My name is Lauren Burnett. I studied Writing, Directing and Performance at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television and graduated in July 2013.

What did you do after graduating?

I applied for a work experience placement at the BBC Entertainment North department in Manchester. Within weeks of graduating from York I began my four week placement on BBC2’s Mastermind. Following this, I was offered my first runner role on BBC1’s Call the Council before landing a year-long contract as a runner on Mastermind in January 2014. Since then I have worked on an array of different BBC Factual Entertainment/Entertainment programmes such as BBC2’s Dragons’ Den, BBC2’s Pitches to Riches, BBC1’s A Question of Sport, BBC1’s Celebrity Mastermind and BBC2’s Who’s The Boss?

What do you do now?

I work as a researcher both on Dragons’ Den and the follow on show, Pitches to Riches. My job entails sourcing, screen testing and casting entrepreneurs for the main show and taking them right through to filming in studio, where I help produce their pitch and assist with their pre and post den interviews. I also manage the Dragons’ Den social media activity; I am responsible for producing the online content, including cutting the web clips for the Dragons’ Den website and YouTube channel and tweeting/posting from the BBC Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am also involved in managing the Dragons’ Den press activity by sending clips and images to the local press and to other television programmes, such as This Morning, to support Dragon appearances. For Pitches to Riches I am involved in sourcing strong follow up stories for the show as well as assisting with location filming and editing packages together to be played in for the interviews with the Dragons (see image, left).

I learnt to work within a team and to very tight deadlines.

In doing your degree what has helped you in your professional life?

As simple as it sounds, the greatest skill I learnt from studying Writing, Directing and Performance was the ability to work within a team and to very tight deadlines. I have found that working in television is all about adapting to work within different environments and productions. The industry can be unforgiving in terms of working hours and you are expected to be extremely flexible. You are completely reliant on the strength of the team to get the job done and you will definitely pick up this skill at the University of York.

Why did you choose the University of York?

The University of York was the only university that I felt offered the most in terms of support and resources. There is exceptional filming equipment on hand with the Film & Television Production course, and outstanding theatre spaces and a vast selection of classes available on the Writing, Directing and Performance course. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in either theatre or television and I felt that the Writing, Directing and Performance course was the only one that offered the opportunity to explore both avenues - it was a no-brainer for me!

What would you say to someone thinking about studying at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television?

If you are looking to pursue a career in either theatre or television, this is one of the best departments you will find across the country. The support is fantastic, both in terms of the resources and equipment on offer, and the lecturers and course leaders. The majority of them have very successful and long careers in the industry under their belt. They provide immeasurable help and guidance throughout whilst giving a great insight into the professional world outside of York, as well as offering advice on how to survive in it.

What was the highlight of your time at University?

My favourite moment at York was the television module in which we wrote and produced our very own short soap scenes. It offered a very real insight into the realities of multi-camera studio production and it was by far the most fun I had on the course!