Production Runners are often called the hands and feet of the production team. They rush around handing call sheets, scripts, sides, health and safety notices, and other material to the crew. In addition, they provide lunch and breakfast to the production office and do errands to the post office or other vendors.
They perform routine office tasks such as answering phones, filing paperwork, and entering data. They occasionally make travel and lodging arrangements. They run afloat, buy stationery, and ensure everyone has enough caffeine and snacks. Runners are mainly self-employed.
Who is a runner?
According to our research, the term ‘Runner’ derives from the term “Running Crew,” and given the nature of the job, there will likely be a lot of running about to complete tasks. During the shooting day, a Runner frequently moves around. A Runner will be expected to assist with various activities, varying from day to day.
Typically, these are straightforward jobs that require little or no training.
(Examples of Runner jobs as mentioned earlier include assisting with purchasing food and refreshments for the crew, halting automobiles from speeding down a road when filming is taking place, and transporting the cast from their hotel to the set.)
A Runner’s position requires no prior experience. However, due to the competitive nature of the sector, you will be competing for positions with people who have prior experience. Additionally, on large film sets, prior experience will be required; as a result, unpaid labor experience may be required to obtain paid work as a Runner.
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What should you expect from this job?
A production runner’s work is not easy. You’ll be the first on set and the last to leave, resulting in 12-hour workdays. On major film sets, your lodging may be paid for, although filmmakers frequently request local Runners to save money.
Production of movies and television shows Runners are paid the bare minimum. Depending on where you work, you will most likely be paid the basic minimum wage and nothing more. A single person can make a career as a Runner, although the employment is generally insecure and low-paying. A runner is the most junior position on a film set. Many people work in this position for a few years to obtain industry knowledge, experience, and contacts before moving up to a more senior position.
Is this role right for you?
Working as a Runner on a professional TV or Film set will open your eyes to the reality of the film industry whether you have no work experience on a film set or simply student / low budget experience. Professional sets are run differently from student performances, and this job role may help you understand why. In addition, working as a Runner allows you to gain experience in various departments within the film industry. You will see how these departments interact with one another and maybe be drawn to one in particular.
Working in this position isn’t required if you already know the department of cinema you want to work in. For example, if you’re certain you want to work in the camera department, you can start as a Camera Trainee or Camera Runner straight away. However, your initial Runner experience may be beneficial, first by providing you with industry experience to add to your CV and, second, by providing you with contacts inside the film industry to assist you in getting on the first rung of the career ladder.
How To Get A Job As A Runner?
Working as a Runner is an unavoidable initial step for many people in the film and television industry. While it is perhaps the least glamorous job in the industry, it is a fantastic way to learn the ropes, develop contacts, and further your career. So here are a few pointers for getting your first job as a production runner in film and television.
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Make a list of companies
Before you start looking for runner jobs and sending out your CV, consider what area of the business you’d like to work in, and then investigate the companies that operate in that area. According to Mandy Crew, the members have worked for a variety of producing companies. 4RFV and The Knowledge online (or book version) contain a comprehensive list of producing companies with contact information.
Calls, email, and visit
You can either email your CV and then follow up with a phone call, or you can visit the company in person and leave your CV at reception once you’ve compiled a list of companies and your CV. Try to figure out who would be the greatest person to speak with, and then call them a few days later to speak with them. You’ll have to be respectfully persistent because production businesses will receive hundreds of unsolicited CVs. You can always resend your CV if you haven’t heard from an employer after 6 months.
Longer stints frequently follow work experience placements at larger production studios as a Runner, if not permanent contracts. Work experience programs are listed on Working Title, Vertigo Films, Channel 4, BBC, ITV, and Tiger Aspect.
The benefit of working as a runner is that no direction after this position is a negative choice; you can advance to any trainee or assistant position in a specialized area from this position (be that the AD department, Costume, Grip whatever role you feel is a right move for you). This is a demanding industry that is not suitable for everyone. Working as a Runner helps you to determine if the film is a suitable fit for you; it’s a job function that requires no prior experience and might be a great first step.
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