Ahh, internships. Who hasn’t been through those mandatory weeks or months slaving away for free at a company while still at university, trying to gain some precious work experience before joining the labour market after graduation? If you haven’t, you’re lucky. We all know the stereotypes of overworked students running around, making cups of tea and doing ten odds jobs at a time on three hours of sleep because the dissertation won’t wait.
In film and television, there is a specific job title for the stressed, exhausted individual at the bottom of the food chain: the runner. While the runner normally gets paid, their responsibilities are otherwise very similar to those of an intern: supporting the production team, supplying everyone with food and drinks, and generally making sure all the important people can do their job, even if that means you’re on your feet for the entirety of the 14-hour day. In a recent article for METRO, Abigail Chandler wrote about all the things you will learn as a runner, including finding out you can carry a lot more than you previously thought possible, and developing the skill to make yourself practically invisible.
For the past three months, I have been both an intern and a runner with Tinker Taylor. And I loved it. So what makes the difference between a great internship or runner job and one that you’d rather run away from? For me, it’s a matter of care.
At Tinker Taylor, no one is invisible. The team genuinely cares if the intern is having a good time. Yes, you’re buying milk and doing the dishes, but you’re also trusted and encouraged to explore every element of the production process, with the support of a group of people who know exactly what they’re doing. As a crippling perfectionist who probably cares a bit too much sometimes, this was a great way for me to learn and grow.
More importantly, however, Tinker Taylor cares about its products. Every single film in production during my internship was approached with the utmost professionalism, from the very early stages of development all the way through to the editing and delivery. This is the most important lesson I’ve learned during my time at Tinker Taylor so far: a video doesn’t need a million-pound budget or a world-famous director to be great, as long as there is a passion to create something you genuinely care about.
Now that I’ve officially joined the team at Tinker Taylor as Production Assistant, I can’t wait to explore what the future holds for video marketing. Meanwhile, would anyone like a drink?
Doing your time as a runner is a rite of passage in the film and TV industry, something that everyone must go through in order to prove yourself worthy.