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Being hired as a runner by a production company is the most common route into the television and film industry. Some of the biggest names in television and film production have started off as runners. It is the main entry-level position, and the most junior role in the production department, a little like journalism's editorial assistant.
Runners are like general assistants for the production team, who have a range of different duties. Bluntly, is often the runners that have to do the jobs that no one else wants - or has time - to do. Their tasks are usually varied and can involve anything from tea-making and photocopying to escorting actors to different places to carrying important equipment through to administration or marketing.
Tasks will vary depending on the employing company and the type of production the runner is working on. Runners could be assigned to specific productions, where the responsibilities could be more focused. Sometimes runners are asked to help with the edit machines and can learn valuable technical skills by maintaining equipment.
Either way, despite occasional dull responsibilities, being a runner is great opportunity to learn more about production, as well as being given the chance to make some vital contacts. The hours of work can be very long and the job is very demanding, especially when working for little to no pay. It is therefore important to remember how helpful the role can be in breaking into the industry.