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
For several months now, we’ve seen a dramatic slow-down in work across the entertainment industry (not to mention a plethora of layoffs), and with the current writers’ strike, things are really uncertain. It’s possible that some areas of the industry – like reality TV, animation, and independent film – will see an uptick in work, but we don’t know what the future of the business will look like as this all plays out. This moment is big, and the feelings that go along with it (ranging from outrage to fear to anxiety to kinship to hope and everything in between) are totally valid. There’s a lot going on right now that’s beyond any individual’s control, even as the industry’s shift affects each of us very personally.
The good news is that there are some things that are in your control. In fact, while work is slow, there’s an opportunity to focus on the things you don’t usually have time for when you’re putting in 10-12 hour days. Here are some ideas for how to invest in your professional future when the industry’s future is so uncertain.
Cultivate your personal brand. Look over your LinkedIn, StaffMeUp, IMDB, and other profiles and make sure they are up to date with your current professional story. You can also build or refresh your personal website, reels, and portfolios. Think about how you want people in the industry to view you and your work, and hone in on what makes you unique. If you’ve been meaning to share your expertise with the world as a thought leader or mentor, you can take this moment to create content and/or collaborate with industry organizations to offer your wisdom through mentorship programs or panels.
Re-evaluate your long-term goals. We recommend doing a personal inventory every 6 months or so to make sure you’re still passionate about your work, and now is the perfect moment to think critically about your future. Are the dreams you had when you first started out in the industry the same dreams you have now? Do you like the work you’ve been doing? Is there something else that interests you? Have you been circling the idea of making a career transition but aren’t sure where to start? Check out our free resource, “Essential Questions to Guide Your Job Search,” a helpful tool for digging into what makes you tick professionally and personally, or reach out to schedule a career coaching session for a more personalized approach.
Take a professional development course to learn a new skill. We’re big proponents of lifelong learning, and with so many online courses, it’s easier than ever to develop new skills. You can learn a new software, or explore an area of the industry that’s interested you but never quite applied to your day-to-day work (audience metrics, marketing, screenwriting, improv, film finance, etc.). You can also take courses in areas of interest that don’t have anything to do with your career, but may make you a better storyteller by understanding a niche topic. We also offer a suite of learning opportunities to help you cultivate skills to improve your job search, like our resume and cover letter writing course, Hollywood Resumes Essentials and our hour-long webinars, The Hollywood Job Search, LinkedIn for Your Entertainment Career, and Applying for Entertainment Jobs.
Work on your passion project. You may not be able to do work for the major studios and signatory companies right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your creativity on hold! You can still write a screenplay, as long as you don’t send it out to signatory companies. You can shoot an indie film or web series. Write that memoir. Shoot that photography series. Develop a reality show pitch. Practice your stand-up routine. Create those dream hair and makeup looks for your social feeds. Record a podcast. It’s possible none of this will make you any money, but you never know, and in the meantime, you will feed your soul.
Start a side hustle. Money is important, and you may need to lean on other sources of income if your area of the industry is at a hiring standstill. It’s totally okay to take on side gigs – don’t worry about how they’ll look on your resume down the line, as you may not even need to include them. Just like in 2008 and 2020, gaps from times when the industry wasn’t hiring are very explainable to employers. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit, you may also consider creating your own business or consultancy, whether it’s industry-adjacent or totally outside.
We know that this strike affects each of us differently, but we are all impacted in one way or another – you’re not alone. But you also don’t have to wait for permission or external opportunities to take control of your career. You have that agency right now, even when things are slow. And we’re here to help, however we can.
-- 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
Welcome to our career tips blog! To receive our updates via email, sign up for our weekly newsletter. You'll also get access to exclusive discounts, offers, and resources!