Experience is Key When Working in Television Production
Working in television can be a very thrilling job prospect. Working behind the scenes for episodic television shows, journalism programs or commercials is not only lucrative, but also a great way to use creativity. While this industry is popular for students to consider as they first enter college, the number of people who actually succeed is substantially smaller than the number of people who enter college with these aspirations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in television production only show an estimated seven percent growth in the next decade, a figure significantly lower than most industries.
There are many reasons for this. For example, many people may shift to other careers for financial reasons, as the film and broadcast industry is notorious for having some of the lowest paying entry level jobs in the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry level jobs such as clerical and assistant positions begin with a median hourly wage of $12.17. These highly competitive jobs can also be very tough on the faint of heart. Like other highly competitive fields such as medicine and law, only the strongest and most dedicated survive. Finally, inexperience can keep many people from reaching their goals in television production.
To gain a decent entry position after graduation, you must have hands-on experience in working behind the scenes in television. The best way to do this is to earn your degree in something related to the field, such as film, production, or theater. Disciplines such as these will provide you with the strongest preparation because your coursework will often require assignments involving tasks that are relevant to actual field experience. Additionally, if your school has a campus broadcast station or a school website that includes video content, it would be highly advisable to volunteer or work there. This is the best way to gain hands-on training if an internship is not immediately available.
Finally, who you’ve worked with and where you’ve worked is just as crucial as the hands-on skills you’ve acquired at school. Be mindful that a lot of your competitors for entry level jobs may not have degrees in the field, but earned jobs by knowing people who could help them find work. Therefore, you must use your time in school to learn not only new skills, but new people. Introduce yourself to students in your program, your professors, and go to as many networking events as possible. Building these relationships will help you appropriate future references and contacts. These people may also become your colleagues once you begin working in the industry. The sooner you get to know them, the sooner you will be on your way to a successful job in television production.