Diary of an unexpected runner – with executive insight

Denise Eriksen took a trip to the country as a runner after years as a film and TV executive. Here's what happened.
Denise Eriksen on set

Production Runners, I’ve decided, live on the cusp of failure, constantly staring down the abyss of screwing things up. 

I know about this firsthand because, recently, I put my hand up for a gig on a COVID-approved filming gig in rural Victoria. At the very last minute, they discovered they were short of a Production Runner with a valid driver’s licence.

Without a further thought – and with the promise of five nights away from my COVID lockdown, I jumped on board.  After all, I’d done the gig before – for Foxtel on the London Olympics production team – and it turned into one of the best decisions of my professional life.

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Denise Eriksen is co-founder of Media Mentors Australia and what’s known as “a seasoned TV professional”. That means she’s been around the industry forever in various guises. She was Head of Factual at ABC, Head of Production and Development at SBS, Head of Current Affairs at the ABC, an Executive Producer with Beyond Productions, a journalist, a trainer of production crew internationally and so on. Now, her focus is on helping others develop their careers and their projects - in partnership with her daughter-in-law, Esther Coleman Hawkins.