TV director Jan Genesis: “You have to be thick-skinned”
In this week’s podcast we go behind the camera and into the world of broadcasting, to find out what it’s like to work in big TV studios. Throughout his time as a freelancer, multi-camera director Jan Genesis has worked with companies including Channel 4, Sky, BBC and ITV. His work can range from directing studio-based programmes such as news, chat or games shows, to on-location shoots for sports coverage and reality TV – recently completing the latest season of Love Island.
Freelance Multi-Camera Director
Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Tiger Aspect, Endemol Shine
Bsc Media Technology and Digital Broadcast, Hertfordshire University (2003–2006)
Jan’s working journey began a decade ago, shortly after graduating from the university of Hertfordshire with a degree in Media Technology and Digital Broadcast. Starting as an intern at media company Bloomberg, he stayed on as an in-house director, working on regular news programming for the next seven years.
But in 2013, Jan found himself jobless after being made redundant, and decided to go self-employed. With so many years of professional experience under his belt, you might assume it was easy to get the freelance wheels into motion, but he admits it was a real struggle.
“In my experience you have to be thick-skinned. You’ve got to ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen?”
After a few months, Jan landed a job with Sky through a previous colleague, which led to many more contracts with some of the biggest broadcasting houses and production companies in the UK. This only confirmed to him the importance of connections, and the fact that one directing experience won’t necessarily apply to a different sector within TV and broadcasting.
Jan reflects on the ways that industry has changed in the years since he was just starting out, both in terms of access into entry-level work and emerging roles. Plus, he considers the ways new talent can contact and stand out to employers, and shares why building resilience in the face of rejection will be your most powerful asset for a career in TV and broadcasting: “In my experience you have to be thick-skinned. You’ve got to ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? [...] If you’re always worried about annoying someone, your probably not going to get too far.”
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