An Insider’s Story – Film and TV development executive

What is your job?

Development Executive for a film and TV production company.

How did you get into it?

I did an internship for the company I now work for 6 years ago and they gave me some freelance work for a few months. I was working in documentary and then went to work in drama for a few years – working initially as a runner, then an assistant, then a junior in development, before becoming a script editor and development executive. The company I used to work for were moving into drama and approached me about joining to head up the transition they were making from straight documentary and drama-doc into fully scripted.

What do you enjoy about it?

I get to work with a lot of people I have huge respect for creatively and of late I’ve begun learning about the legals of the business which I find fascinating.

The main pleasure is it’s varied and there’s a strong overlap with what I’m passionate about and enjoy in the rest of my life. I love storytelling and films, so I’m incredibly lucky to work in that world.

What do you wish you had known before you entered your industry?

That the boring stuff is actually really valuable – running in Soho means you see the post-houses and other production bits, doing someone’s diary means you know who’s who in the industry and meet a load of other assistants that go on to have jobs in the industry etc.

There aren’t a huge number of very good people out there and that’s what everyone is after. So if you’re good, stick it out and it’ll pay off.

Top tips for someone wanting to start out in your sector

Get as many internships as possible and meet as many people as possible. It’s a small industry, if you can get your face about and people like you you’ll get breaks.

Photo credit: By Erwin Verbruggen (Flickr: LRT TV studios)