How to stand out for your first TV production job
In the past TV production jobs came by way of getting through the door by first becoming a trainee runner or researcher for a producer.
Either that, or you needed to be connected to the right people. Once in, you could get on with showing the great TV production skills you have.
But television has become an increasingly competitive area to get into so you need to do more to show you have what it takes to stand out above most people.
One way to land production internships is via the internet – using You Tube, Facebook and other social sharing sites have made it easier for a budding producer to show his or her skills from the outset.
In fact, in our era of digital media, you may not be taken seriously if you don’t have some presence of your creative work displayed in these spaces.
It is not really necessary to have gone to university to study something like media studies to get a job in this area, but you do need to demonstrate certain aptitudes and understanding of the industry to make someone sit up and take notice of you, even for TV production assistant jobs.
Do you have the right skills for broadcasting internships?
Let’s look at the skills will you need to find broadcasting internships. A producer brings everything together to tell a story or present a project or event. He or she needs to be good at organising lots of different bits of information and managing people. You will need to be a bit of a visionary, having the ability to see the whole picture so that you can put all the elements in place to tell the story.
So the first skill you will need is the ability to be good at managing and organsing stuff. This may be projects, people or resources – that’s okay as such skills are transferrable. You need to be good at seeing the big picture, knowing what is important and what isn’t and with making choices and decisions about what to include or leave out.
Getting your first broadcasting internship
Creating your own productions to help you find internships in TV production is therefore a good way to show off your skills and understanding of this area of industry.
You can create productions for radio or television and to reflect various job roles, including producer, cameraperson or news presenter.
Some points to consider about creating your radio or TV production
You need some awareness of genres. Whether it is documentaries, horror movies, soaps or reality television shows they all have their genres or formats that everyone in the industry (as the audience often subconsciously understands) knows about. Soaps tend to mirror every day life and capture its audience by labouring over events so as to draw them out and emphasise them. Controversy works well for reality television and documentaries. Horrors and thrillers need nasty characters who preferably show little chance for reform!
Television is about telling stories and the best stories will be based on extremes. Boring middle of the road characters just don’t hack it in a television programme because they aren’t interesting enough to hold people’s attention. You must be able to stimulate strong feelings – of love or hate – in a person’s emotions to keep them engaged, and the way to do this is by showing extremes – for example, an extremely nasty person doing bad things or an extremely nice person that has bad things happen to them.
You need to be good at gathering facts so you can create productions that are realistic and accurate. Every production needs good research to help back up the creative elements of the story.
At your TV production interview you will be expected to demonstrate that you understand genres and have an opinion about programmes that you think work well – or not. If you can reflect a strong understanding of this in your own production then it is more likely to get noticed.