Landing your first job in the entertainment industry
You’re excited to launch your career. You want – no, you need your first job in the industry, but you don’t know anyone and you don’t know where to start. Here are my recommendations, along with several industry job hunting links.
Here’s the best place to begin – pick up Carole Kirschner’s book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV, or Digital Entertainment. Veteran Hollywood exec Carole is a mentor-extraordinaire. She’s the director of the CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program and the WGA Showrunner Training Program. Her book is packed full of stories from successful Hollywood insiders about their first industry experiences. Plus, there is a step-by-step guide of concrete things you can do to navigate the entertainment industry and advance your career.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth and vigorous course, Carole has created her 20-part virtual master class called “Carole Kirschner’s Hollywood Boot Camp.” Here’s a link to a preview, and you can download “5 Things You Must Have to Break Into Entertainment” for free.
If you want an even more personal, tailored consultation, Carole also sees clients privately.
How do you find the jobs?
One of the most up-to-date and comprehensive industry job listings is the UTA job list. Published by United Talent Agency, it has lots of leads on jobs on all levels: executive management, assistant, personal assistant, entertainment PR & marketing, music industry, tech/new media/web 2.0, casting, general office (receptionist/bookeeper/PA/runner), as well as non-Los Angeles positions. The UTA job list also includes internships in many of these areas. It is limited in its distribution, yet you can find posted on some sites. However, UTA may yank that poster’s privileges to the UTA job list at any time, so just be aware.
Grapevine Jobs started small and has evolved into a super resource. Like the UTA job list, they cover a breadth of jobs, but Grapevine is international. So you may just find that dream job that fulfills your wanderlust, too. Here’s a link to grapevinejobs.com.
A smart, unique subscription service – Hidden Gems – cultivates jobs perfect for recent film school grads, but these aren’t crew jobs or assistant jobs at agencies or studios. Hidden Gems was started by Joanna Cherensky, a USC School of Cinematic Arts alum. Joanna pulls together weekly posts for editing, photography, social media, digital, gaming, writing, and teaching gigs. Joanna shared Hidden Gem job lists with me – and there were 42 PAGES of leads at Netflix, Buzzfeed, Mindshare, Naughty Dog Video Games, Boomerang, and more! Newbies to the service can try it for free. Email email@example.com to check it out.
Another place you might find a lead is Cynopsis Media. Their leads tend to be technically specific. However, they do have listings for positions outside of Los Angeles, so if you’re looking for other markets, this may be a great resource.
If you’re looking for production-oriented jobs, check out Mandy.com. They not only advertise below-the-line positions but also have casting breakdowns and auditions. Who knows, you may just get discovered here.
Another production-oriented site is StaffMeUp.com. They do a lot of reality TV production staffing. They also have some scripted TV jobs as well.
Want to find out what’s in production and what production may need staff? Below The Line Production Listings has all that information. It’s a bit Byzantine, but you can find the info to unlock the leads you need.
Temp agencies can also be a great way to meet potential employers and get to know company cultures. In LA, different temp agencies tend to staff different studios or sections of the city. Word of mouth will guide you to the best fit for you.
Also, vibrant tracking boards can be a godsend. Finding your way onto insider tracking boards that spread word-of-mouth notices about job opportunities – often by the person vacating the position – can give you the inside track to the position. The best way to get on tracking boards is to join alumni and professional organizations.