What Employers really think about runners

This website shares admins with the huge Facebook Runners Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/tv.runners/

We created the group to try to widen access to a more diverse range of new entrants as an alternative to just using word of mouth and taking the last person someone else employed. Many aspiring runners never get their chance, and many still won’t, but the wider the net can be cast the better off the industry will be in the long run.

We were very conscious that employers would be cautious about posting to such a large group, wary of being drowned under the weight of nonsensical or utterly inappropriate applications, so we put in place (and actively police) a set of rules such as ‘only apply for jobs where you meet the criteria precisely’, ‘don’t contact employers about other jobs’, ‘no friend requests or private messages’ and so on.

Gradually more and more employers began to offer more opportunities and confidence has grown over the years, so a few weeks ago we ran a survey to understand what employers and runners thought about it all. It’s worth reading, especially if you’re an employer and you’ve never considered (or have been nervous about) using the group to find new entrants. And it’s worth reading if you’re a runner and looking for a way into this industry.

The survey results are here, feel free to leave your comments below.

How Much Should I Be Paid?

We thought it would be a good idea to show the minimum you should be paid per hour. Holiday pay should be paid at the end of your contract for any untaken holiday, and on a casual engagement it should be added to the rate.

NMW Rates have been updated as of 1st April 2018

More detail

The government website has more details about working as an apprentice. (Apprentice holiday pay is not shown above as the rate is different from Workers).

See also You And The Minimum Wage

Top Tips for finding work experience in the TV industry

Shona Galloway wants to share with Watercooler users her experiences looking for work experience in TV as a new starter. Here’s what she has to say, and if you’d like to write an article yourself  about your own experiences, you can send it via the contact page…

A quick guide to securing a work experience placement in the TV sector. All from the perspective of someone who has been through it and come out the other side, after gaining experience working with BBC1, CBBC, and Channel 5.

1. Do Your Research
When looking at companies to get work experience from, research the type of programmes each company makes in order to tailor your CV and covering letter accordingly. For example, Boomerang mainly produces factual entertainment documentaries. Knowing this, you can brush up on your knowledge on what type of content comes under the ‘factual entertainment’ category, and what that specific company has just finished making.
It is important to try and find work experience with a variety of TV production companies, who each produce different styles of television. An employer looking at a CV from someone with work experience in Live TV, Dramas, and Documentaries is more likely to employ you than someone who just has experience in TV News.

2. Be Persistent
It happens to everyone – rejection. You could contact 30+ production companies and have one response back. However, it only takes one yes to make it worth it. That work experience ‘yes’ could lead to your first job, or it could provide you with skills to put onto your CV that you wouldn’t be able to learn outside of industry.
There is also nothing wrong with a follow up email on a work experience query. If you still haven’t heard back from anyone a month after contacting them, a follow up email to the right person at the right time could not only secure you the work experience, but would show them that you are determined and focused on securing the work experience.

3. Your CV
TV Production Companies receive hundreds of CVs from people wanting to do work experience, which means your CV needs to make them want you to come in. Most employers will tell you that they only really read the first page of your CV. This is why it is vital that the first piece of paper they pick up clearly shows what skills you already have, what previous experience you have in TV or in work in general, and who exactly it is YOU are. It also goes without saying that your email address and contact number need to be correct and clear at the top of the page. If you are at university, make sure you don’t use your university email as employers could get in touch with you in the future after you have graduated. By that time, you may not have checked your email in weeks (or even at all.)
Name the document your CV is as ‘[YOUR NAME] CV for [NAME OF PRODUCTION COMPANY]. This way they can find your CV quickly and easily amongst other work experience CVs that are just literally named ‘CV’.

4. Your Cover Letter
This is where your research comes in. In your cover letter, talk to them about which programme they’ve recently made that you’ve enjoyed. Make sure you actually watch the programme you talk about to avoid any awkward situations in an interview.

It’s also important to talk about what can you do for them as oppose to what can they do for you. They will like that you are taking the initiative to stand out from the usual crowd of work experience cover letters, and they will certainly be more likely to take you on. Always try and identify who to address the cover letter to. It looks a lot more professional and personal for the receiver to see their name after ‘To’, rather than the name of the production company.

5. Think Outside the Box
Try and think of other non-conventional ways to get in contact about work experience opportunities. Networking events are a great way to meet people in the TV industry. RTS Futures hold an annual event for young people who want to kick- start their careers in TV in locations all over England. Dozens of representatives from production companies are on hand to give advice, exchange contact details and to promote themselves.
Don’t be afraid to contact an individual from a production company, express an interest in what they do, and ask to go for a coffee to talk about their job. If the meeting goes well, it effectively sets you up with a contact in that company for future reference. Having that contact will make it much easier to attain work experience, as they would have already met you and will already like you. [* but don’t make a nuisance of yourself or be surprised if you get no reply. The Cooler]

6. Call Don’t Email
Work experience emails can undoubtedly get lost in the daily burst of work related emails. Calling the production company will instantly make you memorable. It also shows to them that you are confident on the phone, and they will normally pass you on the email address of the most relevant person to help you.

By Shona Galloway

Thank you Shona. For further advice on preparing your CV take a look at our post CV Writing Tips

Worked as a Runner on Britain’s Got Talent or The X Factor?

Have you ever worked as a Day Runner on Britain’s Got Talent or X Factor? If so you may well be due holiday pay for the work you did on these two shows.

Thames are now aware that many people will have been promised holiday pay and never received it as they should have. Dean Jones (Director of Production) has said that anyone who now wants to receive this pay should write to the company with details of the work they did and Thames will address this for them (email address: dean.jones@thames.tv). There is also a firm commitment from the company that no-one will be penalised as a result of asking for this holiday pay as it is their legal entitlement.

The company has also committed to pay holiday pay to every runner who works for the company in the future and has also committed to endeavour to treat people fairly on these productions in the future.

This message has been approved by the company at the highest level.

Any questions, ask Mark on derrywatson@gmail.com.

Can job sharing work in TV? Lou Patel has an idea…

Lou3Lou Patel has worked in TV for several years and is a recent first time mother. As she juggled with the conflicting needs of her child and attempts to earn a living she came up with the idea of ‘Share My Telly Job’, which is a kind of dating service for parents looking to job share. Lou explains how she came up with idea and what she hopes to achieve.

I’ve been a mum for exactly 16 months to an amazing little girl called Lola. Before she came along I’d been working hard for ten years to build up my TV career and loved my role as a self-shooting PD/Edit Producer. Literally the moment I became pregnant, my career hit a brick wall. I couldn’t pick up a camera, so no more shooting. I was sick as a dog but felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, I didn’t want to become the weak link on the team. I worked night shifts when I was 6 months pregnant and crawled on my hands and knees to bed when they were over. I didn’t want to rock the boat and ask not to do them because there were plenty of others that would!

Lou1Once my daughter arrived and I’d settled in to the motherly routine, I started to think about getting back to work but found it almost impossible to make my old job work. Luckily for me I was able to land a very rare job share working as a Gallery Director. I share with a father of 3 and we work for 6 months of the year, part-time and it works brilliantly. For the other 6 months I’ve been unable to find anything regular. It’s the childcare issue to begin with; committing to £400 a week childcare without a regular job is, well, impossible. But I can’t go for jobs until Lola is settled in childcare, so there is the big catch 22. Then, how do I get home in time to collect her? My husband’s job isn’t flexible so it would be down to me to collect her from nursery if there was a high temperature or a fall.

After speaking to countless mums about the pressure this creates I just couldn’t put myself in this position – I also would quite like to put my daughter to bed, at least a few times a week. So the easiest option, sadly, is to not apply for the jobs. I’m sure this in the internal dialogue all TV mums go through, I don’t have to expand I’m sure! I think the biggest frustration is that I miss the job I love to do and I don’t want to go back, firing at only 70%. Being a freelancer has huge benefits in this world. Being able to pick and choose roles, taking breaks from work when needed, being able to nip off to Thailand in January when everyone else is back in the office. But, now, when I need help the most, I have no maternity pay, no part-time work options, no real loyalty with employers who’ll help work around my family life and get me back in to work.

This is when freelancing breaks down. I’ve moved around companies for ten years and although I’ve made some terrific friends nobody really has any obligation to get me back to work after maternity leave. I understand that as a mum I may not be able to stay in the edit until midnight, pop on a plane to Scotland for a recce, or be flexible with the hours I work. But, when I’m there, I’ll work my socks off to make sure I get the job done. When I’ve put my daughter to bed I’ll happily carry on (from home) if I need to. I won’t shy away from work. If anything, I’ll work harder and I’ll show my employers that I’m as good as anyone else in the office, regardless of a little girl at home who needs to see me from time to time.

If I did commit to a full time job, then yes, I probably would fall down in places. I’d be permanently frazzled trying to manage the balance, probably won’t be able to hang on until 6pm when the commissioner is due in or stay until 10pm to get the changes done! But, give me 3 days and there will be no issue – for those 3 days I can put everything in place, I can confirm the childcare and I’ll even be OK if Lola goes bed without seeing me, I have another 4 days where she will. I’ll be productive, I’ll be sharp and I’ll prove I can get it done. When I’ve spoken to anyone who’s been lucky enough to land a job share I’ve never heard anything other than how great it worked out. It always does! Unfortunately, once that golden contract has finished freelancers find it really difficult to find another and usually give up the fruitless task of trying to ‘convince’ employers to try their job share again.

Lou4This is where the idea for Share My Telly Job came from. There are so many freelancers I know who I could share a job with. We would handover seamlessly because we have the same experience; we’ve even worked together before. We would work the week between us so one of us would always be there. Given the chance we would make it work, because that’s what we are used to doing in TV. It works on my current job and I don’t see why this can’t be replicated across the industry. It’s success ultimately relies on type of job/programme and the strength of the relationship between the job sharers. I think we all just need the chance to prove that we can make it work.

Although the main aim is to help working parents back in to TV, the job-sharing concept can apply to anyone and everyone who may not be able to commit to full time hours at that particular time of their lives. It really doesn’t have to be an issue for employers, I believe that once Share My Telly Job is established and the best freelancing pairs are matched, employers shouldn’t really feel any difference. Both freelancers will attend the interview, references will be provided and the pair will already have a relationship. The week will have been worked out between them and they, more than anyone, will want the job share to work.

When I launched the group, Share My Telly Job on Facebook, I would have been happy with a couple of hundred members ‘liking’ the concept. Within 48 hours, 1800 had joined the group, and the support has been incredible. You can see from the comments within the group’s pages why gender inequality in TV isn’t being fixed. There are countless articles written, reports and statistics published that illustrate the problem, but what is actually being done to counteract the problem? Along with the support there has been a certain amount of resistance from employers too. This is to be expected. Any feedback at this stage is welcomed and it all helps to create a better understanding as to why a simple solution has been so difficult to implement.

It doesn’t make sense why freelancers with superb CVs and years of hard work and success behind them can’t go back to work. My hopes are that employers can change their perception of TV parents and part-time workers so they are not seen as a drain on resources, but in fact a valuable asset. At the moment Share My Telly Job is a concept and to make it a reality we need employers to be brave enough to give it a try and lend a hand to thousands of talented freelancers who are trying to keep hold of a career they love.

Our website will be up and running by the end of April. It’s a simple site, which will encourage the community of TV parents and part timers to put forward their availability and preferred job roles. It will take some time to grow the database and get the matching process underway but when we get it right we really hope that the companies get on board and set aside contracts that work well with job sharers. The main site will follow in the next couple of months once we get the service off the ground. The idea is very similar to a dating site – once you join, you can chat to other members looking for similar roles, organise a meet-up and bash out a working week that suits the pair of you. You’ll be able to advertise yourself as an established ‘job-share’ and search for jobs that have been allocated to Share My Telly Job.

With almost 2000 people supporting the concept of so far, it’s clear there is a demand for a more adaptable way of working in our industry. We feel that job shares should be common working practice, not just a lucky find. By signing up to Share My Telly Job and showing your support, you will be helping us make the right noise to convince employers to support a more flexible way of working.

www.sharemytellyjob.com
www.twitter.com/sharemytellyjob
https://www.facebook.com/sharemytellyjob


RELATED STORIES
Broadcast: Young Women Leaving Television
Careers in TV for Women
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elevisual: 63.9% Of Jobs In Film & TV Are Held By Men, 36.1% by Women

Invoice Template

As a runner most of your jobs will be PAYE. You’ll be paid through the company payroll system and Tax and National Insurance will be deducted before you get the money.
But there are occasions where an employer can ask you to send an invoice, when a job qualifies under the ‘7 Day Rule’ which is peculiar to our industry. This where an engagement is for six consecutive days or fewer (including any days off). NI should still be deducted but you will need to pay any tax owing through self-assessment.
BUT (and please remember this) you DON’T have to register self employed. You are not becoming self-employed, you are merely declaring some additional income on a self assessment form.
Here is a simple template for an invoice you can download free if you need one (shared on Google Docs with no login required or data collected).

Using Your Car For Business

There is often confusion over this issue and it comes up a lot, so here are the key points.

If you use your car for business and have to claim for some reason, and you don’t have business cover in place (assuming the insurers find out you were driving on business) they may not pay out your claim. If you think you may need to drive for work at some point (recces, going to location, picking up props or equipment etc) then add some business miles to your policy. It’s quite cheap and it means that you are covered should anything happen.

Who or what you are driving and why is really not your concern. If the production company wants to put their talent in your car and rely on your cover that’s their problem, not yours. It isn’t up to you to insure the talent or the equipment or anything else. The production insurance held by the company will respond if the talent has an accident and is unable to continue. but with “business use cover” your liabilities will be insured and you need not worry.

Some people seem to assume you need to take on the responsibilities of the company and insure for having talent in your car etc. You don’t, although the insurance company may take the view that your job makes that a possibility and will take that into account in your premium calculation. All you need to do is protect yourself – just ask for ‘occasional business use’.

A word of caution though. IF an accident is your fault and IF you injure someone or damage equipment and IF you are NOT covered you could be in serious trouble – because the company may decide to claim against you for negligence in order to limit their losses. Without cover to protect you that might well be a major financial disaster for you. So get yourself covered.

Don’t Let The BBC Become A Memory

avatar_f9a2c6b6b2fd_128The government is currently writing a new charter for how the BBC is run. We’ve already lost BBC Three and sports like Formula 1 and the Olympics to funding cuts. We can’t risk losing more.

The BBC is part of who we are. It is our spotlight on the world and the way the world knows about us. In fact, every week 97% of UK adults tune in to the BBC online, on TV or on their radio, and more than 300 million people around the world join them. Isn’t that astonishing? And do you know the best thing? The BBC is independent and impartial, so there’s nobody looking to pocket a penny or two or push their own agenda.

The Great BBC Campaign was started by two independent television producers – Charlie Parsons and Lord Waheed Alli who think that the BBC is the best of what it is to be British, and that once it’s destroyed, it can never be rebuilt.

Don’t let the #GreatBBC become a memory, fight for it by signing up to the campaign today.

The_Great_BBC_Campaign

Christopher Lunn sentenced to 5 years jail

lunnA tax adviser and accountant to the media industry has been jailed for five years for evading more than £6 million in tax.

Denis Christopher Carter Lunn ran a Sussex-based accountancy firm, Christopher Lunn & Co, whose 7,000-plus clients included many from the media and entertainment worlds.

The firm was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and in 2010 the premises in Crowborough were searched and Lunn was arrested. HMRC uncovered evidence of a range of serious offences, which included the inflating of accountancy fees and the fraudulent use of trading losses – all intended to help Lunn and his clients evade paying their fair share of tax.

After five years of detailed investigation, Lunn was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in December 2015, where a jury found him guilty of four counts of Cheating the Public Revenue.

Jennie Granger, Director General, Enforcement and Compliance, HMRC said:

“Lunn believed he could make up fraudulent claims to benefit both himself and his clients. Hard work from HMRC officers across the department proved him wrong. This long-running investigation has already recovered £20m as Lunn’s former clients settle their tax liabilities, with more to come.

“I hope this result serves as a reminder to those who try to cheat the public purse – particularly those in the tax profession – that no one is above the law and that HMRC will relentlessly pursue tax evaders to bring them before the courts.”

HMRC has now started confiscation proceedings to strip Lunn of any financial gain he made as a result of his criminal activity.

As Lunn’s clients were unaware of his actions, they have been offered a chance to put things right for themselves by paying any tax and interest due. Any client who has not yet come forward pending the outcome of the trial is encouraged to speak to HMRC to bring their affairs up to date as many of his clients have already done. Civil investigations into Lunn’s clients have so far recovered more than £20m, with a projected £40m expected when all clients have settled.

Lunn’s son, Christopher Jonathan Lunn (Jon), who also worked at the firm, was convicted in December 2014 on six counts under the Fraud Act, after he had sent false invoices to HMRC to try to cover up the fraud in the practice.

Previous story: Christopher Lunn – Guilty

Christopher Lunn: Guilty

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 16.52.48

We have just heard that the jury have returned a verdict of guilty against Christopher Lunn. Here is the press release from HMRC, which also acknowledges that his clients were not aware of any wrongdoing.

So if you paid a fine you should consider applying to have this returned.

Lunn will be sentenced on 6 January 2016

More press coverage:
The Financial Times
Accounting Web
Sussex Express
The Argus