The Entertainment Industry is notoriously difficult to break into. There exists a range of reasoning behind this, from geographical limits, to needing to piggyback a relatives success, to the lack of relative experience from other industries, to the cut-throat competition and politics of Hollywood. It is not impossible, however.
Let’s just say that geographically, you’re limited to your possibilities. You are not and can not be near Entertainment Industry hubs at this point of your life.
But, let’s think outside the box.
I had a similar issue years back when I wanted to bartend part-time. I went to one of those “Bartending Schools” that issue you a “Bartending License” (which does not even really exist) and then promise you a great chance of getting that big-money job at the end. Well, months later I was still jobless. I attributed this to two things: (A) I didn’t have the physical appearance to land a job with no experience that certain ladies were able to capitalize on, and (B) to become a bartender, I needed to already have the experience being a bartender — so essentially an endless cycle of applying and getting denied (if even a response). I didn’t think outside the box.
Do you need to be an agent to become an agent? That can go for any job really. The answer is, it usually helps, but No. You CAN mimic the job duties and build you experience in that respect however, which can go a long way. That does go with almost any job.
Let’s break down some basics to agenting that we can look into:
- Representing clients’ best interests
- Phone skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Searching for opportunity
- Knowing the industry and job
We can go further from this, but I don’t want to make this too extensive. Let’s begin:
1) Representing clients’ best interests — This essentially can be relative to many B2C or B2B (Business-to-Consumer/Business) scenario. Let’s take something very dear to the clients’ happiness, as Agents deal with something very dear to their clients (a.k.a. their career!): Financial Advising. This is actually a great example for all of these points, but in this respect, the advisor is expected to do his/her best to ensure the financial security and/or success of their client. Those who look out for the best interests are usually the most successful. Advisors that only try to sell the products that give highest commission end up with short-lived careers. A strong track record here can propel you into another job — Agenting?
2) Phone Skills — It’s a proven fact that Agents spend a large amount of their time on the phones (as discussed in my previous article here). It’s also a proven fact that the up-and-coming generation has significantly lower phone skills. This is just in our nature with technology today and how we function with it. That doesn’t mean we can’t work on improving our ability to communicate. In this state, any job in which you are cold-calling can be great. Maybe telemarketing isn’t the way to go exactly, but in whatever way you can begin cold-calling with legitimate purpose, that helps. Having it on your resume shows that you can pick up the phone and call, without fear. In cold-calling, you have to work very hard to get someone’s attention, and to keep your morale up. This will make notable improvements on your communication skills.
3) Interpersonal Skills — This is something that can almost be taken into account in any job in which you work as a team with others. This is less about being job-specific, and more about preparing to answer this question on job interviews. This most often comes in the sense of “did you ever have a difficult issue with a coworker, or with a customer?” Answering “No” to this isn’t quite as impressive as having a scenario that occurred in which you were able to defuse a bad situation. You can definitely fabricate one of these, but for the most part, you’ll have a real scenario hit you at some point. Let’s just hope you handle it well, and spin it off as you handled it amazingly well.
4) Searching for opportunity — Let’s say for this one, start your own agency (as discussed about small town agents in this previous post). This is beneficial in two ways: (1) you get hands on experience in the field that you are looking to explore and (2) you are proving yourself to be a self-starter. Maybe you don’t want to go into the talent agent thing quite yet for whatever reason, having an entrepreneurial spirit and starting you own business is a huge statement.
5) Knowing the industry and job — This is probably the easiest of all. Here’s what I did: First, I searched job postings for new agents, agent trainees, mailroom candidates, etc and checked the qualifications needed for each. I tried to find ways to meet these qualifications in the meantime. However, one job posting asked to make sure you read certain books to know the history (The Agency, The Mailroom, Power to Burn, etc). So, I went online and bought these books, plus another half-dozen related to the job and industry. I’ve read at least a half-dozen of these, but that’s not enough. Remember, most of these books are outdated, especially with how fast the world changes nowadays. I also subscribed to multiple e-newsletters to stay up to date every day on the current happenings in tinseltown, and internationally.
Remember, as Jim Rohn said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
I hope this helps. It’s not supposed to be a how-to-get-there guide, but it should serve to open your eyes in how to view getting there. If your plan is a straight-path there, you’re going to have plenty of issues along the way!