Skills in TV
Jobs in TV
The TV sector has a lot of production roles involved, with many of the bigger budget dramas having crew similar to a feature film, including multiple camera operators and sound recordists, while other programs such as live news broadcasts will need their own special crew trained for live TV work.
The industry is huge, and has proven to be a vital part of the economy in the last 10 years with exceptional growth. Because of this, there are a lot of roles outside of the traditional on-set roles that would be worth considering. There are a slew of roles based in production offices or editing houses, such as Production Assistant or Editor, for all types of personalities, meaning that you don’t need to be a creative or even a technological type to find a job within the TV industry.
Getting Into TV
When preparing to enter the TV industry, it’s vital to get an idea for which specific part of it you want to enter. There’s a lot of individual roles, but knowing if you want to work with Editing or Sound, for example, will help you nurture the correct skills in working towards that.
The industry is also very competitive, so even when you’ve found the niche you want to work in you’ll need to find the key ways in which you stand out from other applicants. While holding a degree isn’t necessary to work in the TV industry, it is one of the ways you can easily show you have knowledge and training in your field despite not having much experience.
A major decision for any creative is whether to take their work freelance or not. Freelancing typically pays more and allows more freedom with your time, but doesn’t offer the stability that traditional employment offers. There’s also other work place perks, such as pension plans, that freelancers will miss. However, many creatives find it a more desirable way to work.
Going Freelance in TV is typically for production-based technical roles, while those looking for salaried positions will find more producer-based or administrative positions open to them.
If you’re interested in reading more about going freelance, consult our Freelance Toolkit.
Get Your CV Right
A recruiter might read hundreds of applications, so when applying you’ll need to make sure your CV is as close to perfect as possible. We have a great guide for writing a CV, but for TV specifically you’ll want to lead with your key achievements in the field of Television and Broadcasting. Whether this is something as small as experience with multi-camera sets from a College project, or work on a complex industry shoot, it’s important to outline immediately what you want the employer to know.
Getting a job on a TV set can be difficult, and it’s definitely worth going the extra distance to ensure you get one. Whether this is rubbing shoulders at an industry event, showing off your personal projects on Twitter or simply making sure you’re listed on every industry website – you will need to be dedicated to find those opportunities and push for them.
Working in TV
While most associate shows with the big channel names, most TV programming is actually produced by independent production companies. Finding out which companies make what will be important when looking for work. Both broadcasters and independent companies work slightly differently from one another, and knowing the main differences will make finding and securing a position that much easier.
Independent companies, for example, have to be more comfortable with pitching ideas to the big channel broadcasters. Conversely, the broadcasters have to be more acutely aware of their own audience and their watching habits, to know what shows to commission.
When working on set, it’s necessary to know the proper etiquette. If your role has a direct superior, then all queries and problems should be reported to them rather than anyone further up the chain of command. For example, a Clapper Loader should never go to a Director of Photography with a question, as the Assistant Camera is their direct superior. It’s also expected that everyone remains polite and courteous, even during highly stressful situations.
The TV industry is one of the quickest evolving sectors, especially when it comes to technology. Keeping up to date with the new, cutting-edge hardware and software will help to keep you employable. Staying in the know can be easily achieved by attending industry workshops and seminars, and following industry blogs and websites.
No matter what industry you’re working in, it’s always wise to know where to seek legal counsel and aid if required. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) represents most sectors in the TV industry.