"Lights, Camera, Access": how to get your foot in the door

"Lights, Camera, Access": how to get your foot in the door

By Kirsty King,
Wednesday, 5th June 2024
The "Lights, Camera, Access" panel (Credit: RTS Northern Ireland)
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“How do you get your foot in the door in the creative industries?” It’s a question many grapple with at the beginning of their careers but, in late April at Queen’s University Belfast, RTS Futures Northern Ireland was on hand to provide some answers at the panel event “Lights, camera, access”.

Chaired by RTS Northern Ireland Futures Vice-Chair Geraldine Smyth, the event saw local media experts share their top tips and hacks for breaking into what is a competitive industry.

When applying for a first job, agreed the panel, the importance of doing your research cannot be overstated. “Do your research very thoroughly on the company that you’re going to meet, know what content it has made and what its strong points are,” advised Kate McGlade, Development Executive at Alleycats TV.

Johnny Schumann, Creative Director at Flickerpix Animations, suggested job seekers always put their best work first in a showreel: “Don’t send a showreel that’s five minutes long… we might watch just the first 10 seconds.”

With job interviews, Michaela McNally, Business Development and Partnerships Trainee at BBC NI, urged the audience not to “undersell yourself” and do not “think the other skills that you have won’t be transferable”.

The writer/director Aidan Largey, who has helmed episodes of CBBC sci-fi drama Silverpoint, offered advice about working on set: “Make sure you’re happy to be there [because], if people like you, they will want you to do well and they will help you.”

UTV producer Alison Fleming recommended getting a mentor to “give guidance and expertise”.

The panel also suggested alternatives to asking for work experience. Bernard McCloskey, Head of Education at Northern Ireland Screen, recommended: “Ask that person if they have 15 minutes for a cup of coffee and for some career advice, and then sit down with them and get a few more contacts.”

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