How to get a job in film and television

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:19

The best way to get into the film and television business in Ireland.

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Firstly, sending CVs to television companies is unlikely to result in job offers for those starting their careers. The RTÉ website does advertise positions in its Careers section, but don’t hold your breath. (The BBC also advertises entry-level positions: there is a training scheme which can lead to employment within the BBC, but competition for these places is cut-throat.)

The other two national television stations are TV3 (a free-to-air commercial, independent television network) and TG4 (which seeks to ‘provide a high quality programming schedule in Irish and other languages’). TG4 has broken the mould over the last few years – the average employee age is around 28 and younger employees are being given proper responsibility, which has not previously been standard practice in Irish television.

The normal pattern in film and television is to do a degree in media, film, advertising, journalism or a related field and then spend a few years working freelance for a pittance while building up a CV and establishing a reputation which will lead to more regular work. This can be seen as an ‘apprenticeship’ period and graduates should realise that they will probably need to support themselves for about two to three years, whether this be by working graveyard shifts or borrowing up to the hilt.

So, the first step is probably to get a short-term contract, or even just a work experience placement, with a production company. There are a number of publications available from the Irish Film Institute which list production companies and give contacts and addresses. These can be sourced on their website, but be warned: every company listed is bombarded in May of every year with placement requests and very few are in a situation to be able to provide them.

A more strategic route is to keep up to date with what projects are due to begin production and then apply to the relevant companies. Many short-term productions run over the summer or last for six to eight weeks. This work experience can be invaluable to those starting out.

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