After finishing my MA, I became a Freelance Production Runner. I have been given some great opportunities working on popular, high profile entertainment programmes. They have included Britain’s Got Talent, The Apprentice and The X Factor. I have assisted with the auditions process, looking after contestants, helping out with filming/interviews and setting up equipment etc. I gained my first contract with ITV in June this year for the next series of The Voice UK, where I travelled with the team around the nation on their audition days. I also worked in the office helping the crew and researchers. This month [September 2016] I worked on the new Steven Spielberg movie as a location runner, helping with the smooth running of filming in Birmingham. Also, I worked on Eric Idle’s new comedy musical called The Entire Universe starring Brian Cox, Warwick Davis, Noel Fielding and many more which will air on BBC2 at Christmas. Currently I am still freelancing, working with several companies, looking for a full time contract as a runner and possibly progression into becoming a casting researcher.
After finishing the MA I managed to get a job with Fremantle Media as an Office Runner, so I packed my bags and said goodbye to the Midlands and headed down to the big smoke. The contract was for six months, and during that time was able to learn loads about how TV works in a massive company. Fremantle own several production companies and so the offices are home to shows such as X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, QI, Celebrity Juice, The Apprentice, Take Me Out and Grand Designs. As Office Runner my day to day jobs were pretty basic: delivering mail, going out on deliveries and just generally looking after the office – but I was able to get to know loads of experienced people who could give me advice and I had opportunities to work as a day runner on a variety of different shows.
When a role became available in the comedy development team in Talkback TV (one of Fremantle’s companies), I was in a great position to apply for the role and I was lucky enough to get it. My love of comedy was a huge bonus in the interview and I was able to show that with my FTV dissertation, which focused on stand-up comedy and definitely helped me get the role. I am now six months in to the role as Development Assistant in a team developing new comedy entertainment shows and it’s a right old hoot. We come up with ideas, brainstorm them and write them up into pitch documents for my bosses to go and pitch to channels. I am the assistant to the head of development, so look after his diary and arrange meetings with channel commissioners, but I also get to do the creative stuff too – editing taster tapes, writing up ideas, helping out on pilots and designing pitch documents. The role has given me an amazing insight in to what it takes for a show to get on to TV and I love coming in to work every day to work with a really fun team. I have just been extended in the role for another six months and then hopefully will be in a position to get some production experience as a Researcher within Talkback.
Mariana Torres Romo
During my studies on the MA, I managed to work part-time as a videographer filming and editing interviews all over the UK. Then, when I graduated, I moved to London to start a full-time job as traffic and operations coordinator for Fox International Channels. I got to manage the audio-visual material flow for National Geographic, Fox Drama and Your TV and I even contributed as an actress for Nat Geo in a promo!
Sadly, 6 months later, migration policies complicated my visa renewal and I had to come back to my homeland Mexico. But that was a blessing in disguise! It encouraged me to start freelancing for previous clients, producing promo/web content videos and shortly after that, I got married. I moved to Barcelona to join my now husband, and the whole “making contacts” process started. Thanks to my training in the UK, language skills and previous experience, I won some international projects with German and French clients. Now the ball is rolling, I am freelancing as a production assistant/ coordinator and sometimes I serve as a web content producer as well. It is perfect for me since I get to make 1 or 2 projects per month and still have some “free time” to make my own videos, enjoy the beautiful weather in Barcelona and learn German on the way.