Think about the last concert you attended. The band members were onstage for two hours, but they didn’t get there by themselves. Someone booked the venue, promoted the show, drove the musicians to the auditorium, set up the stage, orchestrated the lighting and then loaded everything onto the bus after the show.
Movies, plays and TV and radio shows are just as involved.
Not every job in the entertainment industry will get you fame, but many will let you be creative. More importantly, they will put you in contact with professionals who can serve as valuable network contacts if you want to make a move into a different role at some point.
If you’ve always wanted to work in entertainment but knew being a starlet wasn’t in the cards, you still have plenty of options. From overlooked jobs to others you might have never heard of, here are 10 jobs in the entertainment industry:
1. A and R administrator
What you do: A&R administrators monitor the cost of recording an album. They track the cost of studios, musicians and other fees in order to keep expenditures within the allotted budget.
Pro: You’re privy to the daily operations of making a record months before anyone will ever hear the music.
Con: Making music can be boring and handling budgets can be stressful.
What you do: Make all the food that performers and the crew eat. Anywhere performances are held — movie sets, concert tours, circuses — you’ll find caterers supplying food for everyone to eat before and after the show.
Pro: If you’re a foodie, you get to marry your refined palette with access to music and movies.
Con: People are picky, so not only are you making food for a small army, you’re also accommodating their strange tastes.
What you do: Work with a film director to determine the visual look for a movie or a specific scene. You choose the film, lenses and any other tools that will achieve the look him or her wants, in addition to working with the rest of the filming crew to plan how to frame and shoot each scene.
Pro: Playing with camera equipment is fun and lets you access your creative side.
Con: A lot of variables — like budget, weather, cast changes — can affect how smoothly filming runs, making your job harder.
What you do: Review music, movies and plays. Critics get paid to listen to music, watch movies and attend theatre and then critique it for newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio stations and TV shows.
Pro: You’d be spending money to do these things anyway, but instead someone’s paying you.
Con: You have to endure some really bad art because someone’s paying you to sit through it.
5. Makeup artist
What you do: Make actors, actresses and models looks gorgeous. Or freaky. Often the goal of a makeup artist is to erase any blemishes from an actor or model’s face for a flawless look. Sometimes, depending on the role, fashion shoot or runway show, looking ugly or just plain weird is the goal.
Pro: You’re an artist and your canvas is a human being
Con: Clients aren’t always nice and makeup trailers can be full of backstage drama.
6. Professional speaker
What you do: Talk to people about what you know best. Perhaps you don’t think of speakers as part of entertainment, but they employ all the same elements of any other performer. Professional speakers take center stage and have to entertain you, whether it means boosting your self-esteem, educating you or just entertaining you.
Pro: People pay just to hear what you have to say. That’s a nice ego boost.
Con: All eyes are on you, so every time you talk to a group, you not only have to win over the audience but you have to hold its attention.
What you do: Get media coverage for your client, which could be an actor, musician or high-profile business owner. You approach reporters who might want to cover an event or interview your client.
Pro: You get to rub elbows with famous people and get chummy with major publications.
Con: Pitching a story isn’t always easy and you can end up with a nightmare client whose name you want to keep out of the paper.
8. Stunt person
What you do: Fall down a lot. Stunt workers do the obvious death-defying leaps from buildings and car chases through the chaotic streets of a movie set, but they also work in operas, plays and TV shows.
Pro: You get to punch people, crash cars, and watch buildings explode.
Con: You get punched, banged up in car crashes and burned by fiery debris.
9. Theatre consultant
What you do: Use your knowledge of a theatre’s daily operations to assist architects and design teams who are drafting plans for auditoriums. You give your input on a variety of topics, from stage and seating layout to lighting arrangements.
Pros: As a theatre lover, you help shape a venue that will go on to stage performances.
Cons: You’re one voice in a big team, so your arguments for certain features might face opposition from people who are concerned more with design than functionality.
What you do: Write scripts for TV, film, radio and every other medium. Of course you know about the screenwriters when they accept their Oscars, but don’t forget that someone’s writing your favourite TV show and that funny commercial you saw during the break. The scripts reporters read on TV and on the radio also come from writers.
Pro: Your words reach people — whether it’s a few hundred or a several million.
Con: A lot of people stand between your pen and the final product, so your creative vision won’t necessarily stay intact.