What are transferable skills and why do you need them? What does it mean to be employable today and in the future?...
- Support the production of TV shows and films in the UK or overseas
- Work on a variety of tasks from administration to cueing camera shots and working with actors
- Progress into other roles within the industry like producer or director
As a production assistant you'll support producers with running the operational and business side of making films and TV programmes.
- Hire studio facilities and equipment
- Booking hotels and make travel arrangements
- Attend production meetings
- Copy and distribute scripts
- Type and circulate production schedules ('call sheets') and daily reports
- Get permission to use copyrighted music or film clips
- Deal 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.
Your working hours will depend on the type of production and the location. You'll often 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.
A qualification isn't essential but need to be able to show initiative and enthusiasm. You'll also need organisational skills, excellent attention to detail, admin skills, maths skills for handling budgets, creativity when dealing with problems, and stamina and determination.
If you've got administrative or business experience or qualifications this could give you an advantage, and there are lots of college and university courses in media production, film and TV that could help you learn about the industry and make contacts. Alternatively you could do an advanced apprenticeship in creative and digital media or as a broadcast production assistant.
You could also start work as a runner, junior assistant or secretary and work your way up into this role. It will help to 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, or creating a youtube channel.
Large broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, apprenticeships, and graduate schemes.
With experience, you could progress to production coordinator and production manager, or become a researcher or producer.