How to Get a Job on a TV Production Crew

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In addition to those who work in front of the camera, the production crew on a television set is indispensable. Without the television production crew (also known as “below-the-line talent”), there would be no television programming to watch. Landing a job on a production crew is not an easy task, but with dedication and perseverance, it can be done.

  • Read the trade papers every day. The trade papers include Variety, Pro Lights (geared towards the lighting production crew) and Connections (designed for any below-the-line talent). Apply for any and all jobs in your area. (Naturally, if you want to work on a television production crew, it’s going to be imperative that you live near a production studio.)

  • Work for local television stations. Many production crews can only use union members, especially if the show is nationally-televised. However, local production crews can work with people who are not union members. Working these jobs is a good way to get your foot in the door. Sometimes, you might just have to run errands for the actual production crew but the more time you spend with the crew, the more likely it is that you’ll gradually be able to work your work into their ranks.

  • Check out production crew job openings on sites such as Mandy.com and Backstage. These sites list job opportunities on both the East Coast and the West Coast, as well as for individual states. While some of these jobs are not for payment, they can provide valuable experience and assist you in making connections.

  • Contact local cable access programs. These are almost always non-union jobs but they will provide invaluable real-world experience. Again, if there is payment, it will probably be on the low-end, but when working to get onto a television production crew, payment usually comes further down the road.

  • Contact online new media outlets. Find individuals and groups in your area that are posting online videos and volunteer your services. This way, you’ll be able to get that all-important real-world experience and you’ll also be making connections that might assist you further down the road.

Tips & Warnings

  • Few industries rely upon personal connections as much as the television and movie industry. By maintaining good relations early on in your career, you’ll be setting yourself up further along your path in the future. Always make sure that you don’t burn any bridges, as the person you’re insulting today might be in a position to offer you a lucrative job two years from now.

References

  • Photo Credit Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images
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