If I had never set foot in that small television studio at Lincoln University, I wonder if I would be doing the job I do today.
I enrolled at Lincoln in 2002 not quite knowing what I would get out my Media Production degree, but after three years I graduated feeling positive and with a career plan in mind.
Excitedly I bought myself a copy of the Media Guardian Directory and emailed and posted a very basic CV and a covering letter to as many production companies as I could. I also got on to the BBC website and applied for every work experience opportunity going. I was working in a pub at the time and a lot of the punters would ask ‘So, what do you want to do with yourself?’ I’d enthusiastically reply ‘Well I want to work in TV.’ And their come back… ‘Oh right – good luck.’
My train of thought was, well someone’s got to do it. How else would television shows get made if the industry was so hard to get in to?
As a result of one of my BBC on line applications, within a few months I landed six weeks work experience at as a logger on a BBC3 factual show called Wedding Stories. As my six weeks were coming to an end, I got a phone call from a company called Talkback Thames who I had emailed my CV to months ago asking me to come for an interview for an Office Runner position they had open. Luckily for me, I got the job and spent the next two years at Talkback where I stepped up to being a Researcher working on different entertainment shows like The Apprentice and Britain’s Got More Talent.
I left Talkback in 2007 and moved to ITV where I worked on (and loved every minute of) two series of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away as a Contestant Researcher. Following that I went back to Talkback Thames in 2008 for a series of The X Factor, which was undoubtedly most exciting and rewarding show I have ever worked on.
Just less than two years ago I went for a job on Total Wipeout at Endemol. Wipeout was a show I had seen on TV and loved from the moment I stumbled across it on TV and I think that shone through in my interview. I got the job as a Contestant Researcher and 20 months down the line I am still working on Total Wipeout, now as an Assistant Producer.
I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Buenos Aires, Argentina where we are filming the show for seven weeks. My job now involves auditioning, casting, filming, interviewing and producing the contestants.
Working in television is fun, exciting and rarely boring. My advice to any graduates trying to get in to TV is to put yourself out there and get as much work experience, no matter what show it is, or how little they can pay or offer you. Expect to work long hours for free but enthusiasm, quick thinking and good energy goes a long, long way. Ask the Producers you work with for opportunities and don’t be afraid to speak up with ideas.
I love my job. I consider myself to be very lucky to have had the opportunities I have over the last five years. The idea of making entertainment for the general public is something that has always really excited me and doing this job gives me a chance to do a little bit of that every day.