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How Do I Apply For A Job As A Post Production Runner?

This is part of an interview with Post Production Runner Ryan Patterson. Thank you very much to Ryan for chatting with me! In this post, we talk about his application process, interview and his advice for aspiring Post Production Runners. Check out more interviews with Ryan about what Post Production Runners do and his thoughts on whether you should go to film school.


What did you do after you left university?


Ryan: I left uni last May and came to Bristol to start looking for Post Production jobs here. I was trying to see if I could skip the Runner route, which I now know is nearly impossible. But I was seeing what was out there, testing the waters and I found a Post Production internship job. I thought, oh that’s great! That means that there must be loads more then. That’s the only Post Production internship I have seen in Bristol ever. I do regret not going for it now, but it has landed me where I am today.


I was lucky enough to know people in Bristol already in TV, who gave me advice on which companies to apply to. One of them used to work at Films@59 and she told me that Films@59 was the best place to go to in Bristol. It’s the biggest, it’s got the best reputation and so I thought, okay that sounds good. I knew someone who used to be Head of Production at BBC Bristol and she also knew Gina Fucci, Managing Director of Films@59. She highly recommended them as well and so all the avenues were pointing towards Films@59. They gave me tips on how to apply for the job and how to be noticed by them. If you have any contacts at all in the industry or know people who know people in the industry, use them to the best of your ability. That's why I think I got this job. I think that will make you stand out more to employers because if they can say oh they know this person, this person highly recommends them, you're more likely to get a job. People who know people in the company or in the industry get work experience more often than the people who don’t.


How did you apply for a job at Films@59?


On their website they have a careers page which says they are always looking for Runners. If not all, every Post house that I have looked at always has a page where they say they are always looking for Runners. They have waiting lists, so if a Runner gets a new job, they’ve got people on the list who they can call and say can you start tomorrow? With Films@59 I saw the email address on the website and emailed the Client Services Manager. I mentioned some names of people that I knew. I think it was a day later that I got an email from the Client Services Manager asking if I wanted to come in for an interview and it all started from there.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen any job ads for Post Production Runners. You see a lot for Production Runners but for Post Production, in house, you don’t really see much. I think most of them are on their websites.


Eleanor: There's the People looking for TV work: Runners Facebook page, which probably has the most job opportunities. I think I saw one for Evolutions in Bristol. I've seen quite a few on The Unit List, but for the majority of them you've got to do your own research and look up the companies. Are there many Post Production houses in Bristol?


Ryan: Bristol’s got its little Soho where you have all the Post Production houses within a one mile radius. You’ve got Films@59, The Farm Group, Doghouse Post Production, Wounded Buffalo Sound Studios and it’s mixed with production companies like the BBC. They are all in the same area in Bristol.


I didn’t think there would be as many Post houses in Bristol as there are, because when you think of Post Production you go straight to London, or even Manchester. But, I was surprised to find out that Bristol had a Post scene and that Bristol is where most of The Natural History Unit is edited, at the BBC. I found that out from someone on my course who said that they were going to Bristol after university to try and be a Wildlife Camera Op, and I was like oh why are you going to Bristol for that? They said that’s where The Natural History Unit is. I didn’t know that until I had that conversation, but I still wanted to go because I knew I liked Bristol, I’ve been here quite a few times before. I love the area, I love the vibe that Bristol gives to me and I’m from London and I kind of wanted out. I didn’t like it anymore, I just wanted something new. Something that would allow me to be inside a city but also have all this green around myself as well, because I like going out into the woods. Bristol just seemed like it was the best place to be, and I keep recommending it to everyone I know who wants to get into TV because they have got such a good TV scene here. It’s booming at the moment, I keep hearing of new shows and companies coming to Bristol. Netflix just opened an office in Bristol. Channel 4 has come to Bristol now. It’s popping at the moment.


Eleanor: That’s amazing! It definitely feels like it’s growing outside London, there’s more variety and opportunities for people from all around the UK to find something that is closer to home. It’s definitely going to open things up.


Ryan: Yeah, I think Channel 4 moved out of London earlier this year and now their new head office is in Leeds. I think a lot of companies are going to take inspiration from that, in the sense that they can succeed outside of London too. If you look back at the Broadcast Awards ceremony, Films@59 won best Post Production house in the UK in 2018 and it was the first time that anyone outside of London had won. That gave everyone that oh, wait if Films@59 are doing that and they are not from London then there’s no reason why we can’t do it. So, it’s motivated everyone to be better and to compete with London.


What was your interview like?


It was actually quite chilled to be honest. It was more of a chat than an interview. I think it lasted around 45 minutes. The Client Services Manager asked some questions about me, why I wanted to get a job at Films@59 specifically and what made me want to get into post. Then we went on to talk about what I would be doing on the job, what schedules I would be working to, the different shift patterns and the responsibilities I would have.


I left that interview feeling good, I thought I’d got a good chance. I thought that I would have a one hour trial shift and then I would come back and have another chat with him. But I had a five hour trial shift, which I wasn't prepared for. I met all the Runners and I was put in the deep end on the hottest day of the year. I tried to make myself stand out to all the Runners and all the people who worked at Films@59 because I wanted them to say good things about me when they spoke to the manager again. Then I went back to have another 20 minute chat with the Client Services Manager. He said more or less that I had got the job but he didn’t know when I’d start and that there was a waiting list. I think it was almost 2 months before I actually started because I was waiting for someone to leave for me to go in and fill that role.


Eleanor: That's really interesting because mine was completely different. I saw that ENVY Post Production had work experience opportunities advertised online and I thought Oh My God, this is amazing. I submitted an email to apply and then a day later I saw that they had posted on Facebook saying they were looking for Runners. I applied on a Thursday and then on the Friday I got a phone call saying, can you come in for a trial shift? I went to the trial hour and was given a test on the company. You had to demonstrate that you'd looked at their website and you'd done all your background research. Then they gave me a test on technical knowledge. At the time I didn’t know many of the answers because I had come straight out of sixth form. I got a call on that day in the evening saying, can you start on Monday?


I think it's important to think about what the Post house works on, to help make up your mind about where you would like to run.


Ryan: Because Films@59 is based in Bristol, I knew I would probably be engaging on a day to day basis with all the films I saw on their website. There are a lot of cutting rooms and facilities at Films@59. As soon as I got in the building I was like, yeah, this the place I want to work.


What advice would you give to people applying for running jobs?


For the interview process, I would recommend showcasing any hospitality or retail experience you have. Fair enough you might know how to edit, you might be a great camera op, but that’s not what they are looking for for the job. They want you to come in and be there to help the clients and keep the building running smoothly. Obviously making teas and coffees, handling petty cash, organising meetings and stuff that you do in a hospitality environment. I know a lot of people have done that before, so use that experience and adapt it to prove to whoever is hiring you that you can do the job to a good standard because you’ve more or less done it before because running is basically hospitality, it’s client services.


It's nice to have some of your work on your CV to show your skills, but when you're applying for a Post Production Runner job, you want to have a different CV. For being a camera op you have a camera op CV, if you want to be a Runner you have a CV specifically for running. Time management, attention to detail, hospitality, you want to showcase all of that in that CV and that will make you stand out as a Runner because that is what they are looking for.


Do you think your previous work experience prepared you for running?


Whilst at uni, I worked for 3 companies part time to get the work experience and develop my skills to try and make myself more employable once I left. There were projects which I worked on in groups, which we thought were promising but didn’t go as well as planned. Things won’t always go according to plan. For instance now, there are shoots that have been cancelled because of this virus, but nothing is going to go your way all of the time so you need to adapt to your surroundings and situation so you can move on and learn from it.


I also worked part time as a bartender. I remember when I started working there, I used to get myself so worked up about the littlest things that I did wrong. If I got a drink order wrong or if I spilt a drink, I would work myself up and think that I was doing such a bad job. My girlfriend was working with me and she came up to me and said you need to stop beating yourself up, you need to stop caring so much to the point you are getting yourself worked up. Start enjoying the job and I thought okay, cool and from that moment on I loved being a bartender. Part of it was being able to meet people everyday, having random conversations with random people. I think that is one of the biggest things that helped me to become a Runner, meeting clients, talking to people and going to networking events. Talking to random people on an everyday basis, as a bartender it just sets you up for being a Runner.


Also gauging how you should go about speaking to someone, how you are going to say hello to them. You can gauge how you should go about that just by reading their body language. I can now tell if someone I meet at work will want to have a conversation with me, or if I just need to get in and out. If they swivel round to me and smile, I’m like okay I’m going to have a conversation with them, but if they are locked in on edit, if they’ve got a deadline, you can tell and you just go in and out. Not every client is going to be the nicest person you’ve ever met. Some of the new Runners work themselves up, say that they are not doing a good job because they might have had one bad experience with one client but people are people, they are going to have good days and they’ll have bad days and you have got to brush it off, and start enjoying the job. Once you start enjoying being a Runner, people want to be a Runner for a long time.

 

It was fascinating to discover and compare the application process for Post Production Runner jobs in different companies. While timelines can vary, there are similarities in the stages of application such as emailing the Client Services Manager, undergoing a trial hour at your interview and finally securing the job. If you would like to find out more about the daily responsibilities of a Post Production Runner check out this interview with Ryan. We also discussed his experience at university and whether it is necessary to start a career in Post Production.


If you want guaranteed time with an industry professional to receive feedback, training and industry insight tailored to you, I'm now offering one-to-one online tutoring sessions! From career pathways to assistant editing, I'd be happy to be your guide. Find out more info here... don't struggle on your own!


Have you checked out the NEW, YES NEW… AH EXCITING ‘The Industry’ or the ‘Resources' pages yet?! There you’ll find collections of essential industry resources you can use to start your career. Head to the bottom of this page to find more blog posts about Assistant Editing, Post Production Running, Interviews and Film Editing.

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