If you are just starting out in TV, you’re probably looking for a role as a runner…and you’re right, that’s really your first point of call. Working as a production runner is a great way to find your feet in the industry, broaden your network and above all, get comfortable being on set.
But you might be wondering what’s next…??? Or even, what else can you expect in your first year or two in television? I’ve put together a list of some entry-level roles you probably never knew existed!
If you are a fan of Reality TV then this will be a dream job for you. Live Logging is like watching an episode of reality TV uncut.
As a live logger, it’s your job to sit in the control room and type everything that happens…as it happens. You will need to flag any stand out moments along the way …ie a kiss, an argument, a funny moment. You’ll need to be a fast typer so you can keep up with conversations. This is a great role if you’re interested in story producing because you’ll usually work alongside producers in the control room and learn to pick up on key story.
Talent chaperoning can be a lot of fun – if you like people and enjoy a chat (or more importantly, are a good listener), then it’s probably a great role for you! A talent chaperone is basically an adult babysitter. In reality TV, contestants will sometimes go into lock-down prior to and after filming of a show, for a short period of time. This usually means they are put up in accommodation while they wait for their next movement according to the production schedule.
As a talent chaperone, it’s really your job to be the go-between for the production and the contestant and to look after them during their time in lock-down. This could mean anything from buying groceries, driving them to set, or even watching movies with them during down-time – you may even be responsible for accompanying them on overseas trips with the production.
It’s definitely one of those jobs that can sound too good to be true. Be aware though, contestants can be dealing with a lot of emotions during this time. Sometimes you might be looking after someone who could be nervous, missing family, annoyed at other contestants, heartbroken, disappointed their reality dream is over, or even bouncing off the walls because they’ve just won a large sum of money! It’s not your job to be a counsellor or to give advice…it’s best just to be a good listener, stay positive and contact production if in doubt.
3rd AD/Talent Wrangler
If you’re organised, a strong communicator and a stickler for a schedule, then a 3rd AD or talent wrangler role should be right up your alley. A 3rd AD or talent wrangler’s main responsibility is to assist the AD department get talent and contributors from A to B, when they are needed. It sounds simple in theory but there are lots of things you’ll need to think about and manage – contributor toilet breaks, talent cigarette breaks, difficult personalities and even slow walkers!
It’s an important job because any delay in talent movements can lead to the schedule blowing out for the day so you’ll constantly be communicating with crew and flagging with your 1st AD if there is any problem that is going to lead to a delay. Overtime is BIG money in TV!
Casting is a really fun department to work in…it’s always exciting because it is the start of a production. A casting assistant role can vary…you might be working on just one show or across multiple shows at the same time.
Ideally, you are great with admin and organisation because this is an office-based role. You can expect to be assisting the casting producers with research, data entry, printing, creating templates and preparing casting bios.
A transcriber is similar to a live logger…except a transcriber is based in post production. As the name suggests, transcribers transcribe…that means they watch tapes and type up every single word. That can be anything from contestant interviews to studio or location shoots and when it comes to reality television, there is always a lot of content, so your typing skills need to be on point.
If you’re interested in post-producing or editing, then it’s a great way to get a foot in the door with post production but it’s also a really good role if you’re steering towards story producing, as you get to listen to hours and hours of interviews so you can pick up some tips that way.
So there you go…that’s five of the best entry-level jobs I’ve come across in reality TV. Hopefully, it will give you something to look forward to when you feel like your time as a runner has run its course.
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