Creating Your Career in Arts, Entertainment & Communications
Industry Specialist; Arts, Entertainment, and Communications
Jobs in the arts, entertainment, and communications industries are found primarily though personal contacts, also referred to as networking. To build a network, students must do internships, join professional associations or student clubs, attend events such as lectures or workshops, do volunteer work and conduct informational interviews. Job postings can also be found on online job sites, company websites or in industry publications. It is important to become familiar with the companies within your area of interest by reading publications specific to your field of interest and participating in activities where you can learn more about your industry of choice.
Resume formats used in the following three industries vary greatly and the layout depends on the nature of the job and your unique skills and accomplishments. Generally, they conform to the standard business style layout. You may be an accomplished singer, but if you are applying for an office job with the Los Angeles Op- era, where they want you to work on a computer, your resume must emphasize the work experience you have related to that position. Your musical training and performance work may not be the key to landing that position!
Resumes for actors, singers, musicians, and other performers have a very specific format which includes physical statistics (height, vocal range, etc., depending on which craft you practice) along with experience. Performers must have a head shot to ac- company the resume. For careers in stagecraft and skilled trades, the resume, should be a chronological list of your credits, and the shows or productions you have worked on.
Artists need a portfolio (samples of their work) to accompany their resumes. It is often difficult for students to decide what pieces to include in their portfolio. Entire books are published on the subject of portfolios, but a good guideline is to include only your best and most relevant work. One artist recruiter put it this way; "It's not your life's work, it's your best work".
Marketing, advertising, and public relations portfolios should be created using the same approach. Think of your portfolio as part of the marketing campaign to promote yourself. Take extra time and care with it as you would any of your other work.
Graphic designers, animators, and illustrators can usually bring color copies of their sample work in a portfolio. Painters, sculptors, and other artists with work that is not portable should have photo prints, slides, or transparencies. Some artists carry a portable light box and a magnifying viewer to meetings as a way to view slides and transparencies. Digital technology enables an artist's work to be saved on a CD or a flash drive for sending and viewing. Websites are already the standard means for artists to display and store samples. Links to websites where artwork is displayed are easily emailed to potential buyers or employers and have become the new standard for artists.
Journalists, photographers, and filmmakers also need to have samples of their work to accompany a resume. A photographer's portfolio can be in the form of prints, slides, CD or flash drive. For filmmakers, camera operators, animators, and others whose work is in a moving picture format, your samples need to be on a DVD, or flash drive. This type of "demo reel" as it is called, should have music to accompany and enhance the imagery as this is standard, along with a title of your name in front of the work to identify it. Approximately ten seconds of black at the head of the piece, before the titles and a few seconds of black between samples is the best way to present and organize your samples. A practitioner of journalism, public relations, or other writing should have work samples printed out in a portfolio, saved on a CD or flash drive. In all of these fields, a website is highly recommended as a place to upload your sample work.
Interviewing for a job in the arts, entertainment and communications industries varies according to the type of skills required and by job function. The format of the interview may range from a brief, informal conversation, to a very concise list of questions from a panel. But regardless of whether you are facing an art director or an editor; you need to be prepared to show them why they should choose you. Careers in these fields rely heavily on verbal communication skills and personality. The interview is the best place to demonstrate those skills.
Auditions are the interview equivalent for the performing artist, dancer, or musician. Auditions often include some conversation similar to an interview. The artist needs to be prepared to speak articulately about their work. Preparing for an audition is completely different, than preparing for a traditional interview. A good audition is contingent upon the following:
- Natural talent
- Choice of material
- Ability to cope with performance anxiety, improvising, and on-the-spot changes
- Subjective criteria and opinion of the person making the selection
Always send a thank you note after a job interview. It will help them remember you better. It also shows your willingness to do more, and that you are sincerely motivated and interested in the job or role.
In every case for all industries, keep track of your correspondence and follow-up activities. When you get a return phone call you need to be able to quickly recall who you are talking to, what the job was, and what you said to them!
This article provides a broad overview about careers within the arts, communications, and entertainment industries. The information is generalized and limited in scope due to the constraints of the size of this guide book, and should be supplemented by further research. Begin now by coming to the Career Center!