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Job Roles In The

TELEVISION AND

FILM

INDUSTRIES


runner

the job

Most Runners start in the Production Office. If they prove their worth they will either become more senior there, laying the foundations for Production Co-ordinator/Production Manager careers, or become a Floor Runner (studio and location). In the world of short films, Runners get the opportunity to work at every stage of production, from initial office planning, through principal photography, to clearing up or assisting with post production.

Pay and Conditions

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lthough 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. It is wise, therefore, to line up your next piece of work while still working on the current project. •There are lots of opportunities to gain work experience as a runner, but most of these positions are unpaid. Expenses are usually covered however.

How to get the job

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etting a position as a runner is often a combination of luck, timing and networking. The industry looks favorably on those with experience and contacts, rather than qualifications.There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a runner. However, a relevant HND, degree or postgraduate qualification, particularly one with a practical focus, may increase your chances of success as this can equip you with an understanding of the industry, practical skills, a work experience placement and useful contacts.


researcher the job

A programme researcher provides support to the producer and production team. Researchers contribute ideas for programmes, source contacts and contributors and collect, verify and prepare information for film, television and radio productions. A researcher can work on a wide variety of programmes or within one subject area.The work involves organising, planning and researching everything that will happen during the programme.

Pay and Conditions

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t is becoming increasingly common for a researcher to have to work for minimal payment or for free, before getting a fully paid job. Freelance and short-term contracts are particularly common in this industry and freelance rates vary widely. Freelance rates vary so it is best to check current agreed rates with Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) . •Employment is generally precarious. Staff jobs are extremely hard to come by and researchers are generally taken on for specific projects or programmes (often lasting no more than two or three months).

How to get the job his area of work is open to all graduates, as work experience and contacts often count for more than your degree subject. Nevertheless, a degree in one of the following subjects may increase your chances: •broadcasting and media; •design; •art; •architecture; •theatre; •journalism; •public relations; •English; •politics; •history.

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editor

the job

Editorial assistants provide assistance in all stages of the publication of books, journals, magazines and a broad range of publicity materials. They support senior editorial staff in the administration of the commissioning, planning and production of publications. The level of responsibility and the range of tasks vary depending on the size of the organisation and the type of publication. The editorial assistant role is the usual starting point for careers in editorial work. Progression to more senior roles such as features editor or commissioning editor may be possible once the necessary skills and experience have been acquired.

Pay and Conditions

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a tarting salaries are likely to be in the range of £15,000 to £23,000 and vary according to the size and type of employer. •Average salaries in publishing are around £26,500. After several years’ experience, senior editor salaries range from about £23,000 to £40,000, with higher salaries possible in the larger publishing houses. •Working hours are typically nine to five with some extra hours, often without payment, for overtime. Work may involve extra hours as deadlines approach.

How to get the job

A

lthough this occupation is open to all graduates and those with an HND, the following degree or HND subjects may increase your chances: •arts and humanities; •social/economic/business studies; •communications/media studies/journalism/printing. Personal qualities and relevant experience are often more important than the subject of study. However, specialist knowledge gained through a degree may be an advantage for specialist publications, e.g. science or engineering.


director

the job

The Director is the driving creative force in a film’s production, and acts as the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams. Directors are responsible for creatively translating the film’s written script into actual images and sounds on the screen - he or she must visualise and define the style and structure of the film, then act as both a storyteller and team leader to bring this vision to reality Skills irectors must have exceptional artistic vision and creative skills to develop an engaging and original film. Unerring commitment and a deep passion for filmmaking are essential, along with the ability to act as a strong and confident leader. Directors must constantly make decisions, but must also be able to delegate, and to collaborate with others. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital to get the best from the filmmaking team

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How to get the job

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hile there are numerous training courses and reference books on directing, formal qualifications are not necessary to become a Director. Studying the art and craft of directing is important, but the role can only really be mastered through in-depth practical experience. Writing a screenplay, directing one’s own short film or an amateur play, are all good starting places.


Floor manager 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. They have a liaising and coordinating role, acting as the link between the director and the many people involved in a production. 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. Pay and Conditions he 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.

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How to get the job

A

lthough this area of work is open to all graduates, the following degree and HND subjects may increase your chances: •media studies; •drama/theatre studies; •photography/film/ television. Entry without a degree or HND is common and many floor managers have worked their way up to this position from a more junior or related role.


Location Manager the job

Location managers are responsible for making all the practical arrangements for film or photographic shoots taking place outside the studio. Productions are made in a wide range of places and location managers need to research, identify and organise access to appropriate sites. As well as arranging and negotiating site use, the role usually includes managing sites throughout the shooting process. Pay and Conditions ates of pay vary widely, depending on experience, your reputation within the industry and the type of production. Location managers working on major television dramas or feature films can expect to earn more than those working on low-budget productions. •Most location managers work as freelancers and are paid on a contract basis. •Location managers working on photographic (‘stills’) shoots work with smaller crews but also take on the role of producer.

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How to get the job

A

lthough this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree, HND or foundation degree in a subject related to communication or media studies, or photography, film or television, may increase your chances Entry without an academic qualification is common, but all applicants should be able to demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to the media industry.


Director of photography the job

Directors of Photography (DoPs) are key Heads of Department on film productions, and theirs is one of the major creative roles. They are requested by the Director, and must be approved by the financiers, studio and/or completion bond company. DoPs work closely with the Director and Production Designer to give a film its visual signature.

How to get the job

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tills photography provides a good all round understanding of composition and light. The National Film and Television School’s MA in Cinematography provides the opportunity to specialise, and is taught by practising DoPs. Although DoPs do not need to have electrical qualifications, they do need to understand the functions of a variety of lighting equipment, and to have thorough knowledge of cameras, lenses and film stocks.


camera operator the job

Camera Operators perform a vital role within the camera department on feature films. They support the Director of Photography (DoP or DP), and the Director, by accurately carrying out their instructions regarding shot composition and development. The seamless ease with which the camera moves is key to the narrative flow of feature films, and is the Camera Operators’ responsibility. Pay and Conditions amera operators often work on a freelance basis. Rates of pay for freelance television camera operators vary according to the type of production. For example, the going rate for camera operators working a tenhour day on TV factual/ documentary programmes is £285; for commercials £411; and for TV news £227. •It may be possible to negotiate rates of pay based on your previous experience as well as the type of production.

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How to get the job

A

lthough this profession is open to all graduates and diplomates, the following subjects provide a useful background: •media studies; •performing arts; •photography/film/ television; •journalism; •media production.

Other relevant subjects include lighting, optics and cinematography.


sound designer the job

Sound Designers (previously known as Sound Effects Editors or Special Effects (SFX) Editors) are responsible for providing any required sounds to accompany screen action. Most Sound Designers are experienced Supervising Sound Editors who carry out a managerial role, steering the work of the entire sound post production process, combined with the specialist role of creating the sound concept for films.

Pay and Conditions

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ypical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio. •Typical salary 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.

How to get the job

A

ll Sound Designers start out as sound enthusiasts and have usually spent years recording and experimenting with everyday sounds before entering the industry. Since Sound Design is a highly competitive area, even the most highly qualified industry entrants must be prepared to start in junior roles. Most Sound Designers are highly experienced, talented Sound Editors who have spent considerable time learning their craft.


sound editor the job

Supervising Sound Editors are Heads of Department, responsible for all sound post production. They are the Director’s main point of contact for everything concerning film soundtracks. They must have a good grounding in dialogue recording, ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), Foley (post-synchronised sound effects), and sound effects or music editing.

Pay and Conditions

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ypical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio. •Typical salary 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.

How to get the job

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upervising Sound Editors must have gained extensive experience by working in Sound Post Production over a number of years. They usually work their way up from being Runners in Audio Post Production Facilities Houses or Mixing Studios, progressing to assisting in picture or sound cutting rooms where they are often required to work on Dialogue, Special Effects, and Foley.


sound mixer 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

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ypical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio. •Typical salary 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.

How to get the job

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roduction Sound Mixers must have a good understanding of electronics and an expert knowledge of acoustics and all sound recording, playback and editing equipment (analogue and digital). They must understand the requirements of the other departments on feature films, including: Camera, Rigging, Art Department, Wardrobe, Hair and Make-Up. They should also be aware of, and comply with, on set protocols. Production Sound Mixers must be computer literate.


sound recordist the job

The Sound Recordist is the person who sits huddled in a corner, far away from the rest of the production crew, wearing a large pair of headphones, staring intently at a bank of machinery. What are they doing? They’re recording the sound. They are monitoring it through their headphones, listening ever so intently for any ‘quonks’ or extraneous noise, whilst mixing the quality of the sound with their machinery.

Pay and Conditions

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ay and Conditions •Typical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio. •Typical salary 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.

How to get the job

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ll members of the Production Sound crew need a thorough knowledge of acoustics, electronics, microphones and digital sound recording equipment, precise attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. They usually acquire some basic sound recording skills before starting out at junior levels within Production Sound departments and eventually progressing to become Production Sound Mixers


Producer 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. Increasingly, they need to have directing skills themselves as the producer may also be the director and may take care of all project operations. Pay and Conditions ange of typical starting salaries: £18,000-£25,000. •Range of salaries with experience: £40,000£55,000, and for departmental heads, £60,000-£80,000 plus benefits. •Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) indicates that experienced production managers earn between £1,062 and £1,812 a week freelance for a 50hour week, depending on whether you work on TV factuals or dramas, or on feature films.

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How to get the job evelopments and changes within the television, film and video industries means programme/filmmakers have to be more flexible than they had in previous decades. For example, producers taking a more directorial role in programme making. The changes have resulted in more mobility and increased entry to the industry, but also therefore less job security, so it’s increasingly necessary for staff to be multi-skilled and able to move across traditional jobs flexibly .

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Executive producer the job

The traditional role of the Executive Producer is to supervise the work of the Producer on behalf of the studio, the financiers or the distributors, and to ensure that the film is completed on time, and within budget, to agreed artistic and technical standards. The term often applies to a producer who has raised a significant proportion of a film’s finance, or who has secured the underlying rights to the project. Pay and Conditions ange of typical starting salaries: £18,000£25,000. •Range of salaries with experience: £40,000-£55,000, and for departmental heads, £60,000-£80,000 plus benefits. •Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph 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 factuals or dramas, or on feature films. •Salaries vary considerably depending on the size of the company and the size and scale of the project.

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How to get the job

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xecutive Producers must be consummate negotiators. They need a keen business sense, and an intimate knowledge of all aspects of film production, financing and distribution. They are usually very well connected both within the industry and with investors and investment groups. They should have a strong sense of the market for films, and of the developing trends in production and audience tastes.


Line Producer the job

The Line Producer is one of the first people to be employed on a film’s production by the Producer and Executive Producers. 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. imust expect to work long hours, though the role can be financially very rewarding. Pay and Conditions How to get the job ange of typical ine Producers must starting salaries: possess an in-depth £18,000-£25,000. knowledge of scheduling •Range of salaries with and budgeting, and experience: £40,000of all the physical and £55,000, and for technical processes departmental heads, of filmmaking. They £60,000-£80,000 plus need excellent industry benefits. contacts, and must •Broadcasting command the respect Entertainment of the production Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) crew. Exceptional indicates that experienced communication skills production managers earn are required, as well between £1,062 and £1,812 as the diplomacy to a week freelance for a 50balance the creative hour week, depending on expectations of the whether you work on TV director, artists and factuals or dramas, or on creative personnel with feature films.

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the financial resources available.


designer 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. Filming locations may range from an orderly Victorian parlour, to a late-night cafÊ, to the interior of an alien space ship.

Pay and Conditions

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roduction designer is not typically an entry-level position. Those breaking into the field usually start as art department runners, art department assistants or design assistants. Rates for feature films and high-end television dramas tend to be higher than those for theatre or low-budget productions. •Typical salaries at senior level vary widely. The current BECTU agreement suggests that production designers should negotiate fees on an individual basis for each job.

How to get the job

P

roduction Designers 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 (CADS).


All information in this booklet was obtained from the following websites: http/www.creativeskillset.org/ http/prospects.ac.uk/ https/nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobfamily/pages/ perfartsboadcastandmedia.aspx

Job roles in the television and film industries book  
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