It feels like a lifetime since I graduated from the University of Lincoln, and in actual fact it has only been 6 months. The good side, is that I have been in employment in my chosen media sector for 8 months, and I have the university to thank for shaping my knowledge of the industry and driving me to achieve my goals.
I came out of university with a 1st Class Honours degree, an academic prize and as Student Speaker for my class. This was a huge honour, and it really felt like all my hard work had paid off. However, I never found out my final grade until after I became employed. This proved that to me that the weight of a degree will get you so far on paper, but the skills and the experience, and how much you get out of the things that are on offer to you at university, get you the job and drive you to keep going, to reach out and seek what you want. And it is that drive that allowed me to gain my 1st and to walk into my first television interview with the confidence to talk about who I wanted to become and how I was determined to get here.
My first job was as a Studio Hospitality Runner for the television production company Princess Productions. I was absolutely ecstatic and cried for hours with relief, nerves and excitement of what was to come. Before I knew it, it was 4 days after ‘the phone call’ and I had ended my part time job at Sainsbury’s and had packed up to go down to my first flat in London with my boyfriend and two friends (all 2012 graduates from the university of Lincoln in work at Envy Post House), starting work Monday! (The day we found out our results! –stressful day.)
From then on for the next 6 months I found myself growing in Princess and I found out more and more about how not only the company worked, but how television worked and where my route into Production would take me. I had already decided before I got the job that Production Management was the route I wanted to take. I had headed the organisation for the 2012 Degree Show at the University a month before I started at Princess and I had produced the majority of my projects during uni, I put the two together and with the helpful words of my amazing tutors Chris Hainstock, Issie Sleight and Neil Kendall, recognising my strengths, I decided Production Management was the way!
Princess opened up that route for me, and I started to get to know the secretaries, co-ordinators and managers in Princess and learning more about the roles and how they work together alongside the editorial roles. This is where I believe being a runner is the most amazing experience, although you have to do all the jobs everyone else doesn’t want to do, you actually get to be a wallflower to production, and watching is questioning, asking is understanding and working is learning. You get to know a lot of people, and the harder you work, the more you are recognised. By the end of my time there I knew every person in every office by name and role (and this was purely from giving out post and partaking in chit chat at the coffee machine!). I found that using initiative and getting known really helps for you to get seen.
So what did my runner role entail at Princess? Basically, Princess own their own studio, and they needed it kept clean and tidy and help on the floor etc. This is where I came in. In my interview I went for an office runner, but through my enthusiasm for studio based programming they extended my interview to the studio manager, and I was offered the studio runner position. The exciting thing about this was that it was a brand new role and I was told to create it and shape it how I thought was necessary as the days rolled on. This was really exciting because I was now responsible for shaping a whole new role within the runners programme at Princess, and my role allowed me to get to know the studio team and production teams. I helped to keep the gallery, studio, make up, green room, dress room, guest rooms and toilets clean and to a high standard. When guests came in for The Wright Stuff and T4, I helped to meet and greet them and offer them drinks, making sure they were comfortable throughout their time at Princess and had everything they needed for the show. I also dabbled in day to day office duties and the odd run. I met a ton of interesting people and some absolutely amazing celebrities! I even got my picture in the Daily Mail taking Katie Price to her car in my first week! I was in total amazement of the industry and was just so excited to be a part of it.
Unfortunately my time ended at Princess when commissions ran low for January and I had to be let go with a few others, this happens all the time in the industry and I was lucky to of had 7 months there, so I picked myself up and looked forward to the next hurdle! Fortunately for me, Princess is a part of Shine Group, a group of production companies including DragonFly, Shine TV and Kudos, owned by Elisabeth Murdoch. I was transferred to Shine TV a week later with high recommendations from my peers at Princess. This was where I was proud of myself for standing out and making an impact because they cared about keeping me in the company, and I have since been asked to come back to help out as a runner on Sunday Brunch, which I now part take in when I am needed, as I got on really well with the team during my time at Princess, and they know how much I was keen on getting involved with the show!
I have since been at Shine TV and I am really enjoying it! It is very different to Princess because there isn’t a studio and it is based on factual entertainment rather than daytime and evening entertainment shows, but it is a close knit family and everyone is great to be around! I feel like I will really be able to grow here and I have already found myself helping out more and more on productions, including 2 weeks of logging I have just finished for Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew! There are a few productions coming up and it would be amazing to be able to be a part of one, and I hope by the end of the year to be getting my first Junior Production Secretary role (well that’s my aim!)
I can say to anyone out there, getting a role that isn’t a runner position, and higher is amazing, looks great on your CV and gets you straight in there – and let’s face it we all would love to skip running! But I fully believe that being a full time runner in a company opens your eyes to the industry and lets you in slowly, so you can figure out who you’re going to be.
I and my boyfriend have had some real life battles to take down throughout our 8 months in London, and in the industry, but we have battled on and learnt so much. Not everyone gets a job straight out of uni, and I sent so many CVs out, but the bottom line is that no matter how hard it seems don’t quit! Because you will be in the industry before you know it. And I thoroughly believe that Lincoln helps shape the way you think and act when you get here – because it is tough, and it shouldn’t be candy coated. But at the same time it is absolutely amazing and is a fast paced and exciting industry to be a part of!
I’ll leave you with an extract from Don’t Quit by Unknown:
‘Stick to the fight when your hardest hit, it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit’