Applying for Film, TV or Media course? Read this. Watch

TV man
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Report Thread starter 5 years ago
From The Knowledge, an industry magazine:

A graduate’s take on the TV and film job market

Graduate Lucy Jane Gonzalez was over the moon when she received a first class honours degree in Film Studies. However she soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy to land an entry level job in the media.

She was to discover that having a degree could actually have a negative effect on getting a job, and more worryingly, found that some companies actually consider hiring people with lower grades over those with higher ones.

Speaking to The Knowledge she tells us of her experiences and the stumbling blocks she came across…

High hopes after graduation
“In July 2012 I graduated from Portsmouth University with a degree in Film Studies. I was thrilled with this result – I worked hard for it, but not so hard that I didn’t have time for a social life. I enjoyed student life yet still put in enough effort to achieve a first class honours. Shortly after graduating, I started looking for some work experience in the film and TV industry, specifically in the scriptwriting area. I would take anything from unpaid work placements to entry level jobs at large companies like the BBC.

I also signed up to a subscription-based website offering a database of production jobs, specifically designed for those seeking a start in the film industry. There was no free trial period - if you wanted to join, you had to pay around £10 a month. For an unemployed graduate with mountains of debt, this was a lot of money to spend without knowing if you’d actually get something out of it. However, there were hundreds of potential jobs on offer on the site, so I went for it. I must have applied to at least fifty roles – runner positions, production assistants, internships – and got zero responses in the space of two months, so I cancelled my subscription.

I’ve spoken to a few friends who have had no responses from this particular website either – all of them graduates in a film or TV discipline. So collectively, we’ve paid a huge amount of money and got absolutely nothing in return, which is very disappointing.

As for mainstream TV channels, these are probably seen as dream companies for many creative graduates, including myself. Many of the jobs advertised for these organisations stress the importance of ‘enthusiasm for the industry’ over hands-on experience, which at first, seems promising for graduates looking for their first job. I don’t know a single film or TV graduate who isn’t enthusiastic about the industry. Also we assume that our enthusiasm PLUS our degrees will be an appealing combination for the employer.
If you do apply for roles and don’t get the job, these companies send out a generic email to applicants, saying something along the lines of: ‘you were unsuccessful, but we cannot tell you why.’ After three years on a course where I was constantly offered feedback, advice and constructive criticism, this kind of response is extremely frustrating.

Degree classifications
Recently, I’ve heard a lot of discussion about the subject of degree classifications. Some people are under the impression that graduates with firsts are not likely to make good employees as they are clearly social recluses, with no outside interests or hobbies. I know that having a first myself makes me biased, but I find this absolutely ridiculous. At all education levels, from primary to university, we are all given classifications for our work, whether it’s a number out of ten, an A-F grade, or a percentage. Our entrance into university depends on our A Level grades, and the higher the grades, the more likely we are to be accepted. I’m sure that universities don’t look at 3 As and think, ‘that person is a social recluse, no thanks.’

Why then should it be any different after university? I’m not saying that people with firsts necessarily make better employees, but the idea that they should be disregarded over those with 2:2s or 3rds, I disagree with. I even read an article recently on Student Beans that says marketing employer, Rory Sutherland, is only recruiting graduates with 2:2s or 3rds.

As an employer, if you want to give all graduates an equal chance, that’s fine, but favouring those with lower grades over those with firsts?
I’ve recently made the decision to do a master’s degree in creative writing this September. While I hope that an extra qualification will result in my landing a job in screenwriting, I’m also doing it for the simple reason that the difficulty in landing a job is downright depressing. I want to be doing what I love, and if I can’t get paid to do it, I’m just as happy to do it in the form of study. The course covers other forms of writing such as novels and features, and I’m wondering if this might broaden my career aspirations.

Knowing you have the abilities and intelligence to succeed, yet not being given a chance, is something that too many film and TV graduates are having to experience today. I’d encourage anyone else in my position to get involved in this discussion, and perhaps consider further study, as I am. It doesn’t need to be this way forever!”
Badges: 3
Report 5 years ago
Well this chick did say she started looking for work experience AFTER she graduated. You have to be really out of touch with reality if you think getting a first in film studies (or any degree for that matter) will land you a job. She should've been aware that the industry she is trying to break into is one of the most competitive and that nobody's going to care about her academic qualifications.

The 'I would take any job, even entry level jobs with the BBC' line obviously indicates she looks at that job as something menial and beneath her, when in reality it's extremely hard to get an entry level job with the BBC!

Getting a first with film studies and no experience is the same as having A-levels and having no experience, so she shouldn't even have bothered. The fact that she's getting herself into even more debt by going to graduate school thinking it's going to increase her chances of getting into the industry also indicates this person has ZERO knowledge about the industry! Petty obvious why she didn't get a job! If you wanna work in media (or any industry!), don't just get a degree!! Everyone has one!!

I'm applying to do media courses this year but I'm smart enough not to make the same mistakes she did. I'm not going to be one of those people watching movies for three years and then wondering why I'm not getting hired to direct Avatar 2.

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