If 2020 was a TV show it would be …well, I was going for some kind of analogy here but most of the television flops I can think of, I actually enjoyed, so let’s just say 2020 has been absolute shit-show! Nobody could have predicted the mess that is this year. If the catastrophic bushfires weren’t enough, along came an unprecedented global pandemic, which brought with it an alarming toilet paper shortage and what was almost an industry-wide shutdown of television production. In a time where even the most experienced TV professionals were out of work, it’s bound to be pretty deflating for anyone just starting out in TV. But the good news is that the television industry is reopening, production teams are finding new ways to make Covid-safe telly to get us all back to doing what we love, so with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of things you can do to get your TV career back on track after lockdown.
- Update Your CV
It’s time to give that dusty old 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 Adobe Creative Suite (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.
2. Set Up/Update Your LinkedIn Profile
If you don’t have a Linked In profile, then it’s time to make it happen! 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!
3. 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 in the industry, is vital…especially when a global pandemic comes along! 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.
4. Reach Out To Your Contacts
TV is all about relationships and it’s time to reconnect with the people you’ve worked with (this is where your contact database will come in handy) and let people know you’re around and available for work so that if a production is crewing up, you’re top of mind.
5. Watch A Webinar / Subscribe to New Podcasts
So you’ve got a shiny new CV, created your LinkedIn and reached out to all of your contacts on your contact database and wondering what to do with yourself in the mean time? While networking events have been made impossible by the Rona, it has seen the rise in industry-focused online content, making experts in the industry more accessible! There are plenty of free webinars available such as AFTRS TV Talks, and if you haven’t already checked it out, subscribe to the Beyond Reality Podcast for interviews with TV professionals about their lives and experiences in TV and what they did to get to where they are now.
Well that’s my plan of attack for tackling the TV world in this new Covid era! Hopefully, just like the toilet paper returned to the shelves, we will be back on the job, doing what we do best.
If you’re interested in finding out tips for writing your CV, then you can check out my blog post 10 Tips For Writing Your CV For TV That Will Set You Apart.