Justin part 2: I've signed up to a TV presenting course which I will do next month. Also my friend Amanda, her brother is Johnny Irwin from A Place in the Sun etc, & his advice to her for me was to contact producers & ask the question (I don't know him personally). I was also on the Big Breakfast in '97 & the outside broadcaster guy wanted to take me on as a runner but I didn't drive at the time. I guess I'm wondering are there any opportinities/advise you could give please? jslb1979@gmail. com
Thanks for your message.
There’s not straight forward way of getting into TV really - but the ways to start trying depend on what it is you want to do.
If you want to get into production (so eventually to become a producer), the best way in if you don’t have any previous experience is to become a runner. If you’ve a relevant background in a specific subject, going in as a researcher may also be possible. Starting off as a runner can often involve unpaid or low paid work - and it’s a competitive industry to get into as I’m sure you’re aware.
Perhaps the best way to get into runner positions is to keep an eye out on television job sites such as www.bbc.co.uk/jobs and http://www.itvjobs.com/ and also the major independent production companies’ websites. There’s also https://www.startintv.com/ and http://www.productionbase.co.uk/ which should be helpful.
Another route into production is production training schemes which are run occasionally by the BBC and other companies in the industry. These tend to be highly oversubscribed for applications, but can provide more formal training as well as learning on the job.You can find out if the BBC are currently recruiting trainees in production here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/careers/trainee-schemes/
Finally, another possible entry route is to send your CV to as many television companies as you can think of, stating clearly what position you’re interested in. That can be a bit of a scattergun approach though, and is probably unlikely to yield results.
Secondly, if you want to get into presenting, that’s even more competitive!
There’s no straight forward answer to this one really - it depends what kind of presenting you want to do, and what your background is. For example, if you’re a history buff with a degree, your route to becoming a history presenter is likely to be completely different from if you would like to be a general presenter.
Generally, you need to get yourself known - so that usually involves putting together a showreel - which I’d suggest should be about four minutes long maximum and shows you doing the kind of presenting you’d like to do. Get a mate to video you - but think carefully about what you’re going to do before you go out and do it. If you want to work in a specific genre, write a script before you go out. Consider what kind of things you want featured on your reel. Is it conducting voxpops with members of the public? Pieces to camera which show off your specialist interest? Or interviews with people? Put as much effort in to this as you can as it will become your calling card.
Then, I’d watch the kind of shows you’re interested in presenting, and make a note of the Producers’ name. Do a bit of digging around to get their e-mail address and then e-mail them a link to your showreel with a covering note explaining what you’re looking to do.
A lot of people stumble into presenting after being just ‘spotted’ and there’s just no guaranteed way to make it I’m afraid, but hopefully some of the above will help you.