Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio

Breaking in to the Film and TV Industry

May 13, 2024 by Arjun Pala

By Richard Landy, Executive Producer, Broadley Studio

Balancing your social and family life may be a challenge, but the rewards of flexibility, evolving environments, and the creative satisfaction of a job well executed in the film and TV industry make it all worthwhile.

working in film and tv industry

Ready to dive in?

My advice: immerse yourself in the world of film and TV production, gaining rapid familiarity with the industry as a whole. Explore various roles to discover where your passion lies. As for determining your ideal fit, that's a personal journey. However, in this article, I'll share insights and guidance to help you navigate your way forward.

Corporate video production

Corporate video production offers a unique opportunity to blend your current skill set with the creative excitement you crave. Working with corporate clients often provides a refreshing mix of down-to-earth personalities and diverse experiences, enriching both their portfolio and team dynamics.

Typically, corporate clients outsource certain aspects of production, such as project management or lighting expertise, to seasoned professionals. However, the downside is that production shoots may occur infrequently, with much of the time dedicated to planning, pitching, and networking. Additionally, the subject matter can sometimes be mundane or unexciting.

On the flip side, corporate projects offer financial stability, serving as the backbone of the industry and ensuring steady income for production crews. This reliable income stream affords professionals the freedom to pursue more creatively fulfilling endeavours, such as independent projects, music videos, or comedy productions, without financial strain.

Be Ultra-Flexible

Film and TV production is undeniably competitive, yet incredibly rewarding. Every year, hordes of graduates flock from institutions like Surrey and Kent, all vying to become the next big director. Many are willing, and financially supported by their parents, to work for free in their quest to climb the TV industry ladder.

As someone frequently approached about job opportunities and work experience requests, it's often challenging to accommodate everyone.

Vanessa's story is a testament to this struggle; despite her persistence and willingness to work for expenses only, it was a continuous challenge to find time for her amidst her paid commitments.

However, her dedication paid off as she immersed herself in every aspect of production, forging relationships with production managers and crew members. Now, she's in the enviable position of turning down work offers from multiple companies.

For those of you considering this path, flexibility is key. Be open to assisting in various areas of production and leverage your skills to advance your career. However, there are downsides to be aware of, such as the risk of being pigeonholed into a specific role and navigating through numerous dead ends. Additionally, you may find yourself feeling like a small fish in a vast ocean, struggling to have your creative voice heard.

But the perks of working in this industry are undeniable. You'll have the opportunity to work on incredible sets, rub shoulders with celebrities, collaborate with top-notch crews, and utilize state-of-the-art equipment to achieve exceptional results.

Join a Small TV Company

Music video production, self-shooting, independent productions, and freelance work encompass a diverse landscape within the industry.

With numerous startup production companies emerging, some flourish while others falter. Success in this arena often hinges on possessing ample equipment and experience.

However, smaller companies may seek individuals with your skill set to bolster their team financially and handle administrative tasks, including social media management.

Joining such a company could serve as a pathway to unleashing your creativity on sets and in studios. Yet, the financial uncertainties loom large, as initial opportunities may be on a freelance or part-time basis, leaving you susceptible to the cyclical nature of job hunting.

Nevertheless, being part of a tight-knit team offers its own rewards, affording you the chance to make a tangible impact, assume significant responsibilities early on, and swiftly progress into various production roles.

Outlined below are some strategies and options to consider as you navigate your journey through the film and TV industry. Ultimately, the path you choose is deeply personal and should align with your aspirations and circumstances.

Learning the Ropes

Take a photography course or film making course. Purely practical. You don't wont to be writing about the merits of ‘Taxi Driver’ in a post-modern, pre-911 era of New York do you?

Do the course over several weekends perhaps while you are still in your current work. You’ll end up meeting some good people and doing other projects on the side. You’ll have access to kit and you can try and enter some filmmaking competitions, 48hr film challenges etc and be privy to lots of network events.

Gain Technical Knowledge

Get a position where you can get ‘on the job’ learning.

You could spend years and years, in the highly competitive TV industry, making teas. Get in there with a crewing company, kit hire company and make sure you get a look at film and TV sets or studios. Get your hands on the kit and test it out.

This will give you confidence about a specific area of production and it maybe a quicker route to be specialised in one area of expertise.

Start as a Runner

This is the tough one. Lots of people vying for places. Just go on a hunt. Look for production companies or 4RFV, Kays, Kemps, Mandy.com, Linkedin (maybe open a forum or look for similar people in your position, changing directions in life etc).

Start a Production Base, Shooting People account for around £40 a year.

They will have paid, and unpaid jobs and forums, and collaborations and directories. Someone will take note of you eventually so keep at it.

Your Journey into the Film & TV Industry

You will meet all sorts of people.

Lots of cast, crew, production teams, contributors and clients offering all manner of weird and wonderful products and services. The crew members that have learnt the lingo aren’t always the most knowledgeable, there are in-experienced, first time directors that have more creativity and drive than a whole production company combined at times and everyone is in the same boat.

Technologies in the world of cameras, lighting, TV production and distribution are always changing so you have to keep learning like everyone in the TV industry.

Depending on your current situation in work and life, aim to work on the to-do list below over time, bit by bit. Allocate a small amount of time every day, even if it is only 15 minutes. This will get the ball rolling. Stick to your plan and build on the below list of projects. This might be along the lines of...

•  Reading a production article
•.   Connecting with 10x new people
•  Watching 3x tutorials
•  Researching production techniques.
•  Working on your CV
•  Conacting small production companies for work experience

Make notes when watching Films and TV, even to the point of reading the credits and who was involved.

Start to break down the roles of TV and what might be involved. See the Queen Vic pub in Eastenders. How much was that set to build, how have they lit it, where would they fit the cameras, how much would that cost YOU to create? Soon you wont be able to watch anything without analysing it to death.

Your TV Industry To-Do list

•  Get connected. Get a good LinkedIn profile and social media accounts. You’ll meet so many people to bounce ides off of.
•  Build a database. Use the directories. You’ll get to see a whole host of production companies that could fit you and what you want.
•  Learn the basics. There's lots of tutorials online (3 point lighting, camera settings, how to storyboard, basics of film production, how to light location, how to light green screen)

Before you know it, you’ll be a self shooting director, learning the new techniques for getting the most out of a piece of kit or researching the next shooting location. Remember to ask lots of questions, get stuck in to all roles and you’ll be on your way to a career in the film and TV industry before you know it!

Good luck!

FAQ: How Can I Break in to the Film & TV Industry?

The film and TV industry is notoriously difficult to break in to. You need tenacity, determination, skills and a good dollop of luck to get your nose in front of everyone else trying to get their foot on the first rung the TV career ladder.

Remember, some of the key areas to focus on are:

1.  Corporate video production
2.  Be ultra-flexible
3.  Consider joining a small TV company
4.  Learn the ropes - but by bit if need be
5.  Gain technical knowledge
6.  Consider starting as a runner
7.  Make sure you do something every day
6.  Draw up and stick to your own to-do list!

And don't give up when you hit the first hurdle.

Broadley Studio - Film & TV Production Experts

From music videos and TV series to live streaming and the latest cutting-edge virtual production rtechniques, Broadley Studio in Central London has it covered. To get a small taste of what we can do, check out our latest showcase and case studies.

To find out more about our studios and production services and how we can help you and your shoot, please call us on +442077255858 or email us at [email protected]

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