A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO FINDING EMPLOYMENT IN THE MOVING IMAGE INDUSTRY
My name is Chelsea Burgin, and I am a student of a HND Creative Media Production at Brooksby Melton Mowbray. As the end of the educational year draws near, it’s time to be thinking of what employment you want in the Media Industry – and where to look for it. The purpose of my guide is to help you gain an idea of where to look, as well as some tips.
ROLES, WORKING PATTERNS and FINANCIAL
Within the Media Industry is a wide variety of jobs that helps towards making films and TV shows. And each one has certain aspects to suit your interest – as well as skills.
To get a foot in the media industry it is recommended that you take on the role of a runner, which is someone who does all the small jobs from “making coffees for cast and crew, to getting everyones lunch, to cleaning up sets and green room, to even meeting and greeting important guest and stars”1. This role involves hard work, and the end result is a good knowledge of the media industry.
There are other roles which come from working your way up from a runner. And they are in the three stages that contribute towards the final film.
In Pre production, which is the planning stage of the film, the following job roles are:
– Director: One of the highest jobs in a film’s making process. The director is sometimes the one who can come up with the idea for the film (e.g. Pan’s labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro), other times they use a story plot created by another (e.g. Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock), and make it into a film.
– Script Writer: This job is where the over all idea or plot, which is an important part of the pre production, comes from. Script writers will either a. Create their own original idea, or b. gain copyrights to a novel, or comic, and turn it into a film.
– Storyboard artist: This job is when the script is brought to a visual phase to give the camera operator an idea of how the director wants the film to look.
– Producer: This job role is what helps to get the film idea to gain attention by potential investors. The Producer will gather all information regarding planning towards the film idea, and then that information will be pitched to investors by the Producer.
All of the people who have these job role will have to work, and collaborate, with each other in order to, gain an agreement, and have the film ready for the second stage.
In Produciton, which is the making the film stage, there are jobs roles are:
– Director: Directors are the over all boss – especially during filming. They give the orders and others follow. They take the “scripts and turn them into the creative vision for the movie or show.1.”
– Producer: Producers will over see that the director is sticking to the schedule, and ensuring that the filming production is underway – and the budget is not being wasted.
– Camera Operator: This job is technical base, and the operator must be prepared to follow the director’s order to the letter.
– Lighting Operator: This job is an important part to the film’s creation for if done wrong, the footage can be over exposed or under exposed. However the director will have a set way in mind for the lighting. (The lighting operator will work closely with the camera operator and director to ensure they’re lighting the scene to the correct specifications.)
– Sound Recordist: This job is another important part, but also more tricky. The recordist has to capture everyday normal sounds, if needed, such as – dialogue, footsteps, breathing, birds singing (in an outdoor scene), people talking in the background at a cafe, etc. To more uncommon, or unheard of, sounds using everyday life items – a dinosaurs roar, monster’s roar, etc.
In Post production
In Post production, which is the putting the film together stage, the job role is:
– Editor: This job is where the film is finally put together through a computer. The editor cuts, fades, alter screen colour, changes the video footage to the director’s specifications.
– Producer: In this part of production the Producer works with the marketing team to ensure that the film is promoted and noticed in order to bring in an audience.
The working patterns in the film industry all vary between the type of contract you have.
FULL TIME: “A full time permanent contract means a person is employed as a regular member of staff, usually for 38-40 hours a week, often office hours. These jobs will often be salaried and there are many benefits that come with this type of contract such as a regular income, sick pay, holiday entitlement and maternity or paternity leave.“1b
PART TIME: “Part time contracts are similar but the employee only works a fraction of what a full time employee will work. There are still the same benefits but a person on this type of contract will earn less that someone who is full time.“1b
FREE LANCE: “Freelance and fixed term contracts are far more common in the media industry, especially for technical and creative roles such as camera operators and sound technicians. These contracts are temporary and unlikely to come with the same benefits as full time contracts. Therefore a freelance worker will be responsible for arranging to pay their own taxes, saving for a pension, allowing for sick leave and holidays.”1b
COMPLETION: “This is when a person only gets paid when the piece of work they have been employed to work on is completed. This means that the person who commissioned the work can withhold payment until they are absolutely happy with the final product.”1b
The hours through any of these types in the Media Industry all vary, including “Strange”, or “Anti Social” – where the employer works through the night.
As a contracted employee there responsibilites that are different to each job.
However the responsibilities that are needed across the board are punctuality, enthusiasm, and dedication to the work, as well as skill. Also during the whole production the jobs in the media industry have strict schedules, since both studios will have given the director a deadline to finish the project.
One side to training for a job in the Media industry comes from doing a degree at College and University. This is where you can grasp basic idea of how the Media Industry work, and the jobs involved before deciding which area of the film making production you wish to take one.
However the other side, and the way to put your found skills into more practice, is to gain an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships can be found through websites, such as the BBC, where companies are looking for “the next generation of talent to keep it at its best.“1c. They “want people with fresh ideas who ultimately want a career in the industry“1c- or look for a job as a runner (see ROLES).
The best way to look up places on the website where a wide variety of options can be found.
Looking online at home website pages of TV and Film studios (e.g BCC, ITV, etc) can be where you’ll find available apprenticeships. (see example of a webpage below)
(BBC website at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/work-in-broadcast/trainee-schemes/article/art20151222120054888)
A final piece to finding employment, and perhaps the most important part, is about presenting yourself. And part from looking presentable through your clothes and appearance.
You will need to be able to make yourself stand out in comparison to other potential candidates. Having a film reel (a portfolio which shows off your best videos) at the ready is a good way to show off your work (preferably on a memory stick for interviews). And even having a webpage (such as wordpress) gives you a place to store your best films, as well as a place to show, via written format and photos, your role in creating the film. And you could also place the feedback from your clients to backup your statement.
1. totaljobs. (2016) TV runner Job Description [Online]. Available from http://www.totaljobs.com/careers-advice/job-profile/media-jobs/runner-job-description [Accessed 11th April 2016]
2. Kokemuller, N. (2016) Director vs Screenwriter [Online]. Available from http://work.chron.com/director-vs-screenwriter-17194.html [Accessed 11th March 2016]
Turner, P. (2013) Working Patterns and Payment in the TV and Film Industries [Online]. Available from: http://ilovethatfilm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/working-patterns-and-payments-in-tv-and.html [Accessed 11th April 2016]
1c. BBC. (2016) Get In Events [Online]. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/work-in-broadcast/trainee-schemes/article/art20151222120054888