Series researcher Greg Wycislok

Greg (right) worked on the X-Factor as a runner

Greg Wycislok dreamt of working in the TV industry. He enrolled in the ScreenSkills-endorsed TV production degree at Solent University in Southampton. “It was a great place to start.”

Greg always wanted to work in TV, in the editorial department. “I wanted to work on the creative side of things. Not in production,” he says. “Ultimately it’s my dream to produce my own prime-time show and when I did some research I found that the best way of getting there is to enter the industry by working as a runner whilst studying, then move up to being a researcher and slowly work your way up to becoming producer.”

The first step towards realising his dream was picking a degree that would enable him to get a foot in the door. “I looked for degrees that would prepare me for the real industry. Because the degree I applied for was endorsed by ScreenSkills I knew that it’s content had been properly assessed.”

The TV production degree enabled him to explore many of the facets of TV production, including topics he knew he likely wouldn’t work with directly, such as software programmes and film equipment. “Although I never planned to work as a camera operator, it’s a great to have the skill to know how to operate cameras and other equipment. Many production companies are looking for multi-skilled people that can shoot and edit. The course gave me a really good foundation to build from.”

Whilst studying he started looking for opportunities as a runner on shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother. “There are many misconceptions about the role of runner. People think you are just running around making teas and coffees. In reality, you have way more responsibility than that. You may for example assist celebrities that appear in shows.”

After graduation and various runner jobs, Greg was able to move up to the role of series researcher. “I like how diverse the job is. You could be involved in the casting process and location scouting,” he says. “In my current job at 24 Hours in A&E I work as a researcher for the liaison team, making sure that everyone that took part in the documentary consents to be featured and has completed all relevant release forms.”

Greg has experienced that having other skills, including the ability to drive and speak different languages including his mother tongue Polish, have helped him grow in the industry. “Having a driving licence and first aid skills for example, will help you get your CV on top of the pile,” he explains. “A thing that also helped me a lot was a job in retail, because many skills gained there can be transferred into the television industry.”

The combination of studying and working for big shows has enabled Greg to develop a network and real work experience, while building a solid base of knowledge. “The TV industry isn’t for people that are afraid to step out of their comfort zone,” he says. “If you can, go to university as they offer a lot of training that can prepare you for the industry. And then, once you have entered the industry, nothing is more exciting then to see you show on television, especially when your name appears at the end.”