Name: Jacqueline Shepherd
Job title: TV presenter
Time in current role: 5 years
How did you land your current job?
I changed careers about eight years ago, leaving a lucrative role in recruitment to follow my passion in media presenting.
I got an adhoc runner (production assistant) job and landed a number of presenting gigs on student productions. I then linked up with an online music channel and internet radio station. All of this work was unpaid (made possible thanks to the recruitment role setting me up well financially) but armed me with great experience and I really got to hone my presenting and producing skills, plus it provided me with excellent show-reel material.
I received a call from a production company after they saw my amateur show-reel – they were in need of a presenter for a new TV show. A year later I became the anchor of said show and a year after that the programme moved to Sky 1. I’ve since hosted live TV, provided continuity and voice-over for a number of programmes and hosted more live events than I can remember. I’ve also just wrapped on a new programme called 4ReeL where I was the Assistant Producer.
What are the key functions of your role?
As the lead presenter on What’s Up TV, I provide all of the studio links for the programme along with co-host AJ King. As well as being the face of the show I get to present a number of the items which generally entails interviewing guests on location. Last season I interviewed Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and pop legend Billy Ocean. I also presented an item on veganism.
I’ve recently become assistant producer for What’s Up TV (EXCLUSIVE!) so I now help the researchers develop the programme content and secure contributors for the show.
Talk us through your typical day at work
My typical day can really vary – it may be that I’m looking for presenting work on casting boards and sending out newsletters to raise my profile. When I’m really busy it can include getting up early to film What’s Up TV followed by lunch on the move, a voiceover gig in central London, dinner in town while reading a script and then off to host a live event in the evening.
I’ve spent the last three months as Assistant Producer on 4ReeL TV so unusually for me have had a very regular routine. My alarm goes off at 6:15am and I normally snooze for 10 minutes. I then shower, dress and leave the house roughly an hour later to travel to the production office where I arrive around 8:30am and eat breakfast.
At 9am sharp I lead a meeting with the production team where we discuss topical stories from that day’s papers and social media etc., then go over production ideas and updates. Throughout the day I read briefs, check call sheets and chase release forms. I try and fit lunch in between 1pm and 2pm which I usually eat at my desk. During this time I often put my headphones in and listen to the radio, letting everyone know ‘do not disturb’ while I eat and work.
Toward the end of production, editing becomes priority and I work with the self-shooting researchers to support them with their edits. There is often a lot of content to go through so a typical day would finish at 7:30pm earliest, but often as late as 11pm meaning on occasion dinner is also eaten at my desk!
How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Warm, charismatic, committed.
Your favourite part of the job?
I really enjoy interviewing guests, it’s a real privilege being the vessel through which they can share their stories. I love the fact that my job entails social/current affairs and entertainment, and it’s good to know that you’ve brought fun to someone’s day while educating them on some level. I also enjoy the collaborative nature of working as an assistant producer.
…and the part you could do without?
The really early starts and late finishes can be exhausting when you have too many in a row!
Plans for the future?
As previously mentioned I’ll be Assistant Producer on the next series of What’s Up TV which airs January to February 2017 on Sky 1. I love this progression as it’s in line with my aspiration of producing the content that I present. I’d also love to do a documentary one day.
Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?
There are a handful of stories of overnight successes when it comes to presenting, but these are the exception and not the rule. The rule is that you’re tenacious, committed and grow a thick skin as there are plenty of knock backs to experience along the way. Don’t expect to get the job of your dreams immediately. Look for amateur productions online and less obvious presenting opportunities, be it local events or gigs, and offer to do a bit of hosting or interviewing for free. Always aim to get video evidence, i.e. show-reel material, as that will help to build up your artillery when you are ready to apply for paid roles or approach production companies and agents. LLY