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The top transferable skills in TV production

5th March 2024

This post was guest-written by Isabella Perkins. Isabella graduated from the University of Westminster with a BA (Hons) degree in Television Production and her professional background has seen her work on shows such as The Pursuit of Love (BBC One), Portrait Artist of the Year (Sky Arts) and Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One).

Whether you regard Television Production as a “real degree”, or not, you can’t deny the power that the TV industry holds in this day and age. From binge-watching a series on Netflix to enjoying the suspense of waiting for the next episode to be released on Amazon Prime or iPlayer, we are undeniably a nation of TV lovers.

Having worked in several different industries since graduating in 2018, I can personally vouch for the power of transferable skills. In no particular order, here is a list of skills that I believe are particularly useful and applicable to all industries:

  • Self-Shooting: This skill is particularly helpful if you become a freelancer. Having the ability to pick up a camera (or even your phone), tell a story and create high-value content on the spot allows you to create content from anywhere in the world at the push of a button. In any industry, Social Media and Marketing is essential for brand exposure so being able to offer this skill helps you stand out from the crowd.
  • Reflective and Critical Analysis: During my time in Scripted TV (drama shows), I worked closely with the Development Team. It is very common for writers to send across scripts or books that they want to be considered for becoming a TV show. Having a critical eye is essential for this part of the development process as you’re actively reviewing their written work, searching for plot ideas, plot flaws and essentially, seeing if this piece of material can be made into a successful show.
  • Essay Writing: In order to secure my BA (Hons) certification, I had to write a Dissertation in my final year. In the wider world, the art of writing is still a highly-regarded (and arguably a disappearing) skill, especially in a world where AI lurks around the corner in most workplaces.
  • Admin: This seemingly boring skill is overlooked. Every company, even television production offices, need somebody to complete their admin. There may also be times where you’re seeking work or in between jobs and so you can secure Administration jobs in the meantime.
  • Strong Verbal and Written Communication: It comes as no shock that Communication is key in the Media world. You could argue it’s one of the most important skills to have. This skill is particularly useful for when you’re pitching an idea or writing proposals. Being a great communicator also helps when it comes to Networking and building long lasting connections.
  • Organisational Skills: In some of my previous roles, I have worked as an Office Assistant and also an Assistant to the Producer and Director of a show. During these hectic jobs, I learnt the importance of multi-tasking and prioritisation. To-Do Lists and calendar reminders were my best friend, and still are!
  • Time-Keeping: To quote one of my University lecturers “Time is Money”. Although the time pressures of everyday life aren’t emphasised as much as when you’re filming a production and have an allocated space of time to complete everything, I think we can all agree that great time-keeping skills can serve us well. Whether you’re focusing on turning up to work on time or keeping track of your workday so you can utilise your 24 hours, I think this is a skill that is often taken for granted.
  • Adaptability: The TV Industry is a fast-paced, no-nonsense business. You’ll often be put on the spot and always be kept on your toes, ready for anything and everything to happen. On set, whilst filming, you’re most likely going to have to adapt to last-minute changes such as tweaking the schedule of the day and editing the script. I learnt that nothing rarely goes as expected and this is such a useful skill to fall back on in both my day-to-day life and my professional career too. I am always ready for anything!
  • Creative Thinking: Creation is at the core of everything in the TV industry. A creative mind can bring an idea alive and ensure that a project crosses the finish line. We were always taught to think outside the box and be innovative which I’m sure all industries would encourage.

Transferable Skills are something that everybody can take advantage of. Whether you’re looking to shift from one industry to another or simply want to learn new skills to strengthen your CV, I hope this article provides you with some inspiration or hope for your future career path.

If you would like to learn more about the broadcast industry, you can read this guest post from Jill Mission (radio broadcast expert).

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