Law students, undergraduates, high school students and young attorneys often contact me for informational interviews or ask me to speak on panels regarding my work and career trajectory. Those interested in pursuing a career in entertainment or entertainment law mostly want to know how to “GET THERE.” Here are five points to add to your own star.
- YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PATH IS YOURS ALONE AND NOBODY’S PATH IS THE SAME. There is no formula. Some of us in the entertainment business have developed successful careers from the street, some from the Ivy League, some grew up in the business, some a combination of many experiences. I don’t believe in luck – I believe that we create our own realities. The Laws of Prosperity Apply. Everyone working in this field had a beginning even if they had help with connections. REMEMBER THAT IT’S YOUR REALITY so ask yourself how to carve it out. How you hold yourself out in the world matters so don’t be shy. IMPRESS PEOPLE. BE EXCEPTIONAL. STAND OUT. All lines of work require earning respect. Respect comes from hard work, good communication skills and team work. Practice all of these and create your own “value added proposition,” your own identity, your own qualifications, your own brand. Go beyond what is expected in all you do, be over prepared, over research the topic. But be careful to not cop a ‘tude – leave THAT at the door. Don’t be afraid to USE YOUR INTUTION. Go to your gut and go with what feels right. Develop a sense of “being in the right place at the right time.” Don’t be afraid to take risks. Take advantage of all opportunities. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up. Try something else. Cut yourself some slack and forge onward. Failure is perceived. ONCE YOU’RE IN, BE GRATEFUL. Thank those who help you. Send thank you notes. Offer tokens of your appreciation. Pay it forward in helping others in return. KNOW THAT YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN AND IT’S YOUR JOURNEY. BEING GRATEFUL AND HELPING OTHERS SOLIDIFIES YOUR SUCCESS. WE ARE ROOTING FOR YOU SO ROOT FOR YOURSELF!!
- FOCUS ON YOUR PASSION. Joseph Campbell, the late American philosopher told us: “FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.” The question and answer to “what makes you happy” continues throughout your entire life not just now. Embrace what you love. Fully. If you love music, learn all you can about it. Become a specialist, even genre specific. Be the hip hop girl or the country guy. If you love all music, diversify that knowledge. You don’t have to play an instrument or have training to know a lot about music. However, being familiar with popular music history and the technical aspects of music are helpful and DO impress. Familiarize yourself with the music history of the genre that interests you, as well as the history and current status of the music industry, the labels, the artists, the producers, the writers, the publishers, the managers, the booking agents, the industry practices. Know the current landscape and know the current trends and issues. There are a plethora of resources available. Research, be informed, and continue to teach yourself. If your passion is film, TV, video games, or books, do the same in that industry. FOCUS ON YOUR CHOSEN FIELD AND TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY, BECOME AN EXPERT. Show us your passion and your enthusiasm for your chosen area. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO COUNT ON YOU FOR YOUR EXPERTISE AT SOME POINT! KNOW YOUR INFO, SHARE IT WITH ROBUSTO!
- FORMAL EDUCATION: CONCENTRATE. KNOW YOUR PROF. Enroll in all classes offered in entertainment and those which may tangentially pertain to entertainment. Be an exceptional student in class. Get to know the professors outside of class. If your school offers any courses or clinics in contracts, contract drafting, intellectual property (copyright, trademark, trade secrets) negotiation, mediation, IP licensing and anything related such as Entertainment Law and Sports Law, enroll in as many as you are able. Taking advantage of every course on your school’s roster enhances your professional and personal qualifications making you an outstanding job candidate and practitioner. If you’re interested in entertainment/sports litigation, take advanced courses such as motion practice and other litigation topics such as Civ Pro and Evidence. If you’re an undergraduate in a music business program, take all the legal and business courses offered. If you are in none of these, look for opportunities on where to take structured courses through continuing education. There are several books on various areas of entertainment – READ THEM. Once you’re enrolled in a course, get to know your professors personally. Many of them will help you to network, provide resources, valuable information and suggestions. WE TEACH BECAUSE WE WANT TO HELP YOU!
- BE RESOURCEFUL. ENTREPRENURIAL. GET EXPERIENCE. RELOCATE. COLD CALL. Take every opportunity to secure as much work experience as possible in your chosen area of entertainment – interning anywhere -with anyone -at any level. Executives in the entertainment industries have started out in mail rooms, as assistants, and go-fers. Answer phones if you have to. Cast a broad net to companies, individuals and law firms. Research who is where, informational interview, ask professionals to send you on to colleagues. One job or interview could open doors to another. Be open minded to relocate. Use any contacts to open doors. Cold call people you’ve read about. When you have an interview, ensure you are hired before you leave walk out the door! If you are not, ask “what do I have to do in order to work for you?” The more you help yourself, the more we want to help you. IF YOU GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU’RE CONFIDENT, RESOURCEFUL, AND WILLING TO WORK HARD AND GO THE EXTRA MILE, YOU’RE A KEEPER!!
- NETWORK. JOIN AS MANY PROFESSIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL GROUPS AS POSSIBLE. ATTEND CONFERENCES. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE. The music, film, television, gaming and literary industries routinely offer conferences and events through trade groups. Some examples are the American Film Market, SXSW, The New Music Seminar, COMIC-ON. The bar associations also have networking groups for students and continuing professional education seminars where students attend. Arts Counsels and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts offer courses, clinics and opportunities to serve the community. JOIN EVERYTHING. HANG OUT WHERE THE ACTION IS. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.
In future posts, I’ll share my backstory on how I got here and how I’m still getting there.