over fif and how they treated you it seems like once you hit hardy Ines and can’t keep up your monthly subscriptions they don’t care about you this proves it’s a scam as they just want your money the woman Janet and her organisation fif sounds like a scam I bet major celebrities don’t really know her and I bet they didn’t have to go on this to work there way up

Anonymous Rick on March 16, 2020:

I am so glad I didn't subscribe to Friends and Film after reading this. Thank you for sharing, you don't understand how helpful this was. I did the first two week training and once I got hit with the numbers I turned the other cheek. You're being nice about it, but what I can officially deduce from this , it that her program is more of a scam than not. But the advice you gave to help ppl get in the industry was awesome. I've been PA'n on major sets for almost two years now, however I got my start because a childhood friend of mine was an 2nd 2nd. There's also a program in NYC called Made In NY PA program, that'd be another good place to start.

TakWang Chan on March 12, 2020:

If Janet hands you lemons, she expects you to make Lemonade. She can guide/ not spoonfeed you.

Miyurock on July 18, 2019:

I would like to know if the $497/month for 10 months is a "payment plan" or if you can buy the program a month at a time. Is there a penalty for withdrawing from the program early?

janerock on July 13, 2019:

I guess I’m confused about how you get the very first PA job. Could someone explain it to me? She never really goes over that. She doesn’t give her connections or refer you so how does it work? Are there listings for jobs within the A-List group? Do the more successful A-List students refer newbies? I definitely get how it works once you’ve worked and people get to know you. But how does she help you book that first job? Or how do you do it yourself? on March 30, 2019:

I'm very skeptical of the PA route. Look on IMDb. You don't see people go from PA to major craft fields. I'm also medically limited to a desk job. I can write, edit, direct, but I sure as hell can't be on my feet for 10+ hours a day.

Truth Be Told on March 23, 2019:

I think it’s asking a lot of money for the “mentorship” she’s giving people. A production assistant typically performs any role that’s required to make a production occur.

A fair amount of people entering this business are insecure or seeking validation. She’s using that against them by providing “fluffy feel good material.”

Some of the comments here seem a little suspicious. I don’t think what she’s doing is wrong, but she’s definitely overcharging people.

Luana on January 28, 2019:

I guess she's not making a living out of movies..

hmmm.. I wonder what else could it be :))

Megan Marci. on December 13, 2018:

Hi guys!

I am a part of the A LIST program.

Let me just tell you, I skipped over career on fire and hopped straight into this A LIST program!

If you are looking for film industry advice, how tos, and what to do, this program is it!!!

Janet’s amazingggg!!! I LOVE HER:)

Also, I’m 5 months into this program.

I now have a 95% chance of being accepted into an MTV SHOW.

In February I’m travelling to Montreal for a fashion runway. The designers of GUCCI AND ARMANI will be there. Elle magazine Canada will be there as well!!

I will walk on my first RED CARPET EVER because of Janet.

I made all of this happen through a great connection at a film event. Which is what Janet wants US TO DO ALL THE TIME!

I love this program with all of my heart and everyone in it.

We’re all a family, celebrating everyone’s successes constantly.

Imperatrice on May 29, 2018:

I thought this was a great article and great advice! Really well written and concise. I was on the fence about joining and appreciate your article helping me decide.

On a side note, one of the commentators, Austin, said he would offer advice to anyone. How do we take him up on the offer? I didn't see any point of contact. Any advice on getting a PA job will be greatly appreciated. :)

Jorge on May 05, 2018:

So is janet urban better program than Amy jo Herman program?

Ashley J. on January 11, 2018:

Hey Jessica!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Your write up seemed honest and real. I agree with you that the Friends In Film Program is not for everyone.

I want to share with you my experience with FIF.

Before Friends in Film, I was on the traditional path. I went to college and got my degree in Theatre Arts. I got a traditional 9-5 job working the front desk at a local television station in my hometown. On paper, these things were supposed to lead me to success.

In 2014, I am hired to work at the front desk for a PBS affiliate and I thought my life would change forever. I was promised that I would be able to meet with producers and essentially learn from them while on the job. My boss and I had a great working relationship and encouraged me to learn all that I needed to learn about television while I was there.

Sadly, for undisclosed reasons my first boss (the one who hired me) was fired. Once my new boss came along, everything changed. I was stuck. Everyday since that day, I grew tired and frustrated. After a year of working at the desk, I was done. One day when no one was looking, I looked up Friends in Film and signed up for Career on Fire then joined Friends In Film. I had no clue if the program would work but I knew I was completely DONE with the situation I was in.

When I joined Friends in Film, it was the EXACT answer I was looking for. Janet's methods truly changed my life. Within 6 weeks or so, I got my first production assistant job for a reality tv show. It was $150 a day for two days. I was so excited! It was then I knew I could make money while learning about the film industry.

Because of Janet's methods, I am now considered one of the best PA's in Washington state and come highly recommended. Most importantly, I was able to sign with one of the best talent agencies in WA and live my life as an actress.

I quit my job in April 2016 to work freelance full-time, and now I am acting in Television! I have acted in commercials for companies like Microsoft, Subaru, Tableau Software. My all-time favorite project I've worked on is the national TV show, The Librarians on TNT. Talk about life-changing! I went from making $15.00 an hour at my front desk job, to making $200 a day for PA work, to gaining my first national TV show and making over $2,000.00 for ONE DAY! I feel empowered and ready to take over the world.

In a few weeks, due to the connections I've made as a production assistant, I am moving to Los Angeles to continue my journey. :)

Long story short, I think the program is what you make of it! For me, I took the methods and ran with it. I made the connections I needed to build my acting career!

Now, I am not saying that everyone will have the exact same experience as me, but I do believe the program can help accelerate your career.

Love and power,


AH on January 11, 2018:

Thank you so much for this review!

Ann on January 03, 2018:

Here my experience with FIF program.

I was living in New York about one year after moving from Russia. I was about to move back because nothing was working for me. I came here to work as an actress but everything was like falling apart. I already purchased the ticket to go back to Russia. I was so sure I bought a nonrefundable ticket, but something started to tick in me like I'm doing something wrong. Accidentally I found Career on Fire on Facebook and I decided to try it. I was reading the articles and participating in the calls and it sounded so right for me. It felt right. I figured that I need to give it a chance because I know it's going to work for me. I knew that it would be the door into the industry for actors or whoever you want to be in the industry. I am a theater person and I never been on a film set. So I started following the modules which were saying what to do. I started on student films, and just applying for everything I saw. I was very curious so I was trying all departments and I was just taking any opportunity to work on set and little by little I started to do some paid gigs.

Once I got a recommendation from the Costume Dept person on a tv show. They hired me to do paid work, but I haven't gotten my work permit yet, so I did it for free. Once I had my permit, I followed up with her. She referred me to the Costume department of Hugh Jackman's "The Greatest Showman". So now after one year and a half I am doing major motion pictures of Spielberg's The Post, Hugh Jackman's movies, Scorsese’s “The Irishman”, movies working with Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. It is so exciting the world I am working in now.

My income is around $3000 per month and I have time to work on my craft! Day rate depends on hours and project, from $160(which is very rare) to $200ish. It is so exciting the world I am working in now. Building a career based on FIF program after a while becomes part of your attitude and behavior. Most of what I have now, I have because of the program! Because of the program I see new opportunities that I couldn't see before. I meet people that I couldn't meet before. It's giving to my life new successful chances to get closer and closer to my dream. I'm already on the way to my dream but these path is going to be exciting and I'll enjoy each step of it.

T on December 15, 2017:

May I please ask you some questions privately? Nothing to do with this topic.... Please email me

T on November 12, 2017:

If what Janet offers is the real deal then that's absolutely amazing! Since I was a kid I dreamed of being part of the industry. If not starring in films or shows, then behind the scenes helping to make it happen.

But when you have people who aren't as fortunate as you, who are so financially restricted that they have to keep a calculator out just to grocery shop or are selling things all around their house just for gas money, how can you reasonably expect them to raise an extra $400-$500 a month(that's the price now) and then make them think they've failed because they can't.

If that's roughly what she swears they'll earn in a week or two's worth of work then couldn't there be a system where can find this out for awhile first, and THEN continue the rest of her system? Like showing us it actually works but starting us going after the non paying gigs to make our connections and relationships. I know this is all done in what little free time she probably has so I understand, of course she wants something for it.

But it really truly hurts deep down that I found this amazing system and the choice for my dream life is literally being dangled right in my face, but because I can't raise an additional car payment to pay her for secret advice, it just gets snatched right away again. I mean I'm planning on trying to raise it, but the deadline is gonna end the day before my birthday, literally. And if I can't pay, I get to feel like a failure, be depressed and think myself truly worthless.

I LOVE her energy and her spirit, LOVE her, but she flashes us with being just a step or two away from our dream lives, like she's already living, and because we can't afford to give her a second income, we lose out on ours.

I have ALWAYS felt as if I belonged in that world, one way or another, and know if I could just find my chance, I wouldn't disappoint. Some may think I'm being too dramatic about this but I think the cost is just too steep if she says she's trying to help people. As soon as I saw that price with the deadline, it took all I had to hold back the fear and tears while I was still on a live chat with her. I knew right then that my chances just plummeted so far from where they were before.

LG on November 11, 2017:

Thanks for the article. I did the first live call. I understand her approach and building up low self-esteem but I would be annoyed if I paid $400 a month watching someone dance for 5 minutes and telling me to close my eyes for 10 minutes as if I was in a yoga class.

Amanda on August 14, 2017:

Hi Jessica. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am currently in the"Career on Fire" training and I'm thinking of continuing. I had a few questions. How did you go about actually getting your first gig? What was the process like after you paid for the program? You mentioned that Janet only serves as a guide, she will help with resume, etc. But does she give you people to contact to get these jobs? Also, where were the gigs located? Did you have to stay at hotels? Did you have a current job before starting the program?

Working in the film industry is what I want to do for the rest of my life so I am seriously considering this. My parents aren't the most understanding people so I don't want to convince them and then have this not work out the way I hoped. I know everyone's experience is different, but I am willing to stick it out and work hard. Thank you!

AnnaClair on August 13, 2017:

@ Austin -

yes I have a couple of questions if you'd be willing to indulge me?

I can provide email for pm.

KGrant on August 09, 2017:

So is Yammer a good idea without FIF also? Is this something the film industry sticks to or just the business of FIF?

Lauren Barker on August 05, 2017:


When I started this program, I had some of the concerns that others have discussed in their comments. I was unsure I needed it because I thought I could find jobs online and figure it all out for myself. But I soon realized that job postings are often not how you get work in the film industry, even if they help you sometimes.

I decided to go for it because I was really tired of my day job in retail and wanted to work toward my dream. I had tried connecting with local commercial producers before and it didn't work out. I never got called for work.

Janets methods helped me find the hidden jobs that I'd never see through postings, ( which is the majority of the work I have now and it's entirely word of mouth in markets like LA). It showed me how to come across well so I got the job over others, build a resume that got me hired, showed me how to follow up so I get the next call, basically become in demand!

If I didn't do this program I would not be where I am today, I'd probably be doing another day job because I wouldn’t have learned how to build the consistency and connections.

Here is a youtube video I made about my experience.

From doing the program, I’ve made strong connections with people in the industry here in Wisconsin.

In mid-April, I got a job on a reality series, and right after that I volunteered on a short film, then one of my connections hired me for a commercial and introduced me to someone else, and then I got hired on another reality show, which took me into May. My jobs continued to come in via recommendations from other PA's or my connections.

Now I'm working consistently and paying my bills entirely from my freelance work.

Janet's program helped me to realize why I wasn’t getting the work before. It wasn’t because there wasn’t work out there or that it was hard to get in. I just wasn't saying the right things, I was acting like I knew it all because I had written and directed a short film and gone to film school. I was sabotaging myself and didn’t even know it.

Janet teaches the best way to approach people and talk about your experience and aspirations in the film industry while also being helpful to producers by being an effective PA and standing out from the crowd. Lots of people can get hired once as PA's; not everyone will get hired again and again. This program will show you how to do that, how to build a career in film no matter where you live at the moment, and how to make your goals a reality.

As others have mentioned, this program isn't for everyone. I'm glad you shared your experience, Jessica, and you were honest and fair in your analysis. But of course, it is limited to your own short experience and perspective of this program.

It takes a lot of work to get into and consistently work in this industry. A lot of people think it will be handed to them at some point. It won't. You have to work at it. Janet will teach you how, but you have to put in the work. If you're willing to do that, FIF is for you and it will be worth every penny. You will have friends and mentors for life and you will have the career that you want.

Lauren B on July 20, 2017:

I joined the FIF program back in November, and I started getting on jobs early on. I was skeptical at first and thought about quitting because I thought I could find jobs online and figure it all out for myself. But I soon realized that job postings are often not how you get work in the film industry, even if they help you sometimes.

I stuck with the program, and worked on making and fostering strong connections with people in the industry here in Wisconsin. In mid-April, I got a job on a reality series, and right after that I volunteered on a short film, then one of my connections hired me for a commercial and introduced me to someone else, and then I got hired on another reality show, which took me into May. My jobs continued to come in via recommendations from other PA's or my connections. Now I'm working consistently and paying my bills entirely from my freelance work.

I'm experienced and people who know me or meet me can see that I'm a strong PA on their sets. On my last job, I got offered work as a craft services assistant and the assistant director asked me if I was interested in working as a grip. So those are both opportunities to move up and make more money in the industry.

When I started this program, I had similar hesitations that many others have discussed in their comments. But I decided to go for it because I want to write and direct my own films, and when I found FIF I was really tired of my day job in retail and wanted to work toward my dream. I had tried connecting with local commercial producers before and it didn't work out. I never got called for work.

Janet's program helped me to realize why. I wasn't saying the right things, I was acting like I knew it all because I had written and directed a short film and gone to film school. Janet teaches the best way to approach people and talk about your experience and aspirations in the film industry while also being helpful to producers by being an effective PA and standing out from the crowd. Lots of people can get hired once as PA's; not everyone will get hired again and again. This program will show you how to do that, how to build a career in film no matter where you live at the moment, and how to make your goals a reality.

As others have mentioned, this program isn't for everyone. I'm glad you shared your experience, Jessica, and you were honest and fair in your analysis. But of course, it is limited to your own short experience and perspective of the program.

It takes a lot of work to get into and consistently work in this industry. A lot of people think it will be handed to them at some point. It won't. You have to work at it. Janet will teach you how, but you have to put in the work. If you're willing to do that, FIF is for you and it will be worth every penny. You will have friends and mentors for life and you will have the career that you want.

Honee on July 07, 2017:

Jessica- thank you so much for this very honest, informative, and insightful post. Before I sign up for something especially at this cost- I like to read reviews and weigh all of my options. Thankfully I came across your post which has been thoroughly helpful in making my decision.

I sincerely appreciate this and your pics and vids from on set as well. Kudos to you- you are definitely doing your thing. Best wishes to you in all your future endeavors.

Jeremy Pinsly on July 01, 2017:

When I started this program about 6 months ago, I was unsure exactly where I was supposed to go with my career. I had been doing stand-up comedy in NYC for 5 years, felt confident in my abilities, but had no clue how to break my most recent plateau. Then Janet came into my life, and boom, I started thinking positively, taking action, and moving the needle forward. Her program has no magical claims of turning you into a "celebrity" with a simple instruction manual. Instead, she gives you someone in your corner with real industry/life expertise. Someone to keep you focused on moving forward rather than crying about how hard it is to make your dreams come true. I still have a long way to get to my first HBO special, but within just 6 months of the program, I booked my own headlining tour that has stopped in cities such as Dallas, Nashville, Austin, Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia, I booked a brand partnership with Jack Links Beef Jerky (I'll be filming content for them and they will be sponsoring an annual festival I will be running in Colorado), and most excitingly, I just got a manager who is working like crazy to help me book as much acting, writing and hosting work as she possibly can. And the best part about my manager is she is positive, hard working, trust worthy and generous...just like Janet! Janet's program helps you gain the confidence and industry insights you need to tackle the entertainment world like a boss. If you can afford it and are serious about becoming a true professional, stop wasting your time and sign up!!!

Jeremy Pinsly on June 27, 2017:

When I started this program about 6 months ago, I was unsure exactly where I was supposed to go with my career. I had been doing stand-up comedy in NYC for 5 years, felt confident in my abilities, but had no clue how to break my most recent plateau. Then Janet came into my life, and boom, I started thinking positively, taking action, and moving the needle forward. Her program has no magical claims of turning you into a "celebrity" with a simple instruction manual. Instead, she gives you someone in your corner with real industry/life expertise. Someone to keep you focused on moving forward rather than crying about how hard it is to make your dreams come true. Janet's program helps you gain the confidence and industry insights you need to tackle the entertainment world like a boss. If you can afford it and are serious about becoming a true professional, stop wasting your time and sign up!!!

Jake Tremblay on June 25, 2017:

I'd also like to add that I meet lots of people on set who want to move up, to do bigger things, or different on-set roles (dreaming of becoming an actor, wanting to direct or produce a passion project, etc.) but they don't have the right mindset. Janet's training has allowed me to see that in the blink of an eye.

I meet other people on set, who may not have done the Friends in Film training, but they have a successful, positive mindset, an outstanding work ethic, and they want to continue learning and growing. These people are the ones that I want to work with. I will call them for jobs that I know they'll do well on, and try to keep them working so they are around to build a friendship and work relationship with!

And people who have done the FIF training are at the top of my list. Any time I run into someone on set who has done the program, we recognize each other immediately, hug, dance and send a selfie to Janet and the group, and know that it's going to be a great day! We're family, and we have each others backs. We also refer gigs across the country because we know people will not let us down and will make the productions go even better than they could have! I've coordinated vendors for gigs in Atlanta while I'm in LA because I have people in that market who I know can point me in the right direction for the best supplies and services.

This knowledge has made me very valuable to producers and department heads (I work in Art Department and Wardrobe mostly) and I am turning down gigs every week because my schedule is too full. I have maybe one or two days off a week, and sometimes I'll go a month or more without having a day off.

A couple of weekends ago I got paid $900 per day (for 4 days) as a Propmaster on a photo shoot. This past week I was doing day rates of $250 (plus overtime) as a Wardrobe PA. Last week it was $300 per day as a Toy Tech.

I am able to jump around, coordinate my schedule to accommodate different shoots, and keep track of all my different responsibilities because of skills Janet taught me. I have conversations with powerful people and am honest, friendly, and almost always get called back for the next gig because I make such a great impression.

It's a very different feeling from slogging to auditions, working full-time at a call center, and feeling like I wasn't contributing to any great good for society. That's where I was at before I took the Into the Industry training, and the contrast before and after is mind-blowing. I have worked on so many big commercials this year (and I know that if you have watched any TV in the past year, you saw at least one of the ones I worked on!), and in between get to work with the coolest musicians, actors, and creative people I have ever met. And I can guarantee I would not be here now without Janet's mentoring.

A bunch of us FIF members who are in LA got together with Janet last weekend for wine and pizza and it was the nicest, most relaxing time I've had in months. We shared stories, hugged, and took pictures. It was good to see old friends, reminisce about sets we've worked on together, and hear about the cool things everyone is getting to experience! The last time I had seen Janet was my birthday in October, when she and the group surprised me with a chocolate cake and candles :) We're all so busy that six months is how long we go between getting together, and we're all in the same city!

If you're not sure about Janet's program, or the film industry in general, then I highly suggest taking her free Career on Fire training. Even if you don't end up joining the paid mentorship program, she offers great techniques that can apply to any aspect of life in the free training, and you will have a good idea if you have the personal motivation and passion to make a career in film work.

Jake Tremblay on June 24, 2017:

Hi Jessica! Thanks for this review of your experience, and I love seeing the pictures and videos from set :)

You're right when you say this program isn't for everyone. I will add that the film industry itself is not for everyone. It is a lot of hard work, very long hours (I was working 20 hour days this week for a top commercial, making major money, having the best food, working with top names, but STILL 20 hour days are VERY hard), and a lot of self-motivation and personal will power.

I started Janet's Into the Industry program (the 8-month paid mentoring program that you access after the free Career on Fire training) in March of 2015. By May I was an in-demand PA (Production Assistant for those who don't know) throughout northern New England. I was on shoots every weekend, while working a full-time job, and my resume was full after three months. I wasn't making money yet, but I had also only been working for 3 months.

In August 2015, I moved to Los Angeles because that is where the big jobs are and I wanted to make film-making a full-time career. I was a little over halfway through the program, and continued to use it after moving in order to incorporate the advanced training in the later modules. These are the beefy parts about really establishing relationships with people who can move you up, how to find the companies that you want to work with, and how to expand your network enough to keep gigs coming in.

A lot of people don't understand that the film world is purely freelance. None of it is certain. Major shows get picked up, and then cancelled the next week. Janet's program teaches you how to handle that uncertainty, and even embrace it. It teaches you specific ways to enhance your chances for success.

It definitely will not guarantee success. Only you can do that, and yes, it will take years of hard work, tired nights, and difficult people. You will not be happy all the time, and it will take massive amounts of willpower to get through some projects. You are not guaranteed to be paid well, and you will have to negotiate each gig, and sometimes follow up to get your check. It is not EASY.

But if you really want to get into the film industry, and have a toolbag of tricks that will propel you to the top of the food chain as well as a vibrant community across the country to support you, then definitely join this program. Just like Jessica, you will know within the first couple of months if the film industry is something you are cut out for.

And I love the enthusiasm I see coming from all the aspiring actors and actresses, but I will personally share that I prefer to be behind the camera at this point. Acting like it's winter with big coats, boots, mittens, etc. in 110 degree weather in the middle of July is not fun. Neither is acting like it's the middle of summer and you're enjoying your dip in the pool (for ten takes because they can't get the right focus) when it's below freezing. The crew gets to dress comfortably in all of these situations :)

Valerie on June 24, 2017:

Magic list, get on shoots method, the way we do our resumes, The boomerang method, all these methods give us a huge advantage so we get the jobs quickly in a word of mouth Industry. It's all who you know, that's the major mystery when you start and this program shows you how to get in and work.

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on June 24, 2017:

@Priyal, I have to agree with you that those who have no background experience whatsoever in the film industry would probably benefit the most from this program. It's like a crash course on the ins and outs of the film industry. Also, I can't agree with you more that the film industry is such an unpredictable industry, which is why I found Janet's program so interesting because it takes a unique approach towards something that's so unpredictable and difficult to get in anyway. Thanks for your comment!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on June 24, 2017:

@Lats, I'm glad you found this article helpful and thanks for your kind words! I really appreciate it. I wish you the best with your career as well :)

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on June 24, 2017:

@Valerie, thanks for sharing your experience and insight as well as what the program has done for you. Also, thanks for sharing that you're welcome to questions. I hope others use this thread to ask you more questions so that they can get a better idea of what the full program can do for you, since I only completed a portion of the program. Again, thanks for posting!

Valerie on June 24, 2017:

The program guides you from the beginning, when you're just figuring out how to get into the industry, it helps answer questions you may have along the way. It gives new ideas and has a huge community of others who will give their support!

Valerie on June 24, 2017:

If you truly want to persue the industry, this is the best guide to have, yea, you can find some stuff on the internet, but most of it you are not going to think to look for! Also it's huge society of go-getters who share their experience and support each other! If you are looking for "MAGIC" to get your goal it's definitely not for you! But if you ready to work your ass off to get where you want to be, this program is right thing for you!

Valerie on June 24, 2017:

I wrote much more, but it got erased somehow!

So I started in NYC area, from that moment I've done few major motion pictures, tv shows. I work full time in the industry, make money and get opportunities! My income increased from 1200$ to 2500$ - 3000$ per month.

Welcome to any other questions!:)

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on June 24, 2017:

@Aundrea, very welcome!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on June 24, 2017:

@Valerie, awesome! Can u share your experience with the program with us and tell us a little about what the program helped you to accomplish?

Valerie on June 24, 2017:

Hi everyone,

I'm the person who have done the program. I started in april 2016, didn't know much about the industry, was doing theater acting, some waiting tables, of course!

lats on June 23, 2017:

ahhh Thank you I needed this! I actually took the free courses and just a few hours ago signed up. I think I will do the refund. Only bc Ive had similar feelings as well (grateful for the wisdom and insight but able to find similar things online). I really appreciate how positive you were with your experience and didn't bash on Janet or the program while still able to share your standpoint from a very transparent view. I wish you the best of luck! Anyone with your attitude is bound to progress.

Leanna on May 11, 2017:

Since you did only two months of the program, did you only pay two payments of $349? Or did you have to continue paying for the full 8 months?

Does she make it easy to withdrawal access if you decide it's not for you after so many months? What's that look like, do you just stop the payments?

Kamaria Simmons on May 08, 2017:

Thank you for this article. It helped ease my inability to do the paid program.

I am actually doing the free portion now. I was super duoer excited to hop on the train for the paid portion. Unfortunately, I cannot afford it. I am sad. However, I'll take my free nuggets of info and apply it to my life. I apprecaite the stuff she has said so far, but I cannot pay.

Question for you: What was your journey as for looking up PA jobs? Was it difficult?

Dani on May 04, 2017:

Thank you for the insightful write-up. It helped me decide that I'm not in a place to pay the kind of money that's required for this program. I think I initially signed up when you did, but I couldn't keep up with the free course because of the security job I was working. Even if it cost what it cost in 2016, I don't have the resources to continue(I just recently re-uped hoping I could make it through this time).

Thank you again for such an insightful and honest write-up. If I could get some background work I would be happy though. Lol. I only have student films and small local plays on my resume.

Priyal on April 20, 2017:

Thanks for your honest feedback. I haven't done the paid course but I was contemplating it. It sounds about right that she deficit has some great ideas. Moreover, I think the film industry is such and so very unpredictable. I think a few months in her course should be good for. People with no background or education in the film industry.

Andrea on April 18, 2017:

Thanks for this article.

Leo on April 18, 2017:

@austin I'd like to speak with you about the information you acquired. What's the best way to contact you? I'm on Facebook listed as Leonard Richardson. My profile pick is me sitting with skinny deville from the nappy roots. Under my name it lists me as fluid productions

Yes on April 16, 2017:

Thank you girl!

Whitney on April 11, 2017:

I'm currently in the training portion and have been considering going on, but I have been fairly skeptical of her uses after the program. I studied film in LA for four months, and most of what she has taught isn't exactly new. I think she has some good points and has taught some new things, but I feel like my school which is a built in network out there kind of told us the majority of this already. I feel like the program may benefit people across the nation more than it'll benefit anyone who went to school in LA for it. I could always be wrong tho

PhillipsLanceD on April 09, 2017:

@Austin. I would like any information you would be willing to provide in regards to the filming industry if the offer is still available.

Heather Friedman on April 05, 2017:

It sounds like to me a person who has accomplished herself in the business is now just trying to make money off other people's struggles. And ask an extreme amount at that for toughs who truly cant affords it but are more serious to make it in the business than ever.

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on March 29, 2017:

@Aliyma, thanks for sharing your experience! The hotspots in NC are Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh, and Asheville. Always check the NC film commission website to see the current productions that are filming. Also, go on facebook and follow Kimmie- Stewart Casting, Tona B. Dahlquist Casting, and Marinella Hume Charlotte Casting to find extra and featured extra work in the NC area. Subscribe to The Southern Casting Call, which is a free site that posts a variety of crew and casting calls in the Southern states. And finally, I think all serious actors should have an Actor's Access profile. It opens you to acting opportunities (like lead roles and top-dollar commercials) that you couldn't find on free sites. Hopefully we will be in a production together. I'm a big dreamer too!!!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on March 29, 2017:

Hi Loria, thanks for your comment. Yes, I know first-hand how difficult it can be trying to make it in the film industry with multiple children and tight funds. PA stands for production assistant. If you've ever been on set, they're the ones who herd the extras around, pass out waters and yell out, "Quiet on set," once the cameras start rolling. I would suggest taking acting classes because not only will it help build your skill set, but it looks good on a resume. I would also submit yourself as an extra on a professional set just to get a feel for how the industry works. You can find extra work by looking up the current productions shooting in your area (state film commission website) and you can submit yourself for background roles that your race/age/type fits. The same is true for your daughter. If she's interested in theater, I would even enroll her in summer theater programs because a lot of what you learn in theater can be tailored for acting in film. Once you get some type of resume established, I would find an agent. But be careful with agencies because a lot of these places will sign on anybody and suck your pockets dry, so research them carefully. Hope this helps and good luck with everything!

Loria Culver on March 29, 2017:

I live in Atlanta GA and read your post but like me 6 kids money is tide up. What I wanted to see if you can help guide me where to start or began. I know you said PA work but I don't know what that stands for? My 11 year old daughter wants to act as well. Will you help us thank you and you are a author.

Aliyma on February 13, 2017:

I'm currently in the FIF program and I have already realized on my own that a lot of the training is repetitive. I love that she is teaching confidence and to believe in ourselves because thats my biggest problem. But now that you have cleared up things she doesn't do I'm sure I won't be doing the mentor program. I have taken everything she has said and realized my problem and that's that I'm just not quite sure about where to find these professionals in the first place. I recently moved to North Carolina in September of last year and I'm still trying to figure out where the hotspots are. I've contacted theaters so that I can volunteer and possibly meet some experienced folks but I haven't heard back yet. I watched a video of hers where she said she would let us know where to find these professionals in our areas but I guess that won't be happening. Thanks for this and your honesty, I wish you the best on your endeavors. Hopefully one day we can be in a big production together lol, yes I'm a big dreamer!!! :D

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on January 29, 2017:

Austin, thanks for your comment and thanks for sharing your experience. Just to add to what you've said, if anyone hasn't done any extra work or PA work on your own on a professional set, I would greatly recommend you to start there first. It's excellent industry experience, and it helps you to see how being on set really operates--it's amazing learning how the set moves and breathes like a living organism. Also, you don't need Friends in Film or an agent to start doing extra work on a professional set. Casting directors are always posting on Facebook for certain looks and you can submit yourself with a pic from your phone (which they prefer, no duck lips, ladies!). Also, look up your state film commission and you can find out which productions are currently filming in your state. Look the production up on IMDB, find the casting director that they're using, and then look the casting director up on Facebook. When they send out a casting call for your look, submit, submit, submit until you get booked. Plus that way, you can work 12-15 hours on set and decide if that's something you really want to commit to in the film industry. Sometimes, those hours can be brutal.

Austin on January 27, 2017:

Austin from the previous comment. I don't want to sound like too much of a downer. If you stick through the program, you'll probably enjoy it and I'm sure you'll learn a lot of small things you didn't think about.

In summary, I just don't think there's anything in the program you won't take away from getting on set and learning on your own. Much like film school, it's a crutch, but it's not necessary. In my opinion anyway.

As another note, I looked through think the links Janet posted in her comment. Some of the successes on there were friends of mine - we started fif together. I'm glad they're doing well but it seems like we're in similar places in the industry at the moment regardless of the time we did or didn't spend in the fif programme. Take it for what you will.

Austin on January 27, 2017:

Fortunately, I did this back in 2014/2015 so my gold package was less than $300/month I believe. I also left.

At the time, I was in your position. I was doing extra work for Nat geo and other stuff on CN but wanted to act full time. I joined the program, and Im honestly surprised I stuck with it for the paid portion.

There's plenty of useful things to access but quite frankly, anything she says is easily accessible online as well and her modules are mostly fluff pieces.

Another commenter hit it perfectly. She's just supplementing her income. She seemed incredibly fake throughout the whole process and even when she would respond to emails, she wouldnt be a tremendous help. If you're gold or higher, and you try to leave, she will definitely try to persuade you to stick around.

Funny enough, her limited time free trials occur probably once a month. Every month I'd see a new flock of students growing and yammer getting further flooded.

The industry has dry spells, for PAs and camera, it slows down in the winter it seems. But pilot season kicks in around now so it's great for acting. If you manage to be a regular on talk shows, you can swing those through the slower winter months on the production side.

I wouldn't say it's worth it. I'd also avoid her programme, but if anyone wants help breaking in, I'd be happy to offer up my own free advice to them. It's up to them if they want to act on that information but it's there.

Anyway, I enjoyed your review, I hope things have gotten easier at home and you're doing what you love. Cheers

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on January 16, 2017:

@JanetUrban, Hi Janet!!! I'm so glad you posted to this article. Thanks for your kind words :) . Also, you make a very valid point. I did not finish the program. I stopped about 3 months in, so I have a limited perspective of the program, and that's something potential mentorees should definitely take into account when deciding to join the program or not. Also, thanks for sharing those links, which are great resources as well. You commenting on this article is giving readers another perspective, which I love! When making any informed decision, it's important to fully educate yourself so that you can decide what's best for you. Thanks for your comment.

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on January 16, 2017:

@JoyCooper, thanks for your kind words! Glad you find the article helpful. Also, I'm moving away form theater now to focus solely on film, so I'm not in any plays as of now. But I still appreciate your support!

Janet Urban on January 16, 2017:

Hello Jessica Barrow! You are a phenomenal writer Jessica Barrow! Overall, I think you did a really good job on this analysis. ;-)

Since you quit early, you didn't get into the meat of the program. Maybe come back and do this thing to a T?! Confidence building is only 5% of it, which is very important too, of course. Like you can't have conversations with Producers that get you anywhere unless you have the goods, through set experience and internal confidence.

It's the methods that I used and put together for the last 20 years, that gets us work (the advantage). If you want to take up where you left off, you are welcome! ;-) You got in at a good price. It's higher now because we are getting our people into the industry for a few thousand and film schools are $100,000 (and debt for 20 years) and do not get people into the business working.

Have you seen these pages lately?

Yes, this program is my life's mission and how I spend all my time when I'm not on set. ;-)

I love these pics of you on set, it's super cool to see you doing your thing! Shoot me an email sometime! ;-)

Joy Cooper on January 11, 2017:

This is an amazing article Jessica! My family is from North Carolina. It's a small town called Wadesboro, so small that just as you described, you have to give the neighboring big city for people to know where it is; for us it Charlotte lol. I am currently in San Diego California and had recently come across Janet's program on Facebook.

I had a few questions but you answered them completely, thank you. You are a phenomenal writer and I would like to check out your books. You are a very authentic, fun, life-loving, inspiring person which I really appreciate, and whenever I'm visiting family I would love to come check out one of your plays. Good luck to you and your family and all of your endeavors!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on January 06, 2017:

Thanks Natalia! I'm glad you found it helpful, and I appreciate your kind words. I hope one day I will get to mentor people in the acting industry. That would be awesome!

Natalia on January 05, 2017:

Wow thank you so much, you could mentor people yourself !

That answered all the questions I had!


Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on December 19, 2016:

WriterJackson, thanks for sharing your insight! This is great information for everyone considering joining because it helps you to make a well-informed decision. Thanks for commenting!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on December 19, 2016:

Glad you found it helpful, and thank you for your well-wishes. Same to you!

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on December 19, 2016:

Glad you found it helpful! Very welcome :)

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on December 19, 2016:

Glad you found it helpful! Very welcome :)

WriterJackson on December 18, 2016:

saw the Facebook ads myself and had my friend who is an in demand director check it out. He told me to avoid her like the plague and I quote "no one should have to pay a dime to learn this industry". I did her free program anyway just to see what she was offering and learned pretty quickly through her dancing video conferences and constant name dropping and hinting that the information would be little if any at all. She's supplementing her income, simple as that. And the fact that they just dropped you like dead weight says a lot. Keep your money guys.

Elizabeth H. on December 15, 2016:

Thank you for your super informative and well-written article, so helpful! Good luck with your career, I wish you the best!

Amber Uriel on December 08, 2016:

This was very helpful, thank you for this article.

Ashlee on November 30, 2016:

Great article! Very helpful, thank you :)

Christine Joy on November 18, 2016:

Thank you!