Lights, camera, action! These words might conjure images of Bollywood (films made in Mumbai) glamour and song and dance routines, but as with everything else in the entertainment business, times area changing and the focus of a large part of India’s ac ting talent, has switched to the booming television industry. Many people are intent on being seen on, or working for the big screen and are willing to work for less money. As a result character / junior artists are paid less in movies than they would be paid for working in television shows. This is one of the factors that has made the television industry very popular with professionals.
The television industry is projected to grow at a rate of 14.5 per cent over the next four to five years, attaining the Rs 473 billion mark. No longer the big screen’s poorer cousin, the television industry in India (the third largest television market in the world), has witnessed the launch of a slew of new channels in recent years. Whether its daily soaps or comedies or reality shows, musical programs or quiz shows, there are host of opportunity for aspirants in the television business today.
While films may be a competitive difficult medium to start with, the sheer number of television shows and channels ensure many aspiring actors get a break, and perhaps later move on the big screen. Besides acting opportunities in the television industry include direction, cinematography, editing, script and screenplay writing.
The television industry offers aspirants with an interest in production, an open platform to step up and prove themselves. After completing a TV production course, students can start their careers as independent or executive producers. There is also the option of working with a producer as his assistant. A television producer’s responsibilities begin with making certain everyone makes it to the set on time, to ensuring all production activities proceed smoothly until the end of the post production stage, when the show is ready to be screened. A producer has to do everything right from conceptualizing the show, to acquiring finance, and project and time slots from the channel to making arrangements for food and lights. But he has to start with enlisting the services of a director and writer. There are innumerable TV channels in India that offer jobs to students trained in the field. You can join a TV channel that is of interest to you, or opt to work for a specific program.
If you intend to act on TV, you might need to brace yourself for hectic schedules with shooting continuing even until the last minute for daily soaps. Talent and passion coupled with formal education and a sound knowledge of technical know how paves the way to success in this industry. Even so, acting is a tough profession, so be prepared to struggle initially, when you queue up for one audition after another.
It is a myth that television is a lucrative field. The struggle period is too long, while success can be short lived. Your initial remuneration can be as meager as Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 per day. The field is extremely competitive and uncertain, and people in the industry follow the mantra “out of sight is out of mind”. She also stresses that long incessant working hours leave little or no tem for a personal or social life. The working conditions can be strenuous and with no fixed job hours, television can be a very challenging work atmosphere. Junior artists get an even worse deal. They might need to report to set at 7 am, when all they have is a five minute role at 7 pm.