Working in the Television & Film Industry

I get quite a lot of emails and questions from readers asking how I got into working in the Art Department for the TV and Film industry. It can be quite a tricky one to get into, and I didn't have much help in getting my own foot in the door. So for this reason I am always more than happy to give advice and support to those who need pointed in the right direction. S1 Jobs emailed me a few questions to answer for you all, and I got to ask my own in return!

1. What was the reason for choosing Glasgow for your profession?

I was born in Glasgow, grew up in Glasgow, went to uni here and was lucky enough to find my place in the thriving TV & Film industry that has been established here. I feel extremely lucky to have a blossoming and satisfying career where I have not needed to move to another city or country, away from my family and friends and the life I have built here.

2. What were the factors you had to consider when choosing a location for work?

When you mention to people the industry I work in, the general hype and attention seems to be focused in London. I wondered once graduating if I would need to move down south to find work, but luckily enough there is a real buzz around Glasgow with a lot of tv shows and films now being made up here. Whether there was enough well paying work to support myself financially was another big worry. But I dug my heels in, worked extremely hard, and have now enjoyed 3 years of being self employed, and the last year as a limited company. I have not had to give up my profession and get a more 'reliable' job with a guaranteed income every month. Not yet, anyway!

3. What were the challenges you encountered whilst finding work in Glasgow?

The TV and Film industry is very competitive, and the very first pieces of advice someone gave me were 'it's all about who you know' and 'you're only as good as your last job'. Both have proven to be very true, as I would very rarely go to the jobs section of a newspaper or a recruitment website to find my next contract. It is all done through word of mouth and recommendations, so the reputation you build is vital! My biggest challenge was generating enough work to keep me busy in the first couple of years being self employed until I had a decent amount of contacts under my belt. These were all to be potential future resources for work, and I now find being re-hired by the same Designers over and over again.

 Here are the questions I asked S1 jobs in return:

1. What are the most popular university or college courses that school leavers are applying for? 

Some of the studies that we find are popular with young people currently are psychology, philosophy, English and French. These have generally always been popular and remain to be. 
2. Are there any industries in the UK that are really lacking new young graduates/workers at the moment? 

It has been noted primary school teaching is lacking in young graduates. It is common for those to undertake a post-grad in primary teaching but not so much in the undergrad courses. 

3. What is the most sought after career or industry that young people want to work in?

There isn’t a most sought after industry as such but it’s a common story that young people limit themselves to the industries that they have studied for. We would recommend that you analyse the skills that you have learned from wherever you have worked or studied before and see what skills are transferable. This will open up the opportunities for you in other industries you may not have originally considered.

Kayleigh Lockhart – Brand manager – S1 Jobs  

And to finish the post, S1 Jobs have illustrated me in my dream job - working on a big Hollywood Blockbuster. Right now I love working in Glasgow, and I am stepping up between being an art department assistant and an art director, depending on the scale of the job. But one day I would absolutely love to leave bonny Scotland and venture across the water to Art Direct a film or TV show on a massive scale. I hope in the next 10 years when I am much more experienced at my job, I can chase that dream and turn it into a reality.

Do you enjoy what you do for a living? And if you got a chance to start again, what career route would you pursue?


  1. Very interesting post Ayden! I always wanted to get into creative work but somehow I ended up studying Japanese and atm I am in Korea. Don't ask me how that happened, but there are def. more than one opportunity for all of us! :D What I would like to know is how you really started; did you go to some school/uni(I think you said you studied in Glasgow) and what did you study there (if at all related to what you are doing now :) ) I hope you'll be successful and have fun in what you're doing!

  2. At the moment I work in retail, it's totally not what I want to be doing with my life but at 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do so I just went straight into a job. I'vs spent the last 2 years getting my GCSE maths and science grades up to a C because I'm hoping to be accepted on to a primary teaching course, I realised a few years ago that that was what I wanted to do with my life. The trouble is, it's so much harder and long-winded when you're an adult. Why couldn't I have had my head screwed on when I was younger, hmm?

    Anyway! Enough of the rambling... Your job is so interesting! It's always exciting to hear about different careers and yours is definitely an exciting one. Liam works as an events production manager and I've found that many people think he only works for the weeks that he's at the even for. They don't realise that he actually works full time hours (often more!) each week in preparation for the shows! Do you find that with your job? He gets so frustrated with it! Everyone assumes he has hours free each day! Xx

  3. An instructive post. People to really know who they want to reach and why or else, they'll have no way to know what they're trying to achieve. People need to hear this and have it drilled in their brains..
    Thanks for sharing this great article.

  4. I was so excited to see this post pop up from you. I forever find it so interesting to read other people's experience in our industry. Whilst I'm primarily film-based I have a little experience in TV too but not so much of the studio-filmed shows. It's so true what you've written about needing to be hard working and make contacts, you definitely have to be passionate about your work to survive in this industry!
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