12 November 2019


This book is a comprehensive and contemporary guide to getting into and working in TV. Enertaining and easy to read or dip into, How To Get A Job in Television contains hard earned advice based on my personal experience of working as a freelancer in the industry from researcher to series editor and also as a development producer and TV recruitment executive over a period of 15 years! 

The book is packed with inside information and interviews with people working in the industry at every level from runners and producers to the Chairman of Endemol, Tim Hincks, British Executive Producer of 'Dancing With The Stars' Conrad Green and RDF Media Chairman Grant Mansfield.

It also includes advice from training bodies, HR executives and broadcasters. It gives a practical guide to researching, useful contacts and TV Terms this really is the TV job hunter's bible.


View the Contents Page
View the Preface

View Chapter One



"This is a valuable tool to newcomers and I will certainly be recommending it to those new arrivals who I think it will benefit the most."

Sue Davies, The Bottom Line,Production Managers’ Association Magazine.



Buy the book online now!





Timely, insightful and comprehensive.

At last a guide that tells it how it is.

The only insider guide to working in TV.

Book Reviews

It’s what starry-eyed teenagers fresh from the latest uplifting episode of Britain’s Got Talent really mean when they tell their no-nonsense, feet-on-the-ground careers teachers that they want a job ‘in the performing arts.’

Unfortunately working in television is not like becoming a doctor, bus driver or supermarket manager. There is no agreed career path or training and the bad news is that over 70% of hopefuls rely on contacts even to get a toe through the door. So if you don’t have contacts where on earth do you start? The careers teachers and advisers don’t know the answer any more than the teenagers do.

But Elsa Sharp might.

She trained as a journalist and broke into TV in 1994 as a researcher at Wall to Wall Television. Since then she has worked in TV production, development and recruitment for leading independent production companies including RDF Media, Celador, Endemol and BBC Entertainment. She also worked on The Big Breakfast for five years so she knows a thing or two about the industry.

Sharp, who now leads a lot of training, shares her experience and expertise in her recently published book, How to get a job in television (A & C Black). The subtitle is ‘Build your career from runner to series producer’, which says it all really. Some very successful TV people — Esther Rantzen, for instance — started in the most menial of jobs. If you really want to do it you have to spot the opening, however humble, and there is no chance at all for people who think they are too good to be at the foot of the tree.

Sharp covers a good range of practical points in this book such as the qualities and/or qualifications you need to work in TV, useful organisations, the value of work experience, building a CV and working up the ladder. If TV work is your ambition then this is a definite must-read.

Meanwhile it would be encouraging for those who have yet to reach the starting line to hear from people working as runners in TV companies or those who have made the leap from runner to researcher. What is it really like working in TV? Is there anyone reading this who managed to get though that notoriously difficult door into TV without contacts?

Susan Elkin, The Stage

It’s a detailed 278-page guide to opportunities and pitfalls that gives a realistic picture of the industry today, warts and all. Although this book is really aimed at newcomers to the industry, specifically runners and researchers, it makes interesting reading for anyone in this business. It gives opinions from some 50 people working in the industry (disclosure: including me) from the chairman of RDF Group, Grant Mansfield, and Daisy Goodwin of Silver River, to runners, Glen Barnard and Helen Beaumont, and several case studies of how they got to where they are now.
Moray Coulter, Production Base
I cannot recommend this book enough! I read it cover to cover within hours of buying it. It offers a wide range of advice, from a CV surgery to email etiquette as well as some lesser known but effective techniques, such as the often ignored power of receptionists! *****
Reader Adam Edworthy on Amazon
What do you really want to know when it comes to breaking into an industry and making a success of it? What's the magic bullet? When I was first starting out in TV, I was desperate for knowledge on training; writing a good CV; who to contact; and more importantly, what everyone's job titles actually MEANT. It seemed to me that Executive Producer meant sitting in a glass office shouting at everyone. I wish I'd had Elsa Sharp's book then - to help lift the mist. Insightful, astute, and crammed with expert knowledge this manual is a must for anyone trying to break into this notoriously difficult industry. And she should know. She's done it. So is there a magic bullet when it comes to a successful career in broadcasting? Well, this book certainly hits the target. Go buy.
Anna Richardson
Channel 4 TV Presenter and Executive Producer


 I've passed your book onto a close friend who is looking to break into TV and wanted to relay that she's finding it a fantastic resource.
Michael Rosser, editor of Broadcast Now

As a Producer /Director with ten years experience in the industry I can't recommend this book enough. I've spent years painstakingly writing out e-mails to industry new comers with as much advice, information and contacts as I can possibly think of, just to help them get started. Thankfully now all I have to do is direct them to Elsa Sharp's book.

It really does contain everything you need to know about working in telly, with no bias or agenda. Neither cynical nor rose tinted, it offers one of the most honest, balanced accounts of the TV industry that I've ever read, with a broad range of advice from a massive cross section of professionals. Although it is the perfect starting place for anyone embarking on the industry anew, there are gems in there for people at all levels in television. It really is a must read.
Anna Keel - TV Producer/Director


At last a guide that pretty much tells it like it is. It's a good book, structured eally well and managing to achieve that crucial balance of education and entertainment.
Kate Phillips, Head of BBC Entertainment Development


Great book and a fantastic resource for anyone starting out in the industry It's harder than ever to get into TV and this book is an excellent guide for anyone looking to break in. Elsa has identified a real gap in the market and with all her years of experience, knows exactly what she's talking about.
Richard Drew,Executive Producer, Savannah Media


I think that this book is well worth recommending to telly

newcomers. Whilst some of the advice seems obvious, actually if I cast my mind back a few decades – I realise of course that it would have been hugely useful to have had such helpful hints at that time in my career! It has been thoroughly researched. I felt it more appropriately offers arguments based on experiences of the writer herself and others.

The book is dotted with insightful profiles of particular individuals and it’s clear that many have opened up their pasts and current CV’s with relish and clarity to Elsa. It is

also stacked with quotes from the hundreds of people that she must have spoken to in the course of researching her book. I think this is a nice way to introduce individual experiences and an interesting approach to punctuating the chapters.

A lot of the areas of discussion explored seem particularly useful for researchers. I do believe that this is a valuable tool to newcomers and I will certainly be recommending it to those new arrivals who I think it will benefit the most.

Sue Davies, The Bottom Line (Production Managers Association Magazine)


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