National Careers Week: Finding the job that fits you in television
When shows like EastEnders, Strictly, or Springwatch appear on our tellies, we only see the people in front of the cameras.
They could be actors and presenters, extras, or in the case of Springwatch, a crew member who may pop into shot. But the faces on screen are just a few members of the small armies who work long days to bring your favourite programmes to you. And even if you’ve never seen yourself as the next Zoe Ball or Chris Packham, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a job behind the scenes that’s tailor-made for your interests, skills and talents.
To mark National Careers Week, the film Inside the Screen (see above) shines a light on the people behind the scenes who play vital roles in keeping productions running. You’ll meet members of BBC staff like Ramil, who swapped life in Tottenham Hotspur’s football academy to train as an electrician and now works on EastEnders, ensuring all the sets and faces showing life in Albert Square are lit in the right way.
Then there’s Melissa, the assistant edit producer on Strictly Come Dancing’s sister show It Takes Two. Her sociology degree didn’t involve any media training at all. Her break in TV came via a training scheme and from her challenging first job on a farming documentary, she now - among other responsibilities - edits the glamorous pre-recorded sequences we enjoy as part of It Takes Two.
Jack, a researcher on Autumnwatch (and Springwatch, and Winterwatch), who studied Zoology at university, explained how his mum persuaded him to write to the producer to ask about any opportunities on the show. That moment of being proactive eventually evolved into the job he does now.
There are many routes into a career in TV, and people working in the industry have plenty of advice for anyone who wants to know more. Advice like this:
“Grab opportunities. Just because you think it might not be the path you want to take, if you’re offered that opportunity, grab it, go for it, because you can always decide afterwards that, ‘actually, thanks very much, but that’s not what I want to do’.”
Michaela Strachan, TV presenter
“I don’t think people realise how many work behind the scenes, There’s so many amazing opportunities people should investigate and look into. It is an amazing industry to work in.”
Eve, executive producer
“This is very much an industry where you can learn the skills by doing it.”
Emma, dubbing mixer and sound editor
“A runner is a brilliant job because you get to see everything and you get to see what everyone does and then you can decide what your passion might be.”
Liza, senior producer
“There’s so many online courses, there’s so many things that you can watch and learn.”
Lisa, hair designer