We work with many clients seeking to make a career transition out of entertainment, and we’re often asked “what industry should I pivot to?” Our answer is always that it’s a very personal decision based on your individual skills, interests, financial goals, location desires, family obligations, and ability to return to school. There’s no one-size-fits all approach to a career transition! That said, there are some common paths we’ve seen our clients land on and thrive in. We’ve rounded up the top sectors here, and if you’re looking to make a transition but don’t know where to start, consider if any of these options sound exciting to you. (And if they don’t – that’s totally okay – there are tons of careers out there!).
Live Events. Producing large-scale live events or planning corporate or personal events utilizes a lot of the same skills as producing content. You’ll need to ideate an event concept or theme, hire vendors and event staff, source decor and other rentals, solve last-minute problems, map out a schedule, and make sure everything runs smoothly on site.
Corporate Video / Advertising. Many brands are leaning more into video for their internal communications and marketing. The same skills that go into making film and TV content apply here – writing scripts, directing shoots, creative collaboration, overseeing production, editing, and supervising post-production. There are opportunities both at content agencies servicing a roster of clients as well as internally at the brands themselves, as many companies are bringing creative services in-house.
Recruiting. Recruiting is similar to casting -- you’re looking to match the right talent to the right role. In these roles, you’ll scout for potential job candidates, tapping into those online research skills you’ve used to find new reality stars or influencer talent. You’ll also work closely with hiring managers to vet candidates, conduct interviews, provide selects, liaise with the applicant pool, and support contract negotiations.
Sales. Sales is less of an industry and more of a role type - practically every field needs salespeople! But these roles employ a lot of the same skills development executives, producers, agents, and managers use already. Think: curating prospective client lists (like compiling writer/director/talent lists), building and maintaining relationships, creating pitch decks and proposals (like treatments!), and pitching in the room.
Video Games / Board Games / Experiential Content. There are so many new avenues for storytellers, as the landscape of stories expands. These sectors can be pretty tough to break into but may scratch that same creative itch as film and TV. Video games and interactive AR/VR experiences need writers, directors, producers, and talent. Similarly, board games often have writers and creative teams, as do escape rooms.
Design. If your expertise is in the visual arts, there may be avenues in design that spark your interest! Graphic design, data visualization, and UX/UI design are all growing sectors, and if you know the right software, your eye for visual aesthetics, project management, and client relations skills may apply really well to these roles. Interior design is also a potential avenue if you have experience with art departments and client relations.
Project Management. Production management is a form of project management -- making sure you have the right people assigned to the right tasks, creating schedules and roadmaps, allocating budgets, overseeing deliverables, and communicating with executives or clients to refine project scopes and get feedback. This is a very obvious transition in terms of your skill set, but you will likely need to invest in professional development to make yourself attractive to hiring managers in this competitive field. For example, you may want to learn specific software (like Jira, Airtable, Asana, ClickUp, Insightly, etc.), principles of Agile project management, basic business practices, and basic tech systems/coding principles.
Making a career transition is a big decision. If it’s something you’re thinking about, be sure to connect with people in the fields/roles that interest you to learn more about what they do and build your network. The possibilities are endless, and we encourage you to take time to really think about what will make you happy professionally, so you can find the right path for you.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
These days, it seems like a new round of layoffs is being announced almost daily across big media companies. There are a lot of emotions you may be experiencing if you've been impacted, and that's totally normal. But getting laid off doesn't mean your career is over! Here are some steps you can take to make the best of your situation and get back on your feet quickly.
Let your contacts know what happened. There's nothing to be ashamed of if you've been let go -- corporate decisions are about bottom lines, not performance. As soon as you learn about a layoff, you want to tie up loose ends on any current projects and make sure all your contacts know how to reach you. Remember, the relationships you've built through your work are yours to keep even after you've been let go. Most people will be extremely understanding, empathetic, and generous after hearing about a layoff. Send an individual email to every person you had a current project with -- internally and externally -- and let them know that you enjoyed working with them and would love to stay in touch. Next, do the same thing for all contacts you've worked with previously while at the company, your closest industry contacts, and anyone in your network you are hoping to get back in touch with -- a layoff is actually a great opportunity to reignite old relationships! If you already know what you want your next career move to be, include it in the email, so your contacts can keep an eye out. This process can take up to a week to complete, but you’ll be amazed at the generosity you’ll encounter. Expect your calendar to fill up with lunches and coffees very quickly after you send your emails, and try to have your resume ready for anyone who offers to pass it along.
Take some time to relax. If you were working at a company that was forced to cut their staff, it’s likely because things weren’t going well for that company. You probably felt that stress at work on a daily basis, and maybe you were starting to get a bit burned out. Before bouncing back to a job search, it’s a good idea to take a couple of weeks to relax (or more if you got a great severance package) – travel, hike, spend time with your family and friends, catch a middle-of-the-day gym class -- whatever you enjoy that fits your budget. It will help you start to get over any resentment you have about the layoff and let you approach the upcoming job search feeling refreshed.
Set some targets. Without a full-time job to worry about, now is a good time to step back and assess your career. Are you happy with the path you were on, or is it time to try something new? If you’re going to explore a career transition, you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing research on the new path, maybe even working with a career coach to figure out what that path should be. This step could take a couple of days or a couple of months, but you should come out with a very clear direction for yourself. With some targets in mind, you’ll be able to approach the job search much more effectively.
Update your application materials. Though revisiting your accomplishments from your previous role may sound like a surefire way to experience bitterness, try to take a moment to remind yourself, once again, that your layoff is a reflection of the company, not of you. Now is when your work will be freshest in your mind, so it's a good idea to write down all the projects you worked on and any results you were proud of. This exercise will serve as a great basis for your resume, LinkedIn profile, and future job interviews, and the sooner you can complete it, the more detailed it will be. Once you've taken stock of your work and set your sights on what's next, update your LinkedIn profile and resume to align with your goals. We recommend starting with LinkedIn, since it can be used as a networking tool. You’ll want to update your master resume as well, but be ready to make changes to it as you tailor it to each job posting.
Take advantage of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an amazing resource for general job searches and networking, but it really shines as a tool if you've been laid off. While your initial round of emails should have kicked off the networking process for you nicely, announcing your layoff on LinkedIn will generate a bigger response from your wider network. The best version of this LinkedIn post includes the news that you've been impacted by the recent layoff, an acknowledgement of your positive experiences at the company (your team, anything you learned, projects you're really proud of), and a clear call-to-action about what you'd like your next step to be (e.g. "I'd love to continue working in comedy development;" or "My passion lies in helping clients produce compelling marketing content, and I'm excited about the growing opportunities in the metaverse. I'd love to land in a client-facing role at a company looking to expand its VR/AR capabilities."). You'll likely see many likes and comments roll in, all of which will help your visibility to recruiters. Because layoffs are so common these days, you may also see posts in your newsfeed from contacts looking to help people who are affected -- there are even some spreadsheets of recently laid-off workers at some of the larger companies that have circulated across the platform. If someone you know posts a job opening or other offer to help job seekers impacted by layoffs, take them up on it! Additionally, make sure to toggle on the "open to work" setting on your profile so recruiters can find you. As always, you can start to more aggressively pursue informational interviews at companies of interest once you have some clear targets in mind and have an updated profile, and you can use LinkedIn to find the right people to make warm intros. Once you have your network working for you, the rest should start to fall into place. Just make sure you are doing everything possible to get your resume into a real person’s hands when you actually start applying for open roles. And most importantly, don’t get down on yourself about the layoff! It's not your fault and you're not alone in this experience. If you are strategic about pursuing your goals, you’ll be back in the game in no time.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
How to transition out of entertainment
The entertainment industry can be a wonderful field to work in, but it has also changed a lot over the years. We’ve seen more and more folks looking for ways to break out the way they once strove to break in. There are so many layoffs, stagnant wages, and unpredictable freelance roles – not to mention that people change, and the person who moved to LA right after college to “make it” as a producer may no longer be the person staring at you in the mirror 10, 20, or 30 years later. If you’ve been considering leaving the industry, here are a few steps you can take:
Identify what you want to do next. It’s easy to say “I’m done with this Hollywood bullshit,” but if you don’t know what you want to do instead, you’ll have a hard road ahead in your transition. Consider whether you want to do the same type of work but in a different field (for example, producing videos for a brand’s social media pages or handling A/V for corporate events) or if you want to change roles completely (for example, becoming a realtor or a supply chain operations manager). Take time to learn about other career paths. Ask friends outside the industry about their jobs. Cull through some “Top Places to Work” lists. Do some career assessments, either self-guided online, with a book, or with a career coach. Think about which tasks you enjoy doing at work and which you're great at, as well as what working environment, salary, and work/life balance helps you thrive, and match potential careers against those criteria. Make sure to find out what steps you’ll need to take to break into the new field – this could mean getting a degree or certificate, starting at the bottom of the new ladder, and/or making connections in the new field who can recommend you for lateral moves. This will take time, but it will be far more productive than simply applying to any random job in your area that’s posted on LinkedIn.
Rewrite your resume and LinkedIn profile. Once you know what roles you’re targeting, you’ll need to overhaul your application materials to match the new field. Through the aforementioned research, you’ll have discovered the skills your new path requires and identified the transferable skills you have that align with those jobs. Focus your resume and LinkedIn profile on highlighting those achievements and avoid getting too in the weeds about your work in entertainment. The hiring team for an open insurance sales role isn’t going to care about your ability to write script coverage or create string-outs (or even know what those terms mean), but they may be impressed by your ability to conduct cold outreach to potential talent and create pitch decks.
Meet people. A major career transition calls for informational interviews! Just as you likely did when you first pursued a career in entertainment, you’ll need to meet anyone you can who works in your new field. Tell everyone you know about your job search goals and ask if they can introduce you to anyone they know who could help. Even better if you can identify target companies you’d love to work for and leverage your existing network to find contacts there (though this will be easier or harder depending on your chosen field). Use LinkedIn to identify potential connections and follow thought leaders from that industry. Attend networking events and conferences. All the things you did back in the day to make it in Hollywood will work for your new industry, too.
Finally, remember to be patient and persistent. It’s hard to break into a new field, and it will likely take a lot of time. Like entertainment, plenty of fields are competitive, and while some are seeing a huge hiring expansion, many others are going through similar layoffs and hiring freezes. If you’re strapped for cash, you may need to continue working in the entertainment industry or pick up gig work to make ends meet while you pursue a longer-term career. There’s no shame in that! It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to stay trapped in this industry. Keep at your research, keep meeting people, and keep applying. You’ll get there, just as you got here.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
One trend we've seen with job applicants over the years is a lack of confidence stemming from the feeling that prospective employers won't be interested in hiring them for various reasons -- they don't have enough specific expertise, they have spent too many years working on the wrong types of content for their desired job, or some other form of imposter syndrome. If you've felt this way, you're not alone! It's very easy to get stuck listening to your inner critic, and this is especially true when you're dissatisfied with your career because you're unemployed, underemployed, or simply bored.
One way to combat this feeling is to take a step back to look at your career holistically. When you're bogged down by your day to day tasks, they may seem mundane or unimpressive. If you've left a job on bad terms, it's natural to get wrapped up in what went wrong rather than thinking about the good things you've done in your career. But when you consider your experience as a whole, you'll see that you’ve accomplished a lot more than you realized!
A good place to start is to come up with a list of achievements. Think back to some of the most significant projects you have completed or challenges you've overcome in your career. What are you most proud of? Why? Consider how these projects made a big difference to your employer. And then think about what skills you used to achieve them. These are your main strengths, and they are value-adds you can use when speaking about yourself to a prospective employer.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with a list of one-off projects, another way to think about your achievements is in terms of volume of work. If you’re doing a task that feels repetitive -- for example, giving notes on every script draft of every episode of a TV series -- you’re actually building up an area of expertise with a very measurable result. In this instance, you may step back and notice that you have helped shape over 100 episodes of TV. And in doing so, you have probably learned a lot! At the very least, you’ll certainly know more about that genre of TV than someone who hasn’t had your job. Ask yourself: What are you taking for granted? What have you learned by doing the tasks that are now second nature to you? How do your experiences complement one another?
Most importantly, there’s value in your unique perspective. No one else has had the same career trajectory and life experience as you. And as employers look to hire a diverse roster of employees, this is more important than ever. What are you an expert in that others might not be? What specialized skills do you bring to the table? What relationships have you developed in your professional and personal life that will benefit you and your future team? What life experiences have shaped the way you approach work? Keep in mind that the things that differentiate you from your “typical” candidate are value adds, and you should be proud of them!
We understand it can be hard to break out of the “I’m not good enough” mindset. But it's so important, both for your own peace of mind and for your job search. Once you can get past the negative thinking, you'll be able to prepare a stronger resume, articulate your perspective better in an interview, and impress connections to generate referrals for open roles. We encourage you to take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve done and try to consider your career from an outsider’s perspective. We think you'll be impressed with yourself after you do!
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
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