How To Get Into TV production - An Interview With Adam Lebovits

Name: Adam Lebovits Adam

Age: 21

Degree: English Language and Literature

Current job title: Freelance Script Reader

Current workplace: Kudos Film and Television

Long term goal: TV producer - overseeing all aspects of video production, ranging from show idea development and cast hiring to shoot supervision and fact-checking.

What made you pick this job?

Kudos is one of the best companies for the particular area of production I want to work in, which is script development. They regularly win Independent Production Company of the year and work on some hugely successful programmes such as Spooks, Hustle and The Hour (I've put a video below showcasing some of the programmes Kudos works on) so they have a real pedigree in television and I’m learning from top professionals. I’ve also been involved in comedy in the past so working at a company that specialises in serial dramas is a great way of widening my perspective.

My current role, script reading, allows me to learn particular aspects of writing and producing that are really important to develop a career in production. I get through a massive volume of scripts so I can learn from a huge array of ideas.

I also get to sit down with writers and help mould their stories. Being involved in the more creative side from idea conception through to its perfection really sharpens the kind of skills I’m going to need in future.

How did you get your position?

The Oxford RevueAfter graduation I emailed loads of producers in order to maximise my chances of being employed. I emailed producers whom I particularly liked and whose work I admired as I knew my real career desire was to work in TV.

These emails led to many rejections, but also a lot of meetings with producers and my emails being passed on to other producers. Eventually I got a meeting with Kudos. The producer there had an assistant who coincidently worked alongside me at the Oxford Revue (a comedy group of Oxford University students) and lived in the same area of Manchester. Try to get as much experience in as wide a field as possible, you never know what useful contacts you’ll make!

What skills do you feel are most important in your chosen line of work?

Persistence definitely; the people at the top of the tree in TV really stick it out. You have to do a lot of Don't Quittemporary contract work, there isn’t the security of a permanent position. Enthusiasm is also essential as people in television don’t like it if you shirk off work, you may need to pull off some 16 hour days in order to make your mark!

Runner work involves being a ‘fix-it’ guy, so you have to be resourceful. I also needed to have watched a lot of television and to have ingrained myself in the genres I was interested in.

How did you develop these skills prior to beginning your job search?

Script ReadingUniversity really helped me as I was doing weekly Oxford Revue shows alongside 2 essays a week, which meant I had to be able to stick to tight deadlines. This also gave me the opportunity to begin reading scripts and to see how the script process worked. It inspired me to watch as much TV as possible and to immerse myself and broaden my interests.

After graduation it took months for my first break and I got loads of knockbacks. I started telephoning people rather than sending blast emails and that really helped. You really have to seize any hint of an opportunity.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your working life, including the application process, and how did you overcome it?Theatre

Definitely the first 6 months while I was still trying to break into the industry was the biggest challenge. I was doing piecemeal work in a theatre in the meantime, as managing to get into television work took months. Emailing people wasn’t bring much joy and it was a long hard slog to get noticed.

After research I moved from wanting to be involved in solely TV production to specifically wanting to work in production development. Being able to hone in on what I wanted to do in particular and realising that the industry was more about people than anything else were probably the most important ways I overcame the entry process; people and networking are much more important than cover letter after cover letter.

Is your job helping you to achieve your long term goal?

I think it is, it’s really good in that it’s a first step in the area of production that I want to go into. There’s no guarantee though, I have to convert potential into prospects but it certainly can be done!

And finally, do you have any last advice for students and graduates reading this article?

Start early and talk to people rather than sending the same emails and CV’s repeatedly. Fewer, better prepared applications are better. Figure out exactly what you want to do and then pursue it.


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