You and the minimum wage

Did you know that employers can’t avoid paying the National Minimum Wage if it’s due by:

… saying or stating that it doesn’t apply
… making a written agreement saying someone isn’t a worker or that they’re a volunteer

That’s what the law says – it’s all in here…


Oh, and if you have done work for free in the past (other than work experience as part of your course) there’s a calculator here which will allow you to claim what you are owed. You can claim for all your underpayments going back over the last 6 years!

It doesn’t matter how big or small your employer was, or whether you were full or part time, or you were getting expenses, or you agreed to do it, or even if you signed a contract saying you would work for free. As long as you were entitled to the National Minimum Wage you can still get it.

Don’t believe me? Need some help? Contact Mark Watson for some confidentialfree help and advice on getting paid what you are owed.

See also How Much Should I Be Paid?

New product placement marketplace for brands and producers


BRANDPLACER is the new product placement marketplace for brands and producers. is an online platform that will extend product placement opportunities to both film, TV and theatre productions as well as brands and products – of all shapes and sizes.

Brandplacer has one simple objective – to revolutionise the world of product placement by making it accessible to everyone. The website makes this possible by providing a cost-effective and transparent global platform where product owners can respond directly to placement requests made by media producers and their production teams.

The advantages to both parties are clear, as Brandplacer founder Murray Ashton explains. “Producers and their crews are always looking for new opportunities to make their productions look different and bring something new to their audience. At the same time, smart brands are looking for new, creative ways to connect with consumers and distance themselves from their competition,” he says.

“Product placement through Brandplacer presents a tremendous opportunity for these brands and productions to add value, improve their bottom line and significantly boost their profile.”

Brands already listed on the platform include Irish designer Philip Treacy, Amsterdam bike maker Roetz and Californian winemaker Fiddlehead.

Expanding access           

As an affordable and transparent platform – with no agency fees or intermediaries – Brandplacer will also dramatically expand access to product placement opportunities. “Our goal is to empower anyone, anywhere, to fulfil a product placement opportunity,” says Ashton.

“I hope Brandplacer will enable both brand owners and production professionals worldwide to find creative product placement solutions that will prove mutually beneficial.”



GEITF: How to be a Better Indie Survey


19th June 2014

Calling all Freelancers!

Do you want your voice heard?

This freelancer survey aims to highlight the best and worst practices in the independent sector and will form part of a major session at this year’s Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival.

Your views will be discussed in a session entitled How To Be A Better Indie, taking place in Edinburgh on August 22nd and I would encourage you to take this opportunity to have your say and be part of this very important debate.

The deadline for submissions is FRIDAY 27th JUNE, so please return your surveys to us ASAP!

Take the anonymous survey here

We want to know where you enjoy working, which company has the best working conditions and where you feel most valued. Responses will be fielded directly to independent research company SPA Future Thinking, with replies remaining strictly anonymous.

We want to continue to make change within the industry, by exploring how to improve the way independent production companies work with freelancers, but we can only do this with your help!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Yours sincerely,

Lisa Campbell

Festival Director, Edinburgh International Television Festival



CV Writing Tips

If you are finding it difficult to write your CV for the TV/Film production industry – here are some starting tips of what to include pasted below. Downloadable pdf for your reference attached – TV CV writing tips


This list is designed as some pointers to get you started and is in no way exhaustive.

Before you start – it is worth considering if it more useful to have a number of CVs for different job roles. Each one must be consistent in style but make easy reading for an employer in whichever industry you are working. E.g. have one as a TV Runner and another as a web designer (although in that specific instance it would be useful to list your html skills in your TV CV).

* Call your CV filename ‘ YOUR NAME – YOUR JOB TITLE – YEAR‘ so that employers can easily find you if they save it in a folder.

* Put your full name, no nicknames. Then your location (rather than your full address, it’s better for posting in social media), email and your mobile at the top (ensure your email address is appropriate and NOT or similar),

* Put your job title at the top near your name. Employers want to know what you do very quickly and will spot it straight away.

* A personal statement should be a short paragraph. 2 or 3 lines on who you are, what you do and your current skills. Genre experience is also helpful. (Learn the difference between what is a genre and what is a technical format…)

* Next do some bullet points of your key skills e.g.
• Fluent French and German language skills
• Confident shooter using [name types of camera]
• Basic FCP / digitizing
• Live Studio & O.B experience
• Archive clearance

* Now list your credits (a ‘credit’ is just something you’ve worked on, and nothing to do with an on-screen credit). Each one should have the same format and should detail the following in bold to be easily scanned by an employer:

List your credits like this, starting with the most recent:
Production Name | Prod. Co. for Broadcaster | 
Your Role
One line is sufficient to describe the programme and include the broadcaster. 2 lines description max.

* If you are relatively junior, you could briefly mention tasks that were delegated to you by a more senior person.

* Keep all your TV work together and list anything else you think could be useful in an ‘other employment’ section after your TV work if you feel this is supportive.

* If you have credits on adverts or promos – list the brands or bands

* Briefly list your education. Bullet points are best.

* Any relevant training should go last right at the bottom and you should list exactly which course you completed and the date. So find out the name and governing body of the course. First Aid, Health & Safety, Hostile Environment courses are as important as technical equipment training.

* You can list your references if you want to. Be sure to ask the person whose details you will be including BEFORE you do this. Also, if you provide them as a reference in an interview, be sure to tell them before the potential employer actually calls them!

*IMPORTANT: In consideration of new GDPR data protection regulations, Talent Managers across the industry are requesting that CVs should include a statement of consent permitting them to continue handling them in the traditional way. Without explicit permission they will not be able to pass on your CV without coming back to you for further consent. Add this or similar text to your footer:

GDPR Statement: This CV may be kept on file and distributed for employment purposes

* Your CV should be around 2 pages long. One page if you are a Runner and no more!

*Check your spelling and grammar. Do not write “drivers license”, it is incorrect. Use these words: “driving licence”.

*Do not combine your student film making experience with your professional work.

*Name your CV . Give it your name and your job title. Do not say you are a Producer or Director or Editor if you are a Runner. If you are a runner, the PM wants to see your running experience, they are not interested in your producing or directing experience.

*Always write something in the email when you send your CV in application for a job. If you can’t be bothered writing to say what job you are applying for and why, they may well not bother opening the attachment!

*Be straight. Be honest. Do not big yourself up; it will not get you the job and you will be found out!


Creating a cover email

Tax and HMRC

Some four years ago, rumours began circulating that an accountant specialising in media freelancers had been raided by HMRC.  It was true:  HMRC confiscated all the company’s files, whether paper or on computer, and started writing to all the company’s clients insisting that they had been underpaying tax for years and must now review their accounts.

Unbelievably, the case continues.  A trial which ended four months ago resulted in a hung jury on the substantive points and HMRC is believed to be preparing to retry the case.   We have not named the company because of the ongoing legal action.

The Watercooler became the only permanent source of advice and support for around 4000-5000 clients, and a community of wonderful accountants quickly grew up offering their services.    BECTU stepped in and funded a public meeting which drew hundreds of frightened freelancers, and a few accountants and tax experts took up the challenge of representing them.

Most of the discussions and other information still exists on the Watercooler, but to avoid the risk of contempt of court the crucial material has been moved to secure areas and is accessible only to registered members.   However we believe that most of the people who needed advice and support have already joined so they should have access to the areas they need.

We will be compiling an easy list of the accountants who posted their details on the old Cooler so that anyone hoping to find a media-savvy accountant can easily do so, so please do check back.

Employment rights and pay for interns


This document sets out the official government position on interns

Rights to the National Minimum Wage

An intern is entitled to the National Minimum Wage if they count as a worker.

Employers can’t avoid paying the National Minimum Wage if it’s due by:

  • saying or stating that it doesn’t apply
  • making a written agreement saying someone isn’t a worker or that they’re a volunteer

Promise of future work

An intern is classed as a worker and is due the National Minimum Wage if they’re promised a contract of future work.


What is the seven day rule?

This is a special exemption, just for film and TV, which allows people who would normally be PAYE to be paid gross. The company still has to pay the National Insurance though.

Because many employed workers in the Film, Production & TV Broadcasting industry have short engagements with a succession of different employers, the normal operation of PAYE is impractical and would in many cases result in excessive deductions of tax. The Seven-Day Rule is intended to alleviate the hardship, which might arise from such excessive deductions.

You need not apply PAYE to payments made to workers engaged for less than one week – that is, for six consecutive days or less.

The period of six consecutive days includes rest days and weekends if these fall between the first and last days of engagement. For example, if a worker is engaged for
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and for the following Monday and Tuesday, the intervening weekend must be counted and the limit of six days will be exceeded.

Here’s the most recent copy of the guidance document issued by HMRC fi-notes-2012