Media

TV or film production assistant

Production assistants support producers in making film or TV programmes.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more TV or film production assistant jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll be involved in a range of tasks before, during and after filming, including:

  • hiring studio facilities and equipment
  • booking hotels and making travel arrangements
  • attending production meetings
  • copying and distributing scripts
  • typing and circulating production schedules (‘call sheets’) and daily reports
  • getting permission to use copyrighted music or film clips
  • dealing with accounts and expenses 

In television, you might also carry out production duties, like:

  • timing the show in the studio gallery
  • calling camera shots
  • cueing pre-recorded material
  • keeping records or logging of shots taken
  • making sure the shots look the same after breaks in filming

You’ll work as part of a wider production team, including producers, researchers, and technical staff like camera crew and editors.

University

You could do a degree in:

  • creative media production
  • film and television production
  • film and TV studies

You might find it helpful to choose a course that includes practical skills, work placements and the chance to make industry contacts.

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs in English and maths at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • plus 2 A levels

College

You could take a course at college, for example:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Media Techniques
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do an advanced apprenticeship in creative and digital media or as a broadcast production assistant.

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 also offer apprenticeship opportunities.

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Other Routes

Your first paid job will usually be as a runner or junior assistant in the production office. You'll then work your way up as you get experience.

Get as much practical experience as you can. This will show employers that you're committed to learning more about the industry. You can build useful experience through activities like:

  • student or community film/TV projects
  • community or student radio

You'll also get the opportunity to meet people already working in TV and film. Building a network of contacts could help you when you start looking for work.

The BBCITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, and 'insight' and 'talent days'. Competition can be tough, but if you're successful, it will help you get a better understanding of the industry.

You can search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

ScreenSkills also has information on finding work experience.

Many production assistants are graduates, although a degree is not essential. A lot of employers will be more interested in your skills and experience.

You'll also find it useful to have experience of working in TV, advertising or office management.

You could also take short courses in production skills run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

You'll need to develop experience in both the creative and business sides of film or programme making. You'll also need to develop an understanding of the production process, and a good network of contacts in the industry.

You could join the The Production Guild for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

£15,000 to £30,000

Starter salary: £15,000 to £18,000

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £25,000

You’ll usually be paid a fee for each project. Rates can vary widely. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines.

These figures are a guide.

Variable

You working hours will depend on the type of production and the location.

You’ll work long hours, including early mornings, late evenings and shifts.

You’ll be based in an office with other members of the production team, but during filming you could also spend a lot of your time moving between offices and production locations.

Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas, so you may need to travel and be away from home for long periods.

With experience, you could progress to production coordinator and production manager, or become a researcher or producer.

You can find out more about becoming a TV or film production assistant from ScreenSkills and ProductionBase.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • organisational skills
  • excellent attention to detail
  • admin skills
  • maths skills for handling budgets
  • creativity when dealing with problems
  • stamina and determination
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