More adventures working in Television

During my second week working for Maverick  I went to a “Telly Talk: London networking “ event where there were different people who worked in TV speaking about their experiences . The audience were able to ask questions about literally anything to do with TV.  It was here that I really appreciated how far I have come in working at Maverick TV,  so quickly and without graduating. One man who had just become a researcher for a production, a similar level to my job, had done a year and a half of runner’s job to finally step up on the career ladder. I have only had one runner job for a day on the Big Questions with Nicky Campbell.  Much  of the advice I had heard before (I’ve been to a lot of events) but I did make the all-important contacts. I spoke to the organiser, Grace, who ran the event as a charity event where the proceeds went to the Mental Health charity Mind.  I found out she was a University of Birmingham graduate and had worked with Paul Woolf herself so we had a lot in common.  It was really fun to chat to her and I will definitely speak to her again in the future. The second contact I made was a woman who was in the BBC’s Production Talent Pool Scheme and had worked  as a runner on the set of Doctor Who. I spoke to her because I am the biggest Doctor Who fan, so I mainly wanted to ask questions about Matt Smith and Stephen Moffat. It was great to chat to her about what it was like to work on a drama set as my experience so far is in factual entertainment.  Before I headed off I made sure that I gave them one of my business cards which has all my details on and I wrote on the back where I met them and the date. This was a tip I picked up from a Careers Network event and it made a really good impression on the people I gave it to and because no one else had them I stood out by having one. I might have felt a bit stupid at first handing it to them but I know it’s going to be a good move when I want to speak to them in the future.

Yesterday I went on my very first proper shoot in London.   I had talked to my boss and told her that I would quite like to get some experience in the production side of things and so she said “ There’s a shoot tomorrow let’s get you on it.” And lo and behold less than 24 hours later I was making Lisa Snowdon a cup of green tea.  This is why TV is such a great industry to work in because all the jobs are so varied and are really flexible. As long as you don’t have an extremely busy schedule, productions are always looking for an extra helping hand from someone internal so they don’t have to spend any more of their budget.   The day was a mixture of manic to relaxed; sometimes I was running round picking up things, making sure clothes were hung correctly and seeing if anyone needed anything to sitting down for a couple of hours whilst they were filming and having to be absolutely silent so that the mic didn’t pick up any of my movements. In just one day I learnt so much and including  that working in TV is EXHAUSTING. Not that I didn’t know that already but it really puts into perspective how different the sitting behind your desk part of the job and the actual making of a programme are worlds away from each other. It didn’t put me off working on set, but it has definitely made me appreciate my desk job a bit more and that I am not ready to go head first onto location!

I am now at the end of my first week flying solo and I am doing better than I originally expected! I thought that I would be completely lost but everyone is being so helpful and I have picked things up pretty quickly. The skill I have used most is my initiative, finding my own work to do and going above and beyond what is asked of me. I have managed to show that I don’t need constant direction and nanny-ing, but that I can use my head and make decisions on how to move projects forward. By doing things before someone asks you to do it leaves a good impression and you are making their job easier which people in TV always appreciate! I am having to get over my fear of using the phone (I really hate talking to people on the phone) and just dial! I was nervous that people would know that I am new and not respect me because I am so junior but I have found that if you sound and act confident then people will treat you as an equal. Also asking lots of questions isn’t always as annoying as you might think. It shows that you want to do things right first time, for example I had to ring up potential Embarrassing Bodies contributors and so I asked a member on the Live from the Clinic team what was the best way to talk to someone about a sensitive subject and what terminology I should use. They were more than happy to help and guide me through the process, so now if I have to do it again I am able to on my own and with confidence.


About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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