Thinking of subscribing to My First Job in TV or Film?

Before you sign up, you may want to consider what others have said about the value of their subscriptions. Here are just a few – every one of these is a direct quote from an individual subscriber:

I paid a lot to these guys when I first started out and was always disappointed not to ever get anywhere with it!

It was such a waste of money!

I’ve emailed them a couple of times to try and get a refund but never get a response

Over the years I have sent tens of applications through those websites and as a result I was only getting upset that I wasn’t considered even for the jobs that did not require any experience

I didn’t find any jobs on there that weren’t already online elsewhere

I never received any responses to the number of jobs I applied for.

I found very limited paying jobs appearing on the site, and more internships and runner roles that, for the most part, were unpaid

Didn’t hear back from anything!

Every time I applied directly through them i never heard back. I have only used it successfully once, when I contacted the employer directly and decided to not listen to the advice of “don’t apply through employer”.

My subscription with MFJIF never got my any work

I didn’t even get an interview out of the service

Number of jobs obtained through MFJF/TV: 0

I was actually starting to question whether they were sending my applications out or not at one point…overall I haven’t been impressed and, having come across numerous other sites that offer the same/similar service for free, I have cancelled my subscription and feel a little cheated if I’m honest

Nothing ever came from my subscription or various applications

I spent 76 pounds between the two websites which was a lot when I was trying to find tv work and never got anything through the websites.

I paid MFJIF some money for subscriptions and inevitably never got any use at all from the site

I applied for SO many jobs and never even heard back

I applied to a number of jobs and never heard back from any of them

I never got any work out of the applications I made and it did annoy me for ages afterwards

I received no work

Got no work from it!

I never got anything from the service

I’ve had no interest from this site whatsoever, even when I’ve been an extremely well suited candidate for many of the advertised positions. It really makes you feel unemployable – which is certainly not the case!

I paid them £30 before realising what rubbish the site was

I sent 71 applications and got 1 unpaid internship

Absolutely nothing came from it despite a few dozen applications

Nothing came of the numerous applications i submitted via the site (the majority of which were only for work experience placements).

I subscribed to both websites…and received no paid jobs

Got absolutely nothing from it at all, and most jobs were available free elsewhere.

Out of the 29 applications made I received no response at all.

I had to cancel my MFJIF subscription last month after hearing barely anything back from the hundreds of jobs I applied for. I have a ton of experience working on independent films… I’m more than qualified for the positions I’ve been applying for.

I have had no work from them at all.

I remember applying to many things and never heard back. It often felt like sending my CV to nowhere. I have no proof my applications were even read by anyone, whether it was the people running the website, or the company recruiting. It didn’t feel transparent at all, and the level of secrecy was just unsettling, as was the lack of contact/support/help from the website

I subscribed to MFJ Film for around a year on and off and did not receive a single job.

I can’t help but wonder if the production company who advertised even received my application.

The team on these sites always sent emails offering help with cv and tips for interviews, I emailed them constantly but never heard back from them, to be honest I don’t even think the companies I was supposedly applying for received my application. I left because I wasn’t getting any jobs from the site, I realised some of the jobs were posted somewhere else for free and I never received any sort of help from them.

I applied to every single relevant job that came up in that 6 month period. I would only apply if I met the criteria and I truly thought I always applied in a professional manner and that I clearly had a lot to offer. I think I got a declining reply from 1 of 100 jobs, no other replies though

Overall MFJF was a waste of money and I will never use the site again, especially if payment was required to check vacancies that are already out there.

I have applied for many jobs on MFJITV, do production companies actually read and take these applications from MFJITV? I have applied for many but never heard anything back

I had subscribed to MFJIF previously but stopped paying after a few months when I wasn’t getting any work from it

I never received a single response back.

I subscribed to my first job in tv I think and had nothing from it. I quickly realised their jobs are advertised elsewhere so never renewed it

I’ve never even had an interview.

Many of the ‘premium’ opportunities are still work experience or talent pool schemes with little or no pay. Essentially people are paying money to apply for the possibility of gaining work experience (no guarantee at all), something which doesn’t seem fair or right at all.

I haven’t applied to every single job that comes up because I know the department I want to work in and I always read the job spec carefully, therefore I’m not always suited to the roles. However on the occasions where I am suitable I would apply in the same way as any other job – tailor my CV to the role, write a cover letter and send it off into the void. I have applied for less than 10 jobs in six months and not heard a single thing from anyone.

I never got any work through them even though I applied for every paid relevant job on the site. I always noticed that there were far more unpaid jobs on the MFJITV site than paid jobs and a lot of these unpaid “work experience” jobs seemed to advertised again and again over time for the same productions. My suspicions about this were confirmed when I heard from a PD that had worked on one of these productions that they had a constant stream of work experience people to do certain tasks.

I very quickly decided that the website wasn’t worth it as a lot of the stuff they had on there was unpaid work experience.

I applied for numerous jobs on MFJ but had no acknowledgment, responses or interviews from any. There never seemed to be many new jobs on there either, and a lot on the listings were closed and just hadn’t been taken down. Very few of all their jobs were paid – I don’t remember there being more than 1 page of paid work adverts on there. Not getting much for £60 subscriptions for a few months. The only time I ever heard from MFJ was when I emailed wishing to cancel my subscription!

I think that these sites are ridiculous as they just prey on people’s fear of not being able to find employment, or being left out of opportunities

6 months with them, paid membership, never got even the easiest 2 weeks long volunteering job and I’ve applied to a lot.

I paid a lot to these guys when I first started out and was always disappointed not to ever get anywhere with it

I used to apply thinking I am just not good enough to even get a rejection email.

I have never had any response from any job applications on there

In all the ones I’ve put my applications in for (a fair few!), I’ve only ever heard back from one. Plus, a lot of the jobs ads don’t disclose the companies advertising, so it’s tricky to know who you’re applying to further than the basic info provided by the site.

No feedback or responses.

No real benefit

Jobs are often advertised elsewhere for free

Most of the jobs advertised are posted on free sites

I applied for over a hundred roles via them over 6 months and didn’t get anywhere with any of them. I feel I conducted myself professionally and was definitely a viable choice for a worker, but I think I just got lost in the immense sea of fellow applicants.

Apparently there are people who have acquired work through this site but I’ve never met them. I have never received a single response for applications through MFJIF

Most of the jobs turn up in other places anyway.

MFJIF claims to have exclusive rights to big films jobs but I never got even a sniff of work on any of these so I am dubious. MFJITV advertises jobs that can be easily found in several other places for free so that is not worth paying for.

I never even received a response from any of the applications I submitted via the site, let alone an offer of work, yet managed to get work and places on trainee schemes through other means like the Shine Group’s online database and Creative Skillset. MFJIF was by far the least successful option for finding work and I don’t think that’s (entirely!) a reflection on my applications.

Many of the ‘jobs’ you have to pay to get access to are in fact unpaid internships

They post jobs that are posted for free on Facebook or The Unit Base (List) and they don’t offer you any sort of help regarding CVs or cover letters.

MFJIF and MFJITV rarely seem to have actual paid work anymore, lots of unpaid internships and work experience. When it started it proclaimed to be trying to stamp out this kind of thing

My first job in film – only ever got in contact with me when I wanted to cancel my subscription. Very disappointing service

MFJIF is a complete waste of money.

It’s expensive for what it is – a site giving access to work experience

I have applied to various paid and unpaid jobs but never heard back. It was just waste of time and money

I paid a total of £45 and I never got any work

Absolutely totally nothing came out of it, and I was applying again and again, and again

Sites like My First Job In Film not only take your money but also provide false hope for inexperienced runners

I made a lot of applications to both paid jobs and unpaid work experience schemes/runner pools and never heard back from any. This could of course been due to the high number of applicants/my limited experience – however since discovering most of the work post is listed for free elsewhere, except with direct employer contact details, I have serious doubts that any of my applications were actually forwarded to employers

I have applied to hundreds of jobs on their site and I haven’t had any feedback from any of them, needless to say it has been a very demoralising ordeal trying to find work because I don’t think I should be in this position.

It was such a waste of money

The jobs advertised are advertised everywhere else

I got nothing from it

I didn’t hear a thing at all; applying for everything that I was suited for both unpaid and paid.

I found the website to be totally useless, my emails were often ignored

They were a waste of money to me, didn’t help at all.

Nothing whatsoever came from it. After having paid for the subscription, most of the jobs were unpaid or ‘experience.’

During my subscription, out of all the jobs I have applied for I have never been contacted/shortlisted for an interview

All the jobs I have applied to on there have gone nowhere

I paid £80 for a years subscription. I’ve had no work from the site.

Not being successful in finding a job

Despite my existing experience in the industry I have never seen the shadow of an opportunity to thank them for.

I never had any replies from jobs on the site

I have paid for 3 one year subscriptions to My First Job in Film and 1 one year subscription to My First Job in TV. I did not receive any work from either site.

I paid for a 6 month subscription (needless to say I didn’t get a single job from this)

Although it said it would show me lots more job posts, got me absolutely nowhere

I’ve paid for subscriptions on several occasions and have had no luck in finding any work through them. In the past I’ve found the lack of information about the roles they give and the necessary payment before applying absolutely infuriating and I will never be giving them money again.

I lost £115 on that website, I still haven’t got any job from it. The only time they called me for a job interview, they didn’t actually offer the job advertised on the website and they were not going to provide expenses (it was a work experience).

I subscribed to the site with a large portfolio of work for high end clients and never once got an email in any form from a company. A friend of mine who has been on a course with the NFTS also never received any emails.

I did not only get a single response (not even feedback) but also found out that loads of the “exclusive jobs” advertised were actually found somewhere else. It is annoying and frustrating for someone like me to see how could I perfectly apply for so many opportunities advertised there but knowing it will never happen

I didn’t see any result from my applications

As a young naive graduate I signed up to my first job in film believing all those great opportunities they posted would help me on my way. So I subscribed, and got exactly 0 opportunities

I’ve certainly not got any work from the site

I’ve paid £75 in total for their subscription service, and I have yet to get a response from an employer. It’s one of those things, you don’t want to have to pay for the service, but you’re scared if you don’t you’ll miss out on an opportunity. I’m not renewing my subscription after this month. In my view, it’s been 100% useless.

I paid a £50 yearly subscription to My First Job in Film and never received a single reply from every job I applied for weekly

I paid £30 for a six month membership which of course was a complete waste of money

I have been a paying member of the site MyFirstJobInFilm.co.uk several times over the past few years, and I don’t think I have had a single response from this site

I used it for longer than 6 months and heard back from no employers despite my experience.

I applied to soo many places and have not heard ANYTHING from anywhere…not even a standard “NO” reply

In the 12 months of being a member I’ve not gotten one job. I know the market is competitive but once your application forms gone, it’s like it’s gone to Narnia!

After months of subscription and lots of applications I still never heard back

I have applied to loads of jobs through them and haven’t heard back from any of them at all. But have heard back through other websites I have used

I applied to many jobs through this site and never got even 1 reply

I do not think this site is worth paying for

If you want to find jobs in the industry, and don’t want to waste your money on sites like these you may wish to consider these free to use ones instead:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tv.runners/
http://www.theunitlist.com/jobs/
https://www.thetalentmanager.co.uk/

Don’t give your money to job sites – an update

Following on from our survey about subscription jobs sites like My First Job in TV/Film and Production Base (and the promise from recruiters not to use them), the Sunday newspapers have shown an interest in what these companies are doing.

Here’s the article, from the Observer. And a reminder – you really don’t need to give your hard earned cash to these companies, there are masses of places where you can find all the jobs for free!

TV and movie workers revolt at ‘unfair’ fees for job adverts

James-May-Jeremy-Clarkson-009
Unsung heroes complain at being charged to apply to shows such as new-look Top Gear.

They make the tea, clean the sets and sort out lunch for the stars, and hope for an eventual promotion to a bigger, better role. But there is rebellion brewing among the unsung heroes of the showbusiness industry.

Officials connected to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have launched an investigation after about 120 angry “runners” complained that to obtain their lowly jobs they first had to pay hundreds of pounds to showbusiness employment agencies, including one site that is currently recruiting runners required for a new Clarkson, Hammond and May car show, the Top Gear-style programme to be launched by the Amazon subscription service, Prime.

The runners – who are often paid the minimum wage – claim that websites such as Production Base, My First Job in TV and Film, and Film and TV Pro were illegally charging as much as £15 a month to have access to job adverts. The Employment Agencies Act 1973 makes it “illegal, except in specified circumstances, for an agency to charge a fee in Great Britain to someone who is looking for work”.

Each of the websites claims to have successfully assured the inspectorate that its business model complies with the law, since the websites are covered by an exemption designed to permit newspaper-style job pages.

But Laura, 26, one the complainants, who did not want to reveal her identity, said she had spent “easily £120” on the Production Base website – money that she could not afford and should not have paid. “I am very angry because I come from a council estate in Ireland, I don’t have the contacts, and this world is all about who you know,” she said. “So I paid out to see the adverts. And I don’t think it is right. That money could have been spent on rent and food.

“I only had two runner jobs from the site. To be honest, the Mama Youth project, which helps young people from under-represented groups, did much more for me and is the reason I have had a bit more success.”

Mark Watson, a television director who runs a campaign to expose poor work practices in the TV and film industry, said it was not fair to charge such fees to people on the lowest rung of the ladder.

Watson, who has helped the complainants to make their stand, said: “People are now asking for their money back. I hope the companies will just say, ‘Fair enough, here is your money back’. We are talking about thousands of people affected by this. “Charging anybody of any description to see a job advert does not seem right. There are exceptions for entertainment jobs in the legislation, but when you have got a runner who has thousands of pounds of debts, then being asked for fees to just look at jobs, and apply for them – well I saw red. I just don’t think it is fair.”

Production Base is one of the longest established agencies embroiled in the row. The advert on its website, for runner positions on the Top Gear-style show, neatly describes the lucky candidates’ expected lot. “You will be the unsung heroes who help this middle-aged trio make superbly entertaining TV,” the advert says. “Wit, intelligence, top-drawer work ethic, good in a brainstorm – all of these qualities required in spades.”

A spokesman for Production Base said it fulfilled a vital service in helping people into the industry. “We were asked by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate to clarify that our business was adhering to all relevant legislation. After very positive dialogue with them, we are happy to confirm that we conform to their guidelines,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the EAS in future. Production Base has helped thousands of people find work within the television and film industry since we began in 1996, and we hope to continue to assist the freelance production community.”

A spokesman for My First Job in TV, who confirmed that it is still in discussions with the inspectorate over aspects of its website, said: “We were delighted to engage in dialogue with the EAS. They have confirmed that we are in total compliance with the regulations.” Film and TV Pro did not respond to this newspaper’s questions.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/23/runners-revolt-unfair-fees-job-adverts-tv-film-top-gear

 

3 things all TV runners should know

1. Runners cannot be self employed, whatever a company may tell you. This seems to crop up a lot so here are the facts:

Runners must be paid via PAYE and are not permitted to be registered as self employed for their runner work. The only variation to this is that a runner can be paid gross if they work for less than seven days for a company, and there is no intention for them to be rebooked for further engagements. In this case, you can be paid gross however – crucially – the company MUST pay your National Insurance and must give you a pay slip which shows that. This does NOT however make a runner “self employed”. There is one other exception relating to getting a special letter of dispensation but it very rarely applies.

If a company tells you you must be self employed to do a job for them, or tells you you are “freelance”, or does not pay your NI then they are breaking HMRC’s rules and you will be losing out on a number of benefits by them treating you this way.

2. In terms of pay, every runner should be paid at least the minimum wage for every hour that they work. The minimum wage rates (including the new rate for over-25s) are here. To work out if you are getting the legal minimum, take the number of hours that you have actually worked (not including your lunch hour) and multiply that by the applicable minimum wage rate for your age. If the pay you receive for that day’s work is less than that amount (no matter what your agreed rate is) then you have been underpaid.

Many runners are often not paid what they should be because they are being worked for over-long hours for a rate of pay which is not sufficient to meet the legal minimum. Also, if you are taken on for unpaid work experience and are then simply treated as a worker, you should be paid at least the minimum wage for all your hours.

3. Runners should be paid holiday pay, accrued for every day they work. All workers earn an entitlement for time off when they work for a company. In an ideal world, they would be allowed to have that time off while they are working, however the demands of production mean that most TV workers are unable to take that time off during a production.

If that happens then the company should pay you an amount of money on top of your pay in lieu of that holiday. That amount comes to 10.77% of the amount you have been paid. That sum should be passed to you at the conclusion of your contract and cannot be “rolled up” into your rate of pay (- ie they cannot say at the beginning of your contract “this is your daily rate and it includes holiday pay”).

If you need personal advice on any of this, feel free to email Mark Watson on derrywatson@gmail.com. Advice is entirely free and confidential to you

 

What is the difference between “being freelance” and being “self employed”

“Being freelance” generally means that you are someone who works for a lot of different employers. It isn’t a statement of your tax position (the word “freelance” means nothing in tax terms), it is simply a way of describing the way you arrange your work life.
“Being self employed” has an official meaning however. It defines the legal status of your working life. To become “self employed” you have to register with HMRC and fill in the self employed pages of your self assessment tax return every year. You will be able to claim certain expenses against your income but you do lose some important rights.
“Self assessment” is one way that HMRC can be informed about what income you have and what tax you therefore owe. Many people have very simple tax affairs, they work for one employer who deducts tax and NI when they are paid and they have no substantial savings or investment income etc. These people do not have to register for self assessment and do a tax return every year as they have paid their tax in full automatically. When someone’s tax affairs become a little more complicated they will have to complete a self assessment tax return every year (they either apply to do this or HMRC write and tell them to). In that way they can notify HMRC of their financial situation so they can pay the correct tax. Any extra tax owed is paid in lump sums at the end of January and July every year, including some in advance for the following tax year, based on HMRC’s estimate of how much might be owed. Where these estimates are wrong, HMRC readjusts the amount owed in the following year.

Cover Email Tips

IMG_2904When emailing your CV as per the instructions on an advert, please ensure you do a cover email with it. With an average of 40+ applications for most jobs we publish, you need to give yourself the best chance of being considered for the post the employer has advertised. This starts with your cover email.

So, as an employer and viewer of many cover emails over the years, here are my top tips for you to ‘CUT-OUT-&-KEEP’ (as they used to say in Smash Hits…):

* If the name of the person is obvious from the email address you will be sending your email to, start with their name. If not, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

* Keep your cover short and to the point.

* Do NOT just send a CV with a blank email – it will more than likely end up in the trash folder.

* Introduce yourself and your job title then reference where you saw the advert or the mutual contact who told you about the job.

* Using the advert itself as your reference, write a short paragraph or list bullet points mentioning your direct relevant experience.
– example; job requires previous experience with music cue sheets. Your paragraph will include something like,
“working at [x company] I completed the music cue sheets for the series and was responsible for all the delivery paperwork to the broadcaster via Silvermouse”.

* If you consider you have the direct experience required but have not actually been credited in the role you are applying for – list the skills/experience you know the job will entail and ask the employer to consider you. Make it obvious you are looking to step up because you have the correct experience but perhaps not the actual broadcast credit.

* Do NOT tell the employer about your recent ‘Gap Yah’, your kittens or how you won the 5-a-side at the weekend – keep it work focussed.

* Avoid using phrases that will be assumed. I’ve listed some here
– passion for film/tv
– team-player
– I make a great cup of tea!
– happy to do long hours
– cutting edge of tv

* Do NOT try to be funny, address the employer as mate or swear.

* Do NOT paste your CV into the body of the email cover.

* If you are coming to the end of your current contract somewhere, list your availability date and mention any flexibility you may have. Perhaps your current employer has agreed to letting you leave a week early if another job comes along. You never know – the new employer may wait for you to be free as you are the best person for their project!

* Spell check everything you have written, making sure your spell checker is set to British English (programme NOT program, organised NOT organized, licence NOT license, etc).

* Check it all makes sense and you have not spelled anyone’s name incorrectly. I have heard of a cover that mentioned working on a ‘Ripley Scott’ film…

* Check your attached CV is in either a Word or Adobe format. The extension should end with a .doc, .docx or .pdf. Employers prefer Word as they can do phrase searches within your CV.

* Sign off appropriately and formally. Just because it is an email, it is not appropriate to use ‘cheers’, ‘laters’ or a ‘x’ as you close.

supertip #001: Don’t lie on your cover email or your CV. The TV and Film industries are smaller than you imagine and you will eventually be found out. If an employer finds you have lied on your CV, they will wonder what else you are prepared to lie about…

FURTHER READING

CV Writing Tips

I am a TV runner, where are all the jobs?

A lot of TV and Film runners join subscription sites to get access to jobs – places like My First Job in TV, My First Job in Film, TV & Film Pro or Production Base.

We are worried about this because we don’t think anyone looking for a junior role should have to pay to see jobs. So we mounted a survey in January, to ask who had joined these sites and who had got work out of them. The answer was: only 1 in 6 people had got paid work through these sites, and most of those only got a few days paid work at best.

Paying to see available jobs and then not getting work as a result does not seem like a good way of spending your money. But many runners are worried that they will only get to see all the jobs if they pay someone who is providing them. They worry that, if they don’t cough up, they will miss out.

But the news is – you don’t miss out if you don’t pay.

The simple fact is that some of these sites simply copy the jobs they find on other free-to-use sites. They then post them on their jobs pages, leading those who take out subscriptions to think that they have some kind of privileged access to see jobs that other people don’t see. And some sites don’t even tell you who the employer is you are applying to – even of the jobs they have copied!

So – we are here to put your mind at rest.

I have personally contacted every single major production company, film company, corporate producer and facility company to ask them to confirm that they will always place their jobs on free to use sites like The Unit List, Talent Manager or the Facebook group: People who work in TV – Runners (log in and application to join required). And the answers came flooding back with a firm and immediate yes, they will do that (details of a few of the responses below).

runners_jobsSo here’s the deal – if you are a runner you never, ever have to pay to join a subscription site to see jobs ever again. Save your money instead. Pay off that student debt. Waste it on food. Drink it. Get a tattoo.

So if you want to know where you can find TV runner jobs, look at the list below. And if what you want is work experience, remember this: no company advertises any exclusive opportunities on any paid subscription service. They don’t have to, they get quite enough people writing in direct to have to do that (and if you write in direct your CV doesn’t get sent over in a huge pile with hundreds of others).

The lovely Lizzie Evans (a fellow runner) has also done a list of where you can find those places that offer work experience, so all the work has been done for you.

Check below then to see where the big companies advertise, and where to see all the jobs for free. The list will be updated regularly so keep coming back to have a look.

And remember – check your speling before you do send your CV…


Where to find runner jobs without having to pay

The Unit List

This is the daddy (and mummy) of all job sites. It is totally free to use and has numerous jobs posted on it every day, including jobs for runners. Follow the Twitter feed and check in on the Facebook page. And if you’re waiting to hear back, spend some time looking at the wealth of info on there for people starting out in the business.

Talent Manager

This has a paid section and an unpaid one. They list jobs from a multitude of employers. Sign up for the free service – you do not have to pay a subscription to see any jobs. They also have  a Twitter feed you can follow.

People looking for work in TV: Runners

The biggest Facebook site of its kind for runners. Jobs, advice, the opportunity to post your CV – and get advice on it if you want. If you are serious about working in TV and haven’t joined, what are you waiting for? (And yes, it’s all free)


And here is what a few of the companies have said about runners having to pay to access job adverts:

IMG Media

All their jobs, including runner positions are always sent to anyone who signs up to their weekly job list. Want a job – sign up!

Outline Productions

“We use Talent Manager and the Unit List.  It’s hard enough getting a job in the industry without having to pay for the opportunity”.

Thames

All their jobs, including runner positions (and all of those at any Fremantle Media company) are available via this link. They also say this:

“We don’t use paid sites for hiring and use Unit List and Talent Manager regularly. We also receive literally hundreds of speculative applications each year and do follow many of these up”.

Spun Gold

Spun Gold has confirmed that, no matter where else they may post their jobs ads, they always make sure they feature on free to use sites as well.

Endemol

Endemol are very firm in their commitment to widen participation by making sure that every runner has access to their jobs, whether they pay or not. They say this:

I have always felt that there is no need for new entrants to pay job sites – it is totally taking advantage of people and I have on numerous occasions told My First Job in TV not to post our jobs. I will email Productionbase and Film and TV Pro now to ask them not to post our runners jobs

And if you want to be first in the queue, keep checking in here:

ITV and 12 Yard

ITV have confirmed that runners should never have to pay to see their vacancies:

“We use our own careers site to advertise our vacancies…”

Objective Productions

“Please be assured that we do not post our jobs on sites that require a paid for subscription but instead use sites like Talent Manager, Unit List, our own website and social media pages amongst others”

CPL Productions

CPL confirm they will always use free to use sites for their runner vacancies. They say:

“I’ve made sure that our PM’s and Co-ordinators know this and also put it in our PM handbook”

Tiger Aspect

You won’t find exclusive Tiger Aspect jobs on any subscription site. They had this to say:

“We do all our Runner recruitment ourselves and advertise on our website, Facebook and Twitter. We have a separate Runner section in our website and ask all potential candidates to sign up to these so that they can get alerts when the jobs go live. Unfortunately sometimes external websites pick these up but it is not something we encourage”.

Red Productions

“Rest assured we do avoid advertising with a paid site

Studio Lambert

If you want to work at Studio Lambert (and who doesn’t?) then visit the three free sites listed above (Unit List, Talent Manager, the Facebook runners group). This is what they had to say:

“To confirm, we haven’t to date used paid sites and wouldn’t use paid sites unless we were completely stuck and unable to find someone suitable. I find that the free sites which you list very useful and applicants from those (particularly the facebook sites), combined with people emailing me directly, are usually the best way to find runners”.

So if you think you are any good, don’t let this employer be stuck and forced to use a subscription site – let them know you’re available!

Zodiak Kids

“We rarely use subscription sites and certainly wouldn’t for a runner position.  We have previously found that these sites are out of date with their advertisements and are potentially posting jobs which have already been filled for some time.  We would actively encourage runners not to use these paid sites and instead use the free ones you have listed”

So Television

“We don’t use paid websites to find runners; only more senior roles.  When looking for a runner, we do word of mouth or post on a free Facebook site”

Fremantle and Boundless

“We place our vacancies with Talent Manager and Unit List

Shine TV

Shine has its own system for filling vacancies – their talent database. If they want to find a runner they go there, so they have no need to advertise. Sign up, it’s free – and remember to keep your CV up to date.

Off the Fence

“We don’t ever advertise for runners (or any job positions). We accept CVs directly by email, file them and employ from that pool should we need to

I think it’s terrible to charge anyone for a paid site advertising jobs (entry level especially). I would never post a job-ad on one of these paid sites, and yes you can quote me on that!”

Nutopia

Nutopia has confirmed that they have put the word out to all their production managers to ensure that all their runner vacancies appear on free-to-use sites.

DSP

“I wouldn’t post any jobs, especially entry level jobs, anywhere which requires the applicants to pay to view.

Having had to work my way up from a Runner position I am very mindful of such issues for new people to the industry.  I would  also remind most runners to put their cvs on company databases (most have them now) – for example our parent company Endemol have  and most larger indies have talent managers so it’s worth keeping CVs up to date on these sites”

Hungry Bear

“I can confirm that any runner jobs that we have to advertise for will be advertised using the free sites.  Probably by either The Unit List or the runner’s Facebook group”.

Blue Zoo

“If were were to advertise for these positions in the future, we would definitely use one of the free sites you’ve suggested”

Betty

“I don’t think we’ve ever – or would ever – pay to advertise our vacancies. We read CVs that are sent to us, use Talent Manager daily and the Facebook Group when we need to. Also Creative Access internships. So feel free to allay your runners’ fears!”

STV

“We generally only advertise via free sites, usually Talent Manager and via Facebook”.

Tuesday’s Child

“I can confirm we only use free to access sites and will continue to do so”

Zig Zag

“I can confirm that we do not use the paid sites. We only use the free ones”

Oxford Scientific Films

“I think I can allay your fears.  OSF finds runners in the following ways; word of mouth/ personal recommendation; previous work experience within the company; speculative CV (kept on file); Talent Manager. We don’t use any commercial sites”

Two Four

“Currently I always go for free sites – Facebook, Unit List etc as well of course as our own website job page and twitter. Often what tends to happen is agencies/other sites then contact me to ask if they can re-advertise the job on their sites – so in addition to my posts, not instead of. This in fact happened recently when I posted on your site and My First Job in TV contacted me to see if they could also post it”

Two Four also have their online Talent Database:

Fresh One TV

“I completely agree these guys should be able to view job availability without paying for the privilege.  We’d be happy to confirm that our runner jobs, assuming they are not filled internally, will be advertised on free sites so nobody misses out!”

Twenty Twenty and Wall to Wall

“It is extremely unlikely that we would ever feel it necessary to post runner level jobs on those that require a subscription. Anyone who is interested in working for any of the companies within the group can always upload their details, free of charge, to our database via the website”

The Garden

The Garden use the free section of Talent Manager for all their jobs. They say:

“I think we all know how difficult it is to get that first foothold in the industry. We appreciate people can’t always afford to use paid for sites and we want to stretch our net as wide as possible.  We’re also very active in trying to recruit minorities so that we are a truly diverse company”.

Lola Entertainment

“Please be assured that we use Talent Manager, Unit List or word of mouth for any vacancies at Lola”

Baby Cow

“We only use Talent Manager as our search engine and a place for CV’s. I can confirm we don’t use non free sites


The following companies have also confirmed that every single vacancy they have, including all runner jobs, appear on the free section of Talent Manager. There is no need to pay to apply to the following companies:

North One, Maverick, Raw, Leopard Films, Blink, Avalon, Outline Productions, October, Cineflix, Optomen, Transparent Television, Tern, Argonon, Silver River, Crackit Productions, The Outfit, Remedy Productions, Tinder Televison, Topical Television, Liberty Bell

A big thank you to all our friends in these TV production companies for their fantastic support.

We call upon all subscription sites to publish all jobs for runners free to anyone who wants to see them, without any charges. And when they do that we will make sure you all know about it!

To feedback privately please send an email to derrywatson@gmail.com

Only 1 in 6 runners get paid work through subscription services

plfwitv-800-250-2

The administrators of the Facebook group “People looking for TV work: Runners” recently mounted a survey of its members to find out how many were paying for access to industry jobs through subscription sites.

267 people responded to the survey – the first of its kind – with around half having tried a paid for jobs site. The overwhelming majority felt that they offer poor value for money and only one in six paying subscribers to job sites had achieved paid work through their membership. Of the people who had been successful, many had secured only small amounts of work, mostly amounting to less than a week.

Six sites featured in the results:

  1. My First Job in Film and My First Job in TV

More people have signed up to these two sites than any other (60% of all respondents who had joined a paid service) but for most people their experience has been almost entirely negative. Less than 1 in 10 subscribers had achieved any paid work at all, and the work they did find was mostly for only a few days.

Respondents overwhelmingly felt that that the two sites were poor value for money and only 5% of people who had paid would recommend joining the site to others.

  • “My first job in film is ridiculously expensive and I have never had any response from any job applications on there. Apparently these posts are somewhere else and not exclusive as they always claim”.
  • “Makes you doubt your job application skills when you don’t hear anything back after 20+ applications, but when you read that so many other people have had a similar experience, questions are raised of the website”.
  • “My first job in film – only ever got in contact with me when I wanted to cancel my subscription. Very disappointing service”
  • “Lots of apparent jobs advertised, but in all the ones I’ve put my applications in for (a fair few!), I’ve only ever heard back from one”
  • “This service often takes jobs that are advertised for free elsewhere and claim they are exclusive to them, and require a paid subscription to apply. Very cheeky.”
  • “They take advantage of young people who are desperate to get into the industry, especially film, and don’t know where to start looking for work. Every job is swamped with applicants, too many for a busy person to go through properly, so chances are your application isn’t going to be seen”
  • “Scam”

http://www.myfirstjobinfilm.co.uk/ and http://www.myfirstjobintv.co.uk/


2. Shooting People

Of the 15 people who had paid to join Shooting People, only 1 had achieved any paid work through them. Many respondents did find value in their membership, over and above the access to paid or unpaid work:

  • “I was with Shooting People for a year and got one paid but well below NMW feature however from the contacts made i have had most of my future employment”
  • “I haven’t had any paid work from Shooting People but I found it very useful compared to other sites. Its good for freelancers who want to also do their own creative projects outside of freelancing, and gives you a chance to step up as a HOD”
  • “I haven’t seen any established companies advertising on Shooting People for unpaid work; only students, pet projects etc”
  • “The only website I would give positive feedback to is Shooting People, as it has a lot of resources and a strong platform for forums”
  • “(I would recommend) Shooting People. Great for those first, unpaid jobs (or low paid if you’re lucky!) where you can learn set etiquette and how the roles on a film set interact”

https://shootingpeople.org/


  1. Film & TV Pro

There were 32 subscribers to Film & TV Pro, of whom 6 had picked up paid work. They were only recommended by 3 people.

  • “Film and TV Pro (are poor value for money). I found the same job postings on free websites”.

http://www.filmandtvpro.com/


  1. ProductionBase

Of the 12 subscribers to ProductionBase, 5 had found paid work. Some felt that it was not a good site for Runners however, and one had been a member for three years but had not secured a single job.

  • “They now offer very few relevant job adverts”
  • “I don’t get the sense ProductionBase is good for Runners. I follow them on Twitter but haven’t seen any relevant jobs”
  • “ProductionBase had a new commissions section which was useful/interesting”
  • “ProductionBase is extremely expensive for £15 a month”
  • “ProductionBase did have excellent levels of service and a member of their staff did call me and help me with setting up my profile. However I still did not receive a single interview/second contact – I probably applied for 50+ positions”

http://www.productionbase.co.uk/


5. The Calltime Company

The Calltime Company came out of the survey as by far the most valued site. It was overwhelmingly popular with no negative feedback and many favourable comments. Of the 12 people who had subscribed, 11 had got paid work through the site and almost all of them would recommend it to others. The company only accepts a limited number of members on its books at any one time, and only by interview.

  • “The people that run it are brilliant, although I have only had some work, their post graduate pay as you go scheme is a great idea and more than fair”
  • “A new entrant would be unlikely to get into the call time company, but they do offer graduate placements now and then which is good”
  • “They get you work and don’t make false promises if they do put you on their books”
  • “They actually get you jobs”
  • “Unique to any other services and most certainly aren’t just after your money. They actively find you work when in need. You don’t therefore pay for nothing”
  • “Run by people who know the industry and are known by the industry. Friendly, helpful and cater to you as an individual”
  • “I’d describe Vicki and Tam as mentors rather than a recruitment company – they have always been on the end of a phone or email when I need advice and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them”

http://calltimecompany.com/


Many of the respondents to the survey also left general feedback about paid sites and life as a new starter in the industry.

  • “I don’t understand how come such a small industry as Film and TV in the UK have so many paid job-sites. We want to have access to all the jobs ads but we cant possibly pay to ever site. So I wonder how many am I missing for not having the budget to subscribe. It seems pretty unfair to me, we have to pay to have access to jobs ads that might not even turn into a job”.
  • “Finding a job is super difficult”
  • “Finding work in media industries is hard enough without websites like these giving hope to new starters, taking their money and leaving them out of pocket, confused and disheartened”
  • “It is really difficult to find entry level jobs, especially if you don’t live in London”
  • “No one should pay to find work. It’s an abhorrent and unscrupulous practice”
  • “I understand why people set these sites up but no other industry tries to make people pay to access job adverts and its especially difficult for people who are starting out that possibly can’t afford to pay to access information that a simple add to a facebook group would give them”
  • “Trying to make money out of people’s ambitions by promising exclusive access to job adverts is poor practice”
  • “It makes me angry as not everyone would be able to pay but everyone should have a chance at working in the industry they want”

Send private feedback to derrywatson@gmail.com

 

Tips for TV Runners

By no means are these tips exhaustive and most of it is probably common sense but just in case you’d like some pointers, please read on.

The list was compiled by contributors to the original  www.tvwatercooler.org forum for people that work in TV. They encompassed Commissioning Editors, Line Producers, Producers, Directors, Production Managers, Assistant Producers, Production Managers, Production Co-ordinators, Production Secretaries, Runners, Editors, Archive Producers & Researchers, Camera Operators, Sound Recordists, Engineers, Data Wranglers and more!

attitude

  1. Always have a nice smile on you. No need for manic grinning though. Just cheery will do.
  2. If you see your fellow Runners working hard and you don’t have anything to do – get stuck in to the tasks too. It will help your chances of future employment to show your willingness.
  3. If sent out with someone senior on a task/recce/shoot and they ask you about yourself – do not tell that person that you want to work in TV because it seems much easier to get into than film or music which are the two great loves in your life. Do not say that TV isn’t something you really like at all, or you really want to be a Presenter and this is just a stepping stone for you.
  4. When you are asked to do a boring job, e.g. help another runner organise the recycling, do not pull a face and say, “You must really hate me”, when all you have been asked to do is flatten and tape together three boxes. In other words, no matter how menial the task, approach with enthusiasm and perform to the best of your abilities.
  5. Ask questions about things you don’t understand and show your interest in the other things that are going on in the office or other departments. If you are particularly interested in something that’s going on that you are not directly involved with, it never hurts to ask if you can go there for a day or so to see what they are doing. It won’t always be possible but sometimes the Producer/PM may try and switch things around a bit so that you can at least shadow for one day.
  6. Usually if something gives you something to do, it will be important and need doing immediately. Do not get distracted from the job in hand. If someone asks you to do something when you are in the middle of a task, explain what you are doing and ask the second person to make the judgement on which is more urgent. If it is not obvious, always ask when tasks should be completed by.
  7. Prepare everything beforehand and organise well. Make sure all your media is properly labelled. Prepare for things to happen in advance of when they are scheduled to.
  8. Don’t be caught out by other peoples mess ups and don’t pass the buck – take ownership. If you take responsibility, people will entrust you with more responsibility.
  9. Never assume anything. Just because you may be diligent and efficient, doesn’t mean everyone else in this world is. So just because you’ve left a message for someone or sent a text/email, don’t assume they picked it up, or did anything about it.

callsheet

  1. This is a document containing all important info about the shoot/record: contacts, maps, Health & Safety, schedule, travel, accommodation, door codes, technical specifications, kit list, props list, talent, catering, car parking space allocation etc… It’s known as a ‘Callsheet’ because it will also contain the time of the day individuals are expected to be at the venue. This is known as a ‘Call Time’.
  2. Have a schedule, get a highlighter or several and really emphasise which bits you need to pay particular attention to – e.g. for compliance recordings on live events to make sure you know which ones you are responsible for.

cash

  1. If you are given a float to buy things on behalf of the production, you will be expected to sign a receipt to prove you were given the cash. Your float should always be same amount you were given and will be a mixture of receipts and cash when you reconcile it.
  2. When you have spent all of the money, you will be expected to produce receipts for all the money that has been spent and return any remaining cash. You must then fill out an Float Advance form. Sometimes this is called an Expenses Form. The purpose of the form is to prove the money spent has been accounted for by attaching the receipts and the Co-ordinator or Manager will then put codes on the form and enter it into the budget as money spent. Always ask your PC/PM to explain exactly how they prefer you to fill out the form as each company will be a bit different.
  3. If they don’t give you a wallet, get your own so it’s separate from your own personal money.
  4. Always get a receipt. Then immediately write on it what the item is if it is not evident. If it’s for food/drinks, write who you got them for or who was at the meal. Your Production Co-ordinator will need to know for the production company records.
  5. Unless specifically told to do so, you are not authorised to buy alcohol/cigarettes on the float as a general rule. There is also no drinking during work hours.
  6. Learn the difference between a credit card slip and a receipt. Your Production Manager and Accountant have no use for a credit card receipt. Always ask for a VAT receipt (not everything will have VAT applicable or every vendor will be registered for VAT but they will tell you when you ask and should be able to give you a till/handwritten receipt of some kind). This is very important because the production company must claim the VAT charge back from the government.
  7. Keep some Petty Cash vouchers on you for the supplier to sign if they can’t give you a receipt or you forget to get one.

catering

  1. Thinking about accessing your Facebook? Think “have I made that nice Producer a cup of coffee /tea today”. If the answer is no, do that first. In fact, get a round in and tidy up the kitchen area while you are about it. If anything is running out milk/teabags/bread, inform whomever in the office needs to restock it. This will usually be the Office Manager or Receptionist. Or it could be you.
  2. Most productions run on coffee and tea, so on your first day, find out how everyone takes their drinks and make a note of it, so when you see your team walking into the office or on location, you can have a drink waiting for them, the way they like it.
  3. Have clean cups & plates washed up before the lunch rush.
  4. If, when on a location shoot, you get sent for bacon sarnies, or other hot food, for the whole team from the local café, go in person on the first day and if you will be shooting in the same place the following day – try to ring the order through on the following day and pick it up. Organise your order in ascending order of seniority so the director / talent / DOP’s food is the hottest and freshest when you get back. That means that yours will be the coldest and soggiest I’m afraid although you’ll earn brownie points for attention to detail.
  5. Always treat the crew well. If you’re on a shoot with camera and sound but no camera assistant look after them both. If it’s a hot studio or sunny day and they are filming handheld actuality, they will both be getting hot, tired and dehydrated so keep them well stocked with water and high-energy snacks. But don’t let them treat you like you’re their bitch – you will have a dozen more duties to attend to as well.
  6. On a busy factual-based shoot, the camera & sound are often worked the hardest so don’t keep them hanging round for lunch & tea breaks either as when the camera’s not rolling nothing much is being achieved. If you’ve helped them out and they are a decent pair, they will put in a good word for you at the end of the day with the powers that be. A happy crew = a happy shoot!
  7. On a big event or studio shoot, check if your Producers and production (Production Manager, Co- ordinator, Secretary) have eaten, as they often have to work through breaks. Perhaps offer to get food put by for them for later.
  8. If looking after gallery or truck staff, ensure drinks always have lids for safety purposes.

comms

  1. On your first day, enter the production office and core team contacts to your phone address book.
  2. Email the current contact list to your personal email so that you can always access it wherever you are via email/web mobile.
  3. Only access Facebook/Twitter/whatever during lunch or when your feet are well and truly under the table. Think six months unless you have specific instruction to do so.
  4. Get into the habit of writing a ‘To Do’ list every day and ticking off your tasks as you do them. At the end of the day, start writing tomorrows list before you leave and copy across everything you didn’t get done today. This will help you to focus on the varied tasks you have been given by the entire team and get you used to prioritising.
  5. Try to remember Producers, Directors and Production Managers will be across a 101 things to with the production at any one time from casting to budget issues, so it may take them a bit longer to reply to an email. Your question about what colour paper they want the script on isn’t at the top of their priority list. Try to write all these questions down and at the end of the day, or when you can see they have a moment, go and speak to them and go through it all at once, instead of sending lots of small emails. One of the key things about being runner is being organised.
  6. If you don’t know which task is more time-sensitive, always ask your Production Co-ordinator or Manager to explain which should come first and why.
  7. If you are asked to do something and you can’t do it / don’t know how to do it / forget – always tell the person who asked you to do it as soon as possible. You have been given that job to do and if you don’t do it, it will still have to be done, so giving someone as much notice as possible to fix it will be your best course of action. Like ball cancer – ignoring it does not make it go away…
  8. Your team will sometimes talk a lot of shorthand and use industry language. Don’t pretend to know what something is or means if you don’t know. No one expects you to know everything. Ask someone to explain it to you at an appropriate moment and don’t be embarrassed – it shows you were taking it all in and you are keen to learn.
  9. NEVER address those older than 30 as ‘mate’.
  10. Learn a trick for remembering people’s names. A quick trick is to look people in the eye, and repeat their name again. People will then look you in the eye and say their name again or agree or nod or something. Let it sink in. And if required use a backup trick to remember is to rhyme something about them with their name – eg ‘smells like a drain – Adrian’. Do NOT do this if they are talent (a presenter) or at channel controller or commissioner level where you should know their bloody name.
  11. Whenever you make a booking (for a car, food – whatever) – double check it’s been received and actioned until whatever it is you’ve arranged actually unfolds before your very eyes.
  12. Always check with the rest of the team that it’s ok for you to leave the office/location/studio before you put your coat on at the end of the day.
  13. You will earn extra brownie points if you check if anyone needs anything doing before you prepare to leave.
  14. Ensure you have a sensible, personal email address. Your name is fine. ‘BigbangersDD@hotmail.com’ is not. Jokey email addresses promote a sense of unprofessionalism.
  15. Always put a subject line on emails that relate to the content. If the content changes – change the subject line, makes it far easier for people to find the email later.
  16. If you are shy and have trouble chatting to the production staff, a good way to get started is, ‘How are you today?’ or ‘How’s it going today’ or similar when you take their food + drink, they like the fact you care and it starts conversation.
  17. NEVER send ANY tape, DVD, hard disk, pen drive etc in snail mail unless specifically told to do so. You will usually need to take it somewhere in person or the Co-ordinator will need to organise a courier for it.
  18. Check the file naming conventions on the network if not evident. When you leave the production, other people will nee to use the information you have left and must be able to find it easily. Never save anything to the C:/ drive or Desktop – always on the production directory.

dress

  1. Dress appropriately for the day. Smart casual in the office is fine. Jeans, trainers, t-shirts all fine. They should be clean, preferably not ripped to show your bangers/nutsack and do not say ‘F**K’ or ‘C*NT’ anywhere on them. No one wants to see your thong/boxers either.
  2. Wear good sturdy sensible shoes that do up properly, not ridiculous sandals that will flap all the way down the corridor as you jog off to get something, and then trip you up when you have three boiling teas in your hands.
  3. On outdoor shoots make sure you have appropriate clothing, TV involves a lot of standing around freezing. Layer up.
  4. When working in entertainment or drama, either in studio or location, it is most practical to wear belted trousers with pockets or some kind of small satchel type affair, as typically you may have the following about your person:

– Dressing room spare keys
– Callsheet
– Guestlist
– Lanyard with essential phone number laminate attached to it
– Leatherman
– Personal mobile
– Pens
– Petty Cash Float
– Production mobile
– Running order
– Script
– Security passes
– Walkie Talkie with headset

editorial

  1. Don’t be afraid to offer input/ideas. Learn when to sit in the corner and keep quiet, and pick your moment carefully to offer your input. Whether it is well received or not will be determined largely by your timing.
  2. Whenever you finish a research task, even if it’s finding phone numbers of local taxi cabs, put the information into a Word file or an email that is clearly labelled and send it to the relevant person. Do not assume the fact you have not been asked for the information, as an excuse to use Facebook until you are asked for it.

hierachy

  1. The commissioner/client/host/actor is not your friend. They don’t know who you are and have little interest in you, unless you are feeding / watering / running out for their fags. It is not appropriate to approach them and ask them for a job/ back to yours. They will most likely not remember you next time you meet, so you should always be prepared to politely introduce yourself, if appropriate, every time you meet them. Of course, one would hope they may remember you from the previous day if you are working on a series…
  2. Observe senior team members/clients when in your vicinity and ensure they are fed and watered and have everything they need. If you are asked to organise something on their behalf, please check with your Production Manager first before you do it.

hours

  1. If you are due to finish at 1800, prepare yourself to stay until 1830 or later. Don’t arrange to meet your mate down the pub at 1810, sometimes work can overflow and to go beyond the call of duty without angst will be expected. Just don’t be rushing for the door on the dot.
  2. You may be required to stay late for which you will be obliged to do. Any weekend work will usually be compensated with paid days off. Often referred to as DOIL (day off in lieu).

loctrav

  1. Always have a tube map & A-Z in your bag / on your phone.
  2. If working in London, remember it is filthy and you will be on public transport for quite a large part of your day, which is full of filth too. In order to minimise catching colds, flu etc… always wash your hands with soap whenever you get to your destination. So get to work in the morning – wash your hands. Get home in the evening – wash your hands and probably your face too. Out on a run during the day? Wash your hands when you get back to the office. Do not touch face, lick fingers etc without hand washing or antibacterial hand gel first.Sounds a bit crazy but seriously you will find it makes a huge difference to how many colds/bouts of man-flu you get during the year.
  3. Always look up how to get to your destination before you leave and check how long it will take you. You can then tell the team where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  4. Ideally print off a route and map before you leave or input the postcode to your GPS if you have it on your phone.
  5. On a shoot keep a call sheet on you at ALL times… . And don’t lose It either! Your Producer won’t take too kindly to being called up by some random OR the document making its way to the Press.
  6. Learn correct radio etiquette and operation. NEVER swing your radio around by the aerial – it costs £250 to replace, which you will be liable for.
    LOCATIONS, Drama
    i. Step up! If the 3rd AD is called off for some reason (phone, toilet etc), fill their shoes. The 1st will appreciate that there’s someone there.
    ii. Keep your eyes peeled! Make sure that you always have eyes on the artists between takes – they have a habit of wandering off, and unfortunately it’s not possible to tie them all to a post.
    iii. Feed the front line! Keep some DECENT biscuits and hot drinks to hand for when the camera/sound guys have a few minutes rest. All too often the good stuff goes and they’re left with 5 packets of Tesco Value Bourbons to nibble on. That doesn’t go down well.
    iv. Communicate! Make sure everyone knows what’s going on at all times. If you’re doing a pick up, let the 2nd AD know if there’s traffic (no matter how bad, it’s always going to be slower than you’d hope). If there’s a scene change or cut, make sure that those around you know.v. Double check! If you’re asked to collect an artist for the next scene, check on your call sheet that you’ve got the right artist (3rds unfortunately, often mis-communicate resulting in red faces all round).
    vi. Courtesy! It’s important not to be big-headed about your job. You may have spent two years at college and three years at uni to get where you are, but you’re still at the bottom of the ladder. Courtesy must also extend to members of the public whom the shoot will often be inconveniencing. Explain nicely what’s actually happening and demonstrate how they may continue to go about their business without disturbing the shoot.

moving_on

  1. The UK TV industry is tiny and you will bump into the same people as you move from company to company. Your reputation is so important and regardless of whom you put as references on your CV, if your potential employer sees a show on your CV, and they know someone from that show, they will more than likely call them for a reference. There are always productions in the pipeline and regularly teams have to be put together at very short notice, this means that PM’s and Producers will go often assemble a team from personal recommendations and people they know.
  2. Network. The most painless way to do this is to go to the pub with your team after work. Particularly good to go when other people within the company will be there that you don’t know. You don’t have to stay for long and you could always just have a soft drink if you preferred. You never know when the person you chatted with about something random might see what your availability is for something else coming up at the company.

phone

  1. Listen to those around you and how they speak on the phone. Always be courteous to whomever is on the other end and speak clearly. Never swear at the caller.
  2. Whatever anyone else says or does, if a member of the public phones the production office about any show, treat them very courteously. That also applies if you are on a location shoot and come across people outside.
  3. Be polite because they are the customers and effectively pay your wages, one way or another. It is not cool or clever to assume you are better or know more just because they are “on the outside” and you are on the “in”.
  4. If the person they caller wants is not available, or not at their desk, you have a number of options:* Can you help with whatever the caller wants?
    * If you can’t help, take a basic message but remember to take their name, number and briefly what it’s about.
    * Suggest the caller emails the person they want. Give their company email address out only.
  5. As a rule, under no circumstances should you give out personal email addresses or mobile numbers. Always take the caller’s numbers /email address and get someone to call them back.

thingsnot

  1. It is not appropriate to sleep with anyone on the team or the crew, particularly, your boss. This often changes the dynamics of a professional team and can make it very difficult for you and your co-workers. You (not your boss) will be the one regarded unfavourably. Also consider that sleeping with your boss and sticking around for awkward pillow talk will probably result in you never working with them again.
  2. Under no circumstances should you come to work wired or pissed. It’s not appropriate. Ever.
  3. Never save the talent’s number in your phone then boast to all of your mates that he/she is your friend. It is likely they will encourage you to call the talent when you’re pissed and this is never a good thing!
  4. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would it be good to ask the talent to sign your autograph book / broken arm cast / tits or pose for your Facebook pic.

kitlist

Decent, waterproof backpack to keep logs/release forms/petty cash/receipts safe and dry, together with all sorts of useful items, such as:

Bluetac
Cable ties
Chalk
Gaffer tape
Hand towel
Handwash gel
Hazard tape
J-Cloths
Lighter
Multi-tool, with penknife, screwdrivers, scissors etc.
Notepad
Pens/ Pencils
PVC tape
Sellotape
Torch
Wetwipes

PDF Version to download
RUNNER TIPS DOC_nov2011

Companies offering Work Experience Schemes

Lizzie Evans has compiled a list of companies who offer specific work experience schemes:

She says: “This list is far from complete so I’m sure there are many many more out there that might be worth looking into. I should also note that most of these companies are based in London so I’m not sure how much use this will be for regional runners, but I hope it will help some people get the break they need.”
 –
Tiger Aspect:
Endemol:
 –
Objective:
Company Pictures:
Lime Pictures:
Maverick:
Fremantle Media (Talkback, Thames etc):
Carnival:
Avalon Factual / Flame TV / Liberty Bell TV:
email arweng@avalonuk.com with a cover letter and CV
Hat Trick Productions:
Love Productions:
The Garden
Raw
RDF intern scheme
Nine Lives Media (Manchester)
Blakeway North (Manchester)
And here are some links to contact details for other companies who don’t mention work experience schemes on their websites, but who might be open to having someone in for a week or two:
Betty:
Fresh One:
Icon Films, Bristol
http://www.iconfilms.co.uk/
Juniper:
Kindle:
Mentorn TV:
October Films:
Popkorn:
Power:
Reef TV:
Remedy Productions:
Renegade Pictures:
Roughcut TV:
Silver River:
Wall to Wall:
Windfall Films:
Zodiak Group:
The Comedy Unit (Zodiak):
The Foundation (childrens, Zodiak):
Touchpaper (drama, Zodiak):
There may be further leads in Useful Links For Runners
If you have any to add please leave a comment below.

Unpaid work experience – your questions answered

IMG_2568
 So what’s the big issue?
The issue is that many Film and TV companies are breaking the law with regard to not paying young people the National Minimum Wage where it is due. They will take on someone as a “runner” or “work experience” (using the claim that it is “good for your CV” or “good experience”) and then not pay them. This is illegal. Every worker (with a few minor exceptions) is entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for every hour they work. The current minimum wage rates are here. (This is for short engagements, holiday pay will be paid at the end of a long contract unless you have taken holiday).

If it’s illegal, why do these companies do it?
Some do it because they don’t know the rules (and every employer with a duty of care should) and some do it because they think they can get away with it. The 2005 TVWRAP campaign highlighted the issue of illegal unpaid work in the TV industry which encouraged a lot of companies now to abide by the law of the land. The better companies (like Granada, RDF and Endemol) do not take on young people to do unpaid work, however there are still some companies who risk the wrath of the Inland Revenue by using young people as workers and not paying them.


But what about “work experience” or an “internship” – surely that doesn’t need to be paid?
If it is just “shadowing” or the work experience is part of a course, for a full time student only, organised by the relevant academic institution and is a required part of that course (i.e the student has to do the work experience to pass) then people on work experience or internships need not be paid the NMW. The National Council for Work Experience say this:

“Government legislation in respect of the National Minimum Wage means that UK employers can no longer offer unpaid work experience, unless they are doing it as part of their course”

http://www.work-experience.org/ncwe.rd/ … rs_149.jsp

The problem is that most companies use the phrase “work experience” to cover a multitude of sins. Proper work experience involves training and assessment, agreed goals and a plan – it is primarily of benefit to the young person involved. “Work experience” which involves someone coming in to an organisation and doing jobs is not work experience, it is work. If it is work the person involved must be paid at least the NMW, whether it involves some residual training benefit to that person or not. Also an individual cannot voluntarily forgo the right to be paid the NMW where it is due.


But aren’t these people “volunteers”?
The NMW rules re volunteers are designed to deal with the issue of clubs and charities who may have people who give their time freely and without obligation. Someone on work experience is not a volunteer if they are given tasks to carry out, set hours, set meal breaks, appear on a call sheet or are doing tasks that a paid member of staff would otherwise be doing. That is work, and that must legally be paid the NMW. As the PACT rules state (rewritten after a meeting with the DTI) “A work experience person who…is expected to obey instructions should be paid at least the national minimum wage”.

The other issue is the question of how “voluntary” this work experience really is when every young person who enters the TV industry has to do it as a condition of getting paid employment. A recent survey found that almost all young people have had to do at least 3 months unpaid work before they get a paid job in the industry. That makes the “voluntary” nature somewhat suspect.


Why should I care about this?
Firstly because it is manifestly unfair that keen young people should be exploited in this way, for their labour to be used as a way of propping up the budgets of a TV production company. Of all the people on a production team, why should the youngest, weakest and probably most hard working be treated in this way?

Secondly young people who do unpaid work have to have independent means to support themselves while they are unpaid – that usually means their parents or their own savings. It often means that the less well off are thereby denied an opportunity to pursue a career in Film and Television. Fair?

And one very good point made by others – if companies can get people to do their work for free, why should they ever pay a wage to anyone. That then cascades upwards so the next level up is devalued and then the next.

The inevitable end point – no-one values real TV skills and no-one wants to pay for them.

An exaggeration? You ask the nearest Make Up Artist what has happened to their industry…


Surely that’s the price to pay if people want to break into a highly competitive industry?
Apart from the fact that it is illegal to use people in this way, why should young people have to give their time and effort unpaid just because lots of people want to do it? Should the basic morality of “a fair day’s pay for a day’s work” be compromised just because the media is a “glamorous” career?


Never did me any harm – it toughens you up – you need to be tough in the TV industry, it’s good training.
Listen Grandad the world’s moved on since your day – in case you hadn’t heard they scrapped National Service as well. The “toughening up” argument is nonsense – there are many skills you need to be a good TV Researcher/Producer/Cameraman/Director etc; the ability to generate good ideas, tell a story, frame a shot, capture good sound, prioritise, write good dialogue, manage people, manage budgets, have vision etc etc. Being able to live on fresh air is way way down the list.


OK I’m convinced, what can I do about all these companies who are exploiting young people and breaking the law?
Tell everybody about it – let everyone know who the offenders are right here.

And tell BECTU. You don’t need to be a member – just email Teresa at info@bectu.org.uk with the words WORK EXPERIENCE ABUSE in the Subject line. BECTU are determined to stamp out this nasty practice, so please help them. Oh and join the union too – it really is the best way to start your career!

And of course you can also shop the offenders to the Inland Revenue. It’s easy to do (details available through this site). You can do it anonymously and the Revenue will never reveal your name. Or, if you don’t want to, PM me (click on my name) or send me an email (derrywatson@gmail.com) and I’ll do it for you. Your anonymity is guaranteed to be sacrosant – no-one will ever know.

The Inland Revenue always want to know about the people who break this law. And when the Inland Revenue get interested in a company on an issue like this, they tend to start looking at all aspects of a company’s finances – companies will soon realise it just isn’t worth the risk for a few hundred quid…


Unpaid work in TV is on its way out – we’ve come a long way in five years, let’s kill it for good.

*Edited to update the NMW rates*


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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…
https://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns

gov

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!
https://www.gov.uk/am-i-getting-minimum-wage

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?