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Entry level roles

There are a wealth of roles across film and TV. Let's look at some popular avenues into the screen industries and what they entail.
A group of people gather around a camera on a film set
© University of York; Jade Gordon

Working in film, TV, games or video production gives you the chance to showcase your creativity, use your technical skills and work in close-knit teams. Having looked at the job profiles in the previous article, you can see there are a wealth of entry-level roles across the screen industries. Whatever your first role is, you are likely to be responsible for looking after those in more senior positions and generally assisting where necessary to ensure projects go well.

Runner roles

In film and TV, many people start as a runner, where you’ll assist with a range of tasks depending on your role. Runners are responsible for helping to ensure productions run smoothly and will run errands such as buying props, making teas and coffees, fetching lunch and charging batteries. Runners work in a variety of different environments – you may be working in an office, on set or on location and there are many variations of the role. From an office runner, responsible for buying stationery, setting up meetings and administration around the office, to day-runners, who may be employed to help at auditions of large entertainment talent shows, to studio runners, who assist on filming days in studio, looking after talent, taking guests to make-up and printing documents. There are many other titles, such as production runner, rushes runner, gallery runner, location runner, floor runner and post-production runner. Although these roles slightly vary, many duties remain the same.

On shoots, runners are often the first ones on location and the last to leave. They are responsible for tidying up throughout the day, as well as assisting with setting up and packing away. Runners may be chaperoning contributors, keeping areas clear for filming or ensuring all consent forms have been signed. A good runner should be able to prioritise workload, use their initiative, stay calm under pressure and offer to help without being asked. You should be adaptable, reliable, organised, able to communicate clearly and a fast learner. Runners are often thrown in at the deep end! You’ll often be problem solving and multitasking so a positive can-do attitude is a must!

Runners are often required to travel with work (around the country or around the world!) This is an exciting part of the job! Some runner roles do require driving, so having a valid, clean driving licence is an advantage. Please don’t worry if you don’t drive though, as there are plenty of opportunities for you in the screen industries without a licence. You should expect to work as a runner for one to two years.

Click here to read this diary entry – “A day in the life of a runner”

Additional entry level roles

Another entry level role in TV is a logger. Loggers watch the raw footage of what’s been shot and create a detailed document describing the footage. Timecodes are logged and dialogue may be transcribed, enabling editors to find what they need to cut together a programme. Some loggers log footage after the shoot, whereas some productions have live loggers who log on location. Loggers are detail orientated, very thorough and are able to work quickly to meet tight deadlines.

Other entry level roles in the screen industries include sound or camera assistants, kit room assistant, junior script editor, receptionist, production assistant, animator and games tester. The Covid-19 pandemic has also created additional entry level roles you may wish to look out for, such as Covid marshalls, ensuring people remain well on large productions.

Over to you

What entry level role are you interested in? What department do you think you’d excel in and why? Are you working on building your own portfolio and how is it going?

Share your thoughts below.

© University of York; Jade Gordon
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