Students hoping to break in to TV received top tips from two of the UK’s most successful production companies in Leeds at the end of April.
More than 150 students from 20 universities heard Lime Pictures’ Hollyoaks production team and a panel from Leeds-based factual indie True North give two masterclasses. Both panels stressed the importance of work experience placements as a way in to the industry.
True North development producer Eleanor Wight, editor Luke Rothery and Hollyoaks editor Jake Whiston were all snapped up as a result of successful placements.
True North boss Andrew Sheldon had a checklist: “Make sure there are no mistakes in your cover letter and CV, be prepared to talk about what you like on TV, do your homework about what we do and when you come for interview, look nice! You need to make a good impression at that first meeting.”
Lime Pictures’ head of production Colette Chard added: “So many careers begin with work experience as a runner. If you get that opportunity, make sure you never sit down, stay off your mobile and be as helpful as possible. People will remember you.”
Jake Whiston said that, in his experience, it was important to simply “turn up and be nice”.
Students learned that, as well as their degree studies, employers will expect them to have shown the initiative and passion to produce other work. True North head of production Carol McKenzie said: “You need to stand out from the crowd. There’s an increasing amount of production in the north and my biggest challenge is finding the right people for the right job at the right time.”
Both panels felt that the growing pressure to make programmes out of London would benefit graduates planning to work in the north.
“How to Get a Job in TV” was produced by Helen Scott as part of the Creative Cities Convention, and hosted by the journalist and broadcaster, Kirsty Wark, at Leeds College of Music