Congrats to all Lincoln School of Media third year graduating students who will be Class of 2014! The School hope you’ll keep us posted on your job-hunting, experiences, tips and advice, like last year’s alumnus Ashley Turner.
I graduated from the University of Lincoln last year as part of the first group of students to take the Film & Television course. Just before I left Lincoln, I was accepted onto the BBC’s Production Talent Pool, which I took to be a guarantee of a kickstart as a TV runner. I moved to Bristol, where I began to pick up occasional runner jobs, working on the odd day here and there on programmes like Flog It, The One Show, Rip Off Britain and others. However, the desired long contract proved elusive. Thanks to uploading my CV to a number of websites, I worked as a runner on the open auditions for the upcoming Star Wars films, which was a very exciting opportunity, and things began to build up from there. Eventually I semi-moved to London, working on The One Show as a studio runner, as well as on a BBC Three comedy pilot, a BBC Two panel show and the recent Our Gay Wedding: The Musical.
Having built up this solid range of runner experience, I was asked to come in to interview for a long-term runner job on a high profile BBC Two drama, and succeeded! So since April, I have been a Floor Runner on the BBC’s adaptation of Dame Hilary Mantel’s best-selling period drama Wolf Hall, which I’m thrilled to be a part of.
My main piece of advice to fellow graduates of Lincoln School of Media who’re looking to get into TV? Never work for free. I know many people get their starts on ‘internships’ or ‘trial jobs’ but the general consensus within the industry is this is bad practice, illegal and takes advantage of naive newcomers to the industry. I recognise I’m very lucky to have never worked for free, but if more people didn’t stand for exploitation of workers in the industry, the more people will stop offering the chance of ‘experience! (but no pay). Initially after graduating, I had to juggle the occasional runner work with claiming unemployment, a hard choice that ultimately paid off, as it meant I was available for any and all paid opportunities I saw come up.