TV or film production assistant

Alternative titles for this job include Assistant production co-ordinator

Production assistants support producers in making film or TV programmes.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a TV or film production assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by private training providers

University

You could do a degree in:

  • creative media production
  • film and television production
  • film and TV studies

You might find it helpful to choose a course that includes practical skills, work placements and the chance to make industry contacts.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs in English and maths at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • plus 2 A levels

More information

College

You could take a course at college, for example:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Media Techniques
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do an advanced apprenticeship in creative and digital media or as a broadcast production assistant.

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 also offer apprenticeship opportunities.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship or a course, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

Your first paid job will usually be as a runner or junior assistant in the production office. You'll then work your way up as you get experience.

Volunteering and experience

Get as much practical experience as you can. This will show employers that you're committed to learning more about the industry. You can build useful experience through activities like:

  • student or community film/TV projects
  • community or student radio

You'll also get the opportunity to meet people already working in TV and film. Building a network of contacts could help you when you start looking for work.

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, and 'insight' and 'talent days'. Competition can be tough, but if you're successful, it will help you get a better understanding of the industry.

You can search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

Screenskills also has information on finding work experience.

Direct application

Many production assistants are graduates, although a degree is not essential. A lot of employers will be more interested in your skills and experience.

You'll also find it useful to have experience of working in TV, advertising or office management.

Other routes

You could also take short courses in production skills run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

More information

Career tips

You'll need to develop experience in both the creative and business sides of film or programme making. You'll also need to develop an understanding of the production process, and a good network of contacts in the industry.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the The Production Guild for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a TV or film production assistant from ScreenSkills and ProductionBase.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of English language
  • leadership skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll be involved in a range of tasks including:

  • hiring studio facilities and equipment
  • booking hotels and making travel arrangements
  • attending production meetings
  • copying and distributing scripts
  • typing and circulating production schedules ('call sheets') and daily reports
  • getting permission to use copyrighted music or film clips
  • dealing with accounts and expenses

In television, you might also carry out production duties, like:

  • timing the show in the studio gallery
  • calling camera shots
  • cueing pre-recorded material
  • keeping records or logging of shots taken
  • making sure the shots look the same after breaks in filming

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, in an office, at a tv studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often and spend nights away from home and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to production coordinator and production manager, or become a researcher or producer.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Broadcast Communications Apprentice

  • Wage : £16,268.00 Annually
  • Location: London WC2E 9DD

Courses In England

Creative Media Production Factual TV Production

  • Provider: HARLOW COLLEGE
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Harlow

Media Production (TV and Film) BTEC Extended Diploma

  • Provider: BEXHILL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 05 September 2019
  • Location: Bexhill on Sea

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