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Television floor manager: Entry requirements

Although this area of work is open to all graduates, the following degree and HND subjects may increase your chances:

  • media studies;
  • drama/theatre studies;
  • photography/film/television.

Entry without a degree or HND is common and many floor managers have worked their way up to this position from a more junior or related role.

Pre-entry experience is essential. Floor managers may have previous theatre experience but are more likely to have worked in television and gained experience either as a runner or assistant floor manager, or in a technical sound or lighting role. In order to realistically compete for jobs, several years of broadcasting experience is necessary.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:

  • the ability to foresee, solve and avoid problems under pressure;
  • a friendly disposition and an air of calm authority;
  • excellent communication skills to receive, interpret and convey information accurately and concisely;
  • interpersonal skills, in order to quickly judge how to get the best out of different people;
  • good organisational skills and the ability to multitask.

A driving licence is useful. Foreign language skills are also helpful if you intend to work abroad.

Direct entry is not possible and you should be prepared to take different posts within television to gain knowledge of the industry as a whole. The following activities can help you gain a foot in the door and secure your first paid job:

  • Read the media press, in particular Broadcast  and The Guardian .
  • Look for unpaid or voluntary work with a production company or in local television to gain experience. The minimum wage legislation can make unpaid work experience a grey area, but if you are working solely in order to gain skills, it is legal for you to work unpaid. Skillset has published Creative Industries Work Placement Guidelines .
  • Telephone and arrange to meet producers, directors or other appropriate individuals; potential contacts can be found by looking at programme credits.
  • Network, make contacts and promote yourself.

Training opportunities within television companies are linked to operational needs and whilst companies, including the BBC, may aim for annual recruitment, this is not guaranteed. The BBC runs a number of training schemes, including the Production Trainee Scheme (see BBC Careers ). Posts are also advertised in the BBC staff magazine Ariel , available via subscription, although many are filled by qualified staff internally.

Some independent television companies have graduate opportunities, which operate on an individual company basis. These are likely to be advertised on their websites, in the local press or in The Guardian and Broadcast magazine.

The development of satellite and cable television has created more opportunities throughout the industry as a whole, but current trends in programming mean there is less demand for floor managers. When opportunities arise, appointments are made for each production on a freelance basis. Freelance floor managers may spend periods of time out of work.

For more information, see work experience and internships and search postgraduate courses.

Written by AGCAS editors
January 2013

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