Tips on How To Get a Job In the Film and TV Industry – #1 Email Signatures

We sit down with Tom Piamenta, cofounder of WiseStamp,to discuss the importance of formatting and presenting yourself to potential clients and branding techniques.

BC:  Why is it important to have a well-formatted email signature?

TP:  A good email signature serves 3 major goals.

 First, it sets the tone of the email. It shows who you are, your persona (e.g. serious vs fun) and promotes your personal brand.

Second, it lets your recipients easily see who you are and take the conversation into a friendlier place while removing hesitations and obstacles. People are also less likely to ignore a “personal” outreach. This is why adding your personal photo or a favorite quote is a good idea.

Third, an effective signature can be a powerful ally of the content of your email. Let’s say you wish to setup a meeting with someone, you can add to your signature a distinct button saying “Let’s schedule a meeting” that allows the recipient to book a time online.

 

BC: Why is it important to put links to my website and social media profiles?

TP:  People who take the time to view your email are likely to Google your name and gather more data about you. Adding links to your website and profiles makes sure they will come across the content that you want them to see and not random stuff they can found online.

 

BC: Is putting a profile picture next to my email signature a good idea?

TP: This depends on the outcome you’d like to achieve. A profile picture makes the email more personal and harder to ignore, while adding a logo makes matters a bit more formal. Personally, I use a profile picture, since I prefer to keep the conversation light and amiable rather than strictly professional.

 

BC: What other ways can email signatures help me as a freelancer or business?

TP: Your email signature is a powerful piece of real estate you are leaving untapped. That’s actually the reason we created WiseStamp – to allow you to make your signature more effective using a variety of Email Apps.

A physician can add a call to action to his signature (“Book a meeting with me”), where an eBay seller will add a promotion (“Click here to enjoy our holiday pricing”) and an actor can add the cover images to showcase their filmography.

 

BC: Are there any rules to how long an email signature should be?

T.P: I’m a devout believer in the saying that less is more. A good signature should include your profile picture or logo, personal data (name, title, company), icons to your social profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, IMDB  etc.) and a concise call to action relevant to the outcome you wish to achieve.

 

BC: What about font selection?

TP: The only thing to remember is to never use fonts that are not websafe. If you do you have no idea what the recipient will actually see. We only allow websafe fonts at WiseStamp so no need to worry about that.

 

BC: Is it important if I work in a business that everyone’s email signatures are consistent?

TP: When WiseStamp started we only had a solution for individuals, but since consistency is of grave importance our users drove us to develop a team solution that does just that – allow for central management of the company’s email signature. Signatures that aren’t unified reflect badly on the company and sometimes cause actual harm (e.g. if the legal disclaimer is omitted by some employees).

A big advantage of a centrally managed solution is that the company can push its marketing messages in all emails sent with a click, thus promoting webinars, sales, launching new products etc.

 

WiseStamp is the leading growth platform for micro businesses and freelancers, helping over 700,000 professionals grow their business.

On top of the email signature solution, WiseStamp offers tools to create a personal webpage with a click, promote and list your site in search engines and directories etc.

No matter what your business or profession – we’ve got the apps and services to help you achieve your goals: get leads, brand your business, distribute your content, showcase your portfolio, build a community, all while looking super professional – we’ve got the features and tools to help you do it.

 

WiseStamp is offering a 20% off discount to all IMIS members.  Head over to the Members Section to access it.

 

The Calltime Company Film Runners

Looking to get your foot into the door of the film & TV industry? Meet The Calltime Company run by Tamana Bleasdale and Vicki Allen!

The Calltime Company is pleased to announce their 5th Annual Runners Training Day on Saturday 18th March.

 

 

An Introduction:

Vicki and I are former Assistant Directors. We both studied Media/Film/TV at University and then worked our way up the AD ladder. We only stopped ADing due to both of us starting our own families. Once we had children we still wanted to be part of the Industry, that we are passionate about, but couldn’t see how we could work as an AD and be there for our children in the manner we wanted to be.

Whilst working as 2nd AD’s we experienced how hard it can be at times to get good, reliable Runners without lots of time consuming phone calls checking to see who was free and good.  We then had the idea of an Agency, a database of experienced Runners that are personally interviewed and then mentored by Vicki and I. By doing this we can be confident that any Runners we send out on a job will be more than capable of handling the job required. We also believed that it could be a very useful and time saving resource for Productions and individual departments to book their Runners/Pa’s/Marshals through.

Whilst setting up and planning for an experienced Runners Agency we also recognised that it was very hard to get that first job in Film/TV unless you were lucky enough to know someone working in Film/TV or had a lucky break.  So we came up with a plan for CallTime Company Trainee Scheme, through this we could help people leaving education, wanting a career change or changing focus within the Film/TV/Commercials and Corporates to get that first crucial job and help build up contacts, so CallTime Trainee Scheme was launched as a kind of ‘Grow Our Own Runners’ idea.

What is the role of the AD department? 

The AD department is the logistical side of film making. I would describe it as the Back Bone of the film, along side the Production Office, dealing with each and every department along the way.

Could you explain the differences between the roles of a floor runner; 3rd AD; 2nd AD and 1st AD?

First Assistant Director along with the line producer and production manager begin the job by producing a schedule (a running order of the shoot) which is put together from breaking down the script. As the departments come on board a Full Breakdown Schedule is produced showing what is required from each individual department to make the shooting of that scene work. The 1st AD liaises between departments during pre production to make sure that everything that the Director wants for the shoot is being discussed and put into place.

When on set the First Assistant Director is the right hand person and mouth piece of the director. They run the set and make sure that the crew know what is happening when and that everything required for the next shot is in place.

A key role of the 1st A.D on set is to keep a pace of work and to make sure that the film is on schedule. They also make sure, along with the Script Supervisor and Director of Photography that the Director has got enough coverage on a scene for the Editors to cut together.

The 1st AD is also responsible for Health and Safety on set.  

Second Assistant Director deals with the Cast from pre-production. They arrange fittings, rehearsals and readthrough attendance. Once shooting begins they liaise with the Cast on the day to day filming and up coming schedule.

The 2nd AD is the main point of contact fo the Cast regarding pick up times in the morning, when they are required in costume and make up, to what time they are needed on the set and when they can go home.

They also communicate with all Departments regarding what is required for the day to day filming and are responsible for putting together the call sheet. This document tells the Cast and Crew what is required for the following days filming, at what time and who is required when. During Pre-production the Second AD will work closely with Costume & Make up departments regarding Cast and Background Artistes fittings. They will also help plan the rehearsal schedule with the First AD & Director.

The 2nd AD and/or Crowd 2nd AD is also responsible for casting, fitting and booking Background Artistes – with the approval of the Director, Costume and Make up/Hair departments. .

Third Assistant Director is the right hand person to the 1st AD. During pre- production they will generate a radio breakdown for each department including charges, ear pieces (and type), spare batteries and wallets or clips. They will also help the 2nd AD with any rehearsals or fittings taking place.

On the floor the 3rd AD is responsible for looking after the cast once they arrive.

They keep the 2nd AD and Production team informed about filming progress on set, especially how many shots for each scene and when they have completed a shot.

The 3rd AD distributes the radios to all departments and sides to Director, Cast and Crew. The crew will usually go to the 3rdAD with questions and information before the 1st AD. The 3rd AD also communicates with all departments on the floor and Cast members to let them know what the next shot is, who and what equipment will be required.

The Floor Runner works on set, either in a Studio or on Location. They work with the Assistant Director team also known as the ADs.

The AD team consists of the 1st AD, 2nd AD & 3rd AD. There can also be a Crowd 2nd AD and/or Crowd 3rd AD and often on bigger mainly American Productions the role of 2nd AD is split in to two, a Key 2nd AD and a Floor 2nd AD.

The 1st AD is the first to start on a production and closely followed by the 2nd AD usually of their choice then their 3rd AD joins them a few weeks before filming starts, depending on the sale of the Production.

The Floor Runner is usually interviewed by the 1st  & 2nd AD and is often one of the last to start the film before shooting begins.

The Floor Runner works directly with the AD team on set and at the unit base. Taking instruction from the 1st and 3rd AD on set and the 2nd AD at the Unit Base.They are a crucial member of the team. They will know and interact with all Crew and Cast Members on a daily basis throughout the shoot.

Some times on Commercials there is no 2nd AD and it is often the 1st AD and 3rd AD. The Runner may then also work to the Production Manager’s instructions.

What skills do you need to be a successful AD? 

Diplomatic, calm, focused, a people person, punctual, diligent, thick skinned, a good sense of humour and to be able to prioritise your time and tasks successfully!

For young people with little to no experience wanting to get into AD work, what advice could you give them?

With Social Media it is a lot easier to find work/helpful sources with groups such as People working in Television: Runners, The Unit List, The Callsheet – are all free to Runners. Sign up to Creative England if you live regionally or Wales Screen plus Film London and Creative Skillset. If you have no film experience at all highlight on your CV the work you have carried out working with people and the general public, such as bar tender, shop assistant, waiter or waitress, as these Roles all provide transferrable skills.

Where did the inspiration/idea to create Calltime come from?

I had wanted to do something for a long time as I was lucky enough to get my first job through my Dad, who is a playwright, and I understood that it wasn’t as easy for many others. Vicki got her first job through being a student in Manchester when a film was looking for Background Artistes for a Crowd Scene and she was employed to help, which started Vicki off on her career and many trips to London later she became established with a great AD team. When we were figuring out what to do with our working lives, post having children, that could combine our previous careers, a good friend of both of ours suggested we work together and CallTime was launched! It’s been a fantastic journey so far and we are really excited about the future of the Company.

What are the main aims of Calltime?

There are several main aims: 

For Productions to have large resource of good reliable Runners, varying roles and grades available to them whenever they are needed. To also support individual departments, as we know it can be time consuming booking crew when under pressure.

For our Members it would be to expand their contacts, help them gain more skills and experience on different levels until they can confidently move up to the next grade of Role that they are aspiring to within the industry.

For our Trainees it would be to help them gain their first and subsequent work in Film/TV, boost their confidence and contacts, to help train them for the next level in their career path.

For CallTime Company to grow as our Members do providing them with key career advice and mentoring through out their career.

Can you describe the application process of applying to Calltime? 

We ask everyone to fill in an application form and send this in alongside a CV. If you pass this section you are invited to an interview with Vicki and I.

What job roles does Calltime offer? 

We offer Location Marshal, Lock Off PAs, Additional Floor Runner, Key Floor Runner, Runner Stand In, Location Assistant, Production Runner, Costume Runners/Trainees, Art Dept Trainee, Trainee Grip and we have also been asked to supply: 3rd AD, 2nd AD, 1st AD, Production Secretaries, Assistant Co-ordinators and even Caterers!

How far does Calltime support career progression, specifically in the AD department?

We try and support people along the way, we know how hard it is to step up the ladder and as CallTime grows as a Company and our Members move up the ladder we help by offering them Training to take them up to the next level. We also know that working as a Freelancer can be lonely at times, often you have choices to make and it can be hard to know what direction to go in, we always listen to our Members, we won’t tell them what to do but we will listen to the Pros and Cons and discuss each situation with them.

Can you tell me about the training and events hosted by Calltime, such as The Crowd AD Trainee Day?

We host a Runners Training Day yearly which we run to coincide with annual Trainee Scheme, this usually take place in early Spring.

We have also hosted a 3rd AD Training Day and a Crowd AD Training Day – these days came about mainly due to our Members wanting to step up and we thought it would benefit a lot of them to know what exactly is required of them as a 3rd AD and also with the Crowd AD day, alot of people don’t fully understand the basics of the FAA agreement or have the opportunity to set back ground so we felt this day was really needed, we also know that there is a real lack of Crowd ADs at the moment and it is a great Role to do especially as it’s more creative than the standard AD route!

Six Ways Film & Television is Embracing Women and BAME

 

The most prominent debate in film and television in the present day is the representation of women and BAME. In this article, I hope to present schemes and organisations that are dedicated to creating diversity and equality in the industry.

 

ONE: NFTS Directing Workshop

The National Film and Television School provides teaching and training for those wishing to work in film and television. They run several diplomas; masters; certificates and short courses.

This new initiative for directors has been launched by NFTS aiming to increase the number of women, BAME and people with disabilities.

The six selected directors will take part in a 2-day introduction in March followed by an intensive 4-week workshop during summer culminating in the production of a short film.

The course is free and the deadline is 19th February.

Apply here: https://nfts.co.uk/directing-workshop

 

 

TWO: CREATIVE ACCESS

Founded in 2012, Creative Access aims to provide young BAME people paid training opportunities in creative companies and supporting them into full-time employment.

With over 200 media partners offering opportunities including ITV, BBC, Channel 4 and many more. This organisation is paving the way to creating an industry that truly reflects British society.

Want to sign up? Check out the website here: https://creativeaccess.org.uk/

 

THREE: Women In Film & TV UK Mentoring Scheme

Women In Film & TV is a membership organisation run by women supporting women working in the creative media in the UK.

Every year they run a mentoring scheme designed for women with more than 5 years’ experience looking to take a significant step in their career. Over six months participants receive six hours of mentoring contact with an industry figure. There are also seminars, training workshops and networking opportunities.

Free to apply and participate. Find out more here: https://wftv.org.uk/mentoring/

FOUR: BAFTA

In 2019, BAFTA will be adding the BFI Diversity Standards to the eligibility criteria for the Outstanding British Film Award and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.

This decision has been controversial in the industry with some parties believing this is a step too far and restricts filmmaking. In my opinion, it is a bold and much needed move towards creating an inclusive and equal industry. My only issue with it, is the fact this is even needed in the 21st Century to promote diverse filmmaking.

Considering that in the 2015 Oscars no non-white actors were nominated for an Academy Award, a change in criteria for these awards is definitely overdue.

FIVE: DIRECTORS UK

In 2016, Directors UK released a 10 year study on women directors in film revealing the shocking truth that only 13.6% of all directors working in the last decade were women.

They aim to use the findings of this study to improve the industry for women by campaigning for these 3 specific goals:

  1. 50% of films backed by UK-based public funding bodies to be directed by women by 2020.
  2. Development of the Film Tax Credit Relief system to require all UK films to take account of diversity.
  3. Industry wide campaign to inform and influence change

Find out more here: https://www.directors.uk.com/campaigns/gender-equality-in-uk-film-industry#support-our-campaign

 

SIX: GAME CHANGERS

In 2016, BFI Film Forever and Creative Skillset launched a workshop called Game Changers specifically for women and BAME filmmakers.

Run by Kymberlie Andrews who is a master trainer and communication coach. The aim of the two day workshop was to boost confidence; teach pitching and make contacts with like minded individuals.

For myself, this workshop changed my game by opening my eyes to my personality strengths which has affirmed by future career goal.

Hopefully this opportunity will be renewed for 2017 but only time can tell!

Find out more here: http://gamechangeruk.com/

 

If you know of any opportunities for women and BAME in film and TV then please comment below!

 

 

 

The Basics of Radio Speak & Etiquette

You’ve got your first runner job on a big film or television set and you want to make an impression! One of the best ways to stand out as a new runner, is to know how to speak on the radio. 

RADIO ETIQUETTE

On my first floor runner job, Cuckoo Series 3, I was a complete newbie to running on a big production. I had no idea about radio speak or etiquette. Luckily I had a supportive 2nd AD who sat me down and went through the basics with me.

The most important thing is too never speak unless spoken to on the radio, exceptions are when you need the toilet (10-1) or have been asked to find someone (Eye’s on) or need to do a radio check. Never talk on the radio during a take, if you aren’t sure whether they are rolling then do not say anything until you hear either we’ve cut there or turning over or general chatter.

Keep radio chatter to a minimum, answer instructions clearly with copy that. Or if you have to give an instruction then keep it concise. Never discuss lunch orders or tea/coffee orders on the radio. If you do need to talk with another runner/AD about lunch/tea/coffee, then always radio (Charlotte) switch to 2 (or whichever number is the private channel) and ask your question there.

When you are called (Charlotte to Curtis) always reply (if you are able too) clearly (Go for Charlotte) and listen to the instructions carefully. If you miss part of the instruction, then ask them to repeat the task – it is better to get the correct instruction before executing it. Film and TV sets are fast paced environments so you need to be alert at all times with your radio.

As a runner you will always end up locking off at some point during a shoot so always been aware of being called to lock it up and reply with locked off.

When escorting the cast/talent from make-up/hair; costume or their dressing room to set keep the 1st AD up to date on the radio. As soon as the cast member steps onto set, call it on the radio (Charlotte stepping on).

Please note that this article covers the basic radio speak used by all departments, particularly the assistant director department. However, different departments may have extra terms. As this guide is directed towards new entrants whom will be most likely working as runners, I have only covered basic radio communications.

Setting Up Your Radio

For most new entrants in film and television running, you will not have used a radio before. Possibly when you were a child you may have used a walkie talkie but it’s not the same thing.

On arrival on set you will be given a radio either with a clip or a case – a case only works if you have a belt on.

 

 

You will then be asked if you prefer a covert or D-ring ear piece. Covert ear pieces are like in ear headphones, they can be uncomfortable and make you feel as though you are underwater. D-rings ring around your ear. My preference is a covert because I find that the D –rings tend to fall off my smaller ears.

 

 

Once you have chosen either a covert or D-ring then simply plug it into the radio. Switch on the radio and set it to the correct channel – the 3rd AD will direct you accordingly. Do a radio check by pressing the speak button on your covert/D-ring wire.

 

 

 

THE DICTIONARY OF RADIO SPEAK

Action – after turning over, the 1st AD will call action when the scene begins

Back to one/two/three – cast and supporting artists return to the numbered position

Background Action – ‘action’ call for supporting artists to start movement

Calling Crew Member (Charlotte to Curtis) – always clearly say your name and the person you are calling too.

Cameras up – camera is up to start recording

Checks – hair/make-up and costume checks

Copy that – you have understood an instruction

DFI – forget last instruction

Eyes on (Charlotte) – radio shout out to find a crew/cast member

Flying in – object is being hurried onto set

Go for (Curtis) – responding to a crew call to say you are listening

Going again/for another take – filming the same scene again

Good check – confirms radio is working

Hold the work – all movement/work on set must stop

Lock it up – stop public/crew/cast entering a shot/room whilst filming

Locked off on one/two/three – numbered roll call of lock off positions

Martini – last shot of the day

Moving on – either moving onto another shot or onto another scene

On the day – usually follows an instruction for a task that needs to be carried out during a take, most likely a lock off

Ones/Twos/Threes – depending on the length of the scene cast/supporting artists may have several starting positions, these are numbered from one

Quiet on set – all movement/chatter to cease

Radio check – checking radio is working

Release lock off – public/crew/cast allowed to enter

Reset – cast and supporting artists to go to starting position

Scene complete – whole scene has been shot

Seconds away – seconds away with a cast member

(Charlotte) Stepping on – cast member is stepping onto set

Still turning/rolling – camera and sound are still recording 

Swinging the lens – changing the lens

Switch to (2) – changing to a private channel for a discussion

Switching – confirms that you are switching channel

That’s a wrap – finished filming for the day/shoot

That’s a wrap on (Charlotte) – wrapping a cast member

Turning over – camera and sound are recording

Turning around – camera will be shooting the reverse shot

We’ve cut there – camera and sound have stopped recording

Numbers

10-1 – going to the toilet

 

The Runner Diaries: What is an Office Runner?

Reece Gibbons is an office runner at Hungry Man Productions; a commercial production company. He graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2015.Prior to working as an office runner he worked as a freelance runner in the industry.

The Office Runner is a full time in house position. Most production companies employ an office runner to support in administrative office duties.

Key Duties:

  • Greeting guests
  • Taking calls
  • Handling petty cash
  • Keeping kitchen stocked on tea, coffee, sugar & milk
  • Scanning, photocopying, printing, shredding & filing
  • Setting up conference calls
  • Booking taxis and couriers
  • Assisting on productions
  • Filling out post production paperwork

Check out the APA Website Jobs Board: http://www.a-p-a.net/jobs for work incommercial production companies!