Presenting on TV is a goal for many people and it can be a very hard road to travel as talented and experienced presenter Greg Scott has explained more than once on this site. There are many routes into TV presenting and some people work at it for years before getting their foot in the door. There are however those that get in early – as early as 15 years of age!
Cai Morgan from Wales did just that and is finding work on TV and radio. So how does a 15 year old get started on the road to stardom and where will he go from here? Over to Cai himself:
How did you get into presenting on TV and how old were you when you got your first on screen role?
I had my first break on TV on a program on S4C (the Welsh Television station) called Mosgito when I was about 15/16. This was a magazine type program aimed at teenagers aged 12-16. This program gave young people like myself an opportunity to present items, model clothes and give interviews! Over a year I did over 25 items for the program. I mostly presented fashion items for the program, modelling clothes and then talking about them, giving my opinion etc. From modelling fake fur clothing to modelling surf clothes in the summer I did it all! I also had the chance to present other items like sports items. On one occasion I travelled up to Peterborough to film an item at the Bauer production house on every young school boy’s favourite sporting magazine, ‘Match’.
Before I started presenting on this program, I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to do after school but this program gave me a small taste of what it was like to present on TV and after the program ended I never looked back.
What inspired you to get involved in a media career?
Music has been a passion of mine from a very young age. I can remember when I was 5/6 year old in the car with Mum playing Lighthouse Family tapes and singing my heart out. One Christmas my brother had a toy drum kit and I played it till I broke the skins on it! I then had a proper drum kit and started having lessons. I am now the drummer for a band called Indie-Go Modem that was voted in the top 5 unsigned bands of Wales 2010 by Clic Online and have supported bands such as The Automatic and The Blackout. I am also a guitarist and singer for another band called Y Rwtch. Because of the fact that I am a musician and I have a musical family the radio has always been on in the car or in the house. When it came to deciding what I wanted to do with myself after school I never thought that I was the type of person to be in front of a camera or a mic. In school, when we had to give presentations I always had the highest mark, but thought nothing of it, until one day it just clicked that I can present and that I wanted to follow a career as a presenter.
What is your goal/your ideal job?
The goal for me is to become a mainstream Television and Radio presenter. I have a passion for Music, so to be able to be around Music and present would be a dream for me.
I can remember Lady Gaga saying in an interview a few years back that when she decided to follow a career as a pop-star she knew that she was going to make it and be one of the most famous people on the planet. After seeing this interview I never really understood what she meant by it ‘How did she know that she would make it?!’
I have come to realize what this means now by ‘knowing that your going to get there’. Some call it being cocky, but I really do believe in myself and if there’s something that anyone should know is that you’re the only person that’s going to get you where you want to go in your life so don’t be another person that follows everyone else and hope that you will fall into your perfect job.
My Dad has a saying:
“The only fish that go with the current are dead ones”.
So go fight for what you want even if you have to go against what everyone else is doing to get there!
What do you find most difficult about getting the kind of TV/radio roles you want?
The most difficult thing I find is that I’m young and on occasions when I have contacted some production companies I get treated as a child and not as a presenter which really frustrates me. I can’t tell you how many times I have rang the main office of a production company and been told ‘They will get in touch with you’ or even when I ring again to chase them up ‘Sorry that person isn’t in today’ but, perseverance does pay off on occasions, because they will eventually listen to what you have to say. So if you’re in that situation, keep trying, don’t give up!!
Do you find it difficult finding media roles outside of Wales?
Yes, this is quite a challenge especially being the age I am, saying that, I did get the chance to work as a trainee runner in Bristol back in May. I spent the day with ‘Roughcut TV’ on the set of ‘Trollied’ Sky 1’s brand new sit-com. This was such a good experience for me as I had never had the experience of working behind the camera before, so it gave me an insight on what makes a good production team. Other than that day of work experience, all my other work has been in Wales, thanks to my ability to speak Welsh.
How do you go about ‘selling’ yourself and finding work? Do you have an agent?
The way I have found work so far is through getting contacts. On my pc I have a database of hundreds of contacts. If you have just started out, I seriously recommend you keep organized with your contacts because they are so valuable. What I’ve done is set-up Microsoft outlook with all my contacts details, like a digital address book. Another tip with this is after you’ve spoke to someone, be it on the phone, via email or in person make sure you write down in your notes somewhere what you have spoke about and things that came up in the discussion.
You are probably thinking why? My memory is good enough.
When you are speaking to lots of different people, trying to get working here, there and everywhere to get your name known you can loose track of who’s who and these notes are to refresh your memory on what you have spoke about with this person and when. Also if something irrelevant to want your talking about comes up in conversation as well i.e. ‘Sorry that I haven’t been able to get back to you Cai because I have broken my leg and I haven’t been in work’ write down that, that person broke her leg because when you come back to speaking to them in a few weeks/months time you can ask them how’s their leg. This will prove to that person that you really care about what she has to say whether it’s offering you work or not and that you pay attention to what they have to say. The littlest of things can go far sometimes to build better relationships.
Anyway enough about legs!
If you play any sports or are in a band or have any hobbies/interests at all make sure you advertise what you do because you need to make yourself stand out as much as you can so don’t be afraid to sell yourself. I play Volleyball for Wales, I play drums, I play guitar and sing, I surf so I make sure that my followers on Twitter know what’s going on with these hobbies of mine regularly.
I don’t have an agent, I just use the contacts that I have to find me work.
(As the Editor I’d like to interrupt here and say Cai is SO right about using your personal and social skills when making contacts. Simple things like remembering personal details and making a real connection with someone really helps you to stand out in the crowd. As always the advice is don’t overdo it but basic good manners and a solicitous nature makes you likeable and memorable).
What skills do you think you need to succeed?
One of the main skills you need to work in media as a youngster is to try and be as flexible as you can and be more than happy to work for FREE! I work part-time at the BBC in Cardiff on Radio Cymru and I often get asked to go in last minute because someone has phoned in ill and it pays off in the end because I get to spend more time learning in a place that I want to follow a career, so be available!
What advice would you give anyone still at school and wanting to work in TV or radio in the future?
GET AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS YOU CAN!
Don’t be afraid to contact a production company and ask for work experience. It’s the perfect way to get amongst the people that could potentially employ you in the future and it’s great to show them that you are capable of working in their environment. School students get so much time off, so make the most of it instead of being sat in your house playing on the xbox all day. Don’t think that after you you’ve finished your work experience that that’s it. Make sure you keep in touch with the people that you’ve worked with and the perfect way of doing this is via social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook.
If you get the chance to be in front of the camera make sure you ask for a copy of the program! Over time, when you have enough material, you can put a show-reel together to send out to the contacts that you have. Also a website is a good idea so that people know where to go if they want to see more of you.
Here’s my website that I put together myself with my 2011 show-reel on it!
If you would like to hear me presenting, tune in to a show I present for GTFM 107.9FM or online www.gtfm.co.uk every Tuesday from 7pm–10pm.
Thank you, Cai. Some great advice there and if any TV producers are looking for young talent then don’t ignore the teenagers!
Coming up the truth about TV agents and getting TV presenting jobs from one of the UK’s best known showbiz agents. Subscribe to the site to have that land automatically in your inbox.
If you’d like more advice and information about presenting on TV then check out these articles: Presenting on TV (click on the highlighted words to go straight through to those posts).