A & C BLACK • LONDON
First published 2009
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
A & C Black Publishers Limited
36 Soho Square
London W1D 3QY
Copyright © Elsa Sharp
ISBN: 978 1 408 10129 2
Welcome to How To Get A Job In Television, a careers guide to help you
get a foothold and create a career path in television production. If
you want to work in TV I hope this book will be an entertaining and
I’ve been working in TV as a freelancer since 1994 and I’d like to give
you an invaluable insight into the challenges of working in the industry
and a few tips on how to get on using my own experience and talking
to successful TV professionals. There is no other guide like this.
TV is a notoriously difficult industry to get into and to progress
within, there is no set career path and more people want to be in TV
than any other career.
This is where How To Get A Job In Television can help.
This book is aimed at graduates, people in other careers wanting a
change, and new entrants, such as runners, junior researchers and
researchers wishing to develop and further their careers in the
My aim is to give everyone information that is usually only gained
through experience and observation. This handbook is packed with
useful tips and information that you would not otherwise be privy to.
There are six chapters full of advice and anecdotes about finding a
job and sustaining a career in TV. It explains how to find work experience,
look for work, make and develop contacts, write a CV and get
your first job. It outlines what’s involved in different job roles and the
skills required to do them, and how to progress and stay employed.
I reveal the essential skills required to be a researcher, assistant producer,
producer, self-shooting producer/director, director and series
producer and explain the different career routes and choices to
make to reach these goals based on my own experience as a TV
researcher, my knowledge as a series producer and a recruitment
executive, and through interviews with those in the know.
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A significant part of the book gives training advice to researchers:
from how to find locations to dealing with difficult contributors. The
researcher is a key role in television and the starting point for a
career which could lead to producing and/or directing, executive
producing and commissioning. The researcher is responsible for
coming up with ideas, angles and stories, finding the content, characters,
locations and setting up the programme and delivering the
producer’s vision and demands. Training and developing researching
talent will create the programme makers of the future.
This guide draws on a range of sources from people working within
the industry at every level to training bodies and HR executives
within independent production companies. I’ve interviewed and
profiled key TV executives: people who have forged successful TV
careers, who reveal how they entered the industry, what qualities and
attributes have helped them and what they consider to be essential
It includes contributions from across the board – runners, freelance
researchers, managing directors of independent production
companies and heads of creative talent. They have all been generous
with their time and gave honest advice with candour.
This is not an academic text but it is packed with practical tips
gained from hard earned experience. It is certainly something I wish
I had been able to buy when I was starting out. There were no books,
no access to the internet and no company websites back then!
You think you want to work in television? Well, here’s where you
make a start.