Your job search starts with knowing where to look for open roles. It’s true that many entertainment roles (particularly project-based roles) are “hidden jobs,” meaning they get filled through word of mouth rather than job postings, but there are plenty of places to find job postings you can proactively apply to!
One of the most well-known resources is the UTA job list. Once upon a time, it was a secret list that got passed around the agency and inner Hollywood circles (sort of like the hidden jobs referenced above). Now, it’s distributed widely through email lists and Facebook groups and posted on blogs. It primarily features internships and entry-level positions, but there are occasionally more senior roles posted as well. This can be a good resource for finding postings -- just be sure to act quickly if one interests you, as these postings attract hundreds of applicants.
For production and crew roles, you can check out Staff Me Up, ProductionHub, and Mandy.com. Another way to find these roles is to read through Production Bulletin and identify upcoming projects that you can reach out to. Your local film office may have production listings as well.
For in-house roles, we recommend checking the careers pages of companies you’re most interested in. Not all companies are large enough to have a careers page, though, and you may want to expand your search to include companies you may not have heard of but who have interesting opportunities. EntertainmentCareers.Net, Hollylist, tracking-board.com, and trackingb.com are exclusively catered to industry postings (again, primarily internship and assistant/coordinator level), but there are plenty of mainstream job sites that have entertainment jobs as well. In recent years, Indeed has become a useful source for finding entertainment jobs, and you can set up daily email notifications that contain postings curated based on your interests.
We're also big advocates of LinkedIn for many reasons, but in terms of finding open postings, LinkedIn’s algorithm is very well-programmed to identify jobs that match your profile and recent searches, so as you look at jobs on LinkedIn, you’ll get recommendations for similar roles delivered to your inbox. Additionally, Google Careers is an effective tool, as it combs through employers' websites for you. Simply type in the role type or company type into the search bar, and you’ll see a filterable list of job postings from across the web that match. You can automate your job search a bit more if you set up alerts for your search terms.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can use your network to find open roles. There are tons of Facebook groups and tracking boards dedicated to different sectors of the entertainment industry, and people will often post openings there. Your LinkedIn newsfeed will likely have a few posts from folks in your extended network, so scroll through semi-regularly to see who’s hiring. Alumni groups, college career centers, and professional organizations will often have job boards as well.
There are plenty of places to find Hollywood jobs! As you scroll through the postings, make sure to narrow your search to the open roles that match your skills, interests, and qualifications, then tailor your resume to the posting, and you’ll be in good shape
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
"Industry Spotlight" is our newsletter series where we interview professionals from across the entertainment industry about their current jobs and career trajectories. Our hope is that you will learn more about the positions you're already interested in, discover new roles you may not have considered, and utilize the wisdom of those who've paved the way before you to forge your own path for success.
This month, we sat down with Eve Weston, the CEO of VR content company Exelauno and author of 10 Kick-Ass Careers for Storytellers: Interviews with Pioneers in Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Podcasts, Escape Rooms, Video Games, Comics, Interactive Television and More to learn about the many careers you can pursue as a writer, beyond the realm of traditional film and TV. Eve is an award-winning VR writer/director, produced television writer, author, and professor who believes in storytelling as a force for positive change. An alumna of Princeton, USC, and Goldman Sachs, she has created the taxonomy for immersive POV, which serves as the backbone for TheLook.Club searchable database of immersive narrative and The Look Club review show.
HOLLYWOOD RESUMES: How would you describe your career in 1-2 sentences?
EVE WESTON: A jungle gym! Definitely not a ladder—my career has not been linear, and it has been fun, with plenty of unexpected surprises. I give credit to Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell for the wonderful analogy, which you can read more about in their book, Lean In.
HR: How did you get interested in XR and VR?
EW: Oh, this is a fun story that I tell in my book. In short, I met a software engineer at my college reunion who explained VR to me and then said, “But I don’t know what the content would be.” I could already see the possibilities and how XR would be an amazing platform for storytelling, so I thought, “Maybe this is an area I should look into…”
HR: How is working in immersive narrative different from and similar to working in comedy?
EW: Well, immersive narrative is a form, and comedy is a genre that applies across forms, so that’s one big difference. But both of them require paying particular attention to your audience. There’s a reason multi-camera sitcoms are filmed in front of a live studio audience; how you make your audience feel in comedy is crucial. And similarly, when you’re designing immersive narrative, your audience shouldn’t be an afterthought. You should be designing with their experience in mind from the beginning.
HR: What was your "plan" when you started your career as a storyteller? Did you expect to be where you are today?
EW: That question is deceptively simple—when did I “start” my career as a storyteller? I’ve been a writer since I was a kid—so many poems! But I didn’t even know about screenwriting until I was in high school. It would’ve been impossible for me to predict where I’d be today; I’m working in a field that, not only did I not know it existed, it actually didn’t exist. That being said, in college I was a Classics major—I studied Latin and Ancient Greek and ancient literature and history—and I had this sense that I wanted to bring the old to the new. And even when I was working in sitcoms, I felt like I was learning from the greats to apply that knowledge to “the next thing,” even before I knew what that next thing was. So, in a general sense, it’s sort of remarkable how I’ve followed through on my intentions. But it wasn’t always by conscious choice, and in the moment, I couldn’t always see the connections; I just followed my instincts.
HR: What do you like most about your job?
EW: I get to earn a living thinking about story, talking about story, and creating stories. It’s what I would want to do anyway, and that’s kind of amazing.
HR: What was your first job in Hollywood?
EW: I was hired by the incredibly talented Alan Kirschenbaum as a Writer’s Assistant on the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear. I learned so much from him.
HR: Tell us about your book, 10 Kick-Ass Careers for Storytellers. What inspired you to write the book?
EW: In Spring of 2021, I taught a course at Chapman University—one of the nation’s top film schools—and brought in amazing guests to speak with students (over Zoom). I was captivated by every one of them and the unique, compelling, creative career paths they shared with us. It seemed a shame that more people wouldn’t get to benefit from their stories, so I fixed that by turning a semester’s worth of interviews into a book.
HR: What do you hope readers will learn from your book?
EW: I hope this book engages readers—and that maybe reading it is a bit of an immersive experience in itself, bringing you into the class. My goal was to make the book an easy, fun read and to make new and even technical topics very approachable; the book’s style is extremely conversational. Whether you’re a writer just starting out or an experienced storyteller looking for a new outlet, this book aims to open your eyes to careers that you never knew existed or, perhaps, that truly never existed before.
HR: What are some of the commonalities across the different storytelling career paths?
EW: Each of my interviewees actually talk about this exact thing, and each from a unique perspective. In short, character. A character want. An obstacle. A resolution. For a sampling of the kind of amazing insights on this topic that you’ll find in the book, check out the podcast Kick-Ass Careers for Storytellers. In particular, in his episode, Archie Gips—an accomplished storyteller with a large presence in the unscripted space—shares some real gems on the topic.
HR: What are some of the skills someone would need to succeed as a storyteller?
EW: The ability to devise and develop the four things I mentioned above. In terms of skills, that might translate to patience, creativity, empathy.
HR: Where can someone look for storytelling jobs?
EW: Anywhere there are stories, there are storytelling jobs. Obviously in TV, movies, commercials, etc. And also, behind website copy, Instagram captions, a CEO giving a speech, a company needing to explain to their customer base what they do and why they have value, an entrepreneur pitching a venture firm, a tech company creating interactions for an artificially intelligent robot—this last one is specifically covered in the book, along with ideas for where to look for opportunities in the field. Some storytelling jobs are posted on career sites, or blasted out in e-newsletters, but also, you’d be surprised what opportunities you can get by owning your abilities as a storyteller and making them known to the people around you. I’ve been amazed by the number of people I know who aren’t in entertainment who have been in need of—and gained much value from—my storytelling skills.
HR: If you could give one piece of advice to someone trying to break in/move up in the industry, what would it be?
EW: Keep writing. And don’t be afraid to try different forms and formats. Maybe you’ll find a new one you love, and even if you don’t, you’ll likely learn something—about your story or yourself—just by stretching your writing muscles in a new direction.
HR: Thanks, Eve!
We get a LOT of questions about how to format a resume, and for good reason! Resumes are really tricky documents with very high stakes. Job candidates don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity they’re qualified for because they happened not to know the latest resume trends. Here are our answers to three of the most common questions we’re asked about resume formats:
What’s better: A beautiful, graphically designed resume or a traditional format?
If you’re going for a design job, leaning into your design skills on your resume is a definite plus, since it proves your skill set more than well-written bullets ever could. But the majority of roles in entertainment aren’t in graphic design, even though they’re creative, so nine times out of ten, you’ll want a traditional format. It’s not old school or outdated to create a simple document that’s easy to read; rather, it’s helpful to the hiring manager, who would prefer to scan a familiar document where she can find information easily. It’s also easier for applicant tracking systems, which aren’t capable of reading complicated documents. Channel the time and energy you’d spend perfecting your Canva template on writing strong bullet points and tapping into your network instead. And don’t worry too much about color – whether or not you put your name in blue isn’t going to increase or decrease your chances at getting an interview. We prefer black and white, but if you want a pop of color, just pick a color that isn’t too bright or pastel.
Should my resume be one page or longer?
For most jobs, a one-page resume is best. Hiring managers are busy, and the less they have to read to get a sense of your qualifications, the better. Think about it like reading scripts – you’ll always go with the shorter page count first! That said, there are some circumstances where two-pages make sense. First, if you’re going for high-level executive roles (VP and above), you may want to craft a CV that highlights your core skills, career highlights, awards, and/or speaking engagements in addition to your long work history, and one page simply won’t be enough. There are fewer applicants for these higher-level jobs, and hiring teams will take more time evaluating candidates, so it’s okay to have two pages. If you can stick to one, you should, so as not to waste time and space. And you should avoid bleeding onto a third page. Some other times you might want a two-pager is if you’re asked for a full credits list or if you need to combine a credits list with a breakdown of other work chronology and skills.
How should I organize my resume?
Your resume tells the story of how your career thus far has qualified you for the open role. Like with any story, there’s a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is always going to be your header, followed by the most critical piece of information the hiring manager needs to know for context to your resume. This could be a professional summary that explains how your work history aligns with your present goals, or your most recent experience, or the core skills you have that qualify you for the role, or your education, if it’s recent. There’s no hard and fast rule here as to which of these is most important to lead with – it all comes down to your unique story. The bulk of your resume should list your experience, most likely in reverse chronological order (there are rare situations where you might opt for a functional resume, which would group experiences together by skills or highlights, but this is not recommended for most candidates). If you have key skills and achievements from volunteer work or extracurricular activities, include those experiences in the same section as your professional experience. If you didn’t lead with education and you have a degree or relevant coursework, you’ll want to list that after experience, followed by technical and language skills, awards, professional affiliations, volunteer activities, and interests.
The main thing to keep in mind with formats is that you want to choose a format that works for you, instead of trying to mold your experience to fit a template. Your unique career story should be the focus of your resume, not your format.
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
Work changed A LOT over the last two years, and like most things in these “unprecedented times,” it continues to change. As we look forward to 2022, here are some career resolutions for this new era of work.
I resolve to strive for work/life balance, as I understand it. Work/life balance can mean a lot of different things. Maybe it involves working remotely full-time, or a hybrid at-home/in-office set-up, or establishing hard boundaries between home and the office with a return to full-time, in-person work. It can mean sacrificing some of the comforts of life for a huge work opportunity or scaling back on your hours to spend more time with family. There’s no right answer for how to juggle your priorities. You don’t have to quit your job and join The Great Resignation if you’re happy where you are, but if you do want to explore a major career shift, go for it! The important thing is to take stock of how you feel about your career and make sure it’s fitting into your expectations for your life. We know the world can turn on a dime tomorrow, so ask yourself: What can I do to be more fulfilled in my work/life balance today?
I resolve to own my uniqueness. Every career trajectory is different, and that’s especially true for the entertainment industry. You’ve probably heard that you need to break into the industry as an assistant at an agency and work your way up the ladder. Many folks with years of work experience continue to get that advice whenever they consider a shift to a new side of the industry. This kind of blanket advice isn’t helpful…or true. Plenty of people (ourselves included!) have successful careers without working at a major agency, and you certainly don’t have to throw out years of experience because you’ve changed your goals. Instead, take ownership of your skills and lean into your path. If you’re first starting out, an agency can be a great place to cut your teeth, but a small production company might suit your personality better, and that’s okay! If you’ve been working for several years, think about the expertise and perspective you can offer a future employer and focus on pitching yourself as the accomplished professional you are. Having a successful entertainment career isn’t a futile task where you keep falling back down to the mailroom. Instead, it’s knowing who you are, what you bring to the table, and how to communicate that to your colleagues, network, and potential employers.
I resolve to stand up for myself. There’s plenty of workplace abuse in Hollywood, but in recent years, the culture is shifting to tolerate it less. We’re by no means clear of toxic environments yet, but it’s no longer true that you have to grin and bear it or suffer your reputation being destroyed. Enough is enough. If you are working for a boss who harasses or berates you, or for a production that doesn’t prioritize your safety, or for a company that grossly underpays you, or in an environment that’s demeaning, or find yourself in any situation where you think, “I can’t wait for Deadline to break this story of abuse,” you do not have to stay. You can always find another job, but you do not get another life. Even if your situation is not dire, but it’s simply not serving you anymore (e.g. you’re not growing, you’re bored, you’re burned out), you don’t owe it to anyone to stick it out. You don’t have to quit immediately (unless you are really in danger), but you do owe it to yourself and the people who care about you to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional health.
I resolve to ask for help and pay it forward. Sure, our business is competitive. But it’s also collaborative. In fact, that’s one of the top attributes our clients call out as the reason they enjoy working in entertainment: working with other passionate people to create something together. This sense of collaboration extends beyond the set, beyond the development meetings, beyond the notes calls. As you grow your career, find your collaborators – the people who you can lean on and the ones who can count on you. Ask for help when you need it, whether it’s for a job, or an introduction, or a script to read, or an email address your boss needs. And offer it in return, not just to your closest allies, but to anyone who’s passionate enough to ask and professional enough to respect your boundaries. It will benefit you and the industry as a whole!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan