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:
- 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”
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”
- 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”.
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”
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”
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”
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