Case study

Localisation runner — Poppy Billett

Poppy works as a runner for a film and TV studio. Discover her top tips for breaking into the industry and securing your first job as a runner

How did you get your job as a runner?

I studied BA (Hons) Film and Television Production at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, graduating in 2017. I found the job on a Facebook group for runners, called 'People looking for TV work: Runners'. I applied on the website and was invited to a telephone interview, followed by a face-to-face interview. I found out I got the job the day after.

What's a typical working day like?

In the morning, if clients are arriving, I set up each theatre with food and drinks, making sure areas are clean and tidy. Throughout the day I check in on each client to make sure they have everything they need, such as tea and coffee.

During the lunch hour, I collect the clients' lunches and set up the green room for lunch. If we have any post for the department, I collect and deliver it. I also check our supplies to see if we need more of them, and if so go out on production runs.

What do you enjoy most about being a runner?

I like that fact that I can make an impact in my role. Preparing theatres and looking after our clients means that I am facilitating the whole programme-making process, which is very rewarding.

What are the challenges?

When it's busy, the job can be pretty hectic so it's all about prioritising what is most important and multitasking.

How is your degree relevant?

My degree helped me to learn how to deal with a range of people and communicate well. The course involved a lot of group tasks, which taught me how to work with challenging people and built my confidence.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My career ambition is to work in production, in particular in production management in TV.

What are your top tips for others wanting to become a runner?

Work won't come to you - you have to make the effort to search for it. The TV industry is hard to get into so you shouldn't expect to just walk into a job straight away. Getting a job in TV is 80% persistence and 20% being in the right place at the right time.

Get your CV up to scratch and tailor it to runner work. Work experience or day runner jobs will get you started in building up your experience.

Join Facebook groups. 'People looking for TV work: Runners' is a great group and it's where I've found most of my work. Members of the group can also give you CV advice. You have to act quickly, as jobs in entry-level positions can go in under an hour – I've even seen jobs get filled within minutes.

Expect rejection and move on. Don't dwell on a rejection, as you have to be thick-skinned to work in the industry.

Good impressions last. When working on a job, make sure you leave a good impression and create contacts. This will give you a good reputation and could lead to work in the future.

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