Move over 2019, it’s a new year and what’s more, it’s a new decade!!! That means there’s no better time to set yourself up for the year ahead in TV. When a new year starts, I always feel more efficient and determined to organise my life, I mean, I buy a diary planner every year and carefully write in special events and contract start dates in the neatest handwriting I can muster…and then never look at it again. It’s really not ideal BUT it doesn’t mean the new year isn’t a great time to take advantage of that extra motivation and all those holiday endorphins that are pumping to tackle your career aspirations head on. Here’s my take on the things you can do to boost your career in TV and start 2020 on the right foot.
Update Your CV
It’s a new year so it’s the perfect time to give your CV a bit of love. Make sure to update it with all of your most recent credits, or, while you are at it, get your creative juices flowing with a new look design. There are loads of professional templates online that can give you some inspiration if you want a CV that stands out. I designed my own CV using photoshop but if you don’t have the programme (or the patience to learn Photoshop) then Canva is a great alternative that’s much more user-friendly. Canva is an easy to use design tool available online and has loads of templates that you can use to help customise your CV. An updated and refreshed CV could be just what you needed to secure that next contract.
Set Up/Update Your LinkedIn Profile
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then this is the year you get one! It doesn’t take long and it’s worth having, it makes you “professionally searchable” in the world of social media and it’s an easy way to connect with people in the industry that you’ve worked with and can give you the heads up on where potential employers are now working as they move into new contracts (which is particularly important as TV is such a freelance industry). Also you never know, your name might just pop up in your colleagues’ news feeds at the right time when they are crewing!
Create A Contact Database
If you are just starting out, or, you aren’t constantly rolling onto contracts and are having too many gaps in your freelance work for your liking, then a contact database is a really effective way to organise yourself. The freelance industry is all about networking, so maintaining contact with people you’ve worked with or been in touch with before in the industry, is vital. A contact database doesn’t need to be complex but creating a document where you keep the key information about your network will help when you find yourself looking for your next contract. Keep a document of key contacts with their name, production company, position, contact details, date of last contact with them and any additional information ie. Emailed 10th December 2019, advised to contact in the new year etc. I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Excel spreadsheets so I prefer to use Excel for this but if you’re more comfortable with Microsoft Word, then you can use whatever works for you.
Reach Out To A New Contact
Whether it’s someone at a production company you haven’t worked with, or a new contact at a company you have worked for, use your new year courage to reach out to someone new. Perhaps it’s someone you’ve heard speak at an industry event who has inspired you, or someone who works on a particular show you are interested in working on. Who knows, you might be just the person they are looking for!
Identify New Areas Of The Industry To Explore
There are so many aspects to the industry and the new year is the perfect time to consider what else is out there for you to experience in the world of TV. Think about what other areas of the industry you haven’t had experience in; shiny floor shows, competition reality, constructed reality, obs docs…is it time to try your hand at a relationship, cooking or renovation show? Why not use the new year as an opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and try something new! I’m kicking my new year off with getting experience as a control room producer.
Attend A Network Event
The term “networking event” can conjure up an image of some people’s worst nightmare but industry events can actually be fun! Not only are networking events an opportunity to meet new people but often it’s a chance to hear insights from industry leaders (and the free wine never goes astray!). If you haven’t heard of any networking events happening in your city or big crowds aren’t your thing, then why not make an effort to have a casual catch up with some of your TV friends. It’s the best way to stay in the know!
Learn A New Skill
If you’ve been wanting to learn a new skill for a while, use the year ahead to make it happen. There are apps and online courses in just about anything these days that can help strengthen your knowledge in programmes like Photoshop, Microsoft Excel or AVID, or if you’re serious about up-skilling, then you could always take on a short course at a film and television school.
Make A List Of Goals
Think about what you want to achieve for the year, the “experts” at this sort of stuff say it should be achievable and measurable, so if your goal is to become an award-winning Executive Producer of your favourite primetime reality show by the end of the year, then maybe reassess??? I think setting yourself goals for the year such as ‘To work on XYZ reality show,’ or ‘To get experience in post production,’ or ‘To get a promotion from runner to production assistant,’ are solid types of goals that you can aim for and when you get to the end of the year, you can hopefully look back having achieved your goals.
Now that you’ve got your plan of attack for the new year set out, I’m off to buy a diary to organise my year…maybe this time I’ll use it past January 1st!
What are your strategies for starting the new year right? Leave a comment below to let me know.
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