Well we’re about to hit February, and so far not much has changed! I have secured one contract (for a week of Production Assistant work) with MTV, met two Executive Directors of production companies, attended three networking events, and received countless emails telling me that they don’t have a job for me now, but on the other hand encouraging me to stay in touch. The TV industry is certainly gearing up for a new year of commissions, but without commissions, no researchers are needed!
In the meantime, I have continued to pay the rent by swapping one pub job for a better paid, less time-consuming admin job. I am also very proud of the fact that my new comedy night in North London was a storming success, and the next one is coming soon! It really is very satisfying and motivating to have a creative project to work on alongside the persistence and perseverance that goes into breaking into the TV industry.
Friday night and the shift had been pretty busy. The landlord bought all his staff a drink after we’d closed and we sat in front of the bar, relaxing and sipping away at what I call the ‘elixir of joy’ (a large Pinot Grigio) that eliminates the foot pain of a seven hour shift.
I started chatting to one of the regulars, who had joined us for our drink. It turned out we both had an interest in comedy. I told him about The Runaways, the group of improv comedians I produce, and the landlord chipped in – “Oh I’m looking to start up a comedy night at the pub actually. Do you want to run it? You can keep your revenue, and if we sell a lot of drinks on the night, you’ll get a percentage of that too”.
I was over the moon! I thought it would be years before the Runaways, a relatively new group, got our own show, and here it was being served up to us on a silver platter!
After a couple of days of euphoria, the reality sank in. I’ve only been living in London for less than six months, and I’m supposed to be running my own comedy night in an enormous, popular pub. I would need some serious help and advice. So I got in touch with the guy who runs a comedy night at another pub nearby. Although daunted at first by his line-up (Henning Wehn was headlining when I dropped by), he put me at my ease immediately, offered me sound advice, and was incredibly supportive! I even started to have the sneaking thought that I might just be quite good at this comedy producing thing after all…
So wherever January takes my TV career, at least I have a career in producing live comedy that’s going pretty strong. Though that doesn’t pay me much either…yet!
When I met a director/producer at a comedy night and gave him my email on a little slip of paper torn out of my diary, I thought nothing would come of it. After all, who keeps a scribbled-on A6 bit of paper? Well, this guy. I got an email the following week, asking me if I wanted to do a week of work experience with them. Since they worked with several of my favourite comedians, I jumped at the chance! I got to go on a couple of shoots, as well as researching programme briefs and ideas. And from the shoots, I made some notes, and put together a checklist for what’s known in the industry as a ‘run bag’ – either a bag that the runner carries containing lots of useful things, or a bag you can just pick up and run with, should you need to change location. I also made a ‘producer’s checklist’, of everything you would need to organise before a shoot.
- Swiss army knife
- Clear pencil case, for money
- Gaffa tape/electrical tape
- First aid kit
- Bottle of water
- Pens and paper
- Call sheet and/or script
- Basic make up (powder, concealer, mascara)
- Chewing gum
- Props/costumes/additional items
- Finalise the script
- Write and send the call sheet
- Prepare any props needed
- Prepare any costumes needed
- Organise transport
- Organise catering
- Prepare a float
- Confirm locations
- Confirm talent