Being a part of The Network utterly changed my career and my life. Before being a part of the scheme, I had no professional TV experience and was working as a freelance videographer and making short films, and although I was applying to every industry-based job I saw going, I had little success. I knew exactly where I wanted to be, but as someone who did not have a degree in media or film, I felt I lacked the tools to get there. It was the Network which equipped me with these tools. Since being a part of The Network, I’ve been in constant professional employment in the TV industry and have been able to give up my previous part time job. I’ve had multiple long-term contracts on documentary shows, as well as children’s shows and I have managed to get my foot in the door working as a floor runner on scripted television (which is ultimately where I’d like to end up working).
To explain the effect that The Network had for me, you have to understand that The Network is not a magical potion which gets you jobs and suddenly makes your career build itself. I use the analogy of tools because this is what The Network equipped me with, letting me be able to build my own career. It did this in a few major aspects.
Firstly, by very virtue of making it onto The Network, I got a massive boost in confidence and as someone who didn’t have a media degree, it helped to legitimise my CV.
Secondly, and perhaps most obviously, I learned so much about how the industry operates by being a part of The Network; not just in the overt sense of how to perform in jobs, but also learning the inside secrets of how to find work, how to network, stand out, and find the work that’s out there. This is one of the most important things I learned from The Network, as knowing how and where to look for work was one of my biggest struggles before entering the industry. The CV clinics helped immensely with this too – my CV now looks professional and is instantly clear to the eye, which may sound like a small thing, but it’s made a huge difference in my ability to find work.
Thirdly, The Network really lived up to its name in terms of helping me build a network of people and meaningful connections. Not only were there the other 59 people on the scheme (many of whom I’m still in nearly daily contact with), but also since being on The Network I’ve had one on one meetings with multiple industry professionals, including two channel heads, three BBC Scotland Talent managers, a series producer, multiple directors and assistant directors and more… which as someone from Fife in Scotland… it has honestly been kind of crazy that I’ve been able to meet with these people.
Last but certainly not least is my amazing Ones to Watch mentor Julie Cumming (Head of Script Department, River City). She has been there to answer every and any questions I’ve had throughout my first year in the industry and it’s impossible to put any sort of value on how much having the ability to ask someone who’s been there and done it all before has had for me.
All in all the Network is an amazing experience which puts the power in your hands and lets you learn how the industry really works. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for this scheme.