My Experiences in Broadcasting & Media So Far & Where to Get Started ...
Since I was young, I've always had a love for media and the broadcasting industry. I found it fascinating how many people you could reach through media. There wasn't one aspect of it that I was particularly attracted to. However, I did like the idea of telling people's stories in creating documentaires. I liked listening to the radio in the morning before school because I thought about how many people would have been listening with me. I was obsessed with the Eurovision! I loved how people could be united through television, no matter how silly the content was. In essence it was the way you can communicate what you wanted to people- even through a magazine or a documentary. The idea of creating a project from scratch, scripting it and imagining the aesthetic was bliss to me. This left me confused with what career path I wanted to pursue, until I found my university course in Queen's, Broadcast Production.
To anyone who has a lot of creative energy they need to harness, this course would be ideal for you. From recording podcasts, to creating documentaries, TV shows and writing articles, I feel like I've told every story there is to tell. I've told the story about the status of abortion in NI. I've filmed small business owners in the height of the pandemic and told the mental health stories of struggling students. I'm currently in my final year of university and have broadened my horizons so much since school. After chatting with the Here's The Craic Podcast, I've thought a lot more about my experiences in the industry.
Recently, I was lucky enough to get to record with Thomas, Shea and Ross on the Here's The Craic Podcast. It was amazing for me as someone who loves hearing people's stories. We chatted with Outside In's, David Johnston and content creator Visualged. The boys couldn't have been nicer to me and I told the, a bit about my journey so far in the media world. It was such a fun experience to see how the guys set up their podcast and the way they speak to and get to know their guests. In terms of producing the podcast it was interesting to see how they scripted and thought of guests to chat to. They've got such a good reach and I think they're doing some really cool work. It's just the start of a huge journey for them! It was a really nice environment to record in as everyone was so friendly. It was cool to learn more about Outside In and about Ged and his story.
I wanted to write a little bit of my advice in trying to get started in the media industry in NI. Something both Ged and David mentioned in the podcasts was that you're just a few steps away from getting to chat to the person that you want to meet. This is so true. So my first step would be,
Don't be afraid to reach out to people.
One of the first steps in my career was doing a work placement on Loose Women. This happened so simply, by contacting someone who worked in ITV. Before I knew it, I was put in contact with the right person and I was in London having an amazing experience. No matter how inexperienced you are, someone will always take a chance on you. If you're trying to find contacts for the TV industry I'd recommend watching credits and finding a person to contact. This would often be the production coordinator if you're interested in production. You can normally find emails on LinkedIn. The same usually goes with radio. A quick google search has often led me to the contact I've wanted to find. People in the industry always love when you're interested and motivated. I've contacted BBC when they were doing a radio show in my university. As I seemed motivated I got the chance to have an experience with them. You could also go down the route of NI Screen's Trainee Finder. I've also had to contact people multiple times because the media world can be so hectic that people forget to reply. I love chatting to anyone who is involved in the industry at all to get tips.
Work on your own projects
Before I worked in the industry I started this website. It was useful because I could use it on my CV or pitch it to employers. A lot of people seemed to like that I was showing an interest in creating- even when not in a job. It will keep you passionate and you can develop your skills. It may deepen your love for the industry. You won't be AS demotivated by hurdles you will inevitably face. Create a portfolio of your work, whether it's photography or short films. It may end up getting you the job in the end!
You don't HAVE to go to Uni
Something I didn't realise before getting started was that a degree isn't really necessary for this career. In fact, a lot of people don't have degrees. Last year, I began working on my first feature film, Paramount's Dungeons and Dragons as a PA. I was studying at the same time and that it made it so stressful to meet uni deadlines as well as working 12 hour days. I didn't need a degree to get that job. A lot of people will work their way up in the industry long before I've graduated. :(
On the other hand, I've loved creating projects and telling stories on my course. I've felt like I have developed technical and story telling skills, in journalism and TV work. So it is completely up to you!
Take any opportunity you can!
Though it can be really difficult to balance everything, you should take any opportunity you can. No matter how small it is. You never know who you may meet or who may consume your content. I've gotten jobs from meeting people and making the effort to take on opportunities even if I do have a million and one other things I should be doing for uni!!
Most importantly, you should really believe in yourself and your abilities. If you're really passionate about the industry there's no reason why you can't get involved! Though it can be a little hectic, the film and TV industry is booming in NI at the minute so take the leap!!
Thanks for reading,