Actors and actresses are synonymous with waiting tables before they hit the big time.
Well Production Coordinators, Assistants, Runners and Production Managers serve in Pret, offer customers services in Zara and Holland & Barretts before they take their media break!
I speak to at least 50 people a week from foreign countries, some highly skilled, others entry level who share their stories of engaging in the media industry and they often have a lot of similarities.
“No one ever gets back to me when I send over my CV”
“Interviewees also state my lack of skills as the reason I didn’t get the job”
“I apparently have too much energy and they believe I’d get bored working in their environment”
I experienced the above a lot at the early stages of my career and I have cultivated a set of tools to maximise my success and I’d like to share them with you:
Only engage with companies that offer you projects and programs that are in alignment with what excites you. A TV show, director, or genre this will ensure your energy and enthusiasm comes across authentic. People often just think in terms of I need that break - sure - but think in abundance and that break can come served in something that truly interests you.
Do your homework
Once you have worked out the above make a list of companies and projects that you want to engage with. On a spreadsheet add the company, contact for HR, current production and a column for notes. Once you have outlined the above begin your targeted research about each one and add this to your spreadsheet...
-company house (check finances)
-job post that are open
-any closed job posts (this is super important)
-check if they have international branches (especially in any languages you speak, this will help with more conversation points to raise below!)
Meet for ‘hot beverage’
Next stage- of all the companies above that have job openings that interest you call the hiring manager/HR and ask questions about the company, the role and lead them to a coffee/hot tea meeting.
If they say yes - you will be hugely prepped from your research. Equipped to boss your interview and at the beginning of a media relationship with the individual and other potential people in the office
If they say they can’t’- ensure to get as much information about the company and role and the decision makers full name and email address, so you can send your CV personally. If they don’t get back to you in the time frame agreed, you already had a conversation with them - so a follow up would seem natural and a good indicator of whether you will get to the next stage or not.
Of all the companies that don’t have current job openings call the hiring manager/HR and ask questions about the company, the role and lead them to a coffee/hot tea meeting. Discuss past roles and find out what projects they have in the pipeline (companies are always looking for new talent don’t be shy to say how great you are!) This a good relaxed way to build media relationships with decision makers for future roles.
If they say yes - you will be able to navigate the company environment in a relaxed way. Your energy won’t scream I NEED THAT ROLE so you will engage and network naturally. Send them your CV and keep in touch for when job roles come up as this will make it easier for you to pick up the phone.
If they say no - ensure to get as much information about the company and the types of role they want. Ensure to get the decision makers full name and email address so you can send your CV personally. You can decide to touch base with a follow up call when a job role is available.
So in a nutshell:
Choose companies that produce programs/projects that you enjoy
Research research research
Call companies direct and speak to decision makers
Request a meeting for coffee / hot tea
This will ultimately:
Qualify companies, the roles they look for and company cultures before you get to the CV /Interview stage
Give you confidence when speaking to decisions makers and when you get that interview you will also be well prepared (check out this article here for why this is super important)
Your second language is an advantage and could work in your favour as productions become more global
Building lasting relationships - this is super key and important in any industry
The above has been tried and tested not only by me but many of my students who are now in media roles they want to be in and armed with the tools to replicate and build relationships and ultimately Boss Their Lives!