Surviving in TV production: Top 5 tips

Getting regular work in television production as a freelancer, whether you're a runner, researcher, assistant producer or producer isn't always easy.

With nearly every job in this line of work based on short-term contracts - lasting an average of three months (and if it's more than that, count yourself one of the lucky ones) and competition being as fierce as ever, it's crucial to know how to become more successful in getting work.

The Knowledge's Paul Banks worked in television production for nine years, so knows a thing or two about the bubble that is TV. Here he shares his top five tips on how to survive in the industry by getting that all important next job, and advises that being nice can pay off.

So dust off that CV and take note, and if you'd like to share any of your tips with us, get in touch via our Facebook page or comment below.


1. Networking

You need to have a wealth of contacts to survive in this industry. Most jobs come from people you know and word of mouth, rather than job sites you'd use in a 'normal' career. At the end of the day, the more contacts you have, the more chances you'll get to land your next job. So when you're on a production or at a party, make sure you meet as many people as possible.


2. Skills Skills Skills

Broaden your skillset as much as you can. The TV industry is very competitive, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Being multi-skilled can help you do that. Having an understanding of the latest technologies and learning how to shoot, edit, cast, clear archive and write scripts will help you become more employable.
 

3. Market yourself

Enhance your online presence. The best thing about this is that it costs nothing. Get yourself on IMDb - even if you only have a couple of credits. Create a LinkedIn profile. Set up your own website (Wordpress is one of many free sites you can use) and upload your credits to it with your contact details, always making it clear what it is you do. The more chance you have of people finding you; the better chance you have of getting a job.


4. Stay put

This is a controversial one, but try and stay with a production company for as long you can. It may sound tempting to leave at the end of your contract to join another production for the variety and the opportunity to meet new people, but remaining loyal to a company can reap rewards. I know several people who have stayed with a company, worked their way up and are now on permanent contracts (a phrase rarely used in TV), and are getting paid handsomely for it.


5. Be nice

This one sounds pretty obvious, but in this industry, everyone talks. If someone refers to you as the 'ars*hole' from a particular programme, chances are that will spread like wildfire and your name will be tarnished. Be nice, and you'll be recommended for that all important next job.