New Year, New Job: How to get a role in video journalism

Gav Murphy has held video production roles at the likes of Future, Gamer Network and, now, IGN.

Here – as part of MCV’s New Year, New Job month – he shares his insight into how to land a job as a video journalist

How would you summarise your role?

I make silly videos/do silly podcasts and try not to get into trouble. I am 29 years old.

What are your main responsibilities?

Just to make entertaining things for a passionate audience who will (hopefully) enjoy them.

How did you get your job?

I worked in proper television as a researcher on a sports news show for a couple of years and just got a bit frustrated with people telling me I wasn’t allowed to edit videos because I wasn’t an editor, or I wasn’t allowed to shoot something because I wasn’t a cameraman. So, I jacked it all in and headed for the internet, where nobody cares.

What special skills or qualifications did you need?

I learned how to use a camera and edit videos at university, which means I can mostly do things to a proper standard but, to be honest, nobody really cares about that online. I’ve met YouTubers who film stuff on their phones and use free editing software, and one of them has just bought a very expensive sports car, so I don’t think technical skills count for much as long as you’re passionate and engaging. That said, to get a job at IGN I had to do a variety of technical and screen tests so it probably can’t hurt to learn how to white balance.

Describe a normal day. What do you do?

My days are spent planning, writing scripts, shooting or editing fun videos or recording podcasts. We’re in quite a unique position where if something doesn’t entertain us ourselves, we just won’t do it. That’s not a luxury a lot of big sites have and I’m thankful we’ve got that at IGN.

What are the best and worst parts of your role?

The best part is that I can have an idea for something in the morning and, if it’s good, that video can be a thing that is live and in the world by the afternoon.

The worst part is when you try and champion something in a video and it absolutely tanks – but I guess that’s part of the fun too.

What tips would you give to someone applying for a similar position?

If you want to make videos or podcasts about video games or films etc. for a living and you’re not already doing it in your own spare time, you might as well pack up and go home now. Digital cameras, cheap editing software and professional-sounding microphones have given everyone the tools to be able to be video producers and podcasters, so if you want to do that for a living, you should definitely be doing it by now because millions of people already are. That’s not to say that just having these tools will make you successful – there’s a very good chance you’re shit – but luckily the internet is pretty generous in its feedback if you happen to be rubbish (or a lady).

What advice would you offer someone applying to work in the same field?

Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about, and try and get that passion across in your work as much as you can. I meet so many games journalists who seem miserable. I don’t get it; if something’s not fun, don’t do it. There’s a lot of ‘old guard’ in the games industry who would rather sit on Twitter moaning about YouTubers all day than actually do any work.

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