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Break into film and TV drama with Hit The Ground Running

For 10 years, Hit The Ground Running (HTGR) has been providing training for people interested in working in film and television drama, with alumni going on to work on Outlander, Shetland, Penny Dreadful and others. With more courses coming up in 2018, we spoke to HTGR organiser Linda Fraser to hear more about the scheme.

Hit The Ground Running course. Photo Tim Winterburn

You recently took HTGR on the road – how did that go?

The idea of the Roadshow was to be the first point of contact for anyone with an interest in working in film and TV drama. We made 6 stops across Scotland - Inverness, Dumfries, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh - and we tied in visits to local colleges with our Careers in Film & TV Drama information stall.

We were overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm we encountered from a broad range of attendees, including those still at school, students and also people looking to change career and transfer their existing skills.

It was great to have the opportunity to meet up and connect local groups of like-minded people. We met lots of interesting people and encouraged those who are at the stage of currently looking for entry-level work in film and TV drama to apply for our forthcoming HTGR 2-day Runner training course.

What can participants expect from the 2-day course?

Designed and delivered by experienced industry experts, the course is focused on entry level crew positions in film and TV drama, and specifically the role of the Runner. The training consists of a comprehensive series of practical exercises designed to equip participants with the knowledge, tools, experience and confidence to help them progress their career. 

It's delivered in partnership with regional film offices across Scotland, and is provided free of charge to 10 participants per course. We usually have more interest than places available so participants are selected via application. We also have additional input from a number of guest industry practitioners on each course. 

It's intensive, interactive and lots of fun too!

As one participant said, "It's a fabulous way of finding out what is involved in being a runner. It gives hands on experience and the chance to meet potential employers. It is full of fun and gives you a real buzz about working in the industry."

Hit The Ground Running participants. Photo Tim Winterburn

Any golden tips from the course?

  1. Have a positive attitude - it's the number one thing film and TV drama employers are looking for when they're hiring new entrants. Runners and trainees are the juniors in each department and their duties can sometimes be repetitive and unglamorous but if you are enthusiastic about learning and passionate about the work of your department, you'll get noticed. 
  2. Be proactive - in film & TV drama, we work on short term contracts from job to job. To thrive in this freelance way of working, you need to actively seek out productions to contact and opportunities which will help you gain experience.
  3. Get a driving licence - Some entry level positions require you to drive as part of your job - others less-so but whatever role you're interested in, a driving licence is going to help you get around and increase your employability. If you're unable to drive, it's important to target your job search at the roles which don't require driving. More info on the different job roles are available from Creative Skillset
  4. Make a good impression with your CV - In the freelance industry, your CV is often the first contact you'll have with a potential employer. Make your CV as sharp as possible by keeping it clear, concise and flawless. You can pick up some hints and tips for improving your CV from The Creative Toolkit
  5. Watch the box! If you want to work on feature films and television dramas in Scotland then pay close attention to productions that are made here. It's a relatively small industry so check out the credits and you can work out who's who.

Hit The Ground Running participant

What sort of things have runners gone on to do as a result of the course?

The HTGR 2-day course equips participants with the tools to seek freelance work and then make the best impression when they get it. Through networking opportunities, we connect new entrants to the people looking for runners and trainees. As it's now 10 years since the course began, we've come full circle and former participants are now the employers. 

As a snapshop measurement of the success of the course, roughly half of the Runners and trainees currently listed in the industry directory Filmbang have received some training from us. So it's not essential to do the HTGR 2-day training course to break into the Industry in Scotland - but it helps!

HTGR secured me my first proper run in the industry. The course was extremely informative and I felt well equipped and confident going into my new job- Rachel Nolan, HTGR Glasgow 2017 Production Runner

Tell us a bit about the upcoming courses?

Our intensive and interactive two-day training course for new entrants in Scotland is FREE to attend and we'll even reimburse your travel costs. The course is informal, interactive - and lots of fun too!

It's specially designed for people at the start of their career who have been trying secure their first job, as well as those with a couple of credits looking to improve their professional practice and fill the gaps in their understanding. The course specifically benefits those seeking entry level crew positions in film and television drama.

Apply for the next round of Hit The Ground Running 2-Day Runners Training Course by Monday 8 January 2018.

This article was published on 20 Dec 2017