Myths vs. Facts! The Truth About Landing a Job in Arts & Entertainment

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Myths vs. Facts! Breaking down the common misconceptions, urban legends and false facts around landing a job in Arts & Entertainment.

Myth: All you need is talent.

Fact: Talent is only part of what gets you hired. As with any job, you also need to have a resume and other application materials that clearly convey your qualifications. It’s also important to be industry savvy.  The more you understand your industry and the more you network within it, the more effectively you’ll be able to position yourself to be hired!


Myth: If you want to work in the entertainment industry, you have to be an actor, writer, or director.

Fact: The entertainment industry has a wide range of employment opportunities beyond those jobs! Think about all the names that you see in the end credits of a movie or tv show, or in a playbill. There are a plethora of freelance and staff positions behind the scenes and throughout every aspect of the industry. You can learn about these by reading trade publications, conducting informational interviews, participating in industry networking events, and attending Wasserman panels such as  “What’s Next: Humanities.”


Myth: I’m a performer so I don’t need to do an internship. 

Fact: Internships can be a great way for you to get the inside scoop on what the industry wants. For instance, by interning with a casting office, you’ll see how hiring decisions are made, which can help you be smarter about how you present yourself at an audition.


Myth: All actors are waiters.

Fact: While the food service industry does offer a flexible schedule that gives actors the ability to also audition, there are a variety of “sustainable” jobs that an actor can have. This includes teaching artist, web designer, tour guide, concierge, IT support, graphic designer, personal organizer, real estate agent, and fitness trainer, just to name a few. A career counselor can help you identify your marketable skills and determine which sustainable jobs might be right for you.


Myth: If I don’t have an agent within six months after graduation, I’ll never get work.

Fact: Most early-career artists don’t have agents! In fact, it’s rare for students to obtain agents immediately after graduation. Agents prefer to see that artists have some experience outside of school – if the artist is able to obtain work on their own or is getting notice from competitions (e.g. the Nicholl Fellowship) or festivals (e.g. SXSW), that signals to the agent that the artist has enough talent to be marketable.