Alex B.

Assistant Scheduler
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Alex B.
Theatre, Film and Television
Film and Television Production
United Kingdom

My employment

Assistant Scheduler
Lime Pictures
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Assistant Scheduler in the United Kingdom

Assistant Scheduler at Lime Pictures - Liverpool (Hollyoaks)

What I do

I am a Runner/3rd Assistant Director at Lime Pictures on Hollyoaks. My job is mainly to assist the AD (Assistant Director) team to ensure that the shoots run as smoothly as possible.

Skills I use and how I developed them

As being a Runner is an entry-level position, most of the skills that you need to have are social ones, along with just some plain old common sense!

One practical skill that is very useful is being able to drive, and holding a full (and clean) driving licence. This is because a number of production companies will ask Runners to drive to do errands, or on occasion, to transport crew. Unfortunately this is regularly a specific requirement for Runners, so the sooner you learn to drive, and become confident with driving, the better!

What I like most

I know it sounds cheesy, but I love getting to work with such a diverse range of friendly people. It's also amazing to turn on the TV and see something that you've been a part of, no matter how small.

What I like least

Working in torrential rain! Trust me, it happens and it isn't pleasant. However, for all the really awful weather, I also get to work outside when the sun is shining. So it's all swings and roundabouts!

What surprised me most

The thing that surprised me most is that no job (or day) is ever really the same. You always have to be on the ball to make sure you're being the best help to the crew you can.

How I looked for work

Finding your first job in TV can be difficult, not many production companies advertise jobs on specific job websites. Strangely, most of my jobs have come from Facebook!

There are some great groups on Facebook dedicated to advertising TV jobs. The ones I'd recommend to anyone starting out are: 'People looking for TV work: Runners', and if you live in the North like me, 'Northern Freelance TV Production Staff'. There's also a fantastic website called 'The Unit List' which is run by one of the admins from 'People looking for TV work: Runners'. The great thing about this particular Facebook group is it only advertises work that is non-exploitative, all jobs on there are paid jobs.

The best thing to do when starting out is try and get some day-running jobs. This is normally on shows like Britain's Got Talent/The X Factor/The Voice/Dickinson's Real Deal or on commercials. Then once you have some experience you're more likely to be considered for longer freelance jobs.

As a graduate of York, if you were on the BSc Film and Television Production, you will be able to apply for Skillset's Trainee Finder as the course has the Skillset accredited tick. Skillset's Trainee Finder helps production companies find trainees to work on their shows/films. It also allows you to gain experience in your desired department (Assistant Director, Production Office, Cameras, Sound, Costume, Make-up, Locations - the list goes on!) The Trainee Finder Scheme helped me to get my first 2 jobs on TV dramas on which I made some invaluable contacts that have helped me get further work. So it's well worth applying for if you want to work in TV Drama or Film.

How I found out about the job

Already worked there

The recruitment process

For my current job I was already working as a Freelance Runner when this staff position became available. Even though I wasn't new to working in the company, I was still required to send in a cover letter and my CV before being selected for an interview.

My career goals when I graduated

When I graduated I wanted to become a Production Manager. I haven't given up on that dream, I just have to keep working my way up the ladder!

My career history

Since graduating in July 2014 I have worked on a number of shows. Here are a few of them:

- One Born Every Minute - Runner (2014)/Logger (2015)
- Home Fires Series 2 - Production Office Trainee (2015)
- Scott and Bailey Series 5 - AD Trainee (2015)
- Hollyoaks - Runner
- The Holiday Airport: Sun, Sea & Scousers - Runner (2015)

What has helped my career to progress

Meeting and making contacts with so many people is really what has helped my career to progress. Once people know who you are and what you do (and hopefully that you're good at what you do!) they may bring you onto their future projects or recommend you for positions that their friends are trying fill.

How my studies have helped my career

Studying at York helped me to gain an understanding of the production process. It also allowed me to try working in different departments, which meant that when I left York, I knew that I wanted to work in Production Management.

Similarly, it made me rule out the idea of working in other departments, like Sound! With that being said, being able to try out all of the different roles in all stages of production made me have so much respect for all the talented people who specialise in those fields.

What surprised me about my career so far

I think the thing that surprised me most about working in TV is how hard it can be to get a job. There are so many people who want to work in this industry that even competition for a day-running job is high. I once applied for a job within 10 minutes of it being posted on Facebook and it had already been filled. On the other hand, I was once lucky enough to be offered 2 jobs for the same day. So sometimes it really is the luck of the draw!

Where I hope to be in 5 years

In 5 years I hope I will have enough experience to apply for more challenging roles such as Production Secretary.

My advice to students considering work

Make sure you have a great CV to send out and that you can write a precise cover email.

For some invaluable CV tips, read this webpage:

CVs in TV and Film are often very different to a 'normal' CV. So it's important you take the time to create a CV that's going to tell an employer exactly what they want to know about you.

Also, make sure you try and get a couple of work experience placements whilst you are at university. This can help build up your contacts for future work and gives you something good to put on your CV.

My advice about working in my industry

My advice would be don't get disheartened if you are finding it hard to get a job/regular work when you start out. It is a really competitive industry in which there are very few graduate, or even staff jobs. You just have to keep trying and it will work out!

Another thing to note is that TV Production quietens down towards the end of the year until around March the next year. This is often because there's not enough light to have decent shooting hours, and that companies are waiting for the new tax year to start. I know a lot of Runners who either have a part-time job or get a Christmas Temp job to help cope financially with this slump.

Contacting me

I'm happy to (try to) answer questions about anything.

I'd probably be a better mentor to a student that is looking to find work up North (Manchester/Liverpool) and in Production (rather than Post-Production).

Next steps...

If you like the look of Alex’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Alex a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Alex to be your mentor.

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