Finding work can be daunting when you are first starting out. We have some tips & tricks to help from CV writing to industry specific networking events, you can even check out the other courses to pool ideas.
The most common route into the industry is via a runner role. Many employers will only recruit candidates who are willing to start as runners and work their way up. Senior roles such as producer, director or production manager all require experience at junior levels first. While you may aspire to a career in this area, do not make the mistake of asking for senior roles in the early stages of your career. Show energy and ambition but also demonstrate that you know how the industry works.
Useful advice in this podcast from the BBC with a panel of recruiters.
Entry as a runner can be in studio set-ups, production offices or on location. The right attitude is critical to secure and move on from runner roles. As connections are so key in this Industry make sure you join Linkedin groups and follow companies on Twitter for last minute runner positions that are advertised.
Camera and sound students are more likely to enter as camera or sound assistants.
Finding running work
Hours can be long and the workload mundane so make sure you target companies you really want to work for to give you the best chance to make a good impression. Write a convincing cover letter mentioning specifics about the work they have produced that you particularly like, and make sure your CV backs up what you say about your interest and skills.
The Knowledge online (or book version) also has a comprehensive list of production companies with contact details. Much of the work is not advertised so you need to be very proactive. Once you know who you want to work for get emailing and calling to introduce yourself along with your CV. Find out who you need to contact rather than address letters or emails ‘ Dear Sir/Madam’.
For production office runners the person to contact will generally be the production manager, in pre-production / development the main contact is usually the office manager or coordinator. Whichever company you approach, make sure you know the size of the company so you are not inappropriately addressing letters to the ‘Head of HR’ in very small companies.
Production companies will receive hundreds of unsolicited CVs so you will have to be politely persistent and follow up with a phone call after a couple of weeks. If you haven't heard from a company after 6 months you can always re-send your CV.
The Career and Industry Liaison team at Ravensbourne advertise a constant supply of openings so do check out those vacancies first also why not sign up to the Ravensbourne Agency. Some of the larger production houses advertise runner roles which can often lead to longer stints as a runner or in other roles: check their sites regularly. For example, Tiger Aspect run a 9 month placement scheme. Others such as Talkback, Working Title, Vertigo Films, Channel 4, BBC, ITV all have similar schemes on their websites.
Princess Productions have a graduate scheme.
Finding camera & lighting roles
See the tips on running roles above but also bear in mind that camera people may take a different route in.
In film, you could start as camera assistant and progress to clapper loader, then focus puller and camera operator (and eventually director of photography, with extensive experience). In TV, you could progress from camera assistant to camera operator and camera supervisor.
Camera assisting roles will be a great way to gain experience. The challenge with this entry route is building sufficient contacts with freelancers. ‘Staff ‘ roles as assistants do exist in studios or bigger companies but the usual route is to set up a role with an established freelancer in your subject discipline. Network and get to know freelancers you can assist. ‘Running’ can help build contacts but also look out for conferences and events at Ravensbourne where you can gain experience and network. Equipment hire companies such as Arri, Procam, VMI and Grip Hire are great places to build contacts as well so a short stint helping out there could build invaluable contacts.
The Knowledge online will be useful for research as is the Ravensbourne Agency and the Career and Industry Liaison team.
Finding work in operation roles
Unusually, these jobs are often staff jobs and will be advertised on company websites, through recruitment agencies or via the Career and Industry Liaison team at Ravensbourne.
Not hearing back from any applications?
Getting a job in the media can feel like a long series of 'no's' or silences followed by a single 'yes' but you only need the one 'yes'. This is an industry where you must learn how to cope with rejection and not to take it personally. Do revisit your CV and covering letter with someone from the Career and Industry Liaison team if this is happening to you, sometimes a small tweaks can make all the difference.