Posted on 28 May 2009 by T.R. Locke
Mmm. The first real tip. Let’s see. How’s this…?
Develop a very thick skin.
I just happened to see the job listings from UTA (United Talent Agency). The job listings are supposed to be internal openings that agents and their assistants browse to learn what production companies, or their own clients, are looking for in terms of support staff. Most of the listings are for agent assistants, celebrity assistants, interns/trainees and other lower-level studio executives. They are the kind of jobs many people who come to Hollywood hope to land in order to get a foot in the door.
These lists get swiped and passed around through email. Join almost any creative support group and you’re likely to come across one or more from a major agency. They all have them. And some of the jobs pay decent wages, too. You can be a celebrity assistant for instance and earn “$48K/year–no benefits.” However the reply link was via a country music company, so it might not be enough money.
What traits do many of the jobs look for? Well, along with, “must be willing to work flexible hours and be utterly committed to the job,” one very telling request was as follows: “Must have thick skin.”
What makes someone put that in a job posting? Not sure, but I would guess they lost their prior assistant because they cussed them out one too many times.
Thick skin. It’s not only good for assistants working for agents and celebrities, but it’s a must for any creative person who puts their talent up for judgment.
In fact, thick skin might be too soft a term–try armor plating. “Must have armor plating.” Armor is better than skin for repelling the knives that often fly at you. “Must be bulletproof.”
Whatever dreams you might have in Hollywood, unless you’re extremely lucky, you’ll encounter lots of rejection before you find it. Not letting that rejection penetrate, not taking the harsh comments to heart–letting them bounce off your thick skin will definitely help you stay on track and give you a better shot at reaching your goals.
Keep at it,
T. R. Locke
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