Gaining employment – Sound recordist

What is their job?

The main concept of a Sound Recordist is to make sound recordings of outstanding quality, free from interference and all unwanted noise. Sound Recordists, usually referred to as Sound Mixers, record sound at a location or in a studio, usually in synchronisation with the camera, to ensure they achieve the highest quality sound that can be recorded at the time of the filming or recording. They monitor the quality of the sound recording through headphones, and are often working closely with the Director, Boom Operator or sometimes with the Sound Editor. Sound Recordists record sound effects and ambient sounds in addition to conversations.

Who do they work for?

A lot of Sound recordist work is freelance but they can also be employed by a company such as Channel 4.

What skills and qualifications did they need? 

Sound recordist skills and requirements are:

  • Good knowledge of audio equipment and sound technology
  • Excellent hearing, concentration and attention to detail
  • Excellent stamina and agility with a good sense of timing
  • Excellent team and communication skills taking diplomacy into consideration
  • Knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health & Safety legislation and procedures

How are they contracted

Sound Recordists can work both casually and on a freelance basis.

What courses are available to get the required skills for the job?

There are no formal entry requirements for Sound Recordists, but a keen interest in sound and an understanding of its physical properties is essential. Nevertheless, there are courses available which can help you hone in on skills required to become a Sound Recordist, from HND to a degree level in either Audio Engineering, Sound Technology, Acoustics or Music Recording. Continuing professional development is important for anyone working in the sound industry, in order to keep their skills up to date as technology is continually changing.

What transferable skills are required?

The transferable skills which are required vary from knowledge of audio because there is a wide array of jobs in the sound industry to excellent hearing, concentration and attention to detail for the same reason. Other important attributes include excellent stamina and agility because there are various other jobs in the media industry which require such physical attributes.

How were they recruited for their current role?

People in the sound industry usually start in a trainee role and work upwards. Experience of working in hospital or community radio provides a useful background for this role. Working with equipment manufacturers or hire companies may also provide valuable experience and training, and is a good way of learning about sound equipment, making industry contacts, and opening up new windows. On the job training or shadowing someone who is more experienced is the best way to improve these skills. Eventually they would be recruited either through a website advertisement or word of mouth.

What kind of jobs are available

There are a wide range of jobs in the creative media industry which all fall under the 7 categories below:

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Technical

Jobs in the technical department involve setting up and operating equipment and making sure all stages of production are carried out to the quality level required.

Job example – Camera Operator

Skills required:

  • In depth knowledge of the principles of camera work
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to carry out instructions with great accuracy and attention to detail

How they are contracted:

The majority of the work as a camera operator is freelance, they can also be employed by a company such as Paramount Pictures.

Pay: £40k per annum.

Real life example: Alan Andrew Taylor
Source: http://www.filmcrewpro.com/uk/casestudy.php?uid=4574&user_uid=251843

Q: What are the key skills required to be an effective Camera Operator?

A: I think a good camera operator needs to have a good sense of technical mind when choosing shot framing and composition. I think they need to understand their equipment but have the skill to know what works best when required. They need to flexible and keep a sharp eye out for anything unexpected during live event shooting.

Q: How did you work your way into your current role?

A: I have still to do just that but have found that knowing the right people is essential. All of the work I’ve done so far has been through luck but my job after that is to keep good working relationships with those clients and contacts so that they come back again when I’m required. I find work placements haven’t worked too well for me as you only tend to get asked back for more non paid work, especially at the moment.

Q: How much do you think networking helps towards landing a job in the industry?

A: I think networking can be good making the first contact with someone but to gain work, I think you need to really prove yourself on a number of unpaid projects before even being considered for work.

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Creative

Jobs in the creative department are the brains behind the ideas that are produced, the jobs involve researching for any ideas to find out if they will work and writing complete scripts or articles.

Job example – Art director

Skills required:

  • A good eye for decoration and detail
  • Ability to think visually
  • Ability to lead a team

How they are contracted:

Just like camera operators, art directors work mostly freelance and can be employed by a company such as Warner Bros.

Pay: 25k – 50k per annum.

Real life example: Fleur Whitlock
Source: http://www.filmcrewpro.com/uk/casestudy.php?uid=4563&user_uid=352859

Q: What are the key skills required to be an effective Art Director?

A: Communication (verbal as well as visual), diplomacy and a calm head.

Q: How did you work your way into your current role?

A: From the bottom rung, started out as a runner then moved into the art department as an assistant and worked up.

Q: How much do you think networking helps towards landing a job in the industry?

A: Networking is probably 90% responsible for continuing employment.

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Editorial

Jobs in the editorial department chose between ideas, accepting the ones that seem to work well and rejecting any others. They also involve doing pre-production work such as research and planning.

Job example – Sound recordist

Skills required:

  • Good knowledge of audio equipment and sound technology
  • Excellent hearing, concentration and attention to detail
  • Good sense of timing

How they are contracted:

Again the majority of the work for a Sound recordist is freelance and they can be employed temporarily by a company such as Channel 4.

Pay: 68k per annum.

Real life example: Seb Blach
Source: http://www.filmcrewpro.com/uk/casestudy.php?uid=4683&user_uid=262620

Q: What are the key skills required to be an effective Sound Recordist?

A: A good understanding of microphones and signal flow. Ability to troubleshoot under pressure. Most of all the ability to effectively communicate with people and understand the politics of film sets/crews.

Q: How did you work your way into your current role?

A: I bought some gear and did lots of free work.

Q: How much do you think networking helps towards landing a job in the industry?

A: It’s vital. Getting on with the right people is the most important part of a freelancers job. You can be the best recordist in the world, but, without the ability to make a good impression and make people remember you, the work will soon dry up.

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Managerial

Jobs in the managerial department are the main source of motivation, these jobs lead teams of people and encourage them to get the best out of them in order to get the best possible end result in a media product.

Job example – Production manager

Skills required:

  • Good Initiative and problem solving skills
  • Ability to conceptualise ideas
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

How they are contracted:

In early stages of their career, production managers work shifts and unsocial hours.

Pay: 20k – 65k per annum.

Real life example: Lisa Benton
Source: http://www.filmcrewpro.com/uk/casestudy.php?uid=4964

Q: What are the key skills required to be an effective Production Manager?

A: Organisation and communication skills are key. You have to be able to juggle lots of things at the same time and be confident in what you are doing.

Q: How did you work your way into your current role?

A: I have been lucky to work at a relatively small production company. I started as a production assistant 4 years ago and have managed to work my way up through the productions we have produced.

Q: How much do you think networking helps towards landing a job in the industry?

A: Networking is very important. If you have a way in, it does help. If you do well on a production you will be remembered for all your efforts and people will want to work with you again or you will be reccommended to others.

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Administration

Jobs in the administration department involve booking people, equipment and studios for shoots. They also organise catering and accommodation if needed at the location.

Job example – Human resources director

Skills required:

  • Good communication skills
  • Good organization skills
  • Ability to multi-task

How they are contracted:

Human resources managers work full time and can be employed by a company such as the BBC.

Pay: 120k on average per annum.

Real life example: Richard Burdon
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/managementstructure/biographies/burdon_richard/

Richard Burdon leads the Human Resources team and is in charge of the overall Human Resources direction and leadership to help meet the future strategic targets for the BBC’s Operations Group, Finance and BBC Trust units. His salary is Salary: £130k per year

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Finance

Jobs in the financial department include keeping records of anything money related, making sure that employees and suppliers are paid as well as collecting income earned through sales and advertising.

Job example – Finance manager

Skills required:

  • Ability to provide and interpret financial information
  • Ability to manage budgets
  • Ability to analyse competitors and market trends

How they are contracted:

Finance managers work full time and can be employed by a company such as Virgin Media.

Pay: 22k – 30k per annum.

Real life example: David Wright
Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/fullcredits#cast

I found that David Wright worked on the production of Avatar as the finance manager.

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Sales and marketing

Jobs that come under sales and marketing involve selling and promoting sales of media products, making sure they reach the biggest audiences.

Job example – Sales executive

Skills required:

  • Ability to negotiate on price, costs, delivery and specifications with buyers and managers
  • Good communication skills
  • Being able to check quantities of goods on display and in stock

How they are contracted:

Salesmen can mainly work full time and can be employed by a company such as Disney.

Pay: 16k – 30k per annum.

Real life example: Justine
Source: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/case_studies_sales_executive_justine.htm

I found that Justine graduated with a BA in Media and Cultural Studies from Nottingham Trent University. After a series of jobs she did when she left uni she went on to working as a business and corporate sales executive for a company called Magnetic North which provides technology services to the call centre industry. Justine’s advice to anyone wanting to work in sales is; “Anyone considering going into sales needs to get a thick skin. Expect a lot of rejection and if you can’t cope with it, you might want to think about another career. You need to be ready to do your research so that you know who you’re selling to and what you are selling.”

Gaining employment – Broadcast journalist

What is their job?

Broadcast Journalists work on very busy schedules as they are required to travel a lot at any hour of any day/night. They may work in studios or offices, or work in regional, national or international broadcasting offices. Occasionally they may work from home, using internet access and other technologies to communicate with broadcasters and colleagues. They hold big responsibilities for generating ideas, and for assessing the accuracy of any ideas and information from other sources that may not be accurate, this information is then passed on to editors or commissioners who make the final decision. They should know how to access and use all image sources, including libraries, archives, the Internet, and research documents. Broadcast Journalists must also ensure that they meet the timing and duration requirements of each programme or segment, and work to the deadline.

Who do they work for?

Broadcast Journalists can work for a wide array of television companies just like the Camera Operator. An example of one of these companies is ITV.

What skills and qualifications did they need? 

Broadcast Journalist’s skills and qualifications are:

  •  excellent verbal and written communication
  •  ability to work under pressure, to tight deadline
  •  knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
  •  excellent organisational abilities, initiative and problem solving skill
  •  excellent interviewing and listening technique

How are they contracted

Broadcast Journalists can work both casually and full time.

What courses are available to get the required skills for the job?

Almost all broadcast journalists have a degree which may be in any subject. There are three main entry routes into broadcast journalism:

  • Some people get experience from newspaper journalism and move on to TV and Radio
  • New entrants are recruited onto an employers’ training scheme, for example with the Sky or the BBC, directly from university. There is a lot of competition for a placement like this so competition is fierce.
  • Entrants join a broadcast organisation after completing a degree or postgraduate course in broadcast journalism. Most courses last one academic year and are accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC). Subjects may include Broadcast, Bi-Media, Multi-Media, TV or Online Journalism

What transferable skills are required?

The transferable skills which are required vary from excellent verbal and written communication because that is what the job revolves around doing to excellent interviewing and listening technique as this skill can be used in say a job that is sociology related. Other important attributes include the ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines because those are essential skills in near enough every job in the creative media industry.

How were they recruited for their current role?

Broadcast journalists may begin their career routes working as Researchers or Newsroom Assistants, eventually progressing to become On Screen Reporters, Special Correspondents, and News Presenters. Other Broadcast Journalists may start their careers working as Newspaper or other Print Press Journalists. They would eventually be recruited (mostly) through networking but can also look for work through websites.

Gaining employment – Camera operator

What is their job? 

Studio or Outside Broadcast Camera Operators must check cameras and associated equipment to see if they are set up correctly for the shoot. They may have to carry out simple camera fault-finding during shoots. Camera Operators often work closely with performers, giving them constructive advice in order to achieve the required picture composition. On multi-camera shoots, whether they are Outside Broadcast productions or studio-based programmes, Operators receive instructions from the Director about where to position the camera, and how to frame shots and move the camera during the recording. Camera Operators must be able to translate these instructions into carefully framed and composed shots. With most productions, a team of Camera Operators is led by a Camera Supervisor or Senior Camera Person, who is responsible for overseeing the work of the other Camera Operators and any Camera Assistants working on the studio floor or Outside Broadcast location.

Who do they work for?

Camera operators can work for any television / film companies such as the BBC or Paramount Pictures.  The majority of Camera Operators work freelance, therefore they are not committed to any long term work with any one employer.

What skills and qualifications did they need?

No specific qualifications are required to work in this role as Camera Operators usually learn most of their practical skills through hands-on experience on the job. Film schools and training courses offer a good basic grounding in the skills and knowledge required and in practice, many Camera Operators have studied for higher level qualifications.

The skills required are as follows:

  •  Knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
  •   Ability to carry out instructions with great accuracy and attention to detail
  •  Good IT skills
  •  In-depth knowledge of the principles of camera work
  •  Excellent communication skills
  •  Good colour vision, and excellent hand-to-eye co-ordination
  •  Physical stamina for working long hours and moving heavy equipment

How are they contracted

Camera operators are mostly freelance so they will find the majority of their work through word of mouth, followed closely by agencies and job sites such as http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/ or http://www.jobsearch.co.uk/.

What courses are available to get the required skills for the job?

There are several courses available which can help you develop your skills as there is no specific qualifications needed. The most useful courses offer practical experience and may also include work experience placements. Relevant courses include City & Guilds courses, BTEC HNC/HNDs, Foundation degrees, first degrees and postgraduate qualifications in media, film and TV production or cinematography.

What transferable skills are required?

The transferable skills which are required vary from good colour vision and hand-to eye co-ordination for accurate camera operation to good physical energy and stamina because the work entails the movement of heavy camera equipment for lengthy periods of time. Other important attributes include a passion for visual images, communication and interpersonal skills, close attention to detail, the ability to multi-task, and the ability to work in a team often being put under a lot of pressure.

How were they recruited for their current role?

Most Camera Operators begin their careers as Camera Trainees or Runners, progressing to 2nd Assistant Camera and, and as they progress and gain more experience, achieve 1st Assistant Camera. Throughout this progression, they must build upon their experience, and achieve a high level of competence when operating a variety of cameras. Once this level of expertise and experience has been achieved, they may become a Director of Photography/Cinematographer or a Camera Operator. They would eventually be recruited (mostly) through networking or adverts from different places such as newspapers and the internet.

How the creative media sector is structured

Introduction

In this post I will to be going over how the creative media sector is structured and I will be covering the following:

  • Different sectors of the creative media industry such as film or radio
  • Examples of companies which relate to each sector I provide
  • A detailed explanation of how the BBC is structured
  • A comparison of a how another company is structured differently or similarly to the BBC

Different sectors within the creative media industry

When it comes to the creative media industry there are several different sectors and companies which specialize in different areas such as:

Television

Television is one of the many forms of media that has been around for a while. Television is a source for entertainment, advertising and news. Television is the home to a wide array of different channels which are either publicly funded or commercially funded. The difference between a publicly funded channel and a commercially funded channel is the fact that a publicly funded channel such as any of the BBC channels are funded for by the licence payer, therefore there are no advertisements on those channels. On the other hand there is commercially funded  channels which are channels that are funded for by the adverts that are broadcast on them, hence the term “commercially” funded.

Example 1: ITV is a commercially funded television company, not only is it just a commercially funded Television company but it is also the oldest commercially funded Television in the UK. ITV broadcasts programs that inform, educate and entertain. These programs are spread across a variety of channels such as ITV 1 and ITV 2.

Example 2: The BBC is a publicly funded television company which was founded in 1927 and it broadcasts programs which inform, educate and entertain. These programs are broadcast on a wide array of channels which broadcast film, sport, drama, news, nature and much more.

Example 3: Fox is an American television company which was founded by Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller. It is commercially funded and has a sister company called 20th Century Fox.

Radio

Just like television this form of media has been around for a very long time. In modern days radio isn’t as popular as television but prior to the 1950s, radio had what is known as a “Golden age” because radio back then was the main source of entertainment. Again just like television, radio is a host to a wide selection of stations which are either publicly funded and commercially funded and work in just the same way. However there is a third type of radio station which is known as a voluntary radio station. Voluntary radio stations are within a community such as a school or hospital and the people behind it don’t get paid.

Example 1: Last FM is a commercially funded radio company which was first launched in 2002 and is owned by media conglomerate CBS Corporation.

Example 2: Heart is a commercially funded radio station and has 17 stations situated around the UK. It has several sister radio stations one of which is XFM.

Example 3: XFM is another commercially funded radio station which focuses on alternative and indie music.

Print

Print based media covers anything which involves magazines and newspapers. Print based media is the oldest form of media ever since the printing press was invented in 1440. Print is the process which creates a magazine or newspaper.

Example 1: New Musical Express or “NME” as it is abbreviated is a music magazine which was first published in 1952 and is owned by media conglomerate Timer Warner.

Example 2: TV times is british magazine which displays television listings. It was first published in 1955 and new issues are released weekly.

Example 3: Q is a music magazine much like the NME. It was first published in 1986 and is owned by Bauer Media Group.

Internet

The internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. It is the newest media sector and can serve the purposes which all the other sectors do, such as watching films or TV online, tuning in to online radio stations and reading text documents. One of the key jobs for the internet is web design.

Example 1: Google is a company which owns the search engine ‘Google’ and various applications such as ‘Google Chrome’ which is a web browser and ‘Picasa’ which is used to organise and edit photos.

Example 2: Youtube is a video sharing website which was founded in 2005 and remained independent until 2006 when Google took over. It allows users to upload, view and share videos in addition, companies also use this service to promote themselves, music artists or bands also use it to get themselves noticed or promote their new releases.

Example 3: Amazon is the worlds largest online retailer which has separate websites for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and China and was founded in 1994.

Film

Film is a massive industry which covers the production of movies and TV shows with the use of cameras, special effects and props. The film sector consists of technological and commercial film making: i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production (story boarding/planning), post production (editing footage), and film festivals.

Example 1: Warner Bros is an American film and television producer and was founded in 1918. Warner Bros is owned by media Conglomerate Time Warner.

Example 2: Paramount Pictures  is an American film and television production and distribution company. It was founded in 1912 and is currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, and is America’s oldest existing film studio.

Example 3: 20th Century Fox is an American film production and distribution company which was founded in 1935. It is owned by media conglomerate News Corporation.

Advertising

Advertising is used in all of the sectors mentioned above and is used to help fund for the sector it correlates to. Advertising is a large and diverse sector, ranging from creative agencies to sales departments and generates £6.2 billion annually for the UK economy. It’s importance as a sector to the broadcast and print industries are crucial. Advertising funds 75% of commercial television, 95% of national press, 80% of magazines, and 95% of commercial radio.

Example 1: Coca Cola was first introduced in 1886 and is a corporation that distribute over 3,500 different types soft drinks to day. They use several advertising media, such as television adverts, billboard advertisements and internet advertisements.

Example 2: Burger king is a world wide fast food chain which was first introduced in 1953. For decades the company has used an extensive advertising campaign using advertising media such as television and billboard adverts.

Example 3: Nintendo is a video game company that was founded in 1889. The company started off by making card games and now makes a wide array of video games, with big hits such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo, just like the other 2 examples use all sorts of advertising media to sell their games.

                                                                                                                                                                            

How a company is structured

Here I will explain how companies are structured, in particular I will be talking about the BBC. The BBC is owned by the public / The Crown.

Trust Unit

This Unit overlooks everything within the BBC and the general functions of this department include:

  • This unit sets the overall strategic direction of the BBC within the framework which is set by the Charter and the Agreement.
  • This unit also manages strategies and budgets in respect of the BBC’s services and activities within the UK (nationally) and overseas (internationally)

Content

  • Journalism – Journalists working for the BBC report on national and international affairs as well as sport
  • Vision – In charge of all TV production
  • Audio and Music – In charge of all radio production, music commissioning and BBC Radio Resources
  • Future Media and Technology – In charge of New Media, Information and Archives such as websites and  BBC iplayer

Professional Services

  • Strategy – Assesses the performance of the BBC Executive Board in delivering the BBC’s services, and appoints the Director-General
  • Marketing, Communications and Audiences – Deal with any complaints from the public
  • Finance – Manage the corporations expenses, long-term business plans and licence fee collection
  • BBC Workplace – Deals with the property
  • BBC People – In charge of employees welfare and hire and fire people
  • BBC Training & Development – Trains employees

Commercial Groups

  • BBC Resources Ltd – Is in charge of  the studios and post-production
  • BBC Worldwide Ltd – Worldwide is responsible for a wide range of commercial activities, such as BBC television channels which are primarily connected in some way with the main BBC
The BBC is a Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) which aims to inform with news channels, educate with educational programmes and entertain with a wide array of soaps and series. The BBC is funded for by the public through the TV license which every household, company and organisation which use any type of equipment to record or receive live television broadcasts pay for.

                                                                                                                                                                             

BBC in comparison with Warner Bros

BBC:
  • The BBC is owned by the Public / The Crown
  • The BBC is vertically integrated
  • The BBC has an operating income of 4.6 billion
  • The BBC is confined to the UK (Excluding the BBC World Wide branches)
Warner Bros:
  • Warner Bros is owned by AOL / Time Warner
  • Time Warner is horizontally integrated due to the merger with AOL
  • Warner Bros has an operating income of 845 million
  • Warner Bros is word wide