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!
> 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.
> 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