How To Become a Casting Researcher

How To Become a Casting Researcher

What is a Casting Researcher?
A Casting Researcher finds the right people to take part in productions. This could mean the right actor, or for factual productions it could mean a mix of members of the public, experts (eg. a scientist or a specialist medical consultant), or talent (eg. presenters, celebrities).

What is the Job?
The role of Casting Researcher involves finding actors for a film or TV drama, or on the factual side, contributors or interviewees who will be featured. Finding the right people to be at the heart of a production is crucial to it’s success.

This role is one of the first steps to becoming a Casting Director. There can often be a wide range of contributors or actors to find and the Casting Researcher might conduct an initial outreach push, using street casting and social media, or focus on a targeted approach, liaising with specific organisations. They will then conduct initial conversations to edit the list of possible contributors, and may help the Producer and AP film recce tapes or write contributor documents.

Depending on the budget of the production the job may extend into assisting PDs with interviewing contributors, writing interview questions or sending out scripts/information for auditions. Practically speaking, depending on the production budget, Casting Researchers may also handle a lot of the logistical nitty-gritty, from arranging auditions to organising travel for contributors.

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How to Become a Series Producer

How To Become a Series Producer

What is a Series Producer?
Series Producers, or SPs, have overall responsibility for making programmes happen. They begin work at the pre-production stage and work right through until the series is delivered for transmission. It’s a senior editorial role and particularly important when different directors are making individual episodes, as they are responsible for making sure the overall editorial and narrative structures, as well as the creative look-and-feel of the series, are achieved and maintained.

A Day in the Life of a Series Producer
The Series Producer is usually one of the first people to join a new production and they use their contacts and experience to recruit the best possible production team. They often approach Directors, Producers and Assistant Producers they’ve worked with on previous productions. A Series Producer’s team can vary in size and specialisms, depending on the type of production. They may need an Archive Producer for a history documentary, for example, or a Casting Producer to run a large casting team for a talent show, or a team experienced in live programming.

Series Producers manage the editorial team and make all the content decisions, including which on-screen contributors, such as actors, presenters or experts, should be put forward to the channel’s commissioners (who usually have the final say). They drive all research, edit all scripts and oversee filming in the studio or on location, in the UK and abroad. It’s their job to create a good working environment and they constantly communicate with everyone involved to help the production run smoothly. Series Producers also have the ultimate legal responsibilities for the health and safety of the team and anyone involved in the making of their series.

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Q&A with Edit Producer, Emily Cumming

Q&A with Edit Producer, Emily Cumming

In our latest Word of Mouth newsletter we talk to Edit Producer, Emily Cumming, about life in the edit: building characters, dealing with Execs and the move to remote working.

What was your first job in TV?
After a stint as a Runner for a small indie in Brighton on a youth magazine show for ITV Meridian, I was lucky enough to be taken on as Production Co-ordinator when a vacancy suddenly opened up. I’d been working in theatre before that, so I had some transferable skills and a bit of life experience. As well as doing all the usual Production Co-ordinator jobs for the magazine show and the other arts series the company made, I’d run off copies of rushes for logging, drive the weekly TX master tapes to Meridian TV HQ, and swing a boom on location. I was able to get a real feel for what different jobs involved across the board as it was a small office and you could see and hear everyone doing their work. It was a very auspicious start and I’m supremely grateful that I got it!

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How To Become a 3D Animator

How To Become a 3D Animator

What is a 3D Animator?
People who work in the field of three-dimensional (3D) animation create visual effects and animated characters for television, video games, and other electronic media. They create moving images using digital models and add details to the pictures, such as landscapes, skin textures or clothing, and portray characters by giving images emotions, habits and expression. 3D animators create drawings or take photographs/films of an actor’s movements and then use technical and design skills to breath life into their digital creations.

What is the Job?
On any given day, a 3D Animator may take on a variety of tasks to create characters, visual effects and even scenery. Different projects have different demands, but an understanding of movement and basic art principles like lines, shadow, light and perspective are always necessary.

Typical duties of a 3D Animator include:

  • Meeting with clients and key stakeholders, such as Directors, Actors, Video Game Designers and other Animators, to determine the scope of the work and project deadlines.
  • Researching subjects to ensure accurate animated representations.
  • Communicating with other Designers to ensure a cohesive vision across the product.
  • Storyboarding to develop scenes that require animation.
  • Using software to create animated characters, scenes and graphics.
  • Adjusting colours, lighting, shadows and textures to perfect lifelike appearances.
  • Integrating client and stakeholder feedback into final designs.

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How To Become a Development Assistant Producer

How To Become a Development Assistant Producer

What is a Development Assistant Producer?
Development Assistant Producers (or Development APs) are part of the team that comes up with the ideas that get transformed into TV programmes. They research and flesh out briefs given to them by the Development Producer, using their contacts and industry knowledge gleaned from several years’ experience. They have lots of ideas themselves and a nose for a good story.

What is the Job?
Development APs help condense diverse ideas into a communicable pitch. Depending on the type of programme they are developing, they may be responsible for filming and editing ‘casting tapes’, which are short interviews with potential contributors, including experts, presenters or members of the public. They may also be asked to shoot and edit a short ‘taster tape’ (also known as a ‘sizzle’) to give the commissioner a taste of the content, style and tone of the show they are hoping to get commissioned. If they are working on the development of a new quiz show, they may have to write questions and test games or rounds to see if they work.

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Turn On Tune In Podcast

Turn On, Tune In Podcast: Sex Education

Turn On, Tune In Podcast - Episode 1: Sex Education

Recorded in front of a live audience, Beren Money talks to Executive Producer, Jamie Campbell, about his hugely successful Netflix series, Sex Education. We get an exclusive insight into how this groundbreaking drama was conceived and brought to screen.

The show racked up more than 40 million views in a month when the first series launched last year, with a second season now released and a third already commissioned.

This is part of the Turn On Tune In series of podcasts, presented by FAB Media and ProductionBase, where we get to hear from the TV industry’s best creative talent and learn the secrets and stories behind some of the most successful shows in recent years.

Subscribe via all major podcast platforms, and look out for more episodes soon!

Turn On, Tune In
Turn On, Tune In
Turn On, Tune In Podcast: Sex Education
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How To Become an Archive Researcher

How To Become an Archive Researcher

What is an Archive Researcher?
Most productions will use footage or images that they haven’t filmed themselves. Archive Researchers are responsible for finding archive footage that is suitable and can be used to recreate a past event, or to convey a certain mood.

What is the job?
The role of Archive Researcher involves sourcing archive footage that can be re-used in a new film or TV show. The role also involves clearing the footage for use and negotiating the price with the rights holder.

The variety and type of work that you will carry out as an Archive Researcher will depend on individual producers and the companies you are working for. However, most Archive Researchers will carry out duties such as meeting with Producers, Directors, Designers, Presenters or Writers to discuss the research needs of a program, as well as sourcing the archive content itself. In addition to this, an Archive Researcher may also be asked to provide administrative support such as dealing with contracts.

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How To Become a Layout TD

How To Become a Layout TD

What is a Layout TD?
A Layout TD (Layout Technical Director) is a VFX (Visual Effects) role, responsible for providing a foundation in terms of shots for the rest of the production team.

What is the Job?
A Layout TD (Layout Technical Director) determines the position of the virtual camera, and ‘blocks’ the characters for computer generated image shots of a virtual effects sequence. This involves choreographing where the characters will be positioned and where they will move to throughout the shot.

As a Layout TD, you will have to consider a shot’s framing, composition, camera angle, camera path and movement, as well as paying some attention to the lighting of each key scene. The work of a Layout TD will enable other VFX artists to carry out their work – as a Layout TD, anything you create is going to be passed onto the CG departments as the foundation of their shots.

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Coronavirus: Help Announced For Freelancers

This is a difficult time for the industry, with many productions large and small delayed or cancelled, and thousands across the sector laid off. It’s an unprecedented situation, and a lack of financial support from the government has only added to the worry. When help was announced for businesses and employees last week, one major omission was support for the 15% of the UK workforce who are self-employed freelancers, including the majority of people working across the production sector.

Today, that was finally addressed by the government, with an announcement from chancellor Rishi Sunak.

What Support Has Been Announced For Freelancers?
Matching the package announced for full-time employees, self-employed people will now be able to have 80% of their wages covered by the government, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The amount paid will be based on average monthly profits over last three financial years. This support will last for 3 months initially.

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How To Become a Sound Designer

How To Become a Sound Designer

What is a Sound Designer?
A Sound Designer is responsible for creating the soundscape for a TV, film, theatre or animation production.

What is the job?
Sound designers have overall responsibility for everything an audience hears during a production, from sound effects to the voices of the actors. They usually start to work at the same time as the Sound Editors, which might be after the picture lock or even before production starts, depending on the film budget.

It the decision of Sound Designers to decide which sounds to use in order to create the right atmosphere and communicate the story and characters to the audience. Whilst it is their decision to decide what sounds to use, they will discuss ideas with the Director to get an overview of the effect and atmosphere that the director wants to create.

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