Saturday 21 March 2015

Employment Opportunities and Job Roles in the Media Industry

Terminology Meaning

Full Time - full time refers to work that occupies the whole of somebody's usual working time.

Part Time - part time refers to work that occupies only part of somebody's usual working time.

Freelance - freelance refers to self-employed work, in which someone is hired by companies to complete a project based on a contract.

Shift Work - shift work is a work schedule in which multiple employees take turns doing the same job.

Permanent - a permanent placement means a job that the employee can keep for as long as the job exists. Permanent placements have many advantages, such as employee benefits (like health care and paid holiday) as well as the benefit of job security and advancement opportunities.

Temporary - a temporary placement means a job that the employee works only temporary. Though not as secure as a permanent job, temps offer benefits such as more control and flexibility, the opportunity to learn new skills, and more experience.

Multi-skilled - multi skilled means that the person in question has many skills in various areas. This is important as it is much easier to find a job if one has lots of skills and experience. The skill level of an individual is what sets them apart from everyone else.

Voluntary - voluntary work is when an individual does work without pay. This is often for a good cause, such as a charity or something to benefit the environment.

Casual - casual work refers to when an employee is only employed when required and there is no expectation of regular work. The employee is always paid the same as a normal employee.

Hourly Paid - hourly paid means work that is paid by the hour. The employee earns a regular wage. This is common for manual or unskilled work, and part time jobs.

Piecework - piecework refers to work that is paid for based on the amount of work the individual has done.

Recruitment - recruitment refers to the employment of an individual.

Careers Advice - careers advice refers to information given about careers, which can help the individual decide on both a career and how to pursue it. Careers advice is especially given to young people in schools, but adults can also seek advice by going to a job centre.

Trade Fairs - a trade fair is an exhibition or expo in which companies can showcase their latest products. For example, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is an annual trade fair in which video games developers can present their latest products. Trade fairs are followed by lots of press coverage which helps raise awareness of new products. Some trade fairs are also streamed online for the audience to watch.

National Press - national press refers to newspapers that sell all over the country.

Trade Press - trade press refers to newspapers and magazines that are written about a particular subject or for a particular industry, for example Mediaweek or Gamesauce.

Personal Contacts - personal contacts refers to the people an individual knows. Personal contacts are important within the media industry as the more contacts an individual has, the easier it is to get a job as their contacts can provide them with different opportunities.

Networking - networking is when an individual interacts with others with the intention of gaining professional contacts who will help them further their career.

Work of Mouth - word of mouth refers to the spread of information via social interaction, particularly via speech. Word of mouth can be a fast way for information to be spread, as people talk to their friends and family about the subject, and they then tell their own friends and family.

Internet - the internet is a vast and powerful tool for finding and spreading information. It allows people to communicate internationally, and information can be spread easily through advertising and social networking.


Job Roles 

Creative - an example of a creative job role is the director of a film. As a director, the individual is the driving force in a film's production as well as in pre and post production. The director's choices are what effects the style and structure of the film. As director, the individual will also be helping with casting, script editing, shot selection and editing, and more. The skills required to become a director include having artistic vision and creative skills, strong commitment and a passion for the work, the ability to inspire and motivate the team whilst being a strong leader, the willpower to work long hours, and a determination to succeed. As for qualifications, a formal qualification is not required, however training courses can help aspiring directors understand the art of directing. The best way to become a great director is through practical experience, e.g. directing short films and writing screenplays.

Technical - an example of a technical job role is the camera operator. This role involves preparing and operating the camera, using expert skills. It also involves working with both the Director and Director of Photography in order to be able to achieve the exact tone and style the Director and Director of Photography are looking for, managing other staff within the camera department, and communicating with the actors to ensure that they do a good job. No specific qualifications are needed to become a camera operator, however there are higher level qualifications available, and film schools and training courses are a good place to begin. Hands-on experience is very important for this career; the more experience a camera operator has, the easier it will be for them to find a job. As technology changes, the camera operator must keep up with new developments to ensure that they stand out and remain professional.

Editorial - an example of an editorial job is a film editor. The editing of the film is the primary part of post production, and for most feature films this department would consist of an editor supervising assistant editors. Editors work closely with the director, to ensure that their vision for the film is conveyed through the editor's work. The editor must have a clear understanding of the storyline, understand pace, rhythm, and tension, and have the attention to detail and strong communication skills. No specific qualification is needed to be an editor, however experience and extensive knowledge of editing software is vital in order to receive job offers. Therefore, a film production course would be very beneficial to an aspiring editor hoping to work beyond short films and TV shows, and be employed by huge Hollywood studios.

Marketing - an example of a marketing career is a market research executive. Market research executives collect and analyse information, helping clients to learn the people's opinions of consumer products or political and social issues. Market research executives require good communication skills and high maths skills in order to understand and analyse statistics, as well as being organised and good at problem solving. Degrees in maths, statistics, business/management or economics are very useful for this career, as employers usually expect employees to have some sort of higher qualification. However, it is possible to work your way up by starting as a market research assistant or interviewer. Market research executives are important to the media industry because understanding their audience is very important for producers, to ensure that their consumer products are successful.

Managerial - an example of a managerial job in the media industry is a radio station manager. This role involves being responsible for the running of radio stations, and setting objectives and motivating the staff to ensure that these objectives are met. They are also responsible for recruiting employees and managing staff welfare and morale. Radio station managers require good leadership skills, strong business and finance skills, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry, including different stations and programme styles, and audience demographics.

Administrative - an example of an administrative job is an Executive Producer, whether it be for TV or film. An executive producer is responsible for the quality and success of the TV show/film overall, and they must ensure that the programme/film conforms to the commissioners' expectations and specifications. As an executive producer, one will have the job of selecting marketable projects, and ensuring that they are successful. Sometimes, experienced writers for some entertainment programmes are also credited as executive producers. The Executive Producer's role varies depending on the genre, broadcaster, production, and distribution of the film/programme. They will often attend film and TV marketing festivals like Cannes, where they promote their projects and secure funding partnerships. During production of a film/programme, Executive Producers can be involved in some processes of scripting, casting, and crewing. They usually have final approval of the final edited version of a project. To be an Executive Producer, one must have creative flair and commitment to quality programming, have practical knowledge of financial, legal and regulatory requirements within the industry, be good at networking, and have the ability to prioritise effectively as they will often be working on many projects at once, so organisation and time management is vital. Executive Producers must also have great leadership and mentoring skills, and have the ability to work under pressure effectively in order to hit tight deadlines. Specific qualifications are not required, however a media-related degree would be a good starting point. Wide experience and knowledge of the production process is vital to be a good Executive Producer, and therefore the best route in is to work your way up, by first working as a Producer, Director, Writer, and many other roles.

Legal - an example of a legal-related job is an Agent. Agents are responsible for representing performers and creative team members in film, TV, radio, and theatre. They find work for their clients and cultivate relationships with industry decision-makers to persuade them to take on their client. Their clients may include actors, singers, dancers, comedians, presenters, directors, and more. They must always be up to date with what is happening within the media industry, and be aware of what is in production. They must remain up to date with industry rates and industrial agreements, and act as a buffer during contractual negotiations, to help support and guide their clients' careers. To be a good agent, one must have strong social skills, including the ability to make good contacts within the industry, have the ability to network effectively, have excellent communication and linguistic skills, be able to persuade and negotiate effectively, possess strong business skills, and be organised. Industry experience and knowledge is important to become a successful Agent. No specific qualifications are required, however a background in business and sales is helpful. A good place to start is to begin working in a junior role in an agency, or as a performer or work commissioner.

Financial - an example of a financial career in the media industry is an assistant accountant for film. This role involves assisting with the running of the accounts office for a film production, including maintaining financial records (invoices, payments and transactions, and processing cheques) and other accounting tasks, as well as using accounting and film production software. An assistant accountant's exact duties vary depending on the production, and they are defined to the employee at the beginning of production by the key assistant accountant and the production accountant. A qualification in Accountancy or vocational qualifications (NVQs/SVQs) in accounting are vital for getting an accounting career. You can also gain skills and experience through other jobs, such as as a cashier or bookkeeper. Previous experience in film production is also very helpful, as knowledge of film budgeting and scheduling software is also very useful for getting a job in this profession.


What is Professional Development?

Professional development refers to the advancement of an individual's knowledge of the workplace/industry, and the development of their skills and professionalism. Within the media industry, for most careers specific qualifications are not required, and instead work experience is highly valued. However, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offer great opportunities to increase knowledge in a student's chose field of expertise, and can help them to specialise in a specific sector of the industry, such as editing, or cinematography. Many media professionals begin their professional development by studying a media-related course at college or Sixth Form, such as a Media Studies A-Level or a BTEC Media course. All courses vary on units and focus-points, so it is important for a student to choose the right course for them, that focuses on the skills they most want to develop. However, at college-stage, keeping one's options open is also very important, and developing skills in all aspects of media (radio, film, TV, animation, etc.) will help the individual in becoming multi-skilled, which is a valued attribute in today's media industry. When an individual reaches university-age, then is a good time to begin specialising in one part of the industry, and then at postgraduate, specialise in one specific skill, such as as screenwriting or producing.

Alternatively to continuing education, an individual could work their way into the media industry through training and work experience. As stated before, work experience is vital to being successful in the media industry, so starting off with a few jobs as a runner or boom mic operator (if you are planning to break into the film/TV industry) is a great place to start, as both jobs give the individual experience working on the set of a film/programme. Internships and volunteer work are also great opportunities to gain experience and training within one's chosen field. This also offers the chance to network and connect with other professionals within the industry, which is also vital for success, and keeping up to date with the industry as it changes.


Continuing Personal Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to the approaches, ideas, and techniques that help an individual grow and learn as they build up their career. As a professional, one must keep their skills and knowledge up to date with the industry, and using a CPD record can help with this. There are many sources where individuals can find information for developing themselves, including education (college/university), careers services, trade unions, and more.

For example, the BECTU website (the media industry's trade union) is a valuable source of information, where an individual can keep up to date with industry events, news and get advice. Training and developement projects and courses are also advertised on the website, helping individuals to gain awareness of the options available to them.

Creative Skillset is a sector skills council, and their website is a great source of information for young media professionals still trying to figure out what sector of the media they want to specialise in. The website offers detailed information on the job roles available and the requirements to getting the role. It also awards the "Creative Skillset tick" to degree courses, short courses, and apprenticeships that are best suited to preparing students and individuals for the industry.

Finally, websites such as can offer graduates advice and information on jobs and work experience opportunities that are currently available, and advice on the next step into postgraduate study.


Curriculum Vitae (CV)

CVs are very important to the success of an individual in their career, as it is their tool in helping them to stand out from the crowd of other applicants for a job. They should be simple and easy to read, and tailored to the job being applied for. Personal information like one's name, address, and contact details are also vital. Showing off achievements and targets that where achieved can also help the individual to stand out from the crowd. Some of the key parts of a CV tailored for finding a job in the media industry includes references, a portfolio and/or showreel, and a personal website.

References are vital to a successful CV, as they offer the potential employer a third-party opinion of an individual. It allows the employer to assess whether the applicant is who they say they are, and whether they will actually do what they have claimed to have done for their previous employers. On a CV, and applicant should put "References are available on request," rather than include the details of previous or current employers on the CV. It is not required that all references should be from a former employer - business acquaintances, customers, organisation leaders, or previous tutors can be a referee. Making the right choice for a referee is also important: as the wrong person to speak on the applicant's behalf could ruin their chances of getting the job. Within the media industry, references are very important for helping to show off an applicant's skills and abilities, and a recommendation from a previous employer can be what gets the applicant the job.

Portfolios and showreels are also important for CV aimed at the media industry. One of the main things media industry employers look for when finding new employees is industry experience and examples of previous, high quality work. A good portfolio and/or showreel can be what gives the applicant an edge above other applicants. A portfolio is a representation of one's best work, to show off their capabilities as an artist or designer. It includes the strongest examples of their work. A showreel is used by animators and video/film creators. A showreel will normally come either online or in the form of a CD portfolio. When applying for a job at a film/TV company, it is advised that the applicant contacts the employer to ask if the showreel is required, as it is often that a showreel will be sent to a production company and then never viewed. Animation companies, on the other hand, are much more interested in viewing an applicants work. A showreel usually should not be more than two minutes long. Within the first 30 seconds, an employer will have come to a conclusion on whether you have the right skills. Therefore, a showreel should be short, and compelling and dynamic from the start.

Finally, a personal website is very useful for presenting one's work and achievements. A website is an easy way for potential employers to quickly access information about the applicant. It gives them an overview of the applicant's skills and achievements, as well as contact information. The applicant can also embed multiple examples of their work, making an online portfolio that both employers and potential business contacts/connections can easily access. It gives employers a quick and easy platform to evaluate a potential employee, and see whether they are suitable for the job.


Career Development

Many career opportunities give the employee the chance to train on the job, usually through formal training whilst experiencing day-to-day work days. Training on the job provides employees with the technical skills they require to complete their work. This training is provided to employees after they have been hired and have begun working. Training on the job is very useful within the media industry, because in most careers one is able to progress by increasing their work experience and knowledge of the industry. On-the-job training may also be introduced when new technology is introduced to the industry, such as new editing software. A short training course will be given to current employees to ensure that they have the skills to complete their work.

This helps with continuing professional development, as the employee has the opportunity to increase their skills and in turn their employability. Employees can continue their professional development through various ways, including through their career and in their own time. Working on short film projects and the like in one's own time can help develop one's skills and in turn advance their career. Attending short courses and evening classes can also help with professional development.

Self-training also links to continuing professional development. Self-training refers to the training of oneself without supervision or attendance in a class. This can be done through personal media projects, watching documentaries, other films/TV shows, and researching the subject of choice online. Self-training helps the individual to develop the skills they personally want to develop, and can help them advance their careers due to their extra experience, helping them to stand out from the crowd.


Professional Behaviour

Reliability - Showing your employer that you are reliable is hugely important for the development of your career. It shows your employer that they can trust you to get things done without needing to heavily supervise you. Additionally, you would look like a huge asset to the company, and will gain many more benefits to ensure that you stay in the company.
Attendance and Punctuality - Attendance and punctuality at work is important because if an employee misses days of work or is late frequently, they will show that they are not reliable, and therefore the employer will trust them less. Lack of attendance and punctuality can lead to disciplinary at work.
Commitment - Commitment in the media industry is hugely important. Large projects can sometimes take months to complete, and commitment is required to ensure that all work is completed by the deadline.
Efficiency - Efficiency is important in the media industry in order to ensure that work is always completed by the deadline. By always being efficient, the employee builds up trust with their employer, and the workplace will be much less stressful.
Self-presentation - Ensuring that one looks professional at all times while at work is vital to ensure that the employee is taken seriously by their co-workers and their employer. Self-presentation is also important when applying for the job, and whether the applicant looks professional or not can make a difference to employers' decision to employ them.
Communication Skills - Communication is hugely important within the media industry, to ensure that projects are completed on time, all members of the team are aware of what they need to do and when it needs to be done by, and for networking. Networking and making connections greatly helps when developing your career, so having great communication skills is very important.
Contribution to team projects - Contributing to team projects helps to reduce stress in the work place and helps to build trust and relationships between the members of the team. If one person does not contribute enough to the project, the project may not be completed on time or could be a lower quality than it was expected to be. Also, contribution shows professionalism, which is vital for progressing your career.
Time Management- Meeting deadlines is greatly important within the media industry, and good time management will ensure that this is complete. Being organised will also help to reduce stress levels.
Personal Responsibility - Showing personal responsibility for your work helps to show professionalism, helps to build trust between yourself and your employer, and helps motivate you to work to the best of your ability.

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