Moving to London

If you really want to get into the industry, but after some research you discover that there isn’t much happening near to where you live, then you may seriously have to consider moving to London or another big city in order to get closer to the action.

According to the Skillset Employment census for 2006, the results indicate that, ”nearly six in ten (57%) of the industry works in London or the South East, and three in ten in the other English regions combined. Just over one in ten are employed in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”.

Similarly Broadcast magazine did a Lifestyle survey for 2007 and discovered that 66% of their respondent’s offices were based in London and that more than half of their respondents (53%) lived there. It went on to say that, “Despite the high cost of living and the traditionally low starting salaries in broadcasting, most junior employee’s are likely to live in London.”

So for arguments sake I am going to assume that you are most likely to be moving to London, as it is where the highest concentration of production, post-production, TV, cable, satellite, corporate and film companies are all based, and consequently where you will find the greatest opportunities for getting work.

Having lived in London myself for seven years there’s no denying that it can be a tough city to make a start in. I grew up in Norfolk, went to college in Cornwall and had only visited London a few times before moving there for my first few trial days at a production company. I only had a few friends living in London at the time and I also had no money, so for the first few months I had to share a bed with my friend, go to work each day and live out of my bag until I had saved enough deposit to get my own room in a shared house.

Not quite the dream scenario I had initially imagined for myself, but I think a lot of people when they first move to London or other big cities do a little bit of sofa surfing and crashing on people’s inflatable mattresses until they can sort themselves out, as sometimes there is simply no alternative.

You may already be lucky enough to be living in London, or have a relation with a spare room where you can stay rent free – obviously everyone has a different set of circumstances, but for those of you about to embark on the great move to London in search of media fame and fortune then here’s a couple of things to think about.


If you don’t have any friends that you can stay with for a short while, or relations to put you up, then I think your best bet, (even if you can initially afford to live on your own), is to enter into a flat-share agreement, preferably with people of a similar age to you. The reason being is that it is a good way to meet people socially if you are new to a city and you can usually find a good place to live without having to pay an absolute fortune in rent.

Essentially with flat sharing what you’re doing is renting a bedroom in a flat or house that is exclusively yours, and then the rest of the house or flat you share with your housemates. If this sounds a bit dodgy to you then fear not. Thousands of young people living in the capital do it and many of the websites that advertise flat shares have excellent guides and useful tips that will help get you started.

Here are a few good sites to take a look at first off: 


It can be a bit tricky and time consuming finding the right flat share though, particularly if you don’t know the areas of London or your chosen city very well, and you may not always be able to move into a place straight away. So if you have been offered the chance to work in a new city, then try to invest some time in properly exploring a few of the different areas and get to see a number of different flats or houses before you commit to live anywhere. That way you’ll get a broader perspective of what’s about and hopefully settle in a bit before you start your job.

In London the tube zones are a good indicator of distances, so if possible try to keep within Zones 1,2 and 3 and that way you shouldn’t go too wrong. Soho, which is the hub of all things media, is situated in Zone 1, with the nearest tubes being Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court road.

The further out of Zones 1 and 2 you go then theoretically the less you will probably end up having to pay for rent, but the downside to that is your travel time to work will increase and some of the areas with really cheap rents can be somewhat un-desirable. In contrast you could end up paying a fortune for a shoebox that’s situated very close to the centre, so it’s important to try and find a happy balance between the two.

It’s also worth trying to get something part or fully furnished if you can, as it’s not really ideal to be spending lots of money on a bed and wardrobe in your first few days of arrival.


If you’re going to be living in London or at least staying for a while, you will want to get yourself an ‘Oyster card’. Traveling around London is expensive at the best of times and typically prices seem to go up each year, but by getting yourself an Oyster card you can keep your travel costs down and you’ll find getting about much easier. Go to .uk for more information about Oyster cards, tube maps, and all things to do with travelling in and around London.

Also get yourself a copy of the London ‘A-Z’ (available in most bookshops) which is a street map book of London. They can come in pocket size and are really, really useful for finding your way around the streets of London when on your runs, looking for accommodation or alternatively for when you’re out driving around.

Cycling to work is good alternative to the tube and buses, particularly if you’re running in-house at a production company or in post-production, as not only can it greatly reduce your travel costs but it will also probably get you there faster. It may not be so good if you have to arrive at a location outside of London for a 6am call-time however, and you may not want to risk life and limb on London’s roads, arrive to work sweaty and get on a bike after a hard days running… but the option is always there and worth considering as London attempts to go greener.


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