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s e l o Job R in the

TV and Film Industry


R U N N E R

Details of the Job The term ‘Runner’ was coined in the film industry and it is recognised

as a key entry level role. Runners help everything to run smoothly and provide a range of support in every area of film production. On big budget features there may be several Runners: Production Office Runners, Floor Runners, and usually one Runner assigned to each of the main departments - sound, camera, art dept and editing.

Pay and Conditions Although starting salaries vary according to the size of the company,

they have increased very little over the past few years. The average starting salary is approximately £7-£8 per hour. Pay is low and there is little reason for it to increase because competition for paid runner positions is fierce. Most runners work on a freelance basis and are employed on full-time, short-term contracts. Short-term contracts and long hours can have lifestyle and financial implications. Working hours tend to be long and unpredictable, often up to six days a week during production. Broadcasting is a 24-hour operation and the working style reflects this. You may have to work nights, weekends and public holidays. Film and TV shoots often want to make the most of the daylight for filming so early mornings and late nights are a common occurrence.

Career Entry Routes

Anyone can become a runner, irrespective of their academic background. Indeed, you don’t need a degree to get your talented foot in the door of the television or film industry. Most runners, however, do tend to have a degree of some sort. A relevant film or mediarelated degree could even boost your chances of finding work, as it’ll demonstrate your passion for the industry in a tangible way.


Details of the Job

They work within any genre including news, sport, current affairs, documentaries, entertainment, children’s television, comedy, soaps and drama. The researcher may develop programme ideas draw on their particular knowledge of industry requirements. The researcher will identify appropriate data, contributors, locations or archive material etc. assess information from various sources, and ensure that legal and copyright requirements are met.

Pay and Conditions

Firstly, they must understand and work with relevant regulations. You may be employed by production companies or work on a freelance basis. Salaries can vary depending on the company, the seniority of the position, the commercial potential of the programme and the economic forecast. Because of the contractual nature of the work, researchers are often paid at weekly rates, which can range from £350 for junior researchers to £600 per week for covering senior research roles. When working from the office, the working conditions are standard office practice – stress can be an issue, but other risks are minimal. When on location, however, conditions vary. Researchers are usually expected to be on-site for the duration of filming, which can mean long stints away from home and staying in hotels with no opportunity to get away.

Career Entry Routes

Skills for this career includes excellent verbal and written communication skills, excellent presentation skills, advanced analytical skills, ability to think visually, problem solving skills, advanced IT skills and also current knowledge of the relevant legislation, regulations, and associated procedures, including Copyright, Data Protection, Public Liability, etc.

R E S E A R C H E R


E D I T O R

Details of the Job A film or video editor is responsible for assembling recorded raw

material into a finished product suitable for broadcasting. The material may consist of camera footage, dialogue, sound effects, graphics and special effects. This is a key role in the post-production process and the editor’s skill can determine the quality and delivery of the final product. The editor may be part of a team and they will usually work closely with the director to achieve the desired end result.

Pay and Conditions Range of typical starting salaries: £18,000-£25,000 for those employed

by a television or post-production studio. This is not typically an entry level/graduate job; entrants start at a lower-paid level, which can be around the national minimum wage, working as runners and then assistant editors before reaching this post. Range of salaries for people with experience, £20,000-£35,000. Range of typical salaries at a senior levels, £37,000-£70,000. Editors work long, unsociable hours, often under pressure, in an edit suite or cutting room. They are employed on a freelance basis by the Producer (sometimes with the approval of the film’s financiers), based on their reputation and experience.

Career Entry Routes

Although a degree is not strictly necessary for entry into this line of work, completing an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as creative media production, media studies, broadcast journalism, fine art, computer science, software engineering, animation, photography, film studies or graphic design, might increase your chances of securing an entry-level position. Gaining relevant work experience is essential. Many people get their break as a film/video editor after working in another role in the industry, such as runner or production assistant.


Details of the Job

They develop a vision for the finished film, and define a practical route for achieving it. During pre-production, they make crucial decisions, such as selecting the right cast, crew and locations for the film. They direct rehearsals, and the performances of the actors once the film is in production. Directors also manage the technical aspects of filming, including the camera, sound, lighting, design and special effects departments.

Pay and Conditions

The range of typical starting salaries are £18,000-£25,000. With experience, the range of salary is 40,000-£55,000, and for departmental heads, £60,000-£80,000 plus benefits. Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematography and Theatre Union (BECTU) indicates that experienced production managers earn between £1,062 and £1,812 a week freelance for a 50-hour week, depending on whether you work on TV or dramas, or on feature films. Salaries vary considerably depending on the size of the company and the size and scale of the project. Your working hours on a shoot would often be long and irregular according to the production’s needs, and may include evenings and weekends. Work may be anywhere in the UK or overseas, so working conditions would vary depending on where the production was filmed.

Career Entry Routes

You could take various routes to becoming a director. The most important requirements are to have substantial experience in TV or film, in-depth understanding of the production process, and a network of contacts in the industry. Many successful directors start as runners and work their way up through other jobs like 3rd and 2nd assistant director or floor manager. Others move into directing after experience in camera work or acting. Another way of breaking into film directing is to make your own short films (known as ‘shorts’), which you could market to agents or enter into film festivals and competitions such as those run by the BBC and Channel 4. To make your own films, you will need access to equipment, crew and actors. Getting involved in community film projects can help you with this.

D I R E C T O R


F L O O R M A N A G E R

Details of the Job Television floor managers ensure that sets, props and technical

equipment are safe, ready to use and in the right position prior to filming. It is the floor manager’s responsibility to pass on cues to presenters and guests to ensure timings are met and the broadcast goes smoothly. The floor manager ensures that events go according to a set plan and that people taking part know their particular roles and how it fits in with whatever else is happening.

Pay and Conditions The majority of floor managers work on a freelance basis and salaries

can be paid on an hourly, daily or weekly rate. A freelance floor manager will usually earn around £150 per eight-hour day but it may be possible to earn up to £400 in a day. As with most jobs, the pay in London tends to be higher. Range of typical starting salaries: £16,000 - £22,000. Range of typical salaries at senior level/with experience, e.g. after 10-15 years in the role: upwards of £25,000.

Career Entry Routes

This profession is open to those both with and without degrees. Those with degrees come from all degree disciplines, but some take degrees in areas such as media studies, film and television, or drama/theatre studies to give them an edge. Good floor managers will be super organised, quick to react and resolve problems under pressure, have top-notch communication skills and a friendly, approachable manner.


Details of the Job

Their job is to read scripts and analyse storyboards; they liaise with the director and director of photography; they visit target locations to check out how they will fit in. They take photos of the locations and then report back to the director to discuss which ones are right for each scene. They are responsible for negotiating with the proprietors of the land and the buildings where the proposed filming will take place; asking about parking, obtaining permission to access the site etc.

Pay and Conditions

Expect early morning starts, late finishes and the occasional weekend too. Travelling around the country, or across the globe, is a regular fixture for location managers. A lot of your professional life will also be spent in the great outdoors. The majority of location managers work on a freelance basis, so wages are completely dependent on one’s ability to find regular work. However, on average, location managers tend to earn between £22,000 and £36,000 per annum.

Career Entry Routes

Although a degree is not strictly necessary for entry into this line of work, completing an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as media studies, film studies or photography may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position. Gaining relevant work experience is essential. Many people get their break as a location manager after working in another role in the industry, such as runner, location assistant or assistant photographer.

L O C A T I O N M A N A G E R


D I P Details of the Job R H E O Pay and Conditions CT TO OG R R Career Entry Routes A OP FH Y

They realise the desired look using lighting, framing, camera movement, etc. DoPs collaborate closely with the camera crew (Camera Operator, 1st and 2nd Assistant Camera, Camera Trainee and Grips). During filming, DoPs also work closely with the Gaffer (whose lighting team are key to helping create the required look of the film), the Production Designer, Costume Designer, and the Hair and Make Up Department.

Salary is negotiated per project, and so is not remunerated annually. With regular work and a decent reputation can expect to earn around £1300 per day for mainstream distribution releases. The entry rate for paid work may typically be around £500 per day for cinematographers commissioned to a studio-funded shoot, although some freelancers working on small, independently-commissioned corporate films will offer their services for around £275 per day. Although the hours are long, and some foreign travel may be required, involving long periods spent away from base, the work is highly creative and very rewarding.

You must have an artistic vision; creativity and precise attention to detail; ability to give and to accept direction;excellent communication skills; knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures. Stills photography provides a good all round understanding of composition and light. . You do need to understand the functions of a variety of lighting equipment, and to have thorough knowledge of cameras, lenses and film stocks. They may have previously studied Drama, Stills Photography, or Art, or taken a Film/Media Studies degree, where useful research skills are also developed.


Details of the Job

Camera Operators ensure that the camera and associated equipment are prepared for the required set-ups, always keeping alert for any last-minute changes. They must be able to multi-task, and to watch, listen and think on their feet while carrying out complex technical tasks. They supervise the logistics of moving the camera, and oversee the Camera maintenance work carried out by the Focus Puller and the 2nd AC.

Pay and Conditions

The salary for a camera operator is generally £11,500 - £40,000+ a year. The working conditions for a camera operator will vary from production to production. The demands will change based on the requirements of the specific project. However, it’s almost always the case that camera operators will be working against the clock to capture the shots that they need. Understandably therefore, you might be required to work unsociable hours from time-to-time.

Career Entry Routes

Interest in photography and film/video, technical ability, artistic, patience, understanding of electronics/optics. Patience is a must. There are long waits between shots and you may have to do several takes of the same shot. Technical ability is key as is the ability to work as part of a team. Equipment can be heavy to lug around so you need good physical strength. Finally, creativity and innovation is essential to make you stand out above the rest.

C A M E R A O P E R A T O R


S O U N D D E S I G N E

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Details of the Job Sound Designers are responsible for providing any required sounds

to accompany screen action. As well as creating the sounds for giant explosions or car crashes, Sound design is also the art of creating subtle sounds that enrich the language and feeling of a film. Sound effects are added after filming, during the editing process, to give the film its sonic identity, e.g., location, period, or a particular mood.

Pay and Conditions You would need to be flexible about your working hours, which could

be long and irregular. You might work during evenings, nights and weekends, depending on when artists and producers were available. You would mainly work in recording studios. Conditions can vary – some commercial studios may be large and air-conditioned, but many are small and windowless and can be cramped. They are no fixed rates for a sound designer.

Career Entry Routes

You must have a good ear, and be enthusiastic about sound and able to demonstrate this. You must have a familiarity with the work of sound designers and sound effects artists through the history of audio-visual media. Also, have the ability to continually develop your skills and keep abreast of constantly changing technologies well-developed communication skills, and the ability to work flexibly in a team with a wide range of different people


Details of the Job

A Sound Editor creates the soundtrack by cutting and synchronizing to the picture, sound elements, such as production wild tracks, dialogue tracks, library material and foley in analogue or digital form and presents these to the re-recording mixer for final sound balance. They work closely with the sound designer, re-recording mixer and the director to establish what sound effects are required throughout the production and to ensure that these effects are available within tight time schedules.

Pay and Conditions

Depending on the complexity and the tightness of the schedule it may be necessary to employ a dialogue editor and/or foley editor. They work long hours under considerable pressure and they can earn up to ÂŁ58,500.

Career Entry Routes

Must be computer literate and have a good working knowledge of sound recording, playback, editing and mixing equipment, also experience in the various soundtrack delivery systems. Excellent hearing and a good sense of timing are required, as are attention to detail and good communication skills.

S O U N D E D I T O R


S O U N D M I X E R

Details of the Job Production Sound Mixers are responsible for the difficult job of

ensuring that dialogue recorded during filming is suitably clear. Although much of the storytelling and the emotional impact of a script are conveyed through dialogue, most film sets are challenging environments for Mixers because there are often unwanted noises to deal with, or the required camera shots hamper the placing of microphones.

Pay and Conditions Typical starting salary is £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio

or in television and radio. With experience, e.g. after ten years in the role: £30,000 - £35,000. These wages are often supplemented with unpredictability or unsocial hour allowances. Freelance sound technicians can earn £230 - £500 per (ten hour) day. Sound technicians frequently have to work long days and unsocial hours (the average working day is ten hours) including evenings, nights and weekends. They often need to adopt flexible working patterns in order to work on breaking stories, to tight deadlines or to ensure that the creative process is not interrupted. Working in multiple locations is often required. Many sound technicians are freelancers and work on fixed-term contracts for broadcasting or production companies. Like other freelancers, sound technicians often face uncertainty around their employment.

Career Entry Routes

As the head of the production sound department, Production Sound Mixers must undertake specialist training in sound recording before starting out at junior levels within the sound department and progressing through the sound roles. Sound is one of the best served areas for film and television training in the UK with provision ranging from specialised short courses, to qualifications at HND, BA and post graduate levels.


Details of the Job

Their main duties of producing high quality sound recordings to match the recorded images are largely the same as documentary or factual Sound Recordists. A Sound Recordists prime function is to make sound recordings of outstanding quality, free from interference and all unwanted noise.

Pay and Conditions

Most Sound Recordists/Production Mixers are freelance, and although some may register with agents and diary services, most work is gained on the basis of their reputation. They are often expected to work long and irregular hours, sometimes on location, which may involve extended periods away from home. They can earn from ÂŁ18,000 to ÂŁ25,000 per year.

Career Entry Routes

Like many production roles you will need stamina, determination, resourcefulness, good technical knowledge, an appreciation of other crew positions, physical fitness and outstanding communications skills. The ability to relate clearly, calmly and professionally with your crew and your subjects is a huge priority. You may be a technical whizz, but without good people skills, you cant make a successful Sound Recordist or any crew member come to that. An appreciation of sound, the various qualities it can possess and those things that can effect recorded sound (from hard surfaces, room sizes, interference, etc.) are a required. Technical knowledge can be vital and run much deeper than merely knowing how to operate a DAT recorder correctly, but that is clearly a good start.

S O U N D R E C O R D I S T


P R O D U C E R

Details of the Job Producers are the main players in the television, film and video

industries. A producer will oversee each project from conception to completion and may also be involved in the marketing and distribution processes. Producers work closely with directors and other production staff on the shoot. Producers arrange funding for each project and are responsible for keeping the production within the allocated budget.

Pay and Conditions In the early stages of your career you may have to be prepared to accept

a very low salary and, if necessary, to work part time in the industry and part time in another area of employment to make ends meet. Freelance producers are usually paid a fee for each individual contract or project. Rates can vary widely and you could negotiate fees based on the type of production, the budget available and your track record. Depending on your contract, you may also receive a percentage of the profits from a feature film.

Career Entry Routes

Entry without a degree is possible, but most producers are educated to degree level. Gaining work experience or taking a weekend course while you are still studying may improve your chances of entry. Candidates will need to show evidence of confidence in their own ability; strong communication and people skills; strong time and resource management skills; creative ability; the ability to cope under pressure and a strong head for figures and leadership skills. When approaching potential employers, provide up-to-date evidence of what you can offer (e.g. a showreel, video, portfolio or script).


Details of the Job

Executive Producers are responsible for the overall quality control of productions, and for ensuring that final products conform to commissioners’ specifications. They are part of the team who are responsible for selecting marketable projects and ensuring that every step is taken to guarantee success in the market. They lead the production of a range of television programmes, including dramas, serial dramas, documentaries, drama documentaries, etc.

Pay and Conditions

The pay for an executive producer can vary widely, fees can also be negotiated depending on the type of production. The working hours can be long and irregular, again depending on the production. Depending on your contract, you may also receive a percentage of the profits from a feature film.

Career Entry Routes

Although no specific educational or training qualifications are required for the role of Executive Producer, a degree in a media related or specialist subject may provide some useful background knowledge. Wide experience in and knowledge of the production process is essential. Some specialist courses aimed at experienced producers, e.g. those run by UK MEDIA and funded by the EU, offer training in co-production, developing networks and partnerships, pitching, and other topics.

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L I N E P R O D U C E R

Details of the Job Line Producers are rarely involved in the development of the project, but often play a crucial role in costing the production in order to provide investors with the confidence to invest in the project. As soon as the finance has been raised, the Line Producer supervises the preparation of the film’s budget, and the day-to-day planning and running of the production.

Pay and Conditions Line Producers are usually employed on a freelance basis. They must expect to work long hours, though the role can be financially very rewarding. Based on those estimates, the line producer prepares a budget for the producers to show how much funding they will need.

Career Entry Routes

Line Producers must possess an in-depth knowledge of scheduling and budgeting, and of all the physical and technical processes of filmmaking. They need excellent industry contacts, and must command the respect of the production crew. Exceptional communication skills are required, as well as the diplomacy to balance the creative expectations of the director, artists and creative personnel with the financial resources available. They always need to plan for the worst, whilst simultaneously being able to inspire others to excel in their work.


Details of the Job

Production Designers are major heads of department on film crews, and are responsible for the entire Art Department. They play a crucial role in helping Directors to achieve the film’s visual requirements, and in providing Producers with carefully calculated schedules which offer viable ways of making films within agreed budgets and specified periods of time.

Pay and Conditions

They work on a freelance basis, and may have to prepare detailed drawings and specifications in order to pitch for work on a number of productions before they are offered work on one of them. Although the work can be very demanding and the hours long, this is one of the most highly skilled, creatively fulfilling roles within the film industry. Typical salaries at senior level vary widely. Salaries may vary a great deal from one production to the next and your income will depend on the nature and number of contracts you take on. Negotiating a weekly or daily rate is common. If you are on a low income, you can supplement your earnings with other activities, e.g. teaching, model-making, exhibition design. Only a few designers command high salaries. Those fortunate enough to work on West End productions may receive a percentage of box office takings or royalties.

Career Entry Routes

They must have expert knowledge of many art and design related subjects including draughtsmanship, technical drawing, colour theory, architecture, building and construction, history of design, interior design, cameras and lenses, lighting, etc. Production Designers must also have full knowledge of computer budgeting software and computer aided design programmes. They are usually graduates of Art, Architecture, Theatre, Interior or 3D Design courses. Subsequently they usually complete a specialist course in Film and/or Theatre Design.

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