I switched careers nearly 6 years ago now, this meant returning to college, then university and then starting at the bottom of the ladder in the media world with everyone else. Searching for entry-level work can is really quite overwhelming initially. There are so many sites available, which all seem to offer the perfect job, yet very few people seem to reply to your application. I picked up a few freelance jobs by approaching companies directly, which worked well, but keeping work coming in consistently was and is difficult to maintain. I signed up to My First Job in Film (MFJF) as they had a solid list of jobs with longer contract lengths.
There were, and still are plenty of subscription sites. A number of friends had already tried some of the other sites, and not landed any work at all which obviously put me off. I hadn’t heard anything good or bad about MFJF, but saw they had a good selection of job listings and there were no long-term payment plans. You can simply pay on a month-by-month basis if you wish and leave when you like. For £10 for a month, It is not a great deal to part with to give it a go.
Once I had signed up, it was time to start building my profile and uploading my CV & cover letter. The team at MFJF were incredibly helpful and gave me plenty of advice on how to tailor my CV in order to boost my application. After all, these guys know what employers are looking for better than I do. There is no point in keeping a CV because you like it personally if it isn’t getting you any work. The advice they gave me was clear, made a great deal of sense and ultimately made my overall profile stronger.
MFJF are responsible for landing me my most recent job as a rushes runner on the BBC drama Atlantis. This was a 6-month contract, exactly the sort of thing I was looking for at the time. Driving from London to Wales and London on a daily basis may not seem like a great job, but it is a job that involves visiting everyone, everyday. I’d be in the edit in the morning, then the production office, then on set and then back to the labs in the evening. (This may not be how all rushes runner work pans on, but this is how it worked for me.) After months on the road, I was given a week as a camera trainee towards the end of the contract. This gave me fantastic exposure in the department I want to move into.
I’ll finish up with a couple of points for runners, runner drivers and rushes runners to keep in mind on a day-to-day basis, based on my experiences.
Never assume! It may sound daft, but if someone asks you a specific question, “I think so” isn’t the response they will be looking for. If you aren’t sure, say so and come back with a definitive yes or no.
Buy a good, comfy pair of shoes! You will be on your feet for at least 12 hours per day, most days.
Don’t complain, you may be working long days sometimes for a number of days in a row. Just remember that everyone else is in the same boat. That said, if you are driving, keep a close eye on hours and do mention something if you feel it is too much and becoming dangerous.
Accept any job with enthusiasm. There will always be aspects of the job that you won’t want to do, just get it done, soon enough there will be someone else that has to do it instead of you. Remember that a flexible and positive approach is always highly valued. Always give 100%, make sure you are as involved as possible and be sure to come across as a hard-working professional as well as a personable person that can get along with everybody.
These may sound daft to some of you, but you would be surprised by the number of people that I have seen do one, or all of the above!
Finally, it is a fiercely competitive industry, but do not give up.