Film and TV drama
Also known as: Edit trainee
Post-production runners oil the cogs of a post-production facility (the places where film and TV dramas are edited). Post-production facilities are either independent companies or part of a large studio, like Pinewood.
Runners keep the edit suites tidy, make tea and arrange meals. They sometimes work on reception, answering the phone and making clients and guests feel welcome.
They do a lot of admin. They label picture and sound files. They file the continuity notes. They print them, photocopy them and distribute them. They also run errands, ingest (transfer) footage and look after the petty cash.
Within post-production there are roughly three different areas of work: management, editing and sound design. Being a runner is a route into all three.
You won’t be expected to know how to use professional software from the start, but these are some of the tools you might be able to use once you are working as a runner in a studio.
Go to our portfolio page for a list of free software to get you started.
Edit trainees work with the editor and the first and second assistant editors.
Some post-production facilities offer work experience and trainee schemes. Try to find a post-production company to take you on. Or apply for ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder scheme. Or try both.
At school or college:
If you want to go to university, A-levels or Highers in art, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology or computing science are useful. Or you might want to take the following Level 3 vocational qualifications:
If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 vocational qualifications will equip you:
Get an apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships are work with training so they’re a great opportunity to earn as you learn. You might get a job as an apprentice with a post-production company. Or you might be able to find one in a related industry, build up your skills and move into post-production at a later point. These are the apprenticeships that are available throughout the UK:
Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want. Go to how to become an apprentice to learn how to find apprenticeships in your region or approach companies directly.
Build a portfolio. This is essential for impressing admissions tutors and people in the film industry. Just as important, it’s the best way to learn about editing, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Keep doing it. Make sure it shows off the area in which you are most interested, whether that be editing, sound editing or colour grading.
Get a degree:
It isn’t essential, but if you want one, have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in film and TV. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the film and TV industries.
Take a short course:
Look at the National Film and Television School’s course in subjects like craft editing and drama editing. Go to the list of training courses recommended by ScreenSkills and see if there is one in editing.
Take a master’s degree:
The National Film and Television School does a Masters in Editing.
Go to ScreenSkills events, especially Open Doors where you can meet people who work in the industry. Give people in post-production your details and ask if you can do work experience.
Create a LinkedIn profile. See if there’s a Facebook page or other social media group for people making films or videos in your area. Join it. Create a ScreenSkills profile.
Look for post-production companies:
Most are in London, but not all. Sign up to Production Base to learn who is making what. Contact them and ask if you can do work experience.
Become a trainee:
Apply to be a post-production trainee with ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder scheme.
Involves making sequences on a computer that can't be created on set, like enormous crowds and fire-breathing dragons
Combines art with programming as well as production, design and testing - the UK’s fastest growing entertainment industry
Creates the illusion of movement, includes computer-generated, stop-motion and hand-drawn animation
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