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Get into Broadcasting: TV, Film and Radio

Weronika ZBenning3 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

Getting into Publishing – Event Round-up and Top Tips

ManpreetDhesi9 December 2015

Our Getting into Publishing panel discussion on Tuesday 1st December 2015 provided attendees with fantastic insight into this sector including industry trends and hot topics, typical roles and responsibilities and how to stand out as an applicant. Catch up on key points from this discussion below and read about the panellists in attendance here.

> Panellists extolled the  benefits of gaining work experience in smaller and/or independent publishers where you can get varied hands on experience and insight. There are very limited places on graduate schemes with major trade publishers (for example, only 4 places at HarperCollins) so being open to working in different roles in a wider range of publishing companies is encouraged at the start of your publishing career. Building up wide ranging work experience in different types of publishing companies is a positive. Don’t just go for trade publishing (it is considered by many the most glamourous) but consider other types, such as scientific manuals and journals, academic press or working at literary agents.
> Useful resources recommended for finding out about companies and hot topics in publishing are the Writers and Authors Yearbook, Bookseller (especially the jobs board) and The Society of Young Publishers. A useful event is the Futurebook annual conference.

> Don’t focus too much at this stage on getting a particular role in a particular company – it’s about trying to get a starting role. It’s a lot easier to change jobs within the industry once you’re in and move between imprints within a parent company. Try to be well-rounded and open to different roles at the start. At the very least, you’ll be able to appreciate what each job role does even if you aren’t good at it when you try it yourself – what makes someone good at one area (i.e. production) makes them terrible at another (sales)! agents.

> Be aware that you will start from the bottom, despite having a degree. Be humble and be prepared for the coffee making and photocopying, but also be enthusiastic and curious about what is going on more widely in the company. During any work experience strive to make the most of it and have a good attitude, as hiring often happens by referral and a remembrance of an awesome intern when vacancies come up in the company (“We have a editorial assistant job coming up – why don’t we contact X to see if they are still available, they were great!”)

> Build your awareness of which books and publications are linked to which publishers, their body of work, key successes. An industry trend is that many major publishing houses have acquired lots of smaller companies (called imprints).

> Key skills required for publishing roles are relationship management, project management and attention to detail. Relationship management examples were given of sending each bookstore manager a personalised book choice with an individual note, maintaining relationships with authors and with key individuals in different internal departments. A suggestion for building relationship skills is to listen to conversations during any work experience and see how publishing professionals deal with situations / respond to clients. Project management is also an important skill as essentially you will be looking after several projects simultaneously, for example various book launches.

> Nobody mentioned reading when discussing their jobs. Panellists stressed that you have to love reading to do the job but you won’t just be sat reading all day, there are lots of other parts of the role involved which make the reading happen for other people.

> Panel quote: “the written word is our life blood” – applications with any spelling or grammar mistakes will not be considered!

> Social media: look at your own presence and make it appealing (and free of bad English!) but also follow people in the industry and at the companies you’re applying for – learn about them, what they like, what they’re interested in, what they’re reading

> Some key industry changes and hot topics include
– the move to Open Access publications– academic publishers have been ahead of trade with this (and are with more new trends)
– major publishing houses have acquired lots of smaller companies (called imprints)
– e-books and digital are no longer seen as a separate division but is part of standard publishing
– Amazon has totally changed book purchasing but recently Bookouture are an interesting company to watch as a innovative competitor to Amazon
– publishers think of the customer as the end reader and not the bookstore, as buying tends to be much more end-consumer led
– budgets and cost are increasingly important as books will only be published if likely to be successful
– self-publishing is more prevalent but tend to be lower quality publications than those  published by established publishers.

> Two of the panellists now work as freelancers. With freelance work, you have to have an established base of clients and credibility, but your hours are your own. Most people move to freelance editing after building up contacts and a reputation in the industry.

– UCL Careers Media Week Team

Media Week is coming…

ManpreetDhesi25 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!