I currently work as an assistant to two literary managers/producers at Industry Entertainment. My bosses represent writers and directors for film and television, and are in charge of finding their next project, helping them develop ideas, and selling their original material. If my bosses come up with an idea or are significantly involved in developing it, they occasionally will come on as producers to a client’s project. It’s hard to describe a typical day other than that I am generally on the phone and e-mailing from the time I come in to the office in the morning and leave at night (more on that to come in later posts).
I have wanted to work in entertainment since before I came to BC, and I think that innate desire is essential to being in Hollywood. If you are don’t have to work in this business, you should find something else to do. I got my start in Hollywood through networking and interning, which is the only way to break in unless you have a very strong family or other personal connection to the industry. Back in the early days of Facebook, it was possible to do a search by company and school without putting in a name. I cross-listed Boston College and Creative Artists Agency (one of the biggest talent agencies in the business) and found a BC alum who worked for a prominent literary agent. I sent him a message completely out of the blue, we spoke on the phone about his job, and he offered to help find me internships.
After an excellent resume critique from Janet Costa Bates in the Career Center (I highly recommend doing this), the alum got me an internship at a small production company, and upon arriving in LA for that summer quickly found two more. I juggled three internships over an 8 week period; going to two of them twice a week and reading screenplays for the third once a week and on weekends. I made a point to show up first, leave last, and always have a positive attitude. The following summer I did three more internships, this time at bigger and more well-known companies. I often worked 12 hour days (for no pay) and would read, summarize, and evaluate 3-5 screenplays every weekend (this is called script coverage). Every summer I made it a point to network intensively, meeting as many BC alumni as possible and getting to know all the assistants at the companies I interned for. The summer after graduation, I landed a paid internship at Creative Artists Agency. This was a fantastic 8 week experience, and a few weeks after the internship ended, I was fortunate enough to get my current assistant job.
While at BC, I made a point to maintain the network I built through my interning, and eventually decided to start a club called Hollywood Eagles to connect BC alumni working in entertainment with interested students on campus. I was a double major in English and History, and I only took one film class in all four years. This isn’t uncommon at all in the industry, and while a love of film/tv is essential, a degree in it is not. Hollywood is filled with people who come from a liberal arts background, and it’s a lot easier to read and analyze a screenplay when you’re used to reading to Nietzsche and Shakespeare.