The growing importance of student television

The film and television industry is becoming more and more competitive every year with a staggering 80% of those in the UK industry educated to a degree level, over double the national average. However, for students, joining a university television station can offer valuable experience and a portfolio to show off in the future.

Student television is an exciting part of university life and offers a chance to really experience the industry, outside of the traditional routes of apprenticeships or trying to scrape freelance work.

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Of the 150,000 people working in film and television in Britain currently, it is likely those who have been part of student television at universities are in the minority. However, this is changing as more universities establish stations and the industry evolves into a more dynamic environment where new skills are required.

Independent film making is considered a great way to become the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ employee that is increasingly sought after in the industry, but student television is an even better way of attaining this experience. Often, if your particular station is small and has limited resources, you find yourself switching quickly from adjusting the camera to checking audio levels to directing others then even presenting.

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Equally, if you are looking to hone your skills editing wise this is the perfect chance, no pressure from a big corporate boss or a company trying to make ends meet. Sit back, take your time and really learn the craft, with a few mistakes and swear-words along the way.

But student television also presents an opportunity to work in aspects of film and television less thought about. Marketing and design are huge aspects of the industry but are often overlooked, in student television though these are crucial to making sure your content reaches your desired audience.

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With plenty of hands on work and pulling together in small teams, you come to appreciate these parts of the process more. Similarly, with the administration of the station or maintenance of equipment, there is an opportunity to come to understand the finer details of how these aspects, often taken for granted, are important spokes on the ever turning wheel.

Student television creates an atmosphere in which young people must pull together, teach and learn from each other. Taking on challenges with friends who won’t judge you or deride you, at least too much, for errors, is an infinitely valuable experience. That is perhaps why, for students, university television stations are the perfect training ground to improve one’s technical and interpersonal skills for working in film and TV.

By Arran Byers

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