Film and TV Work

Film and TV Work

Film and TV Work

Who hasn’t fancied the chance of being involved in TV or film? Whilst not exactly home based, the following contacts, courses and tips could get you the job of your dreams. Both skilled and unskilled opportunities are available. Take a look at job sites like Mandy for an idea of the range of work available.

Getting Started

Download a free eBook from BeOnScreen.com entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Getting on TV”. This free ebook contains their secrets of how to give yourself the best shot at getting on the TV shows you can see on their site.

They reveal the secrets that get you noticed by TV researchers and producers; from the perfect application to their pet hates.

Training

Skillset is the government-recognised National Training Organisation for broadcast, film, video and multimedia. Whilst Skillset itself doesn’t provide training it oversees training policy and strategy for the broadcast, film, video and multimedia sector. Among many other things it’s responsible for the Scottish/National Vocational Qualifications (S/NVQs) for the sector.

Their website skillsformedia is designed for both new entrants and people already in the industry who wish to progress their careers, and is the premier on-line source of careers and training advice for the UK media industries.

BKSTS runs short courses and seminars and also offers guidance on What to look for in a Media course. See their website for an overview of Careers in Film and Television

Film & Television Freelance Training, FT2 is the only industry-wide organisation offering young people new entrant technical training with attachments on full-scale productions. Note that places are extremely limited (around 70 applicants for each place) so you will face strong competition.

Filmskills is a Residential, Employer Trained, Alternative Education Programme which combines the best aspects of formal schooling with on-the-job training. Students read similar text material as in any college or university program. The difference is that the instructor in our Apprentice Program isn’t a college professor, but an actual Head of Department. The same person who will most certainly hire you, or get you hired.

Apprentice Programs include training and becoming a Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Camera Operator, and Digital Editor as well as Computer Animation, Special Effects, Make-up and Hair, Wardrobe and other film and television positions.

These courses involve a serious investment but they do offer bursaries and have strong connections with financial institutions that can arrange career development loans.

The National Short Course Training Programme (NSCTP) is a non-profit organisation, providing high quality, cost effective short courses for the majority of freelancers who work in the film and television industries.

Although InterMedia, a local authority agency based in Shepherds Bush specialises in helping local people enter the media in that part of London, its website advises on such general topics as CVs, applying for work experience and becoming a film or television runner.

Metier – The industry training organisation for arts and entertainment.

Vacancies

Weekly magazines such as Screen International, Broadcast (subscriptions for both of these are available from Greatmagazines.co.uk and include free access to subscriber only websites), and The Stage have traditionally been the place to look for vacancies but the internet is increasing becoming the best place to look. Try the following websites:

productionbase.co.uk is the TV & Film industry’s central point for freelancers and employers. They’ve been around for 5 years and Production companies and broadcasters use the site when they’re looking for freelancers.

They are used by many BBC departments, LWT, Carlton TV, Channel 4, Granada, Mersey TV and other broadcasters as well as hundreds of independent companies (GMG Endemol, Mentorn Barraclough Carey, etc.).

You enter your own details into the template CV, including a photo, which can only be accessed by potential employers. You also have the option to upload your own personalised Word CV which employers can then download.

They also have a jobs bulletin board. Employers post vacancies here that are often not advertised elsewhere. As a subscribing freelancer you can apply for these jobs online, with a covering email and a link through to your productionbase CV. If a job is posted that corresponds to your job type they also send you an e-mail alert.

BBC’s World of Opportunities covers jobs, courses and careers.

The Stage has a large jobs page (covering television as well as theatre)as well as an active forum, a wealth of useful articles including “how to” guides and entertainment law.

film-tv.co.uk has a database for crew and vacancies. They cater more for the experienced practitioners who wish to continue developing their skills rather than new entrants to the industry although they have recently added a guide to getting a foot in the door in the film/TV industries inspired from their own experiences, and that of friends, colleagues and members of the list.

Artism is a central resource for people working in the creative industries: music, TV, film, advertising, and the performing arts. Freelancers register CVs for free.

www.promoagency.co.uk is a free directory of promotional agencies. A great resource to find work between castings.

Mandy is an international database of production staff with jobs also emailed out to subscribers on a regular basis. Free to register and includes low and unpaid work if you’re looking for experience.

Recommended Reading

The industry “bibles” for comprehensive listings of film and television companies, from commissioning bodies through the entire production process to distribution are: The Knowledge, and Kemp’s Film and Television Handbook .

Skillset has commissioned what is generally considered the best and most comprehensive careers publication, A Career Handbook for TV, Radio, Video and Interactive Media by Shiona Llewellyn covering routes into the industry and access to both academic and industry-based training. It can’t tell you how to become a Director of Photography or a Casting Director overnight, but it will tell you what you need and where to start.

Contacts is the essential handbook for anyone working in the entertainment industry. Stage, television, screen and radio – all branches of the profession are covered. Published every October by the well-established and famous Spotlight, each edition consists of every contact needed to actually get somewhere. Casting directors, casting suites, drama schools, theatres, agents of all kinds, photographers and personal managers are to name but a few categories of the much needed people and companies listed in this book. It also includes contact details of TV channels and routes to studios. Available from Amazon.

The BFI Film and Television Handbook 2004 is generally considered essential reading for media students (both academic and practical) and prospective new entrants and includes an overview of courses relating to film in the UK together with useful contact details.

Although published in 1997, BFI’s Lights, Camera, Action! remains an authoritative guide to career opportunities in the media. It offers advice on career opportunities, educational qualifications required, training provision, the National Vocational Qualification system and technical developments affecting employment

How to Get a Job in Television by Susan Walls is a guide for young job seekers needing to know what is involved in working in television and aims to encourage the right sort of people to come into television production, and save young job seekers the horrors of “learning on the job”.

Better Than Working: Life Behind the Camera is a collection of tales and reminiscences from the author’s career as a film camera technician. The final chapter contains clear, detailed, and honest advice for anyone considering a career in film or TV: an invaluable source of information on how to find work and training, and about what it’s really like out there.

Other Resources

BECTU (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) is the independent union for those working in broadcasting, film, theatre, entertainment, leisure, interactive media and allied areas who are primarily based in the United Kingdom. Their website has a wealth of information, including extensive links to industry sites.

ABTT – Association of British Theatre Technicians.

Media UK Internet Directory – One-stop media portal, currently listing 645 radio stations, 367 television channels, 1348 magazines and 1380 newspapers – Listing websites, addresses, telephone numbers, programme schedules plus the latest news, discussions and media jobs.

www.tvfreelancers.org.uk is a new non-union lobby group forming now which is run by and for tv production freelances. It aims to address the hardest aspects of this lifestyle, highlight injustices and compare notes.

Pick the brains of experienced filmakers, and get the benefit of their experiences, tips and knowledge from:

Voice Over Work

Not everyone is suited to a career in voice-overs. Having a good sounding voice is one thing, but knowing how to use it correctly is another.

If you’ve had no formal training or industry experience, then it can be worth trying it out before spending too much time and money on something that won’t work. Several companies offer free consultations, without obligation, to help you decide.

The Showreel offer FREE consultation as the first step in identifying a marketplace compatible with your voice. It is designed to establish your vocal qualities and abilities in order to successfully plan your showreel, and maximise your chances of selling your voice to a suitable audience. These qualities are critical in determining the type of voice-work you may eventually be booked for, and directly influence material chosen for your showreel. The consultation does not commit you in any way to book a Showreel.

Alternatively, you might prefer their Audition Package to find out if Voice-Over work is for you. You learn the importance of correct script selection, vocal delivery and record a selection of Commercials and Narratives, then together you and your coach decide if you should take the next step.

If you decide to proceed the company offer a showreel service. Visit their site for full details.

Also provided on the site are tips and techniques including keys to successful voiceovers, voice care tips for voice-over artists, specialty demos, helping your voice work better for you, microphone etiquette and technique plus other useful tips on voice overs and singing.

Vox Training offer a free “demo chat” session which takes about an hour. They’ll find out about you and what you want from your demo, play you examples of our demos, to give you an idea of what can be achieved and explain the procedures in making a demo, step by step. If you wish, they can also give you advice on the complete package – ideas on CD covers, duplicating your CD and how to distribute your demo.

Also available is a foundation course, where you spend a day in a studio in the heart of Soho, London and work as part of a small team, looking at many aspects of voice-over. They teach you how to go about working with scripts of different types and discover the strengths and weaknesses of your voice. You can expect an honest appraisal helping you aim for the areas where your strengths lie.

Berkley Productions – Professional Voice over artist Susan Berkley provides an online resource for aspiring voice artists whicn includes free e-zines and articles.

http://www.actorschecklist.com/resources/voice.html has a useful article on getting started in the Voice Over Industry.

Voice Over Training with Voice Coaches is one-on-one, individualized, and all-inclusive. Their programs provide specialized voice evaluation, industry preparation, network quality demo development, and effective self-marketing training coupled with personalized, long-term support.

Whilst not accepting new demos, voice agency Speak have put together a page of solid advice for anyone thinking of starting out in the voice-over business

Voice Over Agencies

Just Voices Agency – Professional Voiceover Agency, London UK
Professional voiceover agency providing male and female English and International voiceover artists based in London, UK.

The following agencies will consider demos and some also have an advice section on their websites for aspiring artists.

Voicebookers.com say they are always interested to hear from experienced voices. Check the site for submission instructions.

Excellent Voice Company Ltd is a UK Voice over and casting agency. Their site has an excellent brutally honest section about becoming a voice-over artist.

For a list of agencies visit http://www.vocalist.org.uk/voice_overs.html. Note these agencies are unlikely to consider inexperienced artists, and many only accept household names.

Other Resources

The following directories will include your details in their database for a fee. Generally your demo is vetted and only the best will be accepted. Please Note: A listing in this section does not constitute recommendation.

Voiceovers.co.uk. The site also provides a monthly newsletter containing information on their voiceover artists plus interesting comments, news and stories submitted by users.

http://www.voicefinder.biz – Also has information on improving your skills, fee guidelines and a forum for discussions relating to the voiceover industry and voiceover work.

Virgin Voices They upload new voices every month and email agents to let them know new voices are available.

They also offer a Voice Appraisal Service. Download their scripts, record yourself reading them, and send them to the company. One of their experienced directors will send a reply letting you know your strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions of delivery styles that you should use when making your tape.

Or check out their Voicetape Recording package. This five-step plan over 5 weeks takes you into the marketplace from scratch, letting voiceover agents and clients now you are ready to work. Full details from Virgin Voices

http://www.radiodirectory.co.uk/ ask a one-off fee of just £5 for professional voice-over artists for a listing on their site.

FatVoice, will review submitted demos by their experienced team of producers for possible inclusion in their library. They say they only accept the very best in Voice Talent, so read their tips section first to maximise your chances of getting through. If selected, you will be required to pay a small quarterly listing fee of £19.99 but the agency do not then take a booking fee per session.

The Voiceworks is an international database and showcase of voice talent, which dedicates a full page to each individual to include headshot, biography, contact details, and of course a voice sample. Useful submission advice for beginners can be found in the FAQs section. Subscription to The Voiceworks is a one-time fee of £50.00, if accepted.

UK Voices is one of the largest online databases of voice over talent in the UK, marketing their services aggressively to the voiceover industry and advertising widely and regularly. They are offering a free voice success pack with all the tricks of the voiceover trade, direct from the professionals. As a member you can apply directly for voiceover jobs. Vacancies are updated regularly and include:

  • Television ads
  • Radio ads
  • Training DVDs
  • Websites
  • Telephone services

Recommended Reading

Voice-overs: A Practical Guide – Containing scripts, music and sound effects for adverts, documentaries, training films and radio drama, this book aims to explain and teach the skills of voicing radio and television commercials. It also includes scripts written for well-known brand and companies and gives advice on how to find work. There are sections too on making your own demo tape, work in a voice studio, interpret text, work with CD-ROMS or computer games , look after your voice and work in radio drama. In addition there are listings of websites and contact addresses and voice-over terms. A free CD is included which has many of the original jingles and backing tracks for the scripts used in the book.

There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Insider’s Guide to a Career in Voice-overs begins by explaining the basics of the industry and demonstrating how prospective voice-over performers can best market themselves through the use of agents, mailings and demo tapes. Subsequent chapters are devoted to such topics as vocal preparation, the basics of reading copy, the distinction between an announcer, a spokesperson, and a character, how to “hide the sell”, how to branch out from commercials to industrial narrations and talking books, and how to work in a recording studio and use a microphone to best effect. This expanded edition includes new insider’s tips on making a demo CD; coverage of vocal “melody” modulation and breath technique; discussion of advanced copy-reading techniques; and a section on how copywriters see the job of the voice artists they work for.

Making Money in Voice Overs by Terri Apple consistently receives 5 star rating from Amazon reviewers. It provides answers to frequently asked questions about the industry plus advice for aspiring voice over artists on how to get started in the business.

No Skill Required

TV and Film Extras

TV/Film Extras can be any age, size or shape, male or female and don’t require training, prior experience or qualifications. Although acting experience is not required, you will be required to look natural in what may be a very unnatural situation. As well as being fun, work as a TV or film extra can be very well paid, the minimum payment for a day’s work (9 hours with 1 hour for lunch) being £80, with opportunities to earn more. Most people have something extra that they can offer and such skills can increase your employability and earnings. Meals are also provided.

Starting Out

For an excellent article on life as an extra and how to become an extra read Tony Butcher’s report at http://www.thestage.co.uk/connect/howto/extra.php

The most important thing to do is to register with an agent, as the film and TV companies will generally contact these agencies who will hire the extras. Most are based in and around London as it continues to host the majority of big budget UK productions. Once on the books of an agency, keep in regular contact so that you remain in their mind when casting. You will usually get a few weeks notice but be prepared for work at short notice. The film world moves at a very fast pace and so being easily contactable and available at short notice is essential. Don’t be surprised if you are not inundated with work, especially at the beginning.

Note that the best agencies do not advertise, so be wary of ads at the back of The Stage and other similar publications. In particular, be wary of any request from an agent for any form of ‘entry fee’, just to go on to his/her books. Best industry practice is only to charge clients for work obtained, by way of commission.

You will not need a professional portfolio, although they will need a basic amateur photograph, and CV of measurements and colouring. When working on contemporary productions you will be required to wear your own clothes, therefore the more comprehensive your wardrobe the higher the chances of work become.

Please remember this is not glamorous work. Be prepared to get up very early in the morning, as most calls require you to arrive on location between 06:00 and 09:00. There will be a lot of waiting around, often in unpleasant conditions, and you may not even be needed. Filming can go on until late so have something quiet to keep you occupied – a book, newspaper or letters to write for example.

Note – You must have a National Insurance number as proof that your are eligible to work in the UK. Under 16’s will not have one and will need to be licensed for engagements of work. Child agencies usually take care of this task

The Hidden Extra is a free resource for anyone wanting to become an extra. The site covers such topics as:

  • The Basics
  • Choosing an Agency – some of the reputable agencies are listed here.
  • Pay Rates
  • Film Terminology
  • The Studios

Contracts and Publications

beonscreen.com is one of the best sites for anyone wanting to appear on TV. You can search through shows that are looking for participants, find a job in television & entertainment or simply get free audience tickets. You can also receive email and SMS alerts of new listings.

LIMITED OFFER – Get £10 discount on Gold membership of Beonscreen.com (usually £19.99)by quoting discount code is: AFF1001

e-media-c, recognised by the Government and the Film Council, is where industry professionals can find models, performers, locations, photographers – literally all the elements they might need for their productions. The ‘New Faces’ section is specifically for people wanting to break into the industry, giving them a chance to be seen by some of the best agents and casting people in the business.

It doesn’t matter how tall you are or what colour your hair is etc. Their clients look for a wide variety of people – of all ages, shapes and sizes, even families. And it’s perfectly ok to be a beginner. Most of the work will be odd-days or part- time, which many people do in addition to their other jobs.

You do NOT need professional photographs and can submit snapshots or visit their offices to be photographed for free.

The cost to join is £45 for the year or £12 every 3 months. Note that they are not an agent and cannot guarantee that anyone will get an agency or get work by being on the site, as it depends on what the agencies and clients are looking for. Some success stories are listed on the site.

SMS Auditions is a new service for the UK public wanting to break into the world of TV and film as an ‘extra’ (background artist), actor or actress. Their researchers track down opportunities and auditions from various movie and television production houses including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5, Endemol Productions, to pass to you direct through your mobile phone.

There are no joining fees but you will be charge £1.50 for each text message you receive (expect a maximum of 3 opportunities per week.) and can cancel at any time.

Contacts is the essential handbook for anyone working in the entertainment industry. Stage, television, screen and radio – all branches of the profession are covered. An entry in Contacts for an agency is generally an indication that they are established and know the business. Available from Amazon.

For a one off fee of just £6, http://www.studioextras.co.uk provides you with an online guide covering:

  • Stories and advice from other TV Extras
  • Information on current vacancies and opportunities
  • How to register with an agency.
  • On the Live Set – what it’s like, what to expect.
  • How much money can you earn.
  • Extensive Directory of Agencies – A comprehensive list of Agencies throughout the United Kingdom with full address and contact details.
 

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