How I Started Out in the Industry
Getting started in the industry, looking for that opportunity to get your foot in the door can be difficult. We spoke to Kyri Zindilis about how got started in television.
Hi Kyri, can you tell us about your role and where you're working?
I'm currently working at BBC 'EastEnders' and I'm the Archivist in the story department. I work closely with the story, script, design and publicity departments across all scripts/episodes to make sure all continuity and history within the show is correct. I give notes on story documents, scripts, episode edits and also recommend stories based on our character's pasts. It is essentially my job to know everything about 'EastEnders' and make sure we play everything correctly and authentically regarding our world, characters and storylines. I am an 'EastEnders' Wikipedia and there is never a dull day in the office!
How did you get started in the industry?
During my time at university I wrote to several production companies to see if there was any opportunities for work experience. I was eventually offered a two week placement by a company called 'Kudos TV, where they offered me a job as a runner at the end of my time there. I kindly declined as I wanted to finish my degree and later called them up on their offer when I had finished my course. I worked my way up in 'Kudos', meeting as many people as possible and learning as much as I could. I stayed on at Kudos for over 4 years and had plenty of job roles from development assistant to assistant script editing an ITV series ('Grantchester'). Eventually my time came to move on and I wrote to 'EastEnders' before going in to meet the producers - and here I am...
If you could have done anything differently what would it have been?
One issue I found when I began working in television is that all I ever watched was US TV. It took me a while to realise that as much as I do love American shows, I am actually working within the British television industry and needed to watch and digest as much of that I could. I started looking out for new series in the TV guide as well as catching up on old British series; paying extra special attention to which production companies had produced them as well as the key names involved (producers, script editors, writers etc). Eventually I found that I loved British television just as much as US television and sometimes, even more! I got there in the end, but I wish I had used my initiative a lot sooner and got to know the industry I was entering a lot better.
Can you tell us what you're working on right now?
Of course my day to day life is consumed by the mega factory that is 'EastEnders', but this year I do plan on writing my own material. I often have ideas but have never given myself the time to do it - I'm hoping that will change in 2017!
What advice would you give those looking to get into TV/Film?
I'd say to meet and talk to as many people as possible. Make note of the shows you love, look up the creative team and write to them. Even if there are no jobs available, just asking people to meet for a coffee and a chat will help you loads. A lot of people will be willing to give you advice, and putting yourself on their radar can do no wrong - and who knows, maybe they'll know somebody who knows somebody who is looking for somebody. I'd also say that when writing to people make sure you KNOW their work; it is very obvious when people have copied and pasted the same email over and over again (more often than not, they haven't actually amended the name they are sending to!). If you watch people's work then you instantly have something to talk about, whether or not you liked it doesn't matter, the point is that you've made the effort and that is always a great start! Also, stay persistent! Some of the best advice I got from an old boss of mine was "It's great to always stay just on the right side of annoying!"