Written by Alexandra McDonald
In my experience, two things get graduating university students worked up like a vaguely uninformed commenter on sub Reddit r/politics. One; not being able to drink your weight in coffee or red bull before attending a lecture or starting a paper, and two;, finding that elusive graduate position when you finish your degree. Now for those of you that I haven’t lost to that reddit link up there, here you have it, tips from someone who successfully scored a job with TVs Channel 7 (yes, that one with Revenge), pretty much straight out of his degree. I hold a proverbial glass of cheap cider (its all I can afford on my uni budget if I want to eat for the rest of the week) and propose a toast to the hope we all get a bit of Isaac Dowell’s luck rubbed off on us, and score our dream jobs. He is the Sports Co-ordinator in commercial inventory and scheduling at the Channel 7 headquarters in Docklands.
Alexandra: The Seven Network is consistently the most successful channel on free to air TV, how did you score your job?
Isaac Dowell: I had just completed an arts degree with majors in TV production/film study. I was very lucky to begin work at the seven network in 2010. I had just finished my media degree and had barely a week off uni to relax and figuring out where i wanted to apply, when a friend of mine who worked at the 7 network mentioned his department (tape library/presentation) needed a casual worker. I sent my resume off to his boss and forgot about it completely, until the next day I got a call to come in for a chat and pretty much got hired on the spot. I distinctly remember him saying at the end of our conversation (which by the way I thought was going terribly), “so when can you start?”, my eyes just lit up! I stayed in the tape library for 3 months before applying for a scheduling job internally, which I got, and that foot in the door has led me through the ranks of that department to sport co-ordinator. I always wanted to be in TV whether it be in front or behind, so I am very grateful to be where I am.
Alexandra: Do you have any advice for recent or pending graduates of a Media degree, in achieving the ‘holy grail’ of graduate positions at such a successful and popular network?
Isaac: The advice I can give for recent/pending graduates who want to get into television is to VOLUNTEER. I volunteered at SYNTV, did 2 seasons of SYN radio, ch31 and RMITV putting my hand up to help out on different film shoots and TV shows. I spent 5 seasons on ‘get cereal’ for SYNTV on ch31 as cameraman, director AND audio guy which gave me a good rap with the producers and crew, which in turn led to getting other gigs on shows and short film shoots, ultimately giving me a passion for TV, how it is made and why.
I have learnt over the years of volunteering/working that in the film/TV business it is not what you know but who you know, that will get you jobs on film sets, so start networking. Build a good resume because it will look good to someone who has worked in TV for over 20 years of their life when you tell them you volunteered for 2 years, it shows integrity and passion.
Be passionate and enthusiastic about what you want to do. because at the end of the day if you want to work in TV or film you yourself will have to make it happen.
That’s how I got to where I am today.
Alexandra: This is a journalism blog, so its only fair to ask, what effect has social media, and the internet, had on Channel 7’s practices and your job?
Issac: Since the massive rise in use of social media over the past 3-4 years I can say that there really has been so many changes. Social networking itself hasn’t got any effect on my job at all, as I am in programming and inventory of the television station, but I can say that through the use of facebook, twitter, and Sevens own ‘fango’- the TV check in app for iPhones and iPads, that we reach thousands of people a day, whether it be through tweets or updates on the seven network facebook page. Most of the journo’s have their own twitter accounts, and in recent times twitter has been used as a source of info for news bulletins and quick news grabs that can alert the public about what is going on. All it takes is one retweet for an entire city to find out what is going on.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have the distinct urge to go and volunteer for something… Thanks to Isaac for taking the time to answer my questions, and revealing the not so secret secrets to getting a job in the media, working hard and doing some networking seems to be the way to succeed. If only my life didn’t resemble a running slideshow of those socially awkward penguin memes I would probably have a good chance…