Here at Camberwell Studios, we always try our best to help others, giving them the foremost and best advice possible. We receive a lot of enquiries from new starters, often individuals eager to make their first break into the industry but not knowing where to start. We thought it would be a great idea to write an article addressing these points, hopefully giving others a better understanding on how to break into the TV and film industry.
“What does it actually mean to be a Runner?” “Where do I start?” “What job positions should I be applying for?” “Who do I contact?”
Connections within the Industry
You may or may not have just finished studying a degree at University. I know a variety of people who have and who haven’t. Having a degree is not necessary, but I do believe it gives you a head start, most importantly with building valuable connections. Building connections in the industry is key. No matter how long or how established the person is – it’s always worth remembering them. Save their name and email address in your diary, try to build a relationship and keep in contact with them from time to time – you never know when you may need them.
“How do I build connections?”
Social events for upcoming filmmakers can be very informative, lectures lead by people who currently work in the industry, telling their story and experiences. This is a prime time to start networking with others, before or after the event. Making a great first impression may lead to something exciting. Take their name and email address (it’s always worth dropping them an email afterwards and, well, you just never know!)
The biggest advice I can give to others, is don’t leap too high, otherwise you may fall too soon. It’s ok to start from the bottom, that’s where most people (including me) started. Be honest to people, including the skills and knowledge you have. Be yourself!
“What job positions should I be applying for?”
Following my previous point above – applying for the right position within your skill level is important. Firstly, you will not be wasting time by making numerous CV’s and filling out various application forms. Secondly, you will become more focused on which steps to take to get to the job you want and the future you wish to lead. Start off by applying for Runner jobs.
“What does it mean to be a Runner?”
As a runner you won’t just become a master of making teas and coffees! You will be helping the company run – without any runners in big production companies – there wouldn’t be business. You will start to build relationships in the profession of work you want to be in. It’s a great learning platform – use this time to figure out the career direction you want to go in, it’s ok to change your mind.
It’s ok if you don’t have much media work experience to highlight on your CV, as long as you voice your passion for filmmaking and creativity, examples include personal projects you have been involved in and group projects, followed by your enthusiasm to work. Send these out to a variety of post and production houses and include a straight-forward cover letter to complete your CV. Start by researching a list of companies, recording their email addresses and phone numbers (this will help you keep track of all the places you have applied for and the places you still need to!)
You may also want to start thinking about your living situation and your current location. Possibly think about relocating to an area which has more job opportunities available. Examples such as, London, Manchester and Cardiff.
Also, make sure your CV stands out from the crowd. Media companies will get tons of CVs and you need to make sure yours doesn’t get pushed to the back of the queue!
We’ve written a fantastic article about becoming a Runner in the TV and Film industry and what it entails. Find out about the Importance of the Runner on a production shoot, here.
Your CV and how to present yourself
One thing I’ve learnt in this industry is that media CVs are structured differently to any other CV. You need to make sure you’re placing the most important information in the correct structure. When somebody is reading a CV, they will read from the top to the bottom – make sure your media experience (or anything media related) is noticeable at the start of your CV.
It’s OK to be brave and creative, try experimenting with unique and eye-catching layouts, include pictures of your work. It’s also a good idea to create a showreel and have this link clear at the top of your CV. This will be the main thing recruiters will be looking for. They like to see the work you have done and how it correlates with the points prior stated on your CV. At the end of the day, this is a creative industry so use your creativity and initiative wisely.
Social media and different apps are also a good idea. Make sure you present yourself on how you want to be seen.
– Facebook – There are plenty of media groups with recruiters looking for runners, promoting any upcoming jobs. Try following media companies, they will often post updates which is always good to keep an eye on.
– LinkedIn – Always a good way to make connections. Many production companies use this platform to advertise upcoming jobs.
– Instagram – A platform which its popularity has risen over the years. Great to make media connections and to discover new work opportunities.
Try not to panic if you don’t hear anything back straight away – media companies are extremely busy and will often keep CVs on hold and contact you when the moment is right for them. It sounds cliche, but timing and patience is key. You may go to a couple of job interviews, and for some reason it doesn’t work out, but that’s ok – as long you learn from your experiences and always ask for feedback. This will benefit you and prepare you for your next interview. Don’t give up, always keep trying.
Listed below are some useful Facebook groups that any aspiring filmmaker should consider joining. If you feel this article has been beneficial, please feel free to share: