So, you want to get into television?

Well, it’s an interesting title, and it sounds full of promise, but I have to say, right now that it’s not a done deal. Many people who ask me about getting into ‘showbiz’ do so for all the wrong reasons. They see it as an easy, quick way to make a buck or two. If, deep down, (and be honest with yourself) you think that might be you, have a look at my biography on this site, have a look at how long it took and decide, really, if you can be arsed!

If you have doubts now, thank you for reading this far, good luck in what you achieve, but I can’t help you.

I didn’t want to get into ‘showbiz’ I wanted to get into broadcasting. I had no interest at all in the ‘fame’ aspect of it all (in fact, I still don’t) I just loved the size, scale, technology, team work, excitement and innovation. After nearly 30 years on the telly, I still love the smell of a tv studio, a mixture of electricity, paint and bulls***!

By saying you’re interested in telly (or radio, or films) you join a multitude who all had the same idea. Are you pursuing this because you love it? You have a burning passion? It keeps you awake at night? You watch TV, not just for the shows, but for a taste of how it’s made? A gliding camera accidentally in shot? The glimpse of a floor manager steering the studio through a problem? If that’s you, HELLO! You are already head and shoulders above the rest.

If you want to get into TV…. What do you want to do? There are literally hundreds of different areas? Cameras? Sound? Direction? Presenting? Research? If you know, remember that everyone doing that job has got experience, getting the experience is the tough bit. You might not realise this, but television is hard work!

You’ll be expected to put in some long hours; initially the pay isn’t very good. It’s very seldom glamorous. But know this; there are very few lazy, successful people in the business.

Write to those on the list of credits you see at the end of the shows you like. They will more than likely be surprised to get a direct approach, suggest you shadow them for a day or so, don’t take no for an answer, be politely insistent. Be interested and eager, but not a pain. It’s a fine balance, but one you must find.
If you are in any way rude, a ‘know it all’ or a smart arse, forget it. The next letter or email they get will be from someone who isn’t! It’s a small business and it’s a tough but honest person who will tell you that it doesn’t owe you anything! There is practically no chance that your first job will be in a high profile position on The X-Factor or The Cube. Be prepared to start from the humble, coffee making beginning and work your way up with a mixture of brains, personality, ability and being able to think outside the box.

Remember this word.. INITIATIVE!! When it comes to finding contacts and addresses, don’t ask me! Use your initiative; it’s all on the net.

Presenting is a VERY tough field to break into. A very small number take the short cut, appear on a reality show and impress with some sort of quirkiness. Nothing wrong with that, except that it only lasts beyond a fortnight for a very few, and the chances are they secretly have many of the qualities I mentioned a moment ago.

My advice would be to get hold of a camcorder (a phone is seldom good enough quality or versatile enough), if you don’t have one, does someone you know have one you can borrow? Present to it, over and over again. Be yourself, be natural, be original. Try interviewing people you know, and remember, if you’re interviewing, listen! Don’t just have a list of questions you have to get through, be prepared to go off track if they say something that’s more interesting than your next question. Record, check, do it again. Do it until you are absolutely sure it’s the best you can be. Then get back to those credits and find someone to send it to, either on a flash (expensive) or email them… what’s their email did I hear you say? INITIATIVE

If you’re still reading this and you haven’t been put off, I like your style. Persevere, take the knocks and come back smiling and positive, if there is a problem, think round it, over it or through it, but don’t give up.
If all that works… I look forward to working with you in the future.

GOOD LUCK!

You can apply for various full time and temporary experience positions by visiting the ITV Job page.

To apply for work experience at ITV, go to their work experience page.

Comments

  • Ok sir, can I shadow you for a few days, make you tea and pander to your every need?? I have tried applying to be an extra in shows, emailed ITV and BBC for work as a runner and got nowhere!!

    • i like phillip schofied he is the lengend today and i like to say about phillip schofield in the 1991 smash hits he was the best hosted by the time and i like to meet him and from paul taylor

  • Great advice Phill ! many people think "getting on Tv is easy.." when really it isn't, and yes.. it doesn't make you a star from day one.

    It takes lots of hard work and knowing/learning the technology and production skills inside/out.

    Work experience and training makes the difference, then thinking about what you "really" want to do on TV, Radio... and now, online in the shape of 'Netcasts'.

    I'll say it again... Brillent advice from the man from the broom cupboard here!

  • I work in local radio in Ireland and always wanted to have a crack at TV...However, at 53, the possibility, I feel has passed me by. I still work and radio and LOVE it still, even after 35 years. You gave some sound advice

  • would of hated to be in the spotlight myself couldnt do it like you do

  • Thats great information there Phillip about being on tv, I have always dreamed of wanting to work behind the cameras but would not be an easy job then again would be achievement

  • Philip is such a nice caring person?? Its great he tells how to get into tv work and how hard it is? Well done to This Morning on getting award for the best day time tv programe Congulation to all of you

  • i love philph schofield.he is so beautifull

  • cube is brilliant would love to get on it, Philip is brilliant on all his shows, polite and caring to all, wanted to meet him last year i reached final of Pride Of Britain, he couldn't make it on that occasion,maybe we will meet one day, best regards Rob.

  • its not so much TV im interested, i heard you made a success of Radio (as you have everything you seem to do) having done 4 years in Britains Premier Hospital Station (1994 - 1997) i thought it would be possible to move into the mainstream, however 16 years on, ive still got no interest form anybody no matter how often i send out applications / demos, i desperatley need a break, can you help please Phillip ?

    • Hi Graham,

      I run a multimedia production company, and a lot of what I'm writing here is born out of personal experience ...... I hope Phillip can / does agree with my comments ....

      There are a couple of bits of advice I would give you, and a couple of questions too ...

      Starting with the questions ....

      1: are you still working in any sort of radio? - technology has changes a lot since 1997, and whilst experience is always good, if your CV shows no experience since your stint on the Hospital Radio this *MAY* be a reason for you not getting any further.

      2: do you send unsolicited mail or respond to jobs that are advertised? - Speaking from experience, many stations get lots of unsolicited demos in the mail, and to be quite honest many of them are poor quality.

      Personally when I receive demos I give preference to those who have read the adverts placed, which give clues to the station identity and have searched to try and work it out, and send in a demo that matches the station's output. Even if the station name is wrong or even made up if the demo is a match to the station and the advert, then it gives the listener confidence in what you do.

      On to the advice ....

      I am making this advise more general, as people who have no experience may be reading, so apologies Graham if you have / already do some of this.

      1: find a local Hospital / Community radio station to volunteer for, ok the work will more than likely be free, but its experience! Don't expect to go in on day 1 and be put in front of a microphone with your own show though. You may have to go though training and then work up through the ranks, maybe as a (for hospital radio) ward walker, then track finder, then you may get a short segment for say a film review and so on. Stay with it though, don't get disheartened that if in 6 months you don't get your own show - there may be a waiting list.

      2: If you are sending demos to commercial stations, make sure if possible you contact the agency / station advertising and find out as much from them as you can about the person and the show plan they are recruiting for and if they have a similar show listen to it for a few days before recording a SPECIFIC demo, to that application. Yes I know it can be long winded but you will reap the rewards.

      3: When recording your demo, please use the best equipment you can, make sure the voice is clear, not fuzzy, and you don't need to play the whole of a track - just up until the vocals start at the beginning and 5-10 seconds at the end - I would advise that if possible you fade the track out, and back in not straight cuts.

      4: If the station has regularly timed features, travel, weather, news, and commercials you make use of these features in your demo - it will show that you are conscious that they use these and you are comfortable dealing with them.

      5: With your covering letter, please, please include a TIMED listing to accompany your demo, so if people want to check how you deal with specific features they can fast forward to those timings.

      6: Make sure you send the Demo in the format requested ... there is no point sending an audio CD for a digital submission post, they want an MP3, check with the station when you call them how they want it - some may say "we don't mind" if thats the case - I would send a multi-format CD audio and MP3 digital file.

      Finally, and above all else, when you contact a radio station, be polite, listen to both the output, and to the person you speak to on the phone. If you want a confirmation of a postal receipt, either send it recorded delivery (signed for), or enclose a stamped self addressed envelope they can post back to you at no cost to themselves.

      Doing all this however, does not guarantee your demo will be listened to by the final decision makers, it may not get that far. But please after a few weeks after the submission deadline, or the date you have been told you will hear from (as long as you remembered to ask for one) I would contact the agency / station and POLITELY ask for feedback, if they can't give you any don't worry, but usually notes are taken by each listener.

      Hope this helps .....

  • I appreciate this uportunity gotten i only desire 2make mr.philip schorfield mywritting mentor i hope he concider my request !

  • Iam having to wipe the tears away as i read this :D phillip always makes me roar !!! But its good sound advice :)

  • hey..Gratitude for the word's of wisdom Mr Schofield

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