CS Radio Episode 13 – “That’s Entertainment”

episode 13

Early February sees many Career Services programs related to careers in entertainment, including an amazing alumni speaker and our Creative Careers job fair.  In preparation, Michael and Mylène welcome two students guests from the Class of 2016 into the studio.  Ann Mollin, who interned at several Hollywood production companies, is joined by Samantha Apfel, who spent a summer at William Morris-Endeavor.  Both separately and together, they offer great advice and insight into getting a job in entertainment.

All that, plus the usual witty banter and look at the week ahead.  Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes!



Can(nes) I Do It Again

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding grant.  We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Pauline Schreibmaier, COL ’16

CANNESThe 68th annual Cannes Film Festival began on May 13th 2015, providing its cinephile audiences with new films, ideas and directors, tourists with slight sightings of famous stars and beautiful weather, and businessmen with a market to buy and take home films to their native countries. On the outside, the festival appears to be one of enjoyment- a destination that provides a journey of pleasures and process of commodification for the 200,000 filmmakers, film fans, and stargazers alike to absorb. I am just one of the many people who wake up two hours before a screening to run into long lines, hoping to make it through 4 screenings in a day. I realize how much of a  festival town Cannes is- the bus stations have photographs of actors, directors, and producers. Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati appear on walls, movie theaters line every block, and the face of the beautiful Ingrid Bergman appears in every store I pass. The restaurants stay open for hours on end, and La Croisette is filled with slow moving black cars holding everyone who is anyone.

As I try to make my way through the multiple reporters, bicyclists, and tourists, I realize that the next 2 weeks are going to be some of the most of the most hectic, exhausting, and thrilling moments in my life as a film student. I watched documentaries, dramas, animated stories, but mostly movies that make you walk out of the theater, sad and distressed. Cannes sure makes you think and feel. Filmmakers from all over the world use their art to highlight social issues and captivate audiences while reflecting upon the international anxieties that lie in the human experience.

Apart from the 30 movies that I had the opportunity to watch, I noticed the peculiarity of the people around Cannes. I’m walking towards the beach and in the distance appear a little carnival with people on pedestals and clowns painting faces. There are half naked men running around, and crazies that are jumping out in front of cameras. A girl has hair down to her ankles and it has become increasingly hard to escape any of these people. Cannes is definitely alive and well. While standing in line for a screening, I take notice of the rather common Cannes specimen, the French Cinephile. This kind of woman always looks the same: a bit older than middle aged, often short and fit, with a nice straw like blonde bob, wearing khaki pants and a button down shirt. She is quite slow to her seat, but is easily angered when she does not get the one she wants. And if she does not like the movie she is seeing, has no problem leaving. If the festival allows for a short break in your day, people watching is definitely high up on the list.

Cannes long

Towards the end of the festival, you realize how special and important it is to watch films in a theater. Films were made to watch in an audience- to feel emotion alongside others, whether it is laughter, fear, or sadness. This is why Cannes was so great, overwhelming, and exhausting. We watched films with large amounts of people. Strangers. People who had opinions about what they were seeing. They would feel the sadness with me as you hear the sniffling in the background, and the booing from some disappointments. At the end of the day, Cannes is a business. And you learn that quickly. The festival is continually changing and doing new things to stir up commotion. These two weeks were incredibly eye opening and I only hope to come back within the next decade and experience something totally new and different. After all, film itself is a forever changing.

“Are you sure there isn’t anything else you’d rather do?”

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding grant.  We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Kevin Sweeney, COL ’16

The entertainment industry is a fickle beast, and the music industry is no exception. It’s the wild west, where there are no rules and the money follows the gunslingers with the strongest allies. It’s in an accelerating tailspin in the midst of a tech revolution with little hope for the future.

Talk to any manager, agent, or label rep and you’re likely to get some variation of these sentiments. A few will probably ask, “Are you sure there isn’t anything else you’d rather do?” And while youthful optimism will prompt an almost rhetorical “No way,” there’s plenty of truth to these prevailing themes.

And also plenty of untruth, as I learned this summer. Working as an intern in music management, I sat at the crossroads of the cogs of the industry. My firm, Mick Artists Management, represents a wide array of established acts including Childish Gambino, Leon Bridges, Passion Pit, WALK THE MOON, Frank Ocean and others. Watching these careers play out from behind the proverbial curtain, I got to test the advice I had received.

Fickle? Yes. Clients’ career arcs can be about as predictable as the weather. But more often, they follow carefully planned cycles, monitored through an endless stream of consumer data, and nurtured with a healthy dose of tactful pavement pounding.

While the relationship management with radio execs, label execs, and agents was left to the professionals, I had the pleasure of playing my own part. For WALK THE MOON, I assembled weekly reports detailing trends in album sales, radio spins, song streams, and social media engagement. I got to watch the rise and gentle decline of one of the summer’s hottest songs and provide some insights as we helped a client gracefully ride the wave of their success.

As for the “wild west” depiction, it’d be more accurate to say that the rules exist but they’re constantly changing. An artists’ union exists, as well as a whole number of fluid standards in copyright law, song royalties, and recording contracts. In reality, the business of a profitable recording artist is much less of a hectic money grab and more of a carefully divided pie. For my part, I did things as mundane as train uptown to retrieve royalties checks from ASCAP to more interesting projects like assembling archives and album metadata as an artist made a transition to full ownership over their recording catalog.

Last, the idea that the music industry is in irreversible decline is simply untrue. Live performance continues to enjoy some of the best revenue figures in music history, and the larger fish in the pond are frequently making strategic investments in music tech startups that seek to change the way we listen to, discover, and experience music.

I watched as a partner in my firm grew his own tech-influenced project – a rental marketplace for touring equipment – while others met with emerging tastemakers on services like Spotify and Soundcloud. I tried to help where I could, interfacing with various music tech companies that were looking to bring Mick on as a client, from concert streaming services to ticketing apps.

More than anything, this summer has taught me that the trenches of the music industry can be a confusing mess – one that entails talent reps from labels, agencies, and management firms, each with their own share of relatively unglamorous legwork to do. But together they deliver a profoundly unique product – one that can be as thrilling to sell as it is to experience. While it’s difficult to tell whether management is the right fit for me and my career, I can scarcely envision a future for myself without music business as a central component.

An Upright Citizen

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding grant.  We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Aleah Welsh, COL ’16

WelshI’m running up 8th avenue. There’s a cool breeze but I’m hot and my legs are starting to cramp as my body rejects this sudden burst of physical activity it’s not accustomed to. It’s 4:53pm on a Friday and I’m going to be late to my interview with the Upright Citizens Brigade. I race into the lobby and slip on my “formal shoes” – suede booties with a small heel. I take the elevator to the twelfth floor trying to press the creases out of my shirt and letting the air conditioning cool my face and dry my sweat, the Declaration of Independence hidden safely in the lining of my briefcase. It’s 5:01. My breathing is still a little heavy as I meet my interviewer and look around at the other jeans-and-sneaker clad people in the office. I’m over dressed. I look down at the resume in my hand and realize it’s written entirely in comic sans. Dammit. I can’t believe I’ve screwed this up.

That day, as I walked aimlessly away from 520 8th avenue eating the street hot dog I had promised myself earlier, I convinced myself that this would be a funny memory if I got the job and not a painful tale of a horribly botched opportunity. You can imagine my surprise and excitement when, a month later, I got the news that I would, in fact, be spending my summer in New York City as a social media intern for one of the top comedy theaters in the world.

I’m one of four social media interns working with UCB this summer. My duties have ranged from drafting tweets to promote the various shows, to creating a photo scavenger hunt around Manhattan to promote the Del Close Marathon, an annual 56-hour-long improv festival. My boss handles all of the analytics for UCB’s social media presence, however, I have the freedom to craft posts for the company’s Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook. When I’m not organizing press mentions on an excel sheet or drafting tweets (I draft a lot of tweets), I’m familiarizing myself with UCB’s content and tone so my posts will remain consistent with the UCB voice. It has forced me to consider, from a branding perspective, the challenge of crafting a singular tone in the digital world that comes from multiple people.

The most exciting time of my internship was definitely working the Del Close Marathon. The festival brings together top improvisers from around the world including many famous comedians. During the marathon it was my job to keep UCB’s twitter account up to date on the size of the crowd at each of the seven venues so people could more easily decide which shows to attend. Walking from venue to venue all day gave me the chance to meet and talk to many different audience members, performers and creators. When I wasn’t working the festival I was able to attend some of the many shows and after parties. I got to know my fellow interns and really got a sense of what it feels like to be a part of this larger UCB community. I can confidently say that that weekend was one of the best experiences of the summer. The sense of excitement and community from participating in a celebration of something I love so much, something that everyone around me cares so much about, was joyfully overwhelming.

The end of the summer is near as is my time at UCB, but lately it feels like I eat, sleep and breathe comedy. I’m constantly engaged during my time in the UCB office but it doesn’t end there. As an intern I’m granted free admission to most UCB shows which I frequently go to with friends, other interns or sometimes alone. Some of the most memorable moments have been seeing performances by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Chris Gethard, Paul Adsit, Zack Woods and Amy Poehler (twice). Furthermore, being in this creative and supportive environment has inspired me to work on some of my own material; I’ve even tried my hand at stand up a few times.

This summer I’ve experienced what it means to like your job— not just your coworkers or the office environment— but what it’s like to be truly invested in the mission of the company and everything it stands for. Regardless of where I end up after graduation this is something I hope to find again, in any career.