Television production assistant: job description

Television production assistants are responsible for providing administrative and organisational support to senior production staff prior to, during and after production of a programme.

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Networking, job shadowing, speculative applications and sector research are advised.

What does a television production assistant do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Responsibilities of the job include:

  • clearing copyrights
  • booking studios, production equipment, performance staff and production staff
  • liaising with a wide range of people
  • organising meetings and interviews
  • preparing and distributing briefing notes and scripts
  • organising schedules and contracts
  • overseeing cues, timings and continuity during recording
  • budgeting.

Travel, long hours and tight deadlines can result in an exciting but high-stress job. Job security may be an issue as the work is frequently dominated by short-term contracts.

Typical employers of production assistants

  • Independent production companies
  • Television companies
  • BBC
  • Channel 4

Experienced assistants may also work on a self-employed or freelance basis, particularly within the independent sector. Vacancies are advertised online, in newspapers and in specialist publications such as The Knowledge and Campaign as well as their online equivalents.

Networking, job shadowing, speculative applications and sector research are advised. Directories such as Kays Production Manual can provide useful contact information. Some employers, including the BBC, operate graduate training and/or work experience schemes, for which early applications are advisable.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this profession for both university graduates and school leavers.

Any degree discipline is acceptable, although a relevant qualification in journalism, communications, media studies, English, business studies or other humanities may be preferred.

The ability to demonstrate knowledge and a genuine interest in television and radio is essential, and often more important than academic qualifications.

Key skills for production assistants

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Enthusiasm
  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Organisational skills
  • Administrative skills
  • Budgeting skills
  • IT skills

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