As someone who works in the entertainment industry, I come to you with a heavy heart. The majority of you have been lied to. Why? The ideal life you have for yourself with all those “hopes and dreams”? They don’t exist. You were played for a damn fool when you decided to attend that trusty ol’ college of yours based on the glossy marketing catalogue that featured heavy cardstock. Yes, many of you may have delighted in the thought of walking said campus whilst achieving your ultimate goal, whether it be curing cancer, becoming famous, or marrying a royal. Perhaps your alma mater even went so far as to include a photo of the ever-changing foliage in the resplendent autumnal renaissance. Brush off that sweatshirt that features your Greek life call signs, dear reader, because you’re in for one hell of a ride. I come from the other side–practically another planet–from the glitz and the glam of Hollywood, where almost daily, I realize I graduated college a year early, I speak another language with near fluency, and yet I’m still getting a coffee order each morning that’s more complicated than a quintuple bypass with an aortic replacement. And that’s just the beginning! Think of this as a public service announcement of sorts, because these are the top five things college didn’t teach me for working in the entertainment industry.
1. The world is not fair and you’re not special. You graduated with a 4.0? That’s cool. It may help during your job interview, but nobody is going to give a shit on your first day. They’ll be more interested if you can formulate a proper sentence, if you don’t screw up their coffee order, and if you can get their friends into the best restaurant or hottest show in town.
2. Dunces deliver. If you’re smart, it don’t mean shit. All it means is that you’ll get more work. For all intents and purposes, a modern day success could be attributed to that of the culturally significant character of Forrest Gump. He had it right.
3. Your boss will be a narcissist and these will be your favorite phrases: “You’re so great,” “You have beautiful eyes,” “I really like your [insert article of clothing here],” and anything relating to any sort of social engagement will be highly sought after. So go you. You wave that flag like you’re a cast member of “Les Misérables,” but fair warning: you ain’t gonna get a damn raise.
4. Manage up — or be taken down. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that nobody gives a shit about your wellbeing. It’s every man for himself. Be an advocate for your own development and brush off that crossbow, Katniss Everdeen. Nobody else will volunteer.
5. Image is everything. Sadly, this is a double-edged sword. Don’t be an idiot and wear nicer clothes than your boss, as it will scream “trustfunder” and “social climber.” But, on the other hand, it may imply you’re part of the tribe, and let’s be honest–the only thing people will care about is what your parents do anyway.
But what do I know? I’m just a guy, writing about a job, trying to make entertainment love me.