How to get a job at... the BBC

How to get a job at... the BBC

It’s tough to get into TV and radio – but there are ways to boost your chances! Simon Wright, Talent Executive at the BBC Academy, gives his 8 best tips for making it in media

8 TIPS FOR MAKING IT IN MEDIA – BY A TOP TV BOSS

Loads of people want to get into TV and radio – but with a relatively small number of positions available, you’ll have to fight for a job if you want one! So what’s the secret to making it in media? Simon Wright, Talent Executive at the BBC Academy and judge for this year’s For 3 Minutes initiative, shares his top tips…

Just do it

People often decide quickly what they want to do – but find that getting started takes much longer. It’s normal to have a mini confidence ‘wobble’ at the last minute – but push through it and crack on, Simon says: “If you are passionate about having a career in TV and radio then just go for it! It may sound flippant but get involved and start writing, filming things (even with your phone) or recording soundbites for radio. You need to demonstrate your passion and interest and the best way to do that is to create content. It may not be amazing when you first start but stick at it and let people see it.”

Maximise social media

This needn’t cost you any money – but you will need to invest a bit of time. “Get on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram etc. and actively engage with these forums,” Simon suggests. “Get yourself along to events, putyour work on Youtube and create a buzz around the stories and ideas you have. If you feel that you are not having access to people, then arrange your own events and ask people to come and speak. This really shows initiative and can be great for networking.”

Don't give up

Nothing happening? That’s normal. “Everyone who has worked in the media industry has faced rejection from jobs, so you need to develop a thick skin and sense of determination,” Simon explains. “Set yourself goals to contact so many people per week or to create so much content per week. Actively promote what you do! It's much easier to get a meeting when you have thousands of people who have watched your films on Youtube.”

Channel your uniqueness

To make it in media you need to stand out – so think about what makes your work different from other people your age, and what’s currently around. “Think about what your unique selling point is, what stories do you have to tell? What makes your ideas different from what you are currently seeing on TV?” asks Simon. 

Find inspiration all around you

Don’t sit in your room staring at a notepad or blank screen where you’ve written “My ideas”. You’ll have none! Instead, Simon recommends you get out there and soak up what’s happening around you. “Engage with as many people as you can – listen to what people are talking about on the bus, could that be a programme idea?” says Simon. And don’t forget to value your ideas. “They’re your currency. People want to hear new and fresh stories, so if you have good ideas, don’t underestimate their power and value to others.”

Know your audience

Who are your fans? When creating any media content, it’s crucial to think about the group of people most likely to watch or listen to it. “Who is going to watch or listen to your ideas and why? Why are they important?” asks Simon. “Think about audiences that you don't see represented on screen. How can you authentically represent them? Don’t forget that broadcasters struggle with capturing the youth audience – and you might have answers to some of their questions. What do young people want to watch and how can you make that?”

Watch everything

When you have your own ideas, it’s easy to dismiss all other work as inferior – but watching and listening to other people’s work is a vital learning opportunity. In particular, ask: what worked, what didn’t – and why? “Actively watch TV and listen to the radio – but think critically about the output rather than just being a passive consumer,” says Simon. “Think about what you would change and how you could make the story more effective. Look at programmes in terms of how they are filmed, how certain shots are used to create pace, frame or to evoke emotions.”

Schmooze

‘Networking’ sounds cringey – but really it’s just talking to people and finding out what’s going on. And if you want to make it in the media world, it’s never too soon to start practising. “Network with your peers and people that you meet, and always follow that up with a further meeting,” says Simon. “This can seem daunting and intimidating but share ideas and rather than selling who you are as a person, sell your ideas, your passion and knowledge for the media.”

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