DAVID COOPER/TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE file photo
Q: I’ve had about five on-air interviews for various television shows in the city in the last month alone and I just can’t seem to get a break. What gives? I do my research, I’m up to speed with their programming, I know their viewer demographic, I’m enthusiastic. Can you offer me some tips on my approach to the interview?
A: Dee, the on-air host/broadcasting industry is a difficult area to break into. Yes, preparation and opportunity are important factors but you can’t deny the need for sheer good luck, too. Often times what isn’t realized is that there are a lot of non-resumé requirements that producers are looking for, too — hair colour, your weight, accent, ethnic background, the way you smile … Your aesthetic can make or break your chances. We’ve all heard of the so-called no-training, no on-air experience person who lands a gig on a reality show and then, magically, they are on TV as a VJ, co-host or segment reporter. The truth, however, is that these occurrences are slim to none — those who are trained and have been working hard to excel get discouraged by these overnight star stories, wondering when and if ever their time will come. Success seems so fast for some but it rarely is for the majority.
It sounds like you’ve done all the preparation beforehand for your interviews. Another thing to note is that, in this industry, who you know can go a very long way to getting you on air: The producer you interned under, the broadcasting program you graduated from, your area of expertise, what social/work networks you belong to.
It all has to be the right combination.
This industry is subjective and the final hire is often a combination of skill, personality and a marketable outside package all coming together for the producers and the tone of their show.
My strategy for you includes trying to speak one-on-one with TV producers before there are even any jobs to apply for. Simply try to start a mentoring/information interview type relationships with various producers so they know who you are before you walk in for the auditions.
Many of us want to be in front of the cameras but often times you’ve got be willing to start behind them, too! If you aren’t a member already, I would also encourage looking into a membership with WIFT: Women in Film & Television.
Visit www.wift.com. Good luck!
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.
|jill’s tip of the week|
• If you’re in a group project at school where you are the only one working hard, don’t throw in the towel because the others have. Instead, try to address your group while continuing to complete your portion of the project, present your work and then deal with the issue of tardy team players afterwards. On the day of presentation, teachers can usually tell who has worked and who hasn’t. Even if you hate being the only hard worker, you won’t be the one getting zero.