Junior Researcher - Peter Devaney

Junior Researcher at Studio Lambert
MA English Literature, 2016 and BA English Literature, 2014

What does your role involve?

Roles in TV can be very varied in terms of what you do on a day to day basis. As a Junior Researcher visiting Cast houses on Gogglebox my day mainly consists of assisting the Producer closely and helping him come up with content ideas for the show. I am also tasked with looking after the Cast Families of Gogglebox, assisting the filming crew if necessary and ‘Live-Logging’. Live-Logging involves typing up all of the content spoken on camera so that the edit team back in London can look at my notes and it helps them create episodes for the show quicker.

The most important aspect of the role is being part of a team that the families of Gogglebox are happy to see when we turn up and that they enjoy working with us.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy being out and about around the country and meeting people and making episodes for TV! Gogglebox is a great show to work on as you see your work go out on TV very quickly! We will film from Friday until Tuesday and then the episode will go out the next Friday so it is a very quick turnaround. There are also opportunities for Junior Researchers to contribute ideas to the show which may be taken up upon and make it into an episode.

Another highly enjoyable element of the show is meeting the cast of Gogglebox! They are all lovely to work with and we work with some of them once a week for 4 months so you can become quite close.

What is most challenging?

Although filming with the families usually takes around 6 hours there is a lot of travel involved so days can tend to be long. We also work weekends so this means there will be aspects of your life that are put on hold whilst we are creating the show.

There is a need for a high attention to detail when sending notes to the edit and these notes may have to be sent during the early hours of the morning so that can be challenging!

How did your time at Birmingham help prepare you for this role?

I spent 5 years at the University of Birmingham, completing a 3-year undergrad in English Literature before going straight into a part-time Masters over two years in the same degree.

My Masters in particular helped to equip me for when I began to pursue my career in TV and helped me develop lots of transferable skills. Studying a subject I loved at a higher academic level helped me gain confidence in my ability and allowed me to study an area with an intensity I may not be able to do for the rest of my life. My Masters demanded that I managed my time well, required me to have a high level of autonomy, and it was important that I collaborated and liaised with my tutors regularly, particularly with regards to my 20,000 word dissertation. My dissertation was something I was able to take pride in and due to the originality required of my thesis it asked for a sustained effort of creativity as well. The networks I had to build to be successful during my Masters were much closer to the ones I will create to have a fulfilling career in later-life and I am happy to say I am still in touch with many of them!

One of the families on Gogglebox loved talking about my Masters on Shakespeare and quizzed me regularly about aspects of Shakespeare’s life and works so your degree can become part of your working life in unexpected ways!

What advice would you give to students interested in your industry or role?

My advice would be to get practical experience as soon as possible by applying for Runner roles to see if you like it! There is only so much theorising you can do about an industry and job before you have to take the plunge! Working in TV can be hard work with long-hours and people can be discouraged by how tough it can be when starting out. Personally I loved my time as a Runner!

I would also advise that a lot of entry-level jobs are not advertised so it is important to make personal connections with people which will allow you to get a foot in the door. It is a freelance industry so getting work and finding opportunities are all about talking to people in your network so start early and get chatting to people!

From my own experience, I tried for quite a long time to get my first job in TV via applications and had no luck! Finally, it was through my network that I was able to secure some work experience and 18 months later, I am still working with the same company now. Getting a foot in the door can be very difficult but worth it if you persevere!


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