A production runner role is the first point of call for a career in television. A runner usually reports in to the production coordinator and is responsible for a whole range of tasks from making tea and coffee for crew to driving talent to location. Essentially, a runner’s job is to assist and do whatever is needed to help the production run smoothly.
What can I expect to do as a runner?
The responsibilities of a runner can vary depending on the production and every day can be different but usually, it will include the following:
- Looking after contributors and talent
- Driving crew and talent between locations
- Assisting in cueing talent and locking off filming areas
- Taking beverage orders / making tea and coffee for crew and talent
- Supporting the production team and other departments on set
- Loading and unloading production vehicles
- Setting up unit on location
- Running errands such as buying props and making deliveries
- Keeping snacks and production supplies replenished
- General admin duties
What skills do I need as a production runner?
- Good organisation: As a runner, there are often times when you will have a number of tasks to complete in a short amount of time so being able to prioritise will stand you in good stead on the job.
- Initiative: A great runner will see what needs to be done and do it before they need to be asked.
- Positive attitude: The job of a runner isn’t glamorous but it’s important that you approach every task with a good attitude if you want a long-lasting career in TV.
- Passion and good work ethic: TV is tough, it’s long hours and not a whole lot of money when you’re starting out, so passion for the industry and a willingness to work hard is essential.
- Full drivers license: It’s not absolutely essential BUT it is definitely a very important skill for a runner
How do I become a production runner?
The role of runner is an entry-level role and it’s where a lot of people begin their television careers. If you are starting out and have no industry experience, then you should be applying for runner roles. Whether you’ve studied film and television or are transitioning from another career, the reality is, you will need to network because TV jobs are not the kind that you’re going to find on a typical job seeking site. With that in mind, a production runner role is a great way to network!
While a production runner is an entry-level role, if you’re starting out, you may need to take on casual runner roles until you find your feet in the industry and build your reputation. A casual runner role is similar to a production runner but as the name suggests, you’re only employed on a casual basis.
It may seem like it’s a long way to the top but just remember…there are executive producers, DOPs, production managers, art directors (the list could go on…) that all got their start as a production runner!
If you think you have what it takes for a career in TV? Check out my post 5 Awesome Entry-Level Jobs In TV You Never Knew Existed in TV.
Ever wondered what a story producer does in reality TV? Find out in my post What Is A Story Producer In Reality TV?