Throughout this entire course I have wanted to focus on television as a career option. My work is always at it’s best when it is focused on producing something designed for TV. The work that has been a part of this degree has allowed me to become aware and open to other roles within the media industry, as well as expanding my options for the future, but when it comes to choosing what to focus on and where my heart truly is for my future; it has always been and always will be television.
A career in television has always been a goal set by myself at a very young age, with this being the time now to begin to evaluate how feasible this career path truly is and how I see myself achieving the necessary goals to be where I want to be in ten years time. Deciding where I would like to see myself working in ten years time is a challenge, but something that I want to do in order to be able to look back and know that I always wanted to do this career and also how I can look back and see I have achieved what I have always wanted.
Researching the television career pathway is a long process, but having had some input from an outside source I am able to come to a conclusion that I am happy with, a role that is ambitious for myself now but within ten years is something that is completely achievable. The roles within television are very limited, with TV being an industry of unpredictability; there are little jobs out there for the thousands of applicants, in regards to the challenges that this brings are plenty, but with sheer determination and a positive disposition it can be achieved.
To become a production manager is something of a challenge, but not an impossible one. From the outside looking in it is a remarkable role to take in any television production, it is a cemented position within any production too; one that requires a high stamina with a complete set of skills that are not entirely specific towards media. The role of a production manager is similar in either the television industry or the film industry, which is an open door into further opportunities.
A television production manager focuses on the business, financial and recruitment side of television productions. Schedules, resources, locations, equipment and budget monitoring are the entire key roles assigned to a production manager.
From research gathered it can be understood that to become a production manager is not an easy task, but once experience has been achieved and the role can be understood through shadowing and practice, the role is not one that doesn’t take a great deal of time to climb up to. The experience is essential though.
Speaking to a successful Production Manager who has worked within the BBC for most of her professional career, Ruth Peters-Train explained to me that in order to be good in this particular role there is a great deal of requirements.
Quoting Ruth, here is what she explained to me as the key roles of a production manager on a television set.
- Organization – “A huge amount of the role is to be organized 100% of the time, in order to present yourself professionally and gain a realistic outlook on your work then it has to be constantly in check, you have to know what you’re doing as well as everyone else on set”. “Scheduling is a key part of the job and something that is a part of your every day life”.
- Business – “Knowledge of how a business runs is essential, you need to know how the finances work on a daily basis, working on and keeping within a budget at all times and dealing with any problems from outsider sources or companies the show may be working with.”
- Attitude – “Always be positive. My experience has taught me that, if I haven’t got a good head on me then the entire team feels it. You are the go to person for literally everything, do not forget that. You have to be stern when you need to be but also approachable to anyone you come into contact with”.
- Team – “Team work is good for wherever you work, but when you are a production manager, there are rules. You have to become a leader and be the person who knows everything that is happening and know who is needed, when something has to happen and also what could go wrong at any moment. Your team helps with that but you have to be prepared for anything”.
From what Ruth is explaining, the research fits in with reality. Not only is this a high profile role that demands a lot of someone, but also it is a rewarding job to experience. There are a lot of responsibilities to juggle and you must be willing to give everything you have. Genuine commitment is the biggest piece of information that sticks; it has to be what the person wants without a doubt. All or nothing.
In order for me to achieve this goal of becoming a production manager within a television show, there seems to be a common rule for gaining such a position. Working from the bottom to the top. From a runner all the way to a production manager is the most obvious way in which I would be able to gain this role. The skillset for this role is something that many media production students already possess, with advancing ways in which to heighten the skills; it can be possible to develop further within this industry with the degree that I will possess. Over half of the TV and Film workforce is employed in the southern areas of the UK, with other jobs focused around major regional cities. 55,900 people are employed in the TV industry, 11% of the creative industries workforce.
The television industry is a hard business. Ruth Peters-Train expressed to me that in order to get where you want to be, you have to stand out from the crowd and make something of yourself outside of the role. You have to be alluring to the employers; no matter where you go or where you start in the television industry.
The media production degree has injected a number of skills into my abilities, which will all serve me well within the television industry.
- Computer Skills: Essential to any media student and anyone who hopes of becoming a part of the TV industry. Media producing is nothing without the skills to create, edit and release.
- Multi tasking: A key ingredient to any role in the media, as a media student you have to focus on the main priorities as well as focusing on the outcome and it’s main beneficial factors for yourself and your work. A production manager would need this in order to actually complete any job given to them.
- Planning: Knowing what needs to happen and when by is one of the biggest traits that a media producer essentially needs to have set in stone within their mindset. You must be able to plan work in advance as well as be able to lead a full schedule at the same time.
- Confidence: Believing in the work that is produced is one of the true reasons someone goes into the media producing industry, which is also something that is essential to have when you come to work with others on someone else’s idea.
- Social media: From experience from my final project, it is obviously a bonus to have a following for your work. It provides work with a platform that spans worldwide.
- Deadlines: Working well to deadlines is an obvious key trait to have. It’s the same with any TV or Film position.
- Problem solving: If there is ever an issue within a production, then a resolution must be met in order for it to continue to function and meet the necessary requirements.
Specifically finding key pieces of research for my chosen career path has not been a simple task. Not only is every job different to what it actually entails, but speaking to someone who has actually gone through the process that I too will be taking, I am hoping to go through too means that there is a bigger chance for me to become prepared for what is to come. Looking at the work that a production manager has to handle, there is a great deal of work. Willingly giving everything you have for a job is no easy task, but one that ultimately needs to happen in order for success and prominence within the media industry; especially in regards to television production.
My goals have changed since entering into this degree. From wanting to purely focus on film and becoming a world-class director, I have changed my entire outlook on the media industry and what I want to focus on in regards to my goals in life. I am aiming towards becoming a production manager within television as my goal for the next ten years, these years not only being a focus for the end result but a task in itself to possibly go beyond that title. I want a successful career, I want to be able to look back and say that this degree was the beginning of my journey into a life that is full of no regrets, with a career that is second to none.