I did a sensible degree at UCL. We were being primed to enter the city and run London-town while selling roughly one eighths of our souls. I knew I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to work in TV. Specifically comedy.
It took a year for me to find ‘The Network.’ To be honest, I have no idea why it took me so long. I mean what I was googling? For someone who did a whole degree on computers, my basic Google search skills evidently weren’t all that. Not to worry, I have since been trained in ‘Research Skills for TV’ and have a psychopathic-stalker level of google skills.
Just before I went on ‘The Network’ I snagged my first role in a development team. I was still new, and to be honest completely felt like a fish out of water. It was full of lovely people but I couldn’t shake that niggling feeling of imposter syndrome. What if people like me weren’t meant to work the moving picture industry?!
That August, I went to Edinburgh for ‘The Network.’ We had some great session where people in the industry are really candid about their careers. I realised I was quite dismissive, a 0 or 100 person. Hearing how people travel up the career ladder in all sorts of ways meant I saw that most jobs had more opportunity than I might have previously realised.
There is so much advice given to you up in Edinburgh – CV advice, production skills advice, networking advice, industry advice… I could go on and on. There are also SO MANY PARTIES. You will meet and talk to more execs in that three days than you will in the next five years of your career (if you are anything like me). They’ll be drunk and you’ll be drunk, so duly take advantage of that in a professional capacity. I returned home with a stack of business cards and emails, but no rolodex to put them in (do those even exist anymore?) Emailing them for coffees come September was fruitful, and helped me and many of my fellow networkers get jobs, or just some face time. You’ll find everyone has heard of the talent schemes, and more than a few are alumni of the talent schemes too. It’s a sure conversation starter in an interview.
While up there I met some great people. My own generation of TV people. Some of them have become good friends of mine. We’re all at the same point in their careers, and taking different paths upwards. It’s easy to see that we will all probably collaborate in the future in some form. It’s useful to have peers that you can go to outside your organisation for advice, whether it be ‘should I work for this company?’ or ‘what’s the going rate for an AP these days?’ or the question you’re going to be asking a lot ‘so have you heard of any jobs going?‘
Going on the Network is an opportunity that has seen results throughout my career. I thoroughly encourage anyone thinking of applying to DO IT!