Careers in the Film & TV Industry
Having created some of the most influential and celebrated television and cinema in the world, UK filmmakers and TV producers are recognised globally! Supporting over 100,000 jobs, the UK’s independent film and TV industry is stronger than ever. So, how do you land your first job in the sector?
There are many ways to be involved in film and TV production, so take time to think about what it is you want to do. Many of the creative roles – writers, editors, directors, composers, and so on – are entry-level positions! Do you want a technical role? Artistic role? What do you want to achieve working in the sector? Employers will often look for examples of your practical work, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to get some relevant experience under your belt.
While getting the necessary experience can be a real challenge, it’s far from impossible! If you look for internships, apprenticeships, work experience placements, and trainee schemes, you’ll find plenty of opportunities available to you. The BBC, for example, regularly offers work experience placements and trainee schemes. Competition is fierce, however, so be prepared to work hard, and to really sell yourself, to get ahead in the sector. Developing a good understanding of the industry is key!
How, you say? Well, it’s all about getting out and about in the industry! Briefing up your industry knowledge by keeping an eye on the trades is a good place to start. Check out Screen Daily (for film) and Broadcast (for TV and radio), or Variety and Hollywood Reporter to discover new opportunities and information about the sector.
If you’re keen to find more direct links into the industry, DO NOT be afraid to think outside of the box! Make the most of the contacts you already have. Do your best to prove your initiative and enthusiasm at all times. And, most importantly, look for ways to expand your network. Perhaps you can volunteer at a film festival? Work on an independent film? Networking is an artform, but it’s absolutely necessary in the film and TV industry. If you really want that much needed recommendation, it’s important that you come across as proactive. Make sure you’re not overdoing it though…
And… while you’re doing all this, take time to figure out what kind of role you want to play in the industry. Think about the skills a potential employer would look for, and perfect those skills. Do you think your future is in screenwriting? Get feedback on your writing! Attend workshops! It’s all about finding your place in an industry that can take you in a variety of different directions.
Want to know more? Take a look at the recording of our Discover Careers In: Film, Radio & TV event last year, or our handout on working in film. You might also want to check out BBC’s podcast series Cinema’s Secret History.
Written by Silje Undlien, Third Year War Studies undergraduate at King’s College London & Marketing Assistant at King’s Careers & Employability.