Television Presenter

Stuck for inspiration? Three insiders reveal what you need to know for a career in front of the camera…

YOUR ROUTE IN Kate Edmondson, 29, presenter of CBBC’s Who Let The Dogs Out And About?
‘There isn’t a standard way into the industry or courses specifically in TV presenting, although lots of presenters have a degree in media studies or journalism. Most people get started by doing work experience. I was always set on becoming a TV presenter, so every weekend I worked as a runner for SM:TV Live and CD:UK which was great fun. It also gave me a good understanding of how TV shows work. I auditioned for a few shows, and often got to the final selection, but I never quite made it. I finally got my first job, for music channel TMF, after sending in footage of me presenting and having a screen test. There can be quiet times between presenting work, so it’s good to have other skills – I’ve written a children’s book in my spare time. I learnt a lot from my co-presenters, but I also watch everything back to see what I can improve on. You don’t need any qualifications, but you need to be a quick thinker and good at multitasking. So you have examples of your presenting style, get your friend to film you presenting or set up a video blog and send links to production companies, producers, agencies – anyone in the industry who could put you in touch with the right people. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE Lilah Parsons, 20, is the presenter of MTV Top 20 and MTV Asks
‘Two days before filming I’m sent the new music chart to have a look at, but I won’t get the actual script until 8pm the evening before. I get up at 6.45am on filming day and am having my make-up done by 7:30am. I’ll read through the script with my producer, as it’s constantly being updated. I wear my own clothes and filming starts around 9am. There are no breaks unless we need a quick set change, so I have to stand the whole time in big heels! It’s mentally exhausting as your constantly performing and my producer is a perfectionist, so sometimes I’ll have to read a link from the autocue six times until I get it right. After we finish at 1.30pm, I’ll be juggling conference calls to my producer with going to meetings. I’ll also be tweeting the MTV fans. I get sent the edited version of the show at 6pm and I watch it straight away to see if it’s OK. I’m always checking what I can do to improve and stay on top of my game.’

WHAT THE JOB AD WON’T TELL YOU Becky*, 28, is a children’s TV presenter
‘Behind the on – camera smiles, there’s a lot of bitching. I share a dressing room with four other presenters and I hate them all. There’s a lot of pressure to look perfect. We get a clothing allowance, but the other girls steal my clothes. One of them once turned up to a party wearing my boots, but denied it. I found them the next morning flung on the floor in my dressing room. We argue over who gets to spend the most time in make-up and the other girls always try to pull the celebs that come on the programme (one of them gave a boyband member a blow job after a show…). As presenting gigs are normally short – term contracts, you’re always looking for the next one. There’s so much competition and we’re always trying to get one over on each other about the auditions we’ve been to. One day I was called in for a meeting and told my show had been cancelled, just like that. I was out of work with no idea where my next job was coming from. You have to be tough and determined to succeed. you go to a lot of auditions that you don’t get because you’re not pretty enough or they don’t like your accent. it can be the best job in the world, but you need a thick skin and be able to take rejection.’ 

AVERAGE SALARY BY 30: £25,000 – £30,000
WHAT’S THE MOST I COULD EARN? Top names can earn £100,000 +
KEY QUALITIES: A clear speaking voice and an engaging personality.
QUALIFICATIONS: There are no formal requirements.

(Please Note: The information is from the More Magazine article ‘Spotlight on Television Presenting’ in Issue 11th March 2013, I did not write this!)

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