Want to work in TV and thinking of going to University first?

If so, and you’re looking at TV/Film/Media courses, here are the 12 questions you should be asking on Open Day:

1. What is the kit like (shooting, editing, sound, studios etc) and can you easily get your hands on it?

2. What opportunities for work experience are there? Do they lay it on, have contacts in the industry and is it “meaningful” (ie relevant and practical).

3. Do the lecturers have recent experience in the industry? (You need to know they know what they’re talking about).

4. Do they get in guest speakers from the industry to give talks?  

5. What is the careers advice like? Do they give you individual guidance and who is giving it (again, do they have industry experience or access to good sources?).

6. Where do recent graduates go? And alumni after 3-5 years, how many are in the industry and at what level? (Remember alumni are ready made contacts of the course team and are a valuable asset when looking for work experience and a first job)

7. Does the course have accreditation e.g Screen Skills?

8. What is the largest group taught in for practical modules? Some will need to have lots of people (eg studio sessions) but some work better the fewer students there are (eg editing).

9. How is group work managed and assessed? Will you be doing work which will benefit others who might put in no effort? Group work to learn how to work in a team is important but being assessed on other people’s (lack of) contribution can be a real irritant to conscientious students.

10. What is the balance of theory and practice and what sort of theory is taught? Theory has its place of course but the amount and quality of the practical experience you get is the real value .

11. Does the curriculum meet your specific needs, does it allow you to specialise at the end of the course in a genre or role? Or does everyone have to produce/direct? Is it broad enough to introduce you to things you’ve never thought of?

11. What software is used for editing, sound, production management (if they teach those areas)? Does the course offer extras like ProTools or Avid accreditation for example.

12. What extra course costs are there? Cost for final projects (locations, actor expenses, copyright for music?). Does the uni cover these or is there a cap on how much you can spend to stop those who can afford it spending loads and having a better project just because they have more money?

Make sure you get satisfactory answers to all these (feel free to print this off as a list and take it with you). And remember, you are the customer – they have to impress you NOT the other way round!

TRAVELLING TO THE USA ON A WORK VISA

At the time of writing travelling to the USA on a work visa is becoming incredibly difficult. The Embassy is currently requiring a lot of detailed information, which they lay out in an email reproduced below.

My suggestion is to document this stuff as it happens, just in case you ever need it!

Here’s the email …

Thank you very much for your interest in a non-immigrant visa for travel to the United States. Some additional information is required at this time in order to continue the processing of your recent application. You must reply within seven days of receiving this e-mail. Please do not use a chart or spreadsheet when replying. We request that you please reply to this e-mail as thoroughly and specifically as possible with regard to the following items:

1. Your complete travel history over the last 15 years, including source of funding for travel, in chronological order.

2. The full names and dates of birth of any siblings, children; current and former spouses/civil or domestic partners/ *not* already provided in your initial application.

3. Your residence address history for the last 15 years, if different from your current address.

4. Your phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years;

5. All prior passport numbers and country of issuance.

6. All prior occupation(s), and employers, plus a brief description if applicable, for the last 15 years.

7. Public-facing social media platforms and identifiers/handles used during the last five years. This includes any websites or applications the applicant has used to create or share content (photos, videos, status updates, etc.) as part of a public profile.

Janet Marrett. Kashif Boothe. Mediathirsty Productions.

A warning to anyone considering working for either of these individuals or this company (www.mediathirsty.co.uk).

This company has recently recruited someone to work on a production and then failed to pay them the minimum wage to which they are entitled.

As such due caution should be exercised before embarking on any kind of financial relationship with either of them or this company in the future.

Joe Gaffney. Jermaine Pinnock. Root2Fruit Media.

A warning to anyone considering working for either of these individuals or this company.

Please note that a considerable number of people have recently been left unpaid after working on a production for Joe Gaffney, Jermaine Pinnock and Root2Fruit Media (https://root2fruitmedia.co.uk/) and that due caution should be exercised before embarking on any kind of financial relationship with either of them or this company in the future.

Why Runners should keep to the one page CV rule.

It is often suggested that Runners should keep their CVs down to one page. Here are 5  reasons why this is a good rule to follow:

1. Employers will spend maybe 5-10 seconds taking a first look at your CV. One page will force them to focus on your best content in that time.

2.  If you don’t put a limit on the amount of information contained in your CV, you will tend to put unnecessary detail. Sticking to one page makes you focus on the strongest material to include, expressed in the most concise form. How many times do you want to say you made tea and coffee or did the lunch runs on this or that show? Does that Cycling Proficiency qualification really add anything? Or that student film which you loved making but won’t mean a hill of beans to a TV industry Line Producer?

3.  Employers are often not in the first flush of youth.  If they print out your CV (which many of the old dears do because that’s the world they know) you are forcing them into the hell of staples and paperclips. You really don’t want to confuse them any more than they might already be. 

4.  It is not uncommon for more experienced TV professionals to stick to one page. If they can, so should you.

5. If your CV is jam packed with brilliant shows and you have to add another page, you should ask yourself – shouldn’t I be moving on and up by now?

Sticking to one page isn’t an immutable rule but if you are going to break it, consider whether the reasons for doing so are good enough – they rarely are. 

Free, confidential helpline for Film and TV workers

Here’s something freelancers should know about – a new service provided by a great organisation,The Film & Television Charity.

It’s the Film & TV Support Line, a free to use confidential helpine for all workers in our industry to use if they would like support for a wide range of needs, including stress, anxiety, health, mental health, and financial and legal concerns.

The number you can call is 0800 054 00 00 and it is available 24/7. There is more information here and anyone who’d like to support the charity’s work can do so by dropping them a fiver or two via this link.

Worth having a look at all they do – it’s a lot!



Endemol’s Brightbulb internship scheme

It’s that time of year again, when one of the best opportunities comes around for new starters in the TV industry.

The Brightbulb internship scheme is a paid opportunity run by those lovely people at EndemolShine, one of the UK’s top TV production companies. They are looking for 8 junior creatives, specifically people who are into TV formats because your job will be to come up with more of them!

NO EXPERIENCE NECCESARY

You don’t need any specific qualifications, media training or any previous TV experience to do this job but you do need bags of enthusiasm, a good brain and innovative, original ideas.

It’s a three month contract starting on Monday 30th of September 2019, full time and paid at a weekly rate of £400 gross, based in Endemol’s office in West London. If you live outside the M25 and need to relocate to commute for the position there is a one off relocation bursary of up to £750 available to help you move.

As always with these opportunities, competition will be fierce so apply thoughtfully.

Good luck!

LINK to the details and application form

Richard Osman talking about the scheme

Facebook posting

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 2019

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