The book
This is a concise, essential insider's guide for anyone wanting a career in the TV industry - from students and undergraduates to those just starting out or working in TV career.

Packed with advice, guidance and useful information this 36 page digital eBook is invaluable and available to buy at Payhip

Contents Page

Table Of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Introduction
  • Why Work in Television?
  • TV Jobs Roles and Possible Career Paths
  • How To Become a Freelancer
  • How to get a Job in Television
  • Network, network, network
  • Create a ‘Hit List’ – Your Own Job Database
  • Work Experience
  • How To Get on In Television
  • The Cover Letter
  • Writing Your CV
  • And Finally
  • TV Industry Organisations

About the Author

Born in the London Borough of Barnet to an Italian mother and English father, Elsa attended state schools in Hertfordshire before going to study History and English at Sussex University. She began freelance writing for the nationals and music press. At the same time she did an MA in magazine journalism at The London College of Printing (now UAL). There she met now famous TV presenter, Anna Richardson. Anna tipped Elsa off about a job on Big City, an ITV entertainment show.

So she called up, sent her CV and cover letter, had two interviews, sent several samples of her writing and shared her music contact book. Despite having no TV experience, she was offered a six week probationary contract and so she got her first job in television.

Elsa freelanced working in different roles as assistant producer, producer/director producer, and series producer on live studio and location comedy entertainment shows and as a development as a producer at RDF Media, Fox and BBC Entertainment before she joined an indie as a Development producer/Head of Talent in 2005.

In 2008 she set up her own headhunting business, TV Talent and wrote How To Get A Job in Television. She worked for Firecracker Films, Raw TV, Objective and Outline before joining Dragonfly Film and TV as Head of Talent in 2011 staffing shows such as One Born Every Minute, The Hotel and the Plane Crash.

In 2013 she joined the BBC as Talent Manager for History and soon picked up Documentaries, BBC Three and Popular Factual finding talent for Louis Theroux, The Met, Life and Death Row and Amazing Hotels.

In 2016 and with the creation of BBC Studios Elsa moved into Factual Entertainment, Music and Events staffing, and live events.

Elsa has produced and presented her own workshops with Screenskills and taken part in panels with BAFTA, RTS, The Sheffield Docfest as well as the BBC’s own talent networks and events.


Over 50,000 freelancers work in Television in the UK according to figures from Screenskills/DCMS for 2018 and it's a thriving industry annually turning over £13.4 million and contributing massively to GDP. The contribution by the TV sector to the economy increased from £2.5 billion in 2007 to £6.1 billion in 2016 – an increase of 140%.

In 2020, Covid caused massive disruption and halted production all together, particularly drama and studio entertainment. Whereas there was an increase in production of archive lead, past tense, social history documentaries and of course science documentaries on the virus itself. New filming protocols have been put in place and despite the challenges and difficulties of making shows in a global pandemic, TV is still being made, just differently. And with more viewers at home watching TV, it is in more demand than ever.

In December 2020, Broadcast magazine reported that, “demand is rocketing as production gets back on track” with new facilities and site expansions are coming down the line. New Studios are being built around the UK to facilitate production and the demand for content.

Lack of studio space has been an issue in recent years and producers have complained about the challenges of locating studio space in the UK. With record levels of film and TV production, which hit £3.62bn in the UK in 2019 according to the British Film Institute (BFI), demand is high, particularly for both shiny-floor TV studios and drama stages.

Content production in the UK has innovated, adapted and evolved to make programmes under these new and difficult conditions. Freelancers are working from home - more production set up, casting and research is being done remotely and teams communicate through video conferencing. Teams on shoots are smaller and more compact as they have to observe Covid protocols. In some cases the producers and directors direct the shoots remotely, guiding contributors to film themselves. During Covid, editing started to take place at home, reducing the cost and expense of working in an edit suite in a post production facility. The arrival of iPlayer, the success of Netflix and digital platforms such YouTube commissioning original content have been gamechangers in how TV is consumed

No longer reliant on TV schedules, viewers can access shows on demand with all episodes of series available as a boxset to binge watch. The BBC recently reviewed its commissioning structure asking indies to pitch to the Iplayer audience rather than pitch a show to a particular channel and time slot. Netflix has over 14 million subscribers in the UK alone.

In these strange times, with audiences watching and relying on traditional TV now more than ever, viewing figures are high, as is demand for content. It goes without saying that TV needs high skilled freelancers to create this content.

Working in TV is seen as creative and exciting. And it is. No one day or show is ever the same, it’s compelling and interesting, never boring or predictable. It is challenging and deadline driven which can be incredibly stressful. Freelancers work long hours to deliver and in some places there is a culture of overwork which leads to exhaustion and many people burning out. It isn’t a job for life… but what is?

There’s no job security and you're dealing with constant change as a freelancer in production. However, if you're organised you become used to finding work and can prepare for fallow periods. There's also a lot of crossover and opportunity within other media industries that feed into TV – Special Effects, sound engineering and design, set design. Or making content for brands or advertising which tend to have longer contracts.

Average weekly pay in TV is double the national average and the rewards can be enormous if you climb to the top of the tree and create or are involved in a hit format that sells globally or the sale of a production company.

As an 'in demand' creative and successful executive producer or development executive you can earn a six figure salary, plus performance related bonuses in roles that are staff – as the production company tries to lock in your talent.

TV attracts sharp thinking, clever and well educated people and it has a high proportion of privately educated, Oxbridge graduates according to the Guardian. However, the industry recognises that it needs to be more diverse and inclusive to reflect its audience and work force – especially in London where the population is 40% minority ethnic.

Charlotte Moore, the BBC's Chief Content Officer, has lead an initiative to make TV production teams more inclusive. The BBC has a rider in which TV production companies who make shows for the BBC must ensure that 20% of their production teams are diverse.
The book

Timely, insightful and comprehensive.
At last a guide that tells it how it is.
The only insider guide to working in TV.
Buy the book online now!
The ebook

Updated sister book to How To Get A Job In Television.
Buy the book online now!