Industry Insight: What Is A Runner?

Industry Insight: What Is A Runner?

A runner is a junior member of the production team who handles a number of basic, but essential, tasks on set or within a department. Working hours can be long and tiring, but becoming a runner within the film or television industry remains one of the most well-known routes into the industry. It can be a great start for those who may be complete beginners in the industry with very few professional connections. Read on to learn more about this demanding but often rewarding role.

What Does A Runner’s Typical Day Involve?

A typical day for a runner will vary depending on their experience and the scale of the production. All runners tend to be expected to fulfil a number of roles and duties. From tea and coffee runs to arranging catering, from delivering crew members’ mail to them to transporting filming equipment, from taking notes to general research, a runner is generally an all-round team player who can assist wherever they are needed. Runners are typically positive, proactive people with excellent communication skills, a high level of attention to detail, and a genuine passion for media.

What Are The Benefits of Becoming A Runner?

Runners have the opportunity to gain a large amount of production experience within a short space of time. Although they are usually freelance, meaning they are self-employed and must actively seek out each of their next jobs, the short contracts are very intense. This means that they may work long hours and gain insight into all aspects of the production process. This can be very valuable for runners who wish to become directors, set managers, publicists and more. Being a runner also allows you to network effectively and make connections in the industry that could secure you further work. In this way, you climb the career ladder, moving onwards and upwards until you achieve your goals!

How Do I Become A Runner?

There are no set rules for how to become a runner, but it generally requires a proactive approach. Stay up-to-date online with any production companies who might be seeking runners. Send a few polite and personalised emails to production companies to ask if they offer work experience or opportunities at entry level to the industry. You can also check the BBC Work Experience webpage or approach television networks such as Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV. Try to keep an up-to-date CV with any other experience you may have such as training, day courses or masterclasses, and experience on student productions. Stay persistent and positive and you are soon likely to find a position as a runner and start your journey within the film industry!

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