Today marks one year starting my career in the entertainment industry! If you don't know by now, my dream has always been to work in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and I got my first job in it a year ago today.
Hollywood may seem all "glitz and glam," but in reality the hard-working people with the passion to succeed far outweigh the glamour.
I currently work as The Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator at PRETTYBIRD, a top music video and commercial production company. Sooo...just how did I get here in less than a year living in LA?
Hint: It is all kind of about who you know...in all aspects of life.
How it happened:
I had been applying to jobs ALL summer, but I realized that I wasn't trying as hard as I could be to leave faster. Something happened at my previous marketing job in LA where I didn't feel valued and that was my last straw. I couldn't stay any longer!! I stepped up my game and was willing to do anything it took to get closer to my dream. I was applying to things left and right every single day...even during down time at my current position. OOPS! Sorry not sorry! One site that was my favorite to use and where I found my next job was entertainmentcareers.net.
It all finally started to come together while I was on my first vacation in forever in Mexico (terrible timing right?) I got an email from my future employer to come in that week for an interview, but unfortunately I wouldn't be back until the following. That didn't stop me! I ended up having two phone interviews for that company and another at the airport in Mexico (with HORRIBLE service) traveling home. I was then asked to come in to interview the following Monday, for my current position.
It was my dream to work in the entertainment industry, but I actually hadn't had any actual experience in it (yet). Guess what? It didn't matter! I had an undergrad in Journalism, entertainment reporting, and experience in marketing/social media from my two previous roles.
So, at the first interview with the person I would potentially be replacing, I brought examples of my work and told her how all my previous experience would help me fulfill this role. She loved my background and wanted to bring me back for a final interview with the very well-known and successful president of the company. I remember she warned me "Don't worry, she can be intimidating, but anyone that I bring to her is worthy." If I wasn't nervous before, now I definitely was! But, I didn't let this stop me. Right before I stepped into her office, I reminded myself to be confident "you know what you are doing and you would be perfect for this job."
Sure enough, she was a bit intimidating, but I was confident. She loved my work and seemed to like me. I remember one of her questions being "so you haven't worked in this industry before?" I said I hadn't, but I showed my enthusiasm about how this was always my dream and this is what I moved across the country to do. I showed examples and explained how I know I can transfer my skills to succeed at the job. The next day I had got the offer!
P.S.- I was sitting in on an interview she was doing later in the year and she literally said how you have to show confidence and make yourself noticed to make it anywhere in the industry! In my head I was like yes, exactly what I did to prove I was worthy to her!
My 7 Tips to Follow to Break into The Industry:
1. Check job sites LITERALLY every single day. Look on Indeed.com, Mediabistro, Craigslist, but also entertainment specific sites.
2. Network and make connections everywhere you go. Always reach out to people on social media and say hi to that stranger at the store. You have to be your best work mode at the office and work events, obviously. But in reality, everywhere you go is an opportunity to make connections, because you never know who you will run into, especially being in LA. I actually meet my best connections at events I go to for fun. You build relationships on a friendly term then the business talk will flow. After, you exchange information I always reach out the next day to stay in touch. Those relationships will naturally progress. For instance, if you come across a business opportunity or a news article that you think your new contact would like go ahead and share it with them!
3. Always work on something or towards your next goal when you have free time.
4. Be picky!! I knew my next job NEEDED to be in the industry I wanted. I couldn't take any longer not being there. When I got a call back for a pretty good fashion PR job, I declined even going for an interview. My first and most important goal was to get in the entertainment industry. From there on out, I was extremely picky to ONLY apply to jobs in the film, entertainment, and music industry.
5. Don't be afraid to start at the bottom. You may have to take an entry level, receptionist, or assistant job starting off. Embrace your time there and meet as many people as you can...that is your way in! Let me tell you from my own experience, it will be pretty bad pay starting off, but if this is your dream you will stick it through and make the most of it. I work tons of side jobs in order to make a living here and most people at my work do the same.
6. Be confident!! Just like I talked about during my interview process, you have to show that you have what it takes. Even if you have little to no experience, you have to prove that you have what it takes to succeed at the role. There is so much competition and so many people are fighting for their way in, so stand out!
7. Never give up and be persistent. Keep bugging those contacts you have and attending workshops. Keep perfecting your portfolio. Keep calling back places you have interviewed at. The entertainment industry is tough and only the thick skin people will make it!!
Also, always be nice :) You never want to burn bridges or be rude to a stranger that could be your way in the business.
Do you have any other advice on working in the entertainment industry? Tell me in the comments below and good luck!!