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Article: Television Careers

Summary

This article covers the following jobs:

  • Broadcast Engineer
  • Broadcasting Production Assistant
  • Broadcasting Researcher
  • Broadcasting Sound Operator
  • Camera Operator
  • Film/Video Tape Editor
  • Floor Manager
  • Presenter
  • Radio/TV Journalist
  • Scriptwriter
  • Video Maker/Producer.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Television Careers

Introduction

Careers in television cover areas such as presenting, research, admin and technical work. Entry to all careers in television is highly competitive, so relevant experience is almost always necessary before entering training or employment.

Work is sometimes on location or for outside broadcasts, which involves travel and periods away from home. Hours can be long and irregular, and evening/weekend work is common.

Some of the careers in this area

Broadcasting Production Assistant

Broadcasting production assistants (PAs) provide administrative support to producers. They work on programmes in either TV or radio.

Tasks can include typing scripts, booking studios, organising and attending planning meetings, making arrangements for actors and other artistes, sorting out travel and accommodation for film crews, and working in the control room.

Entry to this type of work is very competitive. Entrants often have A levels or equivalent, or a higher qualification such as an HND or degree. Secretarial skills are also usually needed.

Broadcasting Researcher

Broadcasting researchers provide the basic material for radio and television programmes. This involves developing ideas for programmes, finding out relevant information, interviewing people, and writing briefs for presenters and interviewers.

It's sometimes necessary to travel to do research, so long hours can be involved, including evenings and weekends.

Entry to this job is very competitive. Most entrants have a degree, training in journalism and relevant work experience.

Presenter

There are a number of presenting jobs in television, including programme presenters, continuity announcers and newsreaders.

Programme presenters keep shows and programmes running. They introduce guests and performers, providing a link between each part of the programme.

Continuity announcers provide the vocal link between programmes.

Newsreaders present news programmes and bulletins. They introduce pre-recorded news stories and live reports from journalists on location. Some newsreaders write and edit scripts.

Shift work, including nights and weekends, may be required for all presentation jobs. Long hours may also be necessary.

There are no formal recognised entry routes into presenting. Most presenters enter the career after gaining relevant experience. All presenters need confidence and clear speech.

Video Maker/Producer

Video makers produce videos for a variety of commercial and industrial purposes. These cover a range of subjects such as education, advertising, music promos and weddings. Some independent video producers also make videos for television companies.

Technical aspects of the work include operating cameras, lighting and sound recording equipment and editing. Video makers often also produce and direct the video. This can involve looking at customers' requirements, planning and preparing recording, writing scripts and organising those taking part.

Other aspects of the work include sales, marketing, finance and making presentations to clients.

There are no set entry routes for this type of work. It's possible for experienced amateurs to move into professional video making. There are a number of courses available at all levels. For entry to courses, applicants are often required to have relevant work experience.

Scriptwriter

Scriptwriters write material for performers to speak. Material ranges from comedy to serious drama and documentary. Scriptwriters write for film, television or radio.

They work on materials such as complete plays, episodes for long-running series (eg, soaps) and sketches for comedy shows.

Established scriptwriters work largely on commissions from producers and follow a brief that sets out the length of performance, characters, situation and so on.

If they want to work on an original idea, they first need to find out what kind of material will interest producers and commissioning editors.

There are no set entry requirements. Courses in scriptwriting, and relevant subjects such as creative writing, are available. However, the most important factors for entry are your writing abilities, creativity and ability to understand your audience.

Camera Operator

Before filming, camera operators read the script to plan camera angles and shots. They discuss these with the director.

During filming, the operator positions and focuses the camera to create the right effect. They receive instructions from the director through headphones. As well as working in a studio, some camera operators work on outside broadcasts for television or on location with a film unit.

Competition for training and employment is fierce, so relevant experience is usually needed. Academic requirements vary, but it is useful to do a broadcasting-related course. Good eyesight, hearing and colour vision are essential.

Film/Video Tape Editor

Film/video tape editors prepare the final versions of programmes and films. They:

  • put shots together in a logical sequence
  • adjust and enhance picture quality
  • add special effects, music and background sound
  • match sounds to pictures.

There are many courses at all levels in film, TV and video. Basic understanding of film/video editing and technical ability are required for entry to courses. Good colour vision, along with an eye for detail, are essential.

Broadcasting Sound Operator

Broadcasting sound operators capture the best sound for television or radio broadcasts, or for film.

In television studios, sound operators work on the studio floor. They make sure that the studio sound system is working properly. They set up, position and operate sound booms, microphones and loudspeakers. They are also responsible for maintaining equipment.

On location, sound operators have the added task of removing unwanted background noise, such as traffic, from the sound recording.

There is no formal academic requirement for entry to this career. Successful applicants have often completed vocational courses, which are available at a variety of levels. Entry to this career is very competitive.

Broadcast Engineer

Broadcast engineers develop, maintain and support the equipment used to make television broadcasts.

Broadcast engineers working in television are responsible for the audio and video equipment used for studio recordings, and for network and outside broadcasts.

In a large television company, studio engineers are likely to provide support to different departments, including news, broadcast and production. Some broadcast engineers are responsible for the quality of signals fed to and received from a number of networks.

Successful applicants tend to have relevant work experience. Most entrants have a relevant degree or HND.

Floor Manager

Floor managers check that sets are arranged correctly before filming begins and act as a link between the director and the studio floor. They also organise and co-ordinate what is happening on the studio floor, ensuring that the performers, audience and technical equipment are all in their correct places.

Floor managers may also work on outside broadcasts for both television and film.

Entrants to this career should be able to show that they are committed to broadcasting, usually through relevant experience.

Radio/TV Journalist

Radio/television journalists collect and report on news and other items of interest for radio or television.

Journalists employed in national television and radio are either reporters who go out and collect stories, or sub-editors who write bulletins in the newsroom.

Competition for training places and employment is severe. Many national radio/television journalists start their careers by working on newspapers or in local radio.

Many entrants to this career are graduates. However, entry requirements vary considerably and it may be possible to enter journalism with fewer qualifications.

Further Information

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Tel: 020 78433700

Email: info@nuj.org.uk

Website: www.nuj.org.uk/work/careers/

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

BBC Careers

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/careers/home

British Kinematograph, Sound and Television Society (BKSTS) Accreditation

Course accreditation

Email: mark.trompeteler@bksts.com

Website: www.bkstsaccreditation.com

National Film and Television School (NFTS)

Tel: 01494 671234

Email: info@nfts.co.uk

Website: www.nftsfilm-tv.ac.uk

Northern Ireland Screen

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Email: info@northernirelandscreen.co.uk

Website: www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk

Guild of Television Cameramen (GTC)

Tel: 0300 1114123

Email: administration@gtc.org.uk

Website: www.gtc.org.uk

Broadcast

Email: info@mbi.london

Website: www.broadcastnow.co.uk

StartinTV

Website: www.startintv.com

Edinburgh International Television Festival (MGEITF)

Tel: 0207 278 9515

Email: Info@thetvfestival.com

Website: www.geitf.co.uk/thenetwork

Wales Screen

Website: www.screenwales.com

Cyfle (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: S4C Media Centre, Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU

Tel: 029 2046 5533

Email: caerdydd@cyfle.co.uk

Website: www.cyfle.co.uk

S4C (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU

Tel: 029 2046 5533

Website: www.s4c.co.uk

Ffilm Cymru Wales (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: S4C Media Centre, Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU

Tel: 029 2076 6931

Email: enquiries@ffilmcymruwales.co.uk

Website: www.ffilmcymruwales.com

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