Making a connection

Networking, research, preparation may lead to success

Whether you’re looking for an internship at DreamWorks or a production assistant job on a music video, everything boils down to having connections. There are seemingly limitless destinations in the entertainment industry, and zero ways of getting there alone.

“It’s how this industry works, whether you like it or not,” says Angela Gardner, VP of recruiting at Fox Networks Group. “If that’s something you find abhorrent, you probably shouldn’t be in this industry.”

Professor Jason Squire, author of “The Movie Business Book,” teaches at USC’s School of Cinema-Television — which, like most film schools, emphasizes networking as an important part of one’s skill set.

Yet Squire insists even those without a film or business degree can wriggle their way into an industry as porous as it is competitive. “Ask everyone,” he says. “You have an uncle who knows someone next door whose friend got a credit on a show? That person is a good person.”

“If you haven’t got a network, everyone’s very open to helping you,” Gardner adds. “If you know an assistant who works at Fox, and you’ve got another friend who went off and joined William Morris Agency, you should keep in touch with them. Get together for drinks and lunch. … You just need to make it work for you.”

Success might ultimately be the product of many different assets: online research (eat, drink and breathe that UTA job list), meticulous resume and interview preparation, and, in some cases, simply being in the right place at the right time.

“It was Woody Allen who quoted Freud or somebody (when he said) a high percentage of life is just showing up — 80% or 90%,” Squire says. “I don’t know if you adjust for inflation, but there’s a lot of truth to it. For these entry-level jobs, timing is all.”

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