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How To Work in TV

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Brian Clapp, the Founder of Sports TV Jobs is a 12-year veteran of the Sports TV industry, having worked at both CNN/Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports Net as a Writer, Video Editor, Producer and News Director. “Sports TV Jobs is the richest online resource for aspiring sports media professionals,” says Clapp “we have interviews with Sports TV experts, career advice, how to videos and access to over 3,000 sports jobs across the U.S., everything you need to pursue your dream job in the sports media world”.

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Video Transcript

Hi I’m Brian Clapp, Founder of Sports TV Jobs .com – working in sports television is definitely one of the coolest careers out there, but sometimes its hard to get that first job, that first opportunity to prove yourself and prove you are up to the task. Here are 3 tips to help you learn how to work in TV.

Tips for Working in TV–

#1 Develop a “Professional Skill”

Here’s what I mean by that, when you graduate college its assumed that you know how to write, that you know the basic tenets of journalism, that you have some experience in the techniques of TV Production. You need to develop a skill outside of those basics, something that will stand out to potential decision makers and hiring managers.

When I was hired coming out of college at CNN/Sports Illustrated I was hired primarily because I had a lot of experience with non-linear editing. Non-linear editing was a skill that CNN was looking for because they were changing over their editing systems to this new technology (back in 1996 it was “new”!). My resume stood out from the pack because I had experience with an emerging technology that CNN needed.

You need to look into what skills are needed right now. I think that’s the big mistake that people make, they’ll go to a sports job bank like WorkInSports.com and as they search for jobs, they’ll only look for skills that they have and they can apply to. What you should be doing is look for skills that are needed and work on developing those specific skills. Use WorkInSports.com as a research tool to help you discover trends in the marketplace. Are stations looking for Final Cut Pro editors? Are they looking for experience on Grass Valley switchers? Are they looking for Pro Sounds audio equipment experience?

Look all across the nation to find out what skills are needed and then go take some extra class work, a specialized class that focuses on those skills. Now you’ll have a tangible, professional level skill that will differentiate you from everybody else in that big stack of resumes that hiring managers have to weed through.

Tips for Working in TV–

#2 Think Big!

It’s a big misconception that to land TV Jobs you have to start in a small market and then slowly move your way up the market ladder. While that is true of you want to be on air, it’s not the case if you want to work behind the scenes on the production side. You get great experience at somewhere like ESPN, NFL Network, Comcast Sportsnet – many of those larger networks have entry level programs to bring in fresh new talent so the opportunity is there. These jobs are tough, they don’t always pay great, but it is a wonderful training ground to prove yourself.

Also, think about how your resume will look after you put in some time at a large regional sport s network or national sports network. I use this analogy a lot – imagine you are an NFL draft prospect but you don’t get drafted so now you are a free agent. Two teams call you with interest in signing you, the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers – you have a choice to make, who do you want to play for? I will argue that you pick the Pittsburgh Steelers every time. Yes it may be hard to crack the line-up but you are going to be surrounded by the best coaches, the best scheme, the best players you’re going to get better performing in these conditions. Now when your first contract is up, other teams will look at you and say “wow this guy worked with the best, he’s worth us investing in”. With the Lions you’ll have a better opportunity for playing time, but maybe you won’t be getting as good of coaching, maybe you aren’t learning as much as you can, or maybe you will pick up bad habits. That’s the analogy between a big regional network vs. a smaller local station – get that big time experience.

Tips for Working in Television–

#3 Intern/Volunteer

If you are in school get an internship, get as many as you can, I always suggest at least one at a local tv station and one at a larger regional on national sports network. Internships are your best chance to get hands on experience and do everything you possibly can. Learn everything, do everything. But if you are out of school look into opportunities to volunteer, especially at local TV stations and smaller regional sports specific networks. Call up the front desk or talk to the assignment desk and ask – are you looking for volunteer who can help log tapes, pull cables, assist cameramen on shoots, run teleprompter… whatever you can do!

When I was a news director, if I saw somebody willing to put in extra time on their free time, that stood out to me. I noticed that person and tried to give them more opportunities.

Those are three quick tips to help you learn how to work in TV – for more information head over to Sports TV Jobs .com where we have more how to videos, interviews with industry experts and insider knowledge on how to get you started down the path to a successful career in sports TV.

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