1. Register your interest in one of Springpod’s Media Virtual Work Experience programmes
Luckily for you, Springpod has got a couple of ways for you to get started in the world of media! Virtual programmes are one of the EASIEST (and quickest!) ways to learn what a sector really looks like. Springpod offers work experience programmes in Broadcast & Media, as well as TV & Film. From radio to television, you’ll cover a variety of different types of media throughout each programme, get to question industry executives and even complete activities that could be the beginnings of your portfolio! So, what are you waiting for?!
2. Speak to your teachers!
One of the simplest (and often most overlooked!) ways to get work experience is to speak to the people around you - AKA your ‘network’. Teachers, careers advisors and other students are all people that should be in your professional network as you start out! Start looking for work experience by speaking to your teachers; it’s likely a media/drama/music teacher has a contact that may be able to offer you a placement. Remember, it’s a careers advisor's job to build a list of contacts that can help their students, so it’s a better place to start than you think!
3. Community and local productions
These can sometimes get a bad rap, but working on a community theatre production is a great way to get hands-on experience in theatre. Due to the small scale of productions you’ll likely be able to learn the ropes in a whole load of areas, from sound design to choreography and beyond!
4. Attend spoken word, open mic and stand up events
This one’s fairly self-explanatory, but attending events in your chosen field is a great way to make connections and hone your craft. You’ll be exposed to a whole load of genres and techniques that can help fuel your own development. Most of these events are free and are full of creative individuals that will be great to collaborate with.
5. Ask to perform at your local cafe/bar/pub
The words ‘performing for an audience’ might send a nervous chill down your spine, or they could set your pulse racing, but either way, learning to deal with an audience is essential in entertainment. Whatever it is you want to do, be it acting, singing or stand up, performing to a crowd will help you hone your skills and develop your act - whether it be stage presence or understanding timing to make sure a joke really lands! Not only will this help your performance, but it will also impact how you organise yourself, setting up your stage and ensuring you have proper lighting and sound (and lugging around any instruments) is time-consuming work, but the more you do it, the more seamless it will become.
6. Watch TV
Ok, don’t get too literal about this - sitting on the sofa watching documentaries isn’t work experience, but reaching out to documentary makers listed in the credits does come under the forging connections column. If Joanna Bloggs has worked on some documentaries you love, search her on LinkedIn with a message about how much you liked her work and ask about any work experience opportunities. Reaching out to individuals whose work you like is a great way of networking and if you do manage to get work experience, you’ll likely be really interested in what you’re working on, rather than having a generic experience.
7. Share your portfolio
If you don’t have one, consider now your prompt to start one! A portfolio doesn’t need to be some swanky document in which every detail has been agonised over, nor does it only have to contain work you’re 100% happy with. The purpose of a portfolio is to give an overview of all the projects you’ve worked on, and for you to highlight the ones that you’re particularly proud of. Also, don’t be afraid to include minor jobs/projects (like your drama GCSE production, a podcast that you started with a friend or an assistant/intern position at a community production)/ These are the building blocks of your career and they’ll only get bigger the more you progress. While you shouldn’t spend months on your portfolio, for arty/creative types, a portfolio is like a CV - so make sure you’re keeping it up to date by remembering to add your latest project to it.
There are loads of charities whose mission it is to open up and diversify the media. Up until recently, media was a pretty limited industry, but now the industry is doing a lot of work to bring in new voices and there are loads of charities dedicated to doing just that. Either volunteer at the charities themselves or have a look at the opportunities listed on their sites! Have a look at Media Trust and City Bridge Trust to learn more.
9. Arts and culture festivals
Whether your passion is literature, art or comedy (or anything in between!) there’s usually a festival for it. In most major cities the festivals last weeks and there are usually loads of opportunities to volunteer, so have a look at what’s coming up around you. Working at a temporary event looks great on the CV as it shows you’re adaptable, flexible and a people person - all qualities that will get you far in showbusiness!
As we’ve mentioned, it can be difficult to know how to start in your chosen industry and it seems a lot of people get opportunities through connections. So, try using LinkedIn to reach out to people within the industry you want to be in, search for your favourite companies and then search ‘people’ from there. A good idea is to look at an inspiring individual’s career history. It might give you some assurance of where to start your career, and it might even contain some internships or assistant positions they did when they were getting started, which you can research further into. You can also use LinkedIn to join media groups to stay up to date with the latest industry news. We hope this article has given you a bit of inspiration about how to take your first steps into the world of media!