Working in the media industry can be difficult with a range of different working patterns being common. Employment in the TV and Film industries is less likely to be on full or part time permanent contracts and much more likely to be freelance or piece work due to the nature of the work.
A full time permanent contract means a person is employed as a regular member of staff, usually for 38-40 hours a week, often office hours. These jobs will often be salaried and there are many benefits that come with this type of contract such as a regular income, sick pay, holiday entitlement and maternity or paternity leave. In the TV and film industries, managerial roles and financial roles are likely to be full time permanent as the person is employed by a production company to oversee numerous productions rather than just one film or TV show.
Part time contracts are similar but the employee only works a fraction of what a full time employee will work. There are still the same benefits but a person on this type of contract will earn less that someone who is full time. Many sales and marketing job are part time.
Freelance and fixed term contracts are far more common in the media industry, especially for technical and creative roles such as camera operators and sound technicians. These contracts are temporary and unlikely to come with the same benefits as full time contracts. Therefore a freelance worker will be responsible for arranging to pay their own taxes, saving for a pension, allowing for sick leave and holidays. They must be excellent at marketing themselves and networking and will always be on the lookout for their next job as they are only employed on a temporary basis.
Working in the media industry can often involve shift work and working irregular or anti-social hours. People who work on film sets can often be required all sorts of strange hours, perhaps all through the night and perhaps very long hours. In the TV industry, broadcasting centres must be manned at all times and therefore there will be many shift workers working different shifts including evenings and night shifts. If a person is required to work irregular hours on top of what they are contracted to do, they may earn extra money on top of their normal pay. Extra payment is an incentive for people to work longer and more irregular hours, particularly on location.
Another common type of payment in the media industry is called on completion. This is when a person only gets paid when the piece of work they have been employed to work on is completed. This means that the person who commissioned the work can withhold payment until they are absolutely happy with the final product.