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Floor Runners

Many highly successful Directors, Producers or Technicians begin their careers as Runners.  Within the industry, the role of Runner is viewed as basic, on-the-job training.  Runners may be asked to do anything that is required on the set or location to aid the progress of the shoot.  This can make the Runners' role more varied than any of the other job roles within the industry, although the nature of the tasks they are set may seem menial, and are often tasks that no-one else has the time to complete.  A number of Runners may be employed on larger productions.  Floor Runners are usually supervised and instructed by Assistant Directors. 

As the role's name suggests, Runners first and foremost run errands.  Their responsibilities vary widely from shoot to shoot, but usually involve conveying messages, organising props, looking after cast and crew (making and distributing tea and coffee can be an hourly task), driving, delivering technical equipment, and attending to specific requests from the Producer, Director or Assistant Directors.  The overall responsibility of Runners is to complete whatever task is assigned to them as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  As even relatively small details may cause interruptions or delays to filming, all their duties must be carried out rapidly, so that the shoot can progress smoothly.

Whilst Runners' chores may appear basic, some essential skills are required to take on the role successfully.  Runners must be able to complete every task efficiently and quickly, whilst also paying attention to detail, and using common sense and initiative at all times.  Perhaps most important of all, Runners must be able to take and carry out instructions with humility, good grace and enthusiasm, no matter how apparently menial the assigned duty.  A 'can do' attitude, stamina and drive are all crucial. 

Runners must be very observant, as their role involves training and developing their skills on the job.  Runners must always be reliable and organised.  As all these skills are vital for this role, and for other roles within this department, being able to apply them at this entry-level position is an essential requirement.  The work is usually freelance and involves long hours, so Runners must be motivated and flexible.

No formal qualifications are required to become a Runner.  Appropriate personal skills and qualities are far more important than an academic track record.  Work experience placements as a Runner may also be useful.  Any personal experience of working on the production of an amateur play, or short film, is likely to be relevant.  A full driving licence is the one qualification considered essential for all Runners.  Any Health and Safety knowledge or training is also useful.

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