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7 Things We Learned at Media Week 2019

Joe O'Brien11 December 2019

Written by Rhiannon Williams, Global Internships Manager

Media Week took place at the end of November and we explored the diverse areas within this sector including advertising, broadcasting, publishing, PR, marketing, and journalism. We had a fantastic line-up of speakers across 5 events, including 14 alumni sharing their insights into life after UCL. So, what did we learn?

  1. Be open minded and don’t be afraid to try different things
    From working in a kitchen to doing internships in sectors such as finance, our panellists tried a range of things before embarking on a career in their industry. Being open minded when starting out is often valuable as it can lead to new opportunities that you may have not considered before.

    Perhaps consider the differences between working in an agency and working in house. In agency, you may have a broader variety of projects and there is potential for more rapid career progression, whereas in house you can understand the workings of one organisation in more detail and build relationships with senior stakeholders in the company. Assess which may work best for you and research job profiles for entry level roles like Press Assistant, Junior Account Executive, and Marketing Executive on websites such as Prospects to build an understanding of what is involved in the role.

  2. Take advantage of having London on your doorstep
    With some of the country’s biggest brands and creative agencies based in the capital, it’s a great time to source work experience whilst you are studying at UCL and benefit from the opportunities that many students in universities around the country may not have access to as easily.
  3. There is more competition than ever before in publishing
    Don’t be passive with opportunities as there will be someone else ready to make something of them if you don’t. Make your own luck and demonstrate your curiosity when applying for opportunities. Book-selling skills are incredibly attractive to publishers (working in a bookshop means you know what sells!) but remember that everyone else ‘loves books’ so don’t use this as your USP when writing your application.
  4. Use your network to get a foot in the door
    Networking plays a big part in this industry so think about your network and if there are any friends, family or acquaintances who may have a connection to or work in the industry. You can also try the UCL Alumni Community which offers the opportunity to connect with former students who are now working in a range of roles. Be sure to use LinkedIn as well which allows you to search for and connect with employers.
  5. Like most sectors, there are good and more challenging elements
    There are challenging sides to the industry, particularly at junior level. You may be required to take on a variety of tasks from sourcing props for a campaign shoot, carrying out basic administration duties, and compiling large databases of media and celebrity contacts for a campaign. Gaining experience will allow you to assess if the working environment is right for you.
  6. Follow, and prove, your passions
    Showing evidence of your passion for your chosen field, through work experience, self-driven projects, collaborative work and/ or research, will not only prove to yourself that it’s right for you but it will speak volumes to prospective recruiters / clients too.
  7. Be yourself
    Your uniqueness is a selling point. Develop your interpersonal skills – working in media means talking to all sorts of people so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know, the person you’re talking to might be the one to give you your next opportunity!

What next?

Insights Into: Working In Travel Journalism

skye.aitken27 November 2019

Written by guest writers, Sophie Dening and Katie Bowman.

A common thing people write under ‘hobbies and interest’ on a CV is ‘travel’. But have you ever thought about turning this interest into a career? Sally Brown, UCL Careers Consultant, talked to two UCL alumni who have done just that. 

Image of a woman taking a photo of some ruins in the sunshine

Sophie Dening, Editor and journalist

UCL graduate: BA French Language and Literature (1997)

Sophie is a self-employed editor and journalist – for publications such as Condé Nast Britain, Gourmet Traveller, the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph. She is also the acting production editor at Lonely Planet magazine.

How did you get your job?

I applied for my job as production editor at Lonely Planet magazine via a jobs site. I had been on extended maternity leave following a long period as a freelance food and travel writer. It took me six months of applying for jobs before I got one, and I had to accept a drop in my salary. 

What’s a typical day like?

I check emails and make sure I am up to date with where we’re at with all the pages of the magazine, as well as future issues and side projects, then divide my time between writing, editing and working in InDesign. I also manage another subeditor and a freelancer, and work on the flatplan and lead a weekly editorial meeting.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy working with words, I enjoy carrying out varied high-level administrative tasks, I appreciate working with a team and learning from them, and I enjoy regular hours and low stress.

What are the challenges?

Getting everything done in time, always – deadlines. Sheer volume of work.

How relevant is your degree to your current job?

Currently not particularly, more tangentially, in terms of working with texts. But as a freelancer I have worked as a translator for hotel brands, and worked extensively in Paris and France as a food and travel writer, where I have used my French language skills.

How has your role developed and what are your ambitions? My role here at Lonely Planet has been interesting as I have acted as a sort of workflow consultant as well as carrying out the usual tasks. It is a year-long contract covering someone else’s role. My ambition at present is to continue working for LP when I finish my contract, as a writer or project editor, and to find other regular freelance work that will fit in with my family commitments.

Any words of advice for someone wanting to get into this sector?

Try to get experience any which way you can: work on a student paper; write a blog; enter writing competitions, in order to populate your CV. And do try to enter a sector that will hold your interest for years to come; once you are established as any sort of specialist, it can be hard to move around within publishing. Advice for someone wanting specifically to become a production editor or chief sub in travel publishing? Get any subbing experience as you can and apply for junior subbing roles. You need to be really good at English, and be able to spot a spelling mistake – aka a typo, in the trade – at 20 paces. Read up on style (I recommend Butcher’s Copy-editing, Cambridge University Press). Travel writers and editors tend to be fairly well-travelled and may start to specialise (in terms of destinations) right from the start of their careers – rather than entering travel publishing in order to travel. You are bound to experience rejection in the publishing industry (don’t lose confidence – there are jobs out there!), and salaries have not gone up much recently. It can be tough being a freelancer, or advancing in a competitive sector. But it is an interesting industry, always changing, and full of great people and varied work.

Image of a woman walking through a field holding a camera

Katie Bowman, Features Editor, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine

UCL graduate: English (1999)

Katie has worked in her current role for nearly 17 years, she has also worked as a sub-editor for Condé Nast International and Marie Claire Australia.

So, what does a features editor for a travel magazine do?

The Sunday Times Travel magazine is different from newspapers – it is on sale in stores competing with magazines such as Vogue. It is mainstream, glossier and I suppose more ‘glamorous’ than a newspaper travel section. My role is varied, from looking at how to make the front cover enticing to deciding what goes into the rest of the 164 pages of the magazine. The features have to be both inspirational and also realistic to sell well – ensuring well-timed ‘big hitters’ such as New York or Paris. Locations such as these can be revisited year after year, compared to a newspaper who might focus on recent events across the world such as bombings or natural disasters.

What is your role like on an average day?

My actual day to day activities involve commissioning freelancers, going through ideas pitched by more junior members of staff and perhaps travelling myself.

With regards to travelling, if this is a major focus for you then you might consider working as a freelance writer/journalist instead. The main advantages are that you have control over your schedule, where you go and can work around your other commitments such as family. Working on a magazine ‘in-house’ often means you are getting involved with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the publication rather than the actual travelling. As the dynamic of teams vary from magazine to magazine, then it is essential that you find this out before applying – as you might find an in-house role will only allow you to travel sporadically if at all. 

What do you enjoy about your role?

The change – I have been in this role for nearly 17 years, but the novelty still hasn’t worn off! This is because the world never stops feeling new – even a location that we have featured many times can change – such as a new restaurant or a new local event. Travelling is all I ever wanted to do – in fact, I would rather stay in travel (such as being a flight attendant) than journalism (such as working on a financial publication). I love planning trips, not just going on them! 

What are the challenges?

The pay really – you won’t make much money if you want to work in this industry! Just doing freelancing alone also probably won’t allow you to pay your rent/mortgage. Most freelancers do other roles – such as copy writing or editing – alongside their freelance work.

 How relevant was your degree to your current role?

My English degree is not directly relevant to my current role, but it was helpful in the past for me to secure internships. I was competing against people who were studying master’s degrees in journalism, so having the name ‘UCL’ was really helpful in getting opportunities.

Do you have any tips for current students wanting to get into this industry?

Do an internship with a well-known publication whilst you are living in cheaper student accommodation. We have interns who are forced to either spend a lot of money travelling into London or sleeping on friend’s floors in order to do the internship.

How would I find out about internship opportunities?

Our two-week programmes are always oversubscribed, but follow us on social media as we may have someone drop out – so we might ask for a replacement at short notice. Most internships are unadvertised, so choose a few publications and write a perky and engaging cover letter – remembering that you are not applying to a big corporate company, so don’t make it cold and impersonal: ensure you write to a named person rather than ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. In the letter, state clearly your availability – if you can only offer a couple of afternoons a week due to your course timetable that is fine.

What might make an application for an internship stand-out?

A clear level of maturity – so make sure your CV looks professional and highlights that skills that would make you useful in the workplace such as computer skills, languages and other office skills. Make the life of the person reading your application as easy as possible. If you already have a blog / website then write this on your application – it is useful for me to see your potential.

But the other important thing is to make the most out of the experience once you are there. Don’t have too high expectations of the internships – you won’t be writing big cover stories! You also might not always be doing the most exciting tasks – but grit your teeth and get on with it. Also, leaving early without a valid reason can give a really bad impression. Be proactive during the experience, approaching people with your ideas – ask them ‘What can I pitch?” or “Can I offer some ideas?”.

What would you look for when commissioning a freelancer?

Similar to other editors, I tend to work with freelancers I have worked with before – as I know I can trust that they will deliver. However, this does not mean I am not open to working with new people. Their initial pitch might be something I could use in a smaller story and I would be looking for something that is tailored to this magazine – which the freelancer has been clear about where it would ‘sit’. It is the responsibility of the freelancer to curate and build the stories – not to send the same pitch to 20 different magazines.

Any other tips for potential freelancers?

Be aware that you will receive very little feedback. But give the initial pitch the time it deserves and it will pay off in repeat commissions. After you have done an internship with a magazine, then offer to write for free ‘on spec’ pieces – this could be as simple as writing a piece about your recent holiday destination. You will then accumulate by-lines and build up a professional portfolio – you only need 2 or 3 well-known publication names – then pitch properly using your portfolio. It is not always enough just to have published in a university magazine – as they are not always well-edited. Having a well-known publication in your portfolio is invaluable.

UCL Careers Themed Weeks 2019: Media Week

skye.aitken14 November 2019

Want to work in the media industry? Find out more at Media Week!

A lecture theatre full on students with panelists sitting on stageAre you thinking of working in the Media industry after your degree? Or is this simply a sector that you would like to explore further? We have put together a number events in the final week of November to enable you to take things further through a spotlight on this diverse and exciting sector.

Monday 25 November

The week kicks off  with an evening insight into Publishing, where people working in a range of roles from editing, agency and rights will take your questions. We are excited to have speakers from Bloomsbury Publishing, LBA Books, UCL Press, Rakuten Kobo and DK (Penguin Random House), working in a variety of roles.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Tuesday 26 November

We will take a look at what it’s like to work within Advertising, Marketing and PR. Professionals working in advertising agencies, consumer and corporate PR and marketing will be discussing their careers, the difference between the various areas and some of the exciting projects they have worked on. Panelists will also offer tips on how you can make your first steps into each of these areas.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Wednesday 27 November

We are delighted to have News Associates running a journalism workshop exclusively for UCL students and recent graduates. This is an interactive session aimed at those looking to pursue a career in UK based journalism.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Thursday 28 November

We finish the week on  with an incredibly exciting line-up focused on the Film, TV and Radio industries. Joining us will be BBC TV and radio presenters, a junior music manager and a film director. We expect this to be a popular event so don’t miss out!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

 All the events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Did you want to explore things a bit further before the panels? Take a look at Prospects.ac.uk to see just how many roles there are within the Media industry. Prospects also breaks down the different roles within Advertising, Marketing & PR.

How to get into publishing

UCL Careers4 January 2019

What is considered ‘publishing’?

publishing: the occupation or activity of preparing and issuing books, journals, and other material for sale (n.) 

To put it simply, publishing is about making concepts public; connecting people who create content with people who need that content.

Roles in publishing exist across the media industry, involving not only the production of books and journals but also magazines, newspapers, business media, musical scores and graphics – to name a few! As our world becomes more technologically advanced, new multi-media formats also contribute to shifting industry opportunities, challenges and career paths.

Publishing is a competitive industry, with notoriously few advertised entry-level positions. Whilst some organisations recognise this and are developing routes into the industry for a wider pool of candidates, these remain highly sought-after. The most common routes into publishing include postgraduate qualifications, work experience placements, graduate training schemes, networking and personal recommendations. Candidates with a strong work ethic and transferable skills developed via experience in other sectors, are also well regarded.

What careers can I have in publishing?

A career in publishing can vary depending on both the sector and department you work in.

Some of the more common sectors of publishing include:

  • Academic
  • Consumer
  • Educational
  • Professional
  • Scientific and technical

Within these sectors are a wide range of departments. For example within the book publishing industry, typical departments include:

  • Contracts: working with editors and literary agents or the author to negotiate the terms of the contract.
  • Design: reviewing the book and liaising with editorial and marketing to create a visual identity and oversee its implementation – from the jacket to the cover and interior.
  • Digital: creating, implementing and maintaining new and existing web initiatives, including the organisation’s own web offering, online features and marketing campaigns.
  • Editorial: acquiring and editing a manuscript, and seeing it through to publication.
  • Managing Editorial: overseeing the whole editorial process, including working with both editorial and production to keep an eye on schedules for both the finished product and wraparound materials.
  • Marketing: creating and producing creative campaigns, using methods such as digital and print advertising, social media and events, to promote and share the book with consumers.
  • Publicity: from author signings to social media schedules and pitching to newspapers, television and radio, the team are the vital connection in promoting the book to the media.
  • Production: overseeing the manufacturing process, from manuscript to book. This could include typesetting, working with suppliers and printers, and budgeting.
  • Rights: managing the licensing of the rights of any original publication both at home and abroad. Common examples are translations, audio editions, sequels by other authors etc.
  • Sales: working with outlets to ensure the book is readily available to consumers, such as online, bookshops, supermarkets etc.

These are all on top of ‘business-as-usual’ operations, such as Human Resources, IT, Finance etc.  Many organisations will also have additional departments such as audio, digital production (e-books), in-house distribution, packaging etc.

If you’re interested in finding out about the different functions of each department, you could check out this handy guide by Book Jobs. You could also explore the different teams at Penguin Random House, the largest of the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses.

What qualifications do I need?

Whilst MA courses in publishing are available (including at UCL!) and are an effective way to start building a network of contacts, it’s certainly not a requirement to work in publishing. If you’re considering a postgraduate course, it’s just as important to think about you want to gain from the experience, and weigh this up against the cost implications and other ways to reach the same goals, such as work experience. There are also some technical roles where a related degree would be valuable – such as a designer or digital engineer.

It is also a common misconception that the publishing industry focuses on hiring English or Literature graduates. In fact, it’s experience and drive that are vital proof of your motivation and skills for a career in the industry.

How do I get a graduate job?

There is no ‘one route’ into this industry, and it entirely depends on the type of role you are looking for. Some organisations highlight the importance of work experience when they hire for entry-level roles. Work experience is a great way to work with professionals in your area of interest, make connections and build up your skill set. Other organisations will readily accept candidates with experience in other fields that has given them transferable skills – think of it as the back door in.

Spent time working at a digital marketing agency? That could have set you up with the skills you need to succeed in the digital team at a publisher. Getting jobs in the industry can also be influenced by referrals and recommendations, so it is useful to start building up your network as soon as possible.

Publishing Graduate Schemes

Although graduate schemes in publishing are gradually becoming more common, competition tends to be high for a limited number of places.  Current schemes include but are not limited to:

  • The BAME Trainee Programme from HarperCollins, a twelve-month rotational traineeship around the business in London. Last year, applications for places starting in October 2018 closed in mid-April.
  • The Cambridge University Press Graduate Programme, a fifteen-month rotational programme experiencing different business streams. Last year, applications for places starting in September 2018 closed in February.
  • The Scheme from Penguin Random House UK, six-month editorial traineeships for applicants from a BAME or socio-economically disadvantaged background. Last year, applications for places starting in September 2018 closed in May.
  • The Fresh Chapters Traineeship at Hachette, a twelve-month BAME traineeship, half of which will be spent in editorial, and the other half in another department. Last year, applications for places starting in October 2018 closed in early July.

Work Experience

A slightly less competitive way to ‘get a foot in the door’ is through work experience. Many organisations run work experience or internship programmes – and if they don’t advertise them directly, there’s no harm in getting in contact and seeing if something can be arranged. Current work experience opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Oxford University Press runs an eight-week internship programme for graduates throughout July and August. In 2018, the deadline for applying was in March.
  • Penguin Random House has a summer internship that runs throughout July and August. In 2018 applications closed in April. They also recruits four times a year for paid two-week work experience placements. The Spare Room Project supported by Penguin Random House, also matches interns from outside London with people in the book industry who live in the capital and can offer them a place to stay.
  • Hachette run Fresh Chapters, an eight-week internship programme in editorial, marketing or publicity as well as ongoing one week placements (advertised via Facebook and Twitter).
  • Harper Collins offer an internship programme of up to six-months as well as four-week work experience opportunities (advertised via Twitter).
  • Bloomsbury have a paid internship programme, with four intakes per year across Marketing, Publicity and Editorial. Recruitment for April 2019 will begin in February 2019.
  • Blake Friedmann offer three-month internships on a rolling basis. They also run the Carole Blake Open Doors Project – a two-week, all-expenses-paid shadowing scheme for students from under-represented backgrounds.
  • The Guardian offer two-week work experience placements in the Guardian and Observer Editorial departments, across a range of desks, typically between March-June and October-December. Applications for 2019 opportunities will close on 7 December 2018.
  • Dorling Kindersley offer internship and work experience placements. Check back for opening times for 2019 internship opportunities, work experience applications are received on a rolling basis.
  • The Publishers Association occasionally recruits for internships and short work experience.

In fact, a lot of organisations will invite applications to work experience schemes via their websites. Remember not to disregard the smaller, more independent, publishing houses – their schemes are normally less over-subscribed and in some cases can last longer than an average fortnight placement.

You can also use social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – to gather information and make industry connections. For example, if you want to work as a Literary Agent, follow both the literary agencies and the literary agents! You can also follow accounts dedicated to sharing jobs and opportunities such as:

@publishersassoc

@PubInterns

@BookJobsUK

Find out more about upcoming Themed Week Events or catch-up on events you missed on the Themed Week archive.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Careers Resources

UCL Careers4 December 2018

How do you start a career in museums? What are careers in the arts like? What jobs are there in cultural heritage? Following UCL Careers’ Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week, we have created this handout to provide a list of useful resources to help prepare you for the event and to continue your research into the sector.

Overview

The Museums, Arts or Cultural Heritage sector encompasses a wide range or job roles; from traditional roles such as Museum Curator, Archaeologist or Artist, to less traditional roles in IT, Finance, HR and Legal, which are set to see continued growth in the coming years – great news for talented graduates with creative flair.

Government statistics from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show that employment within the creative industries, which include advertising, architecture, arts and culture, craft, design, fashion, games, music, publishing, technology and TV and film, is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole.

Read more of the creative arts sector overview on Prospects

Key starting points

The following resources will provide a general overview of current trends in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector and provide more detailed information on the range of different graduate level roles available, helping you get a better understanding of your different options:

The different job profiles listed will provide key information on areas such as:

  • Main duties/responsibilities for the role
  • Expected salary information (starting and potential earnings)
  • Professional development, training and career prospects
  • Typical working hours
  • Entry requirements (formal qualifications and skills)
  • How to get work experience
  • How to identify key employers and where to search for vacancy

Professional organisations and other bodies

Many museums, arts and cultural Heritage sector professional body websites will produce career guides aimed at student/graduate level jobseekers, providing an insider’s view on how to start your career. They will also provide information for their members on areas such as events, news on current trends, future developments etc. for the sector.

Keeping up to date with sector news through sites like these is sites is useful for building your commercial awareness which recruiters will be looking for evidence of when you start applying.

The listings below will highlight major professional bodies for the museums, arts and cultural heritage sector and explain what sorts of information each one provides that might be useful to you when planning your career. They will also provide support with navigating these sites to find the student focussed content.

Employer directories and vacancy sources

Through myUCLCareers thousands of organisations target UCL students and graduates by advertising a range of vacancy types including work experience/internships and full time graduate level roles.

Log in to your myUCLCareers account now to search for current Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector vacancies – (use the ‘Occupational area’ filter for ‘Arts administration, libraries, museums and heritage’ or the use ‘Quick search’ for terms such as: ‘museums’, ‘arts’ or ‘heritage’)

Through your myUCLCareers account you can also use the organisation search to identify recruiters by ‘occupational area’ who have a connection with UCL Careers and who operate in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector.

Many recruiters won’t directly target UCL students through myUCLCareers so it’s also worth expanding your search by looking through our listings for this sector:

Company directories:

Job sites:

Students’ Union UCL – Clubs and Societies

Explore what clubs and societies are on offer at UCL that could help develop your interest in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector.

Clubs and Societies of interest could include:

For a full list of societies go to the Students’ Union UCL society search page.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Themed Week

If you missed our annual Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector week or would like a reminder of what happened, you can visit our website:

  • Themed Week Events Programme: See past events to discover which organisations were involved and get an idea of what to expect next year.
  • Themed Week Archive: See event recording from previous years. Watch talks and panel events from the comfort of your own home!
  • UCL Careers Blog: Search our blog to find more articles about these sectors, including alumni case-studies and sector insights.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Mentoring

Following the Themed Week, you might also want to explore the ‘UCL Alumni Online Community’ – to identify UCL graduates who are now working in this sector and who are happy to provide support for UCL students. If you’re unsure where to start with networking, see these resources on how to network professionally.

UCL Careers are here to help you find your future, no matter what stage your at in your career planning. Visit our website to find out other ways that we can support you and for any questions, please contact careers@ucl.ac.uk.

Get into Broadcasting – UCL Careers Panel Event

UCL Careers23 November 2018

(As part of the Media Themed Week)

What is considered ‘broadcasting’?
Film / Radio / Television

What types of careers can I have in broadcasting?
Many of the roles in this industry are freelance or contract-based, with people working on lots of different projects over varying amounts of time. Although often seen as a glamorous sector, the hours are often long and competition for roles are fierce. But many roles offer the chance to be creative, work with people and to use your research skills.

There are many roles, below are just a few of them:

However, there are lots of roles that you might also find in other industries such as accountants, commercial lawyers, business strategists and human resources.

What qualifications do I need?
For the majority of roles, you don’t need any specific qualifications – just enthusiasm, passion and drive. However, some more technical roles may need a related degree – such as a broadcast engineer. You may need to start building up a portfolio or a showreel for some of the creative roles.

How do I get a graduate job?
There is no ‘one route’ into this industry, and it entirely depends on the type of role you are looking for. Some people find it useful to start off being a ‘runner’ this can be in production, floor, location or post-production. These roles will allow you to work with the professionals in your area of interest, make connections and build up your skill set. As a lot of roles are done through referrals and recommendations, it is useful to know as many people as possible.

Some broadcasting companies offer internships, schemes and work experience such as:

Why should I come to the panel event on the Wednesday 28th November?
This will be a chance to hear from professionals in the field talking about their experiences and giving advice about getting into this industry. There will also be time to ask questions and to meet them in person afterwards. Panellists include:

  • Film director
  • Freelance radio and TV presenter
  • Correspondent / investigative journalist for BBC Newsnight
  • Trainee Script editor for ITV

What is also interesting, none of them studied film, radio, media or TV at university!

 

 

The Creative Industries: Getting into Film and Production

UCL Careers31 January 2018

 

Executive Producer Helen Collerton from Parable (http://parableworks.com) shares her top tips for working in the production industry. Helen is a UCL alumni and studied BA English Literature. 

  1. It’s all about having the right attitude.
    Last year I took a poll from around 30 freelancers I work with regularly. I asked them what they had studied at university, and the answers that came back ranged from History to Anthropology, Psychology to Media, English Literature to French, Politics to Economics to Geography and on and on. Rather than devaluing your choice of study, instead this shows what I believe to be the most important truth to success in production: it’s all about your attitude, enthusiasm, and dedication. What these 30 people have in common, is that they are each a joy to work with, both in terms of skill and personality. Production is an intense job at times, and people will value passion, and a fresh and positive frame of mind.
  2. Pigeon hole yourself.
    Within the film/production industry, there are many specialisms, each requiring a unique set of skills and experience. While it is of course vital to ‘shop around’ to work out what you like making, one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given, was to be aware that you only need two or three of a certain type of ‘thing’ on your CV, before you will only be getting calls to do exactly that. There is some sense to thhis – the industry changes so rapidly, that you do need to be regularly making food programmes/natural history documentaries/sports broadcasting/commercials etc. to ensure you are moving at pace with your specialism in terms of technical kit, processes, and talent.
  3. Know what everybody else does.
    You are going to become better at what you do, and easy to work with, if you put some effort and research into understanding the roles of the people working around you. Whether you are working as a runner, a researcher, or an executive producer, if you understand the details of each part of the puzzle, and the various pressures, stresses, and focus points of your colleagues, you will become a more valuable member of the team. You will also find that you learn more, and that you learn faster.
  4. The word ‘hierarchy’ should not apply.
    This is a big one. There are hundreds of different roles in film and production, and while some are more complex, or require more experience than others, the words ‘hierarchy’ or ‘senior/junior’ should not apply. This is for two reasons: firstly, everybody started as a runner, a driver, a tea-maker, a dogs body or an assistant. Everybody has been where you are, and the only thing separating you from the people with more responsibility than you, is years of experience. A well-run and welcoming production team should make you feel that this is true, because it is. Secondly, a brilliant ‘anything’ is invaluable. No cog on the wheel or link in the chain is less important than any other – every project relies on people at every stage of the process doing a brilliant job. You’re just as important as everybody else.
  5. Be kind to yourself.
    Sometimes I think that when people talk about the film/production industry, they make it sound like a very hard place. The reality is that if you surround yourself with lovely people, it is a genuinely amazing place to be. In order to keep yourself sane and safe, remember that you are only as good as you are strong, healthy, and happy. Part of the job is looking after yourself – I’m a firm believer in not working with people who don’t treat you well, and in relaxing and having fun whenever possible.

Helen also is a writer and has a piece on her blog called  ‘Making Space for Writing’. You can read it here: https://readmesoftly.com/2017/12/17/making-space-for-writing/

Is a job in the media industry for you?

UCL Careers28 November 2017

Has the Media industry caught your eye as the next step after your degree? This week we are putting the spotlight on this diverse and exciting sector.

Perhaps you already know that PR is for you, or are you considering which role might suit you best within Publishing? Perhaps you have already tried your hand at documentary making!

We have some fantastic speakers who have kindly given up their time to come and share their experiences as part of Media Week.

The week kicks off on Tuesday evening with an insight into Publishing, where people working in a range of roles from freelance editing to trade marketing will take your questions. We are excited to have speakers from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan Children’s Books, Pearson Education join us.

On Wednesday we will take a look at what it’s like to work within Film, TV and Radio. Again, this is an incredibly diverse industry so we have been sure to have a range of speakers including a director, commercial and freelance producers.

On Thursday we’re delighted to have the UK’s number one ranked NCTJ journalism school News Associates join us to run a journalism workshop.

Finally on Thursday evening we welcome speakers from the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Macmillan Cancer Support, Periscopix, Redscout and WPP to talk about the fast paced world of Advertising, Marketing & PR.

Of course working in the Media is not all about partying with celebs! As with any job, there’ll be the good stuff and the more challenging parts. It’s important to consider what your expectations of working in a media role are. If you are looking for a 9-5 job, then it might not be for you! It often involves hard work and long hours, and at weekends. That said it can be positively challenging and rewarding. UCL Careers’ Media Week events give you the chance to find out what a ‘day in the life’ is really like and whether it might be for you.

We appreciate the events have booked up quickly but we’re really pleased to say we will be recording each event and also writing a short blog, so if you’re not able to join us in person, you can still find out more. We will specifically break down the different areas and provide some top tips. A look at Prospects.ac.uk shows just how many roles there are within the Media industry. Prospects also breaks down the different roles within Advertising, Marketing & PR. Check out the different job profiles and watch this space for our next Media Week blogs!

 

Get into Broadcasting: TV, Film and Radio

Weronika Z Benning3 March 2016

As part of UCL Careers’ Media Week back in December, we held a panel discussion on careers in TV, film, and radio. See below for a summary of top tips from our panellists. The next Media Week run by UCL Careers will take place in the autumn term of 2016.

With panellists representing all three sectors (see here for bios), we heard some great advice about how to get into and progress in this popular and competitive industry. Some key highlights from the session are below and we would like to thank Kate, Eduardo, Matt, Anya and Alex for giving up their time to share their insights!

Advice
> This industry is all about ideas. Note down your ideas, develop them, base them on things that really interest you. Don’t be afraid to share them – even if someone takes it, have a new one ready to go! Make documentaries about interesting people that you’ve met.
>  It’s also all about storytelling and people still love storytelling – even though the mediums may be changing, the premise is still the same. Social media is an easy way to reach audiences – make videos on your phone and share them with your friends.
Network network network! Make it your business to know everyone and for them to know you.  Attend lots of events and make the most of them. Keep trying to maximise the changes of getting your first start in this industry.
>  If networking events aren’t your thing, make direct contact with someone and invite them for a coffee to have a one-to-one conversation. Ask them to recommend two people you should contact, and then act on that.
Play to your strengths – work out what you love and you’re good at.
Persistence is key! ‘Every day you persist is a day someone else quits’ – you have to keep trying (but be polite in doing so!)
Be prepared to go in at the bottom, work as a runner and make tea – just be good at it! Show lots of enthusiasm and talk to people (but also be aware if someone doesn’t want to be talked to!). If you ‘do your time’ in the lower roles, you will progress within the industry.
>  When you get to the researcher level, you will reach a “crossroads” and will need to determine whether you’d like to down the production route or the editorial side. It can be hard to move once you’ve decided so think hard about which you think is best suited to you.
>  If you want to work in TV you need to be able to collaborate, compromise and take criticism.
Find your local radio personality – each station will have different types, so what works for you? (Thanks to Kate Lamble for demonstrating her Radio 4 voice!)
>  Most importantly: Be humble, focused and strong-willed. Get on with people, go for what you want and stay true to yourself.

Opportunities
>  The Roundhouse in Camden has lots of great initiatives, such as production courses, mentoring schemes, projects and master-classes.
>  The BBC has various short work experience schemes across different areas, such as television, radio, journalism and business. You are strongly encouraged to apply for these.
Creative Access has internship opportunities to help those in under-represented backgrounds get into a variety of roles.

Resources / Useful Websites
Careers Tagged – a fountain of knowledge about various sectors, including film, TV and radio
BECTU – trade union for the entertainment industry
Prospects – a useful website for finding out more about different roles and sectors, see here for roles in broadcasting
AIB – Association for International Broadcasting
So You Want to Work in Television? – advice on all matters relating to television production, presenting and pitching.
British Council, Film – a detailed list of membership organisations
RSGB – Radio Society of Great Britain

By Rhiannon Williams

Media Week is coming…

UCL Careers25 November 2015

Interested in media? Want to hear from professionals in the industry? We have a variety of events during our Media Week, 1st – 4th December 2015, that will give you a great insight into this popular sector!

Media Week

Panel events will involve talks from each panel member about their current role, their career path and tips on how you can progress. You will then be able to ask questions to the panel, so come prepared! The sessions will be followed by informal networking to allow you to follow up to any conversations started in the Q&A.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Tuesday 1st December

  • Panel: Get into Publishing, 17.30-19.00. Hear panel members discuss their top tips for getting into this notoriously difficult industry. Speakers include Dr. Nina Buchan, a freelance Science and Medical Editor, and representatives from Sage Publications, HarperCollins, Collins Editing and UCL Press.

Wednesday 2nd December

  • Workshop: Journalism, 13.00-15.00. Two-hour workshop run by News Associates, the top UK journalism school. This session will involve you writing an article in a mock breaking news exercise. Spaces are limited and you will need to pay a returnable deposit.
  • Panel: Get into Broadcasting – TV, Film & Radio, 17.30-19.00. Speakers confirmed include a Director/Producer/Editor for Slack Alice Films, a Lead Producer for the BBC’s Digital Storytelling Team, a freelance Series Producer/Director/Cameraman, an Assistant Producer for BBC World Service and an Account Director at Precious Media.

Thursday 3rd December

  • Presentation: What is Media Analytics?30-14.30. Media is changing. Data and analytics is key to delivering successful media campaigns and growing clients’ business. Find out more about this growing part of the sector in a presentation delivered by GroupM, global media investment group, and part of WPP.
  • Panel: Get into Marketing, PR & Advertising, 17.30-19.00. Panel members include Claremont Communications, Lloyds Bank, Ogilvy, Periscopix, & Gerber Communications.

Friday 4th December

  • Panel: CVs & Applications for Media Careers,00-14.00. Get top tips from industry professionals on how to make your applications stand out and what you can be doing now to increase your chances of securing a role in this industry. Panel members include Head of Commercial Marketing from The Guardian, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, an experienced media recruiter from SapientNitro and a guru around creative industries from CreativeSkillset.

If you are interested in attending any of the above events, please sign up via your MyUCLCareers account. We look forward to seeing you!