12 Know your Union
Even after you have the portfolio ready, after you know you have the workflow down, many artists still have trouble getting their first gig. If we're talking big productions, getting that first job might be tough, and I recommend approaching either a VFX company or looking for smaller, independent films. If you're hoping to work on big-budget films in the US, specifically in Los Angeles, then there's a film guild/union (IATSE Local 800) that you're required to join before you can work on any major motion picture. There are several ways of gaining admittance: you can get accepted through working a full 30 days on a union project, then submitting an application; a production designer can also sponsor you if they want you on a production; and there's a grandfather clause stipulating that if a show you're working on gets unionised,you can apply for union membership during the transition. That said, it's still hard to get in the guild, and many companies will keep workers on for 29 days, and not sponsor them at all. In the end, being part of the Local 800 union is a huge help to artists working within it, guaranteeing great rates, and providing healthcare.
Even after you have your portfolio ready, many artists still have trouble getting their first gig