• Mitch Parris

Career Advice: Getting into TV Directing and Sport Broadcasting

This is Chapter 3 of 3 in the guide to becoming a TV Direction within Sport. The PitchTALKS team sat down with Graeme Spink, Former Director of Sky Sport, and now Freelance Director of some of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Welcome to a brand new episode of Bringing You The Game by PitchTALKS. Chapter 3 provides you with the best pieces advice shared from our guest Graeme Spink, Former Director of Sky Sports and now Freelance Director.

For people reading this and wanting to become a Director themselves, and now starting from the beginning, what would you advise them to do? To kickstart a career in sport just like yours?

Predominantly, is that get your foot in the door, get your foot in the door somehow.

I think if you speak to virtually every person, there's not many that just walk straight into either being a director or producer, you've all started somewhere to get into a television company or a post-production company like myself, because it's there that you then pick up names, go, oh, I must remember that name.

I'll try and get in touch with them or get your foot in the door is the first thing when you're there just work out what it is you want to do.

Because when I first got to go, I suddenly came across producers and editors and directors that up until then you knew they were sort of there, you know, their jobs happen, but you didn't really know the role in itself.

So it's finding out exactly what you want to do and basically be a nuisance in a good way, but be a nuisance.

Asking questions such as, how does that machine work? What does that do? Can I have a go at that?

Funnily enough, I'm actually working with one of the guys that taught me a lot.

So yeah, be a nuisance in a good way.

It helps to just have a focus to know which way you want to go because it's not always director. It might be producer. It might not be an editor. But do that have a goal that you want to do.

I mean, one thing that I not regret, but it's all got bought more to a focus during COVID was only working in sport because actually, if you can direct a sports chat show, you can direct a news chat show or a music chat show, predominantly it's talking heads, regardless of what the content is, you know, if someone's talking nine times out of 10, you cut that camera tonight.

Having sport on my CV, I've written off to thousands of other companies don't get replies and he's not even a thankfully you just don't hear anything. And I think that is one thing it's sort of like pigeonholed as such.

So if there's a way of being able to spread yourself to say, actually I like doing sport, but I want to do that as well.

And like I say, it was highlighted with COVID because all my work went, but people working in news were still working.

So to be able to have that flexibility of, and again, it's actually quite good because you might pick up something from a news show that you can bring into another show and vice versa, flexible and drive, have to have the drive to sort of push yourself to know what you want to do and make the people around you aware that that's what you want to do and that you can do the job because everyone's got start somewhere.

I had to do my first live replay at some point, I had to direct my first show at some point. So people, you know, we'll give you a chance.

I think that's been absolutely fascinating. You sort of just learn about your, your career, what you've done then. And you know, the things that you've the sporting events that you've seen live.

One more point, a key factor what I would say be nice.

Don't treat the person who effectively is apparently below you in that manner.

I mean, when I came up at the days that I came up through Sky, it was a very shout first ask questions later. And I think it was from having that happen.

Not because you'd done something majorly wrong, but yeah, chatting to people doesn't get the best out of them. If anything, it makes your production less of a production because they're not behind you.

Any Director and I'd love to hear otherwise will tell you that they can't be as good as what everyone tells them they are without the crew that working for them.

Without a good cameraman, you're not getting good shots and you can't put them to the line.

Without a good producer, your content isn't going to be as good.

Without a good soundman, the sound quality might not be as good.

Without a runner making your tea, you get thirsty and grumpy, but if you've got a good runner, they're going to look after you.

So just treat people with the respect that they need for their job, and that's one thing that I think I've always tried to instill in myself that I didn't like it when I was shouted at.

So why would I want to share that with someone else? And at the end of the day, your production is only going to get better. If everyone wants to work for you.

PitchTALKS: So as the old saying goes true, it's a team sport on and off the field.

Definitely. Yeah. Without a shadow of a doubt. So just be nice to people.

For more on the 'Becoming a TV Director at Sky Sports' series, following any of the links below:

Tune in to the Podcast Here

Chapter 1 - Getting into Television Production , The Director of Sky Sports Role & How Technology has Developed

Chapter 2 - Career Advice: Getting into TV Directing and Broadcasting

You can follow PitchTALKS on all our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and/or listen to the PitchTALKS podcast via Anchor, where you can choose how to listen.

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