Runner (Unscripted TV)

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What does a runner do?

We’re not talking Mo Farah here. Runners, in the unscripted TV industry, are those on the front line. They’re always ready to lend a hand. They go anywhere and everywhere to ensure a production goes from prep to wrap without a problem. A good runner can make or break a shoot.

Runners are comfortable working in a variety of environments: they might do any number of jobs depending on what part of production they are assigned to. In a studio, they might do jobs like taking guests to make-up or printing and handing out new scripts. Out on a shoot, runners might fetch lunch or extra supplies of batteries, be required to ensure all consent forms are signed or keep an area clear for filming. In a production office, a runner might be filing receipts and paperwork, testing if a new game works or, depending on the production, helping with research.

From making tea and loading equipment for the crew to shopping for props and chaperoning Hollywood A-listers, runners are always ready and able, responding quickly, efficiently and positively.

Runners usually work with independent production companies. Sometimes they take on the role of a logger too. Having a valid, clean driving licence is usually an advantage.

What’s a runner good at?

  • Learning quickly: listen and watch carefully, stay calm under pressure, communicate clearly, understand the different production roles and their different requirements
  • Taking initiative: have common sense, see what needs to be done, offer help without being asked, don’t be afraid to ask questions at the appropriate time
  • Multi-tasking: be organised, prioritise when asked to do different things by different people at the same time, be adaptable
  • Watching unscripted TV: have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry
  • Reliability: be punctual, do what’s asked promptly and efficiently, have a positive can-do attitude, file and store things securely

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