Best way to enter the entertainment industry on the business side
I am currently a junior in college, and my professional future seems to be directed towards advertising. After an internship in marketing in general, I am interning this summer in an ad agency, on the data analysis side. Yet, my dream is to work in the entertainment industry, on the business side, either as an agent or in a studio. I was wondering what you would recommend to enter this industry where network is everything.
Is it worth it to start as an assistant (at the bottom of the food chain) and then become an agent, potentially later switching to a studio? Or would you recommend starting in another industry (advertising for instance) and then switch over at a later date, probably higher up in the hierarchy?
And more generally, what is your opinion on this industry?
Hi Celestin: My suggestion would be to enter your field of interest as early as possible. That way you can see if the experience aligns with your expectations. As you point it out, it might require that you start in an entry-level position and work your way from there, but this approach would allow you to assess if this is a career you want to pursue and understand the implications for advancement. If for some reason, the prospects are not what you expected, you still have time to correct course as needed. Good luck!
There many paths into Entertainment jobs, and being an assistant at a Talent Agency is one of the best entry level positions for people breaking into the business. Starting in the mail room is a common first step. The pay is very low, but its also very competitive since so many people want to get into the 'biz.' You graduate from the mail room to being assigned to an agents desk. Again, the play is low and some agents are notorious for treating their assistants horribly, but the plus side is you are usually exposed to a ton on the industry. They have you 'roll calls' so you listen into every conversation they are having. And its also a huge networking opportunity because all of the assistants you come up with go into the biz with you.
I would suggest starting in Entertainment rather than transferring from a different field. Every single field has entry level positions and its difficult to find and move up the ladder, so you may as well start in the field you wanted. Also often if you get successful in another field, sometimes its hard to make the move and you have an aching feeling inside that you aren't following your dreams.
Don't forget, it is totally possible to be hugely successful in the entertainment business with no connections at the start. You need persistence and hard work, be willing to start at the bottom to prove yourself.