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My job explained: Senior producer

My job explained: Senior producerStuart Strickson gives you the lowdown on production, and how you can get a head start in media.

Could you tell us a bit about your job?

The company I work for, Sky, have a range of online content. I work on producing the content for the Sky Showbiz website. We have a weekly online show, which I produce.

It involves a lot of creativity. I spend most of my time developing ideas and coming up with new ideas for content.

Talk us through a typical day.

I have two people working with me, and we will usually sit down at the beginning of the day and update everyone on what we are working on. We go through the content and look at what stills and video we need, what stories are out there.

We also spend one day per week out of the office in a studio with a film crew. It’s quite a long day – we start at 8.30 and usually finish at 9 in the evening, but it’s fun and in this industry not unusual. The long hours aren’t ‘deskjob hours.’ and if you’re doing something you love you don’t think about the time.

Why did you choose to work in TV?

When I was 15, I decided it was something that I really wanted to do. I spent a lot of time messing around with my friends with a video camera. I did a media degree and then worked my way up from the bottom.

Like most people I started as a runner, and I worked for a lot of small companies. I wouldn’t say it is important to work for a big company, you just need to take the opportunities where they are. I worked unpaid for a while, and most people have to. But I really wanted to get into TV, so I took the opportunities and eventually got breaks.

What qualifications do you have?

I did a media degree. The course was very broad, so I learnt about loads of different areas. If you’re certain about working in the media then I would definitely recommend it, but it isn’t essential. You could also do an English degree, for example, and spend your spare time making short films. It’s enthusiasm and desire that counts the most when you’re starting out.

Is it hard to get a first job in the industry?

Yes, because of course there are so many people who want to do it. Don’t let that put you off, though – you should be able to find something. When I first started looking I had no contacts and I knew no one in the industry. I must have sent off about 70 or 80 letters to different companies, from which I got two unpaid work experience placements. But once you’re in, you can build contacts and find other jobs. And now there are so many different media companies and outlets – the web, podcasts, mobile as well as traditional broadcasting.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do what you do?

Absolutely – if you want to do it, get out there and do it. If you want to make something then go out and make it. To succeed you’ve got to really show a passion for it. There are so many people out there with media degrees so you need to have something extra.

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