Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Screw Up a Job Opportunity in the Entertainment Field

I've been quite busy lately so have not been able to update as much.

For one thing, I've been dealing with responses to my company's ad for interns. If you have never interviewed people for a job, I highly recommend it. You find out some very interesting things.

First off, Scott Power's advice on how casting directors and the like really want to find the right person for that acting role definitely applies to the intern search. At least with me as interviewer, I'm just seeking the right person for the job. I don't care about things you can't control so before I see your response, you don't lose points with me for simply applying.

Second, you'll see people doing all kinds of things you wouldn't expect. Not following up, not keeping contact information current, ditching interviews without calling, asking for things they could easily find online, etc.

This isn't even talking about interviewing attire, which some businesses are far pickier about than others. As a rule of thumb, I always ask my interviewer how I should dress so I don't walk in wearing my corporate bad ass business suit & scare people even more when applying for a job having nothing to do with my status as an attorney. If you're an attorney even being considered for a non-lawyer job, you want to be as approachable as possible particularly in more casual settings. The suit you wear to court is probably not a good idea.

Speaking of things I didn't expect, I had a rather interesting correspondence with an internship candidate. Note I said "internship candidate," not "CEO candidate" or even "receptionist candidate." There are some lessons to take from it if you're an applicant. Here goes:

1. You are not the only person on the planet. Other people exist, including your interviewer. You don't know how many other candidates I have to talk to, my personal schedule, if I'm getting paid by the company, etc. For all you know, I have 100 other people to talk to + am going on a long awaited vacation in a very short time.

2. You are not the best candidate for the job. As in life, there's always someone who's smarter, prettier, a better athlete, a better dancer, etc. Because you don't know how many candidates I have to consider, it's stupid to assume that you are the most sought after.

3. Even if you somehow are the most sought after candidate, that position can change based on your attitude and behavior toward the interviewer (or for that matter, anyone else working with the company including the custodian). You can go from "I've got to interview this person ASAP" to "No way am I working with this person" in a heartbeat.

4. You want your interviewer to be HAPPY. Believe me, you don't want me interviewing you at the crack of dawn & being pissed that you made me get up early. Nor do you want me interviewing you on a day when my husband's home; I'll just fixate on you taking time away from my loved ones.

5. On that note, the interviewer is in charge. NOT you, bub! You don't get to rush out when I give you details or demand information. I get to tell you things in due time. I'm the captain of this ship as is any other person who is an owner in their company or being authorized to interview you. You don't run the show!!!!!!!!

If you think otherwise, you'll definitely not be working in the entertainment field for long. No one wants to work with a self-important diva, whether that's in acting or otherwise. Oh, and straight men can also be "divas."

That is what you are when you whine about the interview location or me giving information when I feel it's appropriate. If you try to rush me around (remember, I could be waiting to hear back from 100 other people & need to manage their responses to me), this is how I will perceive you.

Want to demand me to interview you at a different venue? Pay me for my time. Until you're doing that, shut up.

6. Attitude is everything. Be a prick & see if you get selected as an intern. Oh, and if you've accused the company of being shady when you have no basis to make such assertions don't expect to be considered for ANYTHING. You won't even get a job picking up trash or cleaning up vomit at the after party.

Oh, and I'm allowed to be a bitch. For one thing, I'm a lawyer. Getting six figure loan debt & dealing with assholes in all aspects of the legal field (clients, other attorneys, etc.) have earned me the right to be less than cordial. You want that right? Go to law school, get a JD and get admitted as a lawyer.

Second, I'm a company owner. My word also trumps yours. If you want that right, get your own company & develop it. You'll learn a thing or two about working with others & finding competent people to help you.

Third, if you think I'm "mean" because I don't pull out Midwestern nice for you (and I'm from the SOUTH, jerk) then you're way too delicate for this industry. There are people in this field that make me look like Melody Hansen from Hey Dude.

Most people would tell you I'm a sweetheart but I don't take shit or let anyone push me around. That's how you have to be if you want to survive in a big city and in a competitive industry.

7. Finally, no one has a right to take cabs everywhere in NYC. We have one of the best public transit systems in NYC. Stop being a whiny little baby about using it or I will tease you about it & call you a wimp to your face.

If I don't know who you are, chance are you're not going to get mobbed on the subway.

Newsflash: not everything films every single scene in Manhattan. Parts of our films were shot in Brooklyn, the Bronx & even (gasp) New Jersey. Even well known TV shows shoot scenes in places like Connecticut, Atlantic City, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. This includes well established, mainstream companies not just indies.

Try demanding a company to film all their scenes in Manhattan, especially when you are an intern. I'd love to hear the results of that conversation since I know what I'd tell someone if they asked me that.

NOW do you want to bitch about going to Queens for the interview?

In closing, interns don't have the connections or trust of established people. You also don't know who I may know in the world who could deny you opportunities because of your actions toward me. The entertainment community is very small and NYC is even smaller.

If you're smart, you won't do what that intern did. It's a surefire way to never work in the industry.

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