8 Tips to Help you get your First Job in Entertainment

break into the entertainment industry

Working in the entertainment industry isn’t usually about glitz and glamour – it’s about hard work and odd hours

You probably think that working in the entertainment industry is highly rewarding, with the glitz, glamour, money and influence it can give you. Yes, that might be true, but you should keep in mind that it is also a highly demanding environment to work in.

Despite the exciting and creative energy that sustain film, TV, radio and theatrical sets, a lot is at stake.

People who work in the entertainment industry often have to work graveyard or early morning shifts, long days, weekends and holidays – it is not your normal lifestyle. There is always a constant pressure to prove yourself and create something new, or you will find yourself without a project to work on the next day.

Every day is make or break day. This industry is not for the faint of heart.

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Still, if you feel you are up to the challenge, then the first thing you need is to get in. Here’s how:

Master Your Craft

Whether your interest is in film production, acting, composing or TV news, almost every role in the entertainment industry requires creativity and a dedication to your craft.

Working behind the scenes requires knowledge of systems, processes and equipment, master these specific tangible skills or else be relegated to the bottom of the pack. Study job descriptions you think may interest you and make sure you have the skill set they are looking for. If you don’t have it, learn it, or else prepare to be passed over for someone who does.

As for working in front of the camera – whether as an actor, singer, TV anchor or reporter – if you plan on just ‘winging it’ you can also plan on being disappointed. You need to hone your skills and master your craft, don’t treat auditions or on camera opportunities as a chance to just be yourself, there is an art form at work.  Work at it. Trust me, the best in the business do.

Show Confidence

There is no place for the timid and weak-hearted in the industry of show business. One has to be tough, but not presumptuous. You need to show that you have what it takes to fulfill a role.

Exude confidence whenever you are in a go-see or an audition. Smile. Go for a nice posture. Slumping may portray shyness or lack of interest. Speak in a well-modulated voice if needed. Memorize your lines beforehand if you have any speaking lines. If you are in production behind the scenes, be confident in your skill set and knowledge of equipment.

The entertainment industry is run by people who are sure of themselves and know what they are doing. Adopt the same level of self-confidence. Keep in mind the thin line that separates confidence from arrogance. Avoid too much confidence that will make you look like you’re being cocky. Otherwise, you’ll probably have a hard time getting into the industry.

Recognize Opportunity

When working in the entertainment industry, accept the fact that you may not reach your goal in one big shot. You might have to start from the bottom, with the littlest of roles.

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The first rule of breaking into the entertainment industry – master your craft

Snag an internship slot in a production. You can find openings online. Directors might need you to stand in, be a double body, or run to a store to buy coffee and adhesives. Look at it as an opportunity to learn more about how the industry works.

You need to have an open mind to see that regardless of the weight or title of your job, you can use it to advance your entertainment career.

Be Persistent

You might not receive a callback, or your audition piece gets rejected. Acknowledge the disappointment, and assess where you could have improved. Nevertheless, do not lose hope and give up easily.

To reiterate, the entertainment industry can be tough. You need to keep on trying if you really want to get in. Line up for more auditions. Talk with more recruiting agents. Write more scripts. Shoot more reels. Remember the adage “Try and try until you succeed?” That’s what you are going to do.

Make Connections

Since the opportunity of getting into the entertainment industry will not knock on your door, you really got to find ways to get in.

One way to do that is to build a network of the right people who can help you get into where you want to be. Reconnect with alumnis and professors you know, reach out to people on LinkedIn, join social groups, attend conferences. Remember, you are trying to build your brand.

It is better for you to start creating a network of contacts who you personally know or had worked with. You can ask them about low level openings they can refer you to, or whether they can let you in workshops that can help you develop your craft.

Create a portfolio

For a beginner, it would be to your advantage if you have a portfolio.

These portfolios can give producers, managers, and directors an idea of your skills and talents. If you dream of landing a major role in a theater play, star in a TV series, or host a TV show, it would be nice if you have well-photographed set cards and videos of your work.

Any career choice that involves a visual component can benefit from a portfolio.

getting started in entertainment biz

If you work in a visual or creative side of the entertainment industry, create a demo reel or portfolio to display your best work

If you want to see your name credited as a screenwriter, then produce a collection of scripts. If you think you’re destined to be a song artist, create an EP.  If you are aiming to be a director or cinematographer, shoot films or prepare a demo reel.

Having proof of your work goes a long way with employers.

Attend Training and Workshops

Learning does not stop after graduation.

In the entertainment industry most especially, it pays to enhance your skills. The constant pressure to maintain your presence in the set will keep you on your toes developing your craft. There are workshops specialized to teach you new know-hows, especially if you are working on a technical skill.

Equipment that do upgrades also require an upgrade in knowledge. The same goes for talent. Nurture your talent and level it up by going to advance or intermediate sessions. For example, you can learn how to play another musical instrument, or learn to operate a higher-end camera.

Ask Questions

The reason why you probably landed on this post is because you have a question: how do I get a job in the entertainment industry?

It is a good thing you asked.

For a newbie in the industry, you will surely have a lot of questions, and your academic knowledge might not suffice to give you the answers. While a hands-on experience may give you the best answers, you can reach out to people you know who are already in the industry to give you insider tips.

Ask them how you can improve your network, or if you can tag along so you can get a glimpse of how things work. Questions will not hurt your chances. In fact, people will appreciate if you would rather ask than be a know-it-all. Learn more about the industry you are trying to get into.

About the Author

Stacey Marone is a contributing writer for scholaradvisor.com. She also does media asset management for her projects and work. In her free time, Stacey likes to crochet and bake cookies. She also loves watching broadway musicals.

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Comments

  1. I did theater in highschool and in college i worked behind the scenes in some of the productions that my school did. I am very interested in the entertainment industry and looking into jobs in the field. I think your first point of mastering your craft is a great point. If you are applying but are not sure as to what you can bring to the table and offer to the company, the chances of you getting the job are very low. The other thing is that it requires a lot of practice and experience, so starting as an intern is not a bad idea.

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