This is way too long overdue.
My last entry was posted in September of 2015…10 months ago! Let me catch you up to speed since then in the clearest and most efficient way possible. I’m going to cover the biggest “ah-ha” moments, big events, and try to uncover and dissect my thoughts.
So right after I signed off from blogging, all my persistence, networking, hard work, and determination paid off. In October of 2015, I received an email from the HR department at William Morris Endeavor (WME/IMG, talent agency) to come in for an interview for their floater program. I took the interview, and I got a gig in the mailroom – an invaluable experience I will certainly never forget.
For those of you who don’t know, WME is one of the biggest talent agencies in the world. If you’re familiar with the entertainment world, you may have heard of big time directors/producers that “started in the mailroom.” This is what we’re talking about. If you’ve ever watched the HBO series, Entourage, then you absolutely know what I’m talking about. Ari Gold and Entourage were based off of Ari Emanuel and his talent agency, William Morris Endeavor.
So before an assistant gets assigned a desk (like Ari Gold’s Lloyd), they start out in the mailroom. It’s a floating rotational program, where you’re either helping sort out mail in the mailroom or put on various assignments. I know it’s 2016, but you would be SHOCKED by how much mail comes through a talent agency. You learn a lot just by sorting mail. You see all the fan mail (so much for Rihanna, Regis Phillbin, Queen Latifah, Lin-Manuel Miranda, etc.) that gets delivered, all the contracts from lawyers coming through, tons of bills and checks, and you get to see what is going to who and what’s coming in and what’s going out. If you’re not in the mailroom, you’ll be assigned to either: cover an assistant’s desk if they’re out, write script coverage (write up plot synopses, character breakdowns, review scripts, etc), or you may be doing a taping with one of the clients (this was my absolute favorite assignment. You were literally reading lines for celebs’ casting audition tapes). Oh, and when you’re a floater, you make a whopping $10 an hour. No lie.
Now let me fill you on the freaking PEOPLE at WME. Oh em gee. This was the best part. The mailroom is essentially a bunch of Jewish kids that want to run Hollywood. It was SO fun. Everyone was nuts. Everyone was obsessed with entertainment. And everyone loved a good slice of babka (oy, that’s a whole other story, but serious shout out to Shauna Small, better known to my friends as babka girl).
Okay sooooo here’s what happened. I kid you not, on my third day at WME, I received an email from a contact that I made 3 years prior. His name is Michael Hoffman and in 2013 when we first connected, he was working as a social media coordinator at Bravo (this was the job I wanted!!! So I had a mutual connection put us in touch). Michael and I vibed, stayed in touch over the next three years, and he moved over to HBO about 2.5 years ago. Knowing that I had quit my job in July 2015, he reached out to me on October 30, 2015 asking if I was available to chat because there were some jobs opening at HBO and he wanted to see if my interests aligned. BEST. EMAIL. EVER. We talked that week and he told me about a position on his team as a Digital/Social Media Coordinator.
Honestly, I had some hesitations. I had just started at WME, one of the most prestigious companies in show biz and I was really more interested in jobs in development, not social media. Buttttt after some additional calls with Michael, and mannyyyyy hours of deliberation with my nearest and dearest (Lena Baker and Michael Reid, and my parents lol), I decided to take the interview.
Okay, before I go on to life after WME, I just want to make one thing clear. I LOVED working at WME. I was honestly really sad to leave. I learned so much there, I made some amazing friends (that I hang out with what feels like every weekend still), and I really felt part of this talent agency “club” that you’ll only understand if you go through it. Ugh IMYSM WME.
Vamos a South America
So in the midst of all the entertainment angels looking down from the heavens on me and hooking a sister up with an interview at HBO after moths of near-depression from rejection and unemployment, this chick was heading to South America with childhood friend later turned BFF, Lena Baker. In December, LB and I headed down south on a 15 day trip to Lima, Peru, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stayed with my family in Lima, made some new friends in Santiago, got to hang with some more of my fam in Buenos Aires, and got sunburnt AF along the way. God, we had SO much fun. Our trip to SA made for some incredible Snapchat content. And we didn’t even come close to ever wanting to kill each other. Honestly, I’m sorry if we weren’t Snapchat friends in December of 2015, because you missed out.
So right before leaving for SA in December, I interviewed at HBO. Days before leaving, I got a call from Emily Giannusa (now my current boss), offering me the position. I accepted and went on the trip, and when I got back, I gave my two weeks notice to my girl Katrina DeRosa in HR at WME.
Home Box Office
So I started at HBO in January 2016 and 7 months later, I’m still lovin’ it. I get to work with the one and only Michael Hoffman (@mh0ffman <-- everyone go follow him rn, he would be appalled if I didn’t plug him at some point) every single day and Emily Giannusa is seriously da.bomb. I have learned so much from everyone at HBO, and I feel v #blessed for this opportunity to learn, grow, and be part of some of the most influential entertainment digital marketing campaigns in the world.
It’s been eye opening seeing what a huge influence social media has on the greater company, and beyond. You guys, social media is EXTREMELY important in this world we’re living in these days. You’re a crazy person if you don’t get that social media is an avenue straight into people’s everyday lives. It is the most perfect, influential, and FREE marketing tool for any and all companies/brands. Ugh I think social media is amazing and a game-freaking-changer. Andddd we are watching the evolution and growth of social media go down right before our very eyes.
Where My Head’s At
So. It’s been almost a year since I took that risk and left my job (with no job lined up), and I have absolutely zero regrets. Boy has it been wilddddd though. Summer 2015 was a serious low point. I felt so defeated. I was working my ass off producing original content, networking day after day, and putting myself out there.
I was so close to giving up. Not a day went by without tears. I felt so hopeless, crushed, and overwhelmed. I never thought I’d be able to bounce back. It’s still crazy though, because it never crossed my mind to give-up on my dreams of working in entertainment (well my real dream is to be a talk show host, but that comes later). I had dedicated the last 6 years of my life to this dream. There are no other options. I can’t NOT work in entertainment.
I have this fire inside of me that doesn’t let me stop. Since graduating college, I’ve had this newfound realization that life is short AF. If I’m not doing something each and everyday that is pushing me toward my goals, I feel like it’s a day wasted. There are only 24 precious hours in a day, and you can’t afford to waste a single second!!
I have a whole new respect for my parents and other important people in my life. Not once did my parents nag me about finding a job. They saw how hard I was working, how much I was struggling, and how poor I was (but like seriously…), and they never bothered me about being unemployed. Thank you thank you thank you M+D. You inspire me everyday, no joke.
My friends are pretty incredible. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with people who help build you up, who have similar interests, and who you can learn from. My friends keep me laughing, keep me feeling inspired, and teach me so much every single day.
I want to be successful because I want to share that success with the people who helped me get there. I want to spoil my friends and family because they believed in me. And that’s really all you need – people who support and believe in you.
THANK YOU GUYSSSSS <33333333
So What Should You Do?!
It’s pretty crazy now that I’m on the other side of seeking out the help. I get emails often from recent-graduates and peers asking to chat and get advice about breaking out in entertainment, or just work advice in general. Here’s what I tell everyone:
- First of all, what do you want to do? Really. What is that crazy dream that you have that you want to do with your life? If you don’t have something extremely specific, I challenge you to take a few hours out of your day/week/weekend and really brainstorm on this. After you come up with a small list of dream careers (it can be anything!), then let’s continue to the next bullet
- Okay, who has that dream job that you want? It could be someone famous, it could be someone most of us have never heard of, or it could be your next-door neighbor from your hometown. Now, how do you get to talk to them? So you may not be able to speak to them directly, but try to get as close as possible. This is where you have to do some serious digging and research. And you can’t be shy. Talk to them. Ask questions. And don’t waste their time.
- Network. Network. Network. I’ve always resented people whose parents were super connected. But here’s a secret – you don’t need your parents to be super connected! Make your own connections. Talk to everyone you can. Even your peers! They can be incredibly helpful. Ask them what’s worked and what hasn’t.
- Okay, here’s another piece of advice. Actually DO what you want to do one day. Want to be a writer? Go write. Want to be a graphic designer? Ummm hello, go create some beautiful things. Want to be a musician? Go practice your instrument and record it. Want to be a comedian? Go sign up for open mics. Want to be a fashion designer? Go draw and make me some clothing. Want to be a talk show host? Start a web series.
- Listen, we are living in a world now where there are literally zero excuses for you not to be doing something that you love. There is a job for everything. Seek it out, work hard at your craft, and achieve baby!