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

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