When you are starting out you often have to build your portfolio from scratch; creating own ‘spec’ adverts or short films and doing plenty of gigs for free or as favours for friends.
Getting exposure, prizes and paid work
To me, a logical way to build your portfolio is to enter as many film competitions as you can. Not only might you win something, but you’ll gain exposure and see how your work stands up against the competition. It will also mean you have to network, reach out to collaborators and actually get some stuff done, to a brief and for a deadline.