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Performing arts

TV or film production runner

TV and film runners work behind the scenes, doing small jobs and basic tasks to help productions run smoothly.

Annual Salary

variable

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • collecting and delivering equipment and scripts
  • distributing messages and post, and running errands
  • filing and photocopying
  • answering the phone and greeting visitors
  • driving vehicles around sets or between locations
  • finding props
  • keeping sets clean and tidy
  • looking after studio guests, getting lunches and making tea and coffee

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio or at a film studio.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • training with a professional body
University

You could do a degree course although it's not essential. Relevant subjects include:

  • 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could take a college course, which may help you to get into the industry. Courses include:

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start by working for a sound or camera equipment hire company to get some experience.

Volunteering and work 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 film or TV productions
  • community or student radio
  • work experience placements

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 BBC, ITV 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.

Direct application

You can apply directly to become a runner. This job is often seen as a first step into the industry and employers could be more interested in your enthusiasm and initiative than your formal qualifications. Any work experience you can get will also help.

Other routes

You could join The Production Guild. It's a membership organisation for professionals working in UK film and television. It offers training including a Runner's Basic Training workshop for people who want to get into the industry.

More information

Career tips

You should show that you have administrative and organisational skills, so any previous experience in areas like office work, customer service or hospitality would be useful. Having a fast typing speed and shorthand skills may also be helpful.

Further information

You can get more advice about careers in film and TV from ScreenSkills.

You can find out more about entry level opportunities in television from the Royal Television Society.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

If you already have some industry experience or have completed training, then you may be able to apply for a Creative Skillset Trainee placement.

With experience, you could move into a production assistant, assistant producer (AP) or producer role.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • active listening skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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