Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ask Atlas: How To Intern: 5.31

For those of you waiting to exhale about the results of my big meeting, it got pushed to tomorrow....so keep holding your breath. But until then, enjoy this little email conversation

Every once in awhile, I get asked questions as an 'authority' on Hollywood. I appreciate these questions, since they bolster a comforting (if false) idea that I do indeed have some sort of authority. And compared to interns, I almost do.

Perhaps surprisingly, my advice often seems to work. Take the case of a lil wunderkind that I'm dubbing "Chuckie". I have no idea why I've just settled on that name, but anyway, here was Chuckie's original message:

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: "Chuckie"

great blog, this whole industry is a brand new for me. I'm starting an internship at ICM within a week. Could you offer any advice for someone in my position? Besides of course don't come anywhere near the industy...
--------------------------------------------------

Since it was a good question and posed in a reasonably coherent manner, I answered:

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Assistant/Atlas

The most important thing we look for in our interns is how eager they are. Interns, by definition, aren't supposed to be knowledgeable, (or, really, all that useful) but what separates the interns we never see again from the ones who get calls when there's a job opening is how much they want it. So make sure everyone knows you want to learn as much as possible...and you're willing to work as hard as it takes to do so.

And if you're gonna be at ICM, you've got to want it bad. Although, frankly, ICM lately has the reputation of being the least-sharky, most-friendly of the big agencies.

Also: don't come anywhere near the industry-- unless you really, really want it and are willing to suffer through several years of hell to get a decent job.
Regards and good luck,
Atlas
-----------------------------------------------

And wouldn't you know it--Chuckie wrote back.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: "chuckie"

Thank you for the response, very helpful advice. I have one more quick question. What are your thoughts on Untitled Management? Just recently, I was at a William Morris pool party and met a girl who is an assistant/quasi manager there. she offered me a internship during the days i'm not working at ICM. I assume it would be good to get exposure to the management side of the business as well. Let me know what you think, thanks again.
-------------------------------------------------

And of course I had to respond to that one.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Assistant/Atlas

Well, aren't we a little Ari-in-training....a WMA pool party, eh?

I'd say go for it. Untitled is one of the stronger management companies out there-- having them and ICM on your resume from a single, workaholic summer would be an excellent start. What is it you want to do, exactly? If you don't know, definitely get all sorts of basic experience so you can move up quickly whenever you decide on a path.

Good luck, kid. Looks like I may be seeing you around.
Regards,
Atlas
--------------------------------------------------

And then some time passed and summer came and went. Then, lo and behold, a new email showed up in my inbox.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: "chuckie"

So I just finished both my internships. I took your advice and apparently it was good advice b/c ICM told me they wanted me for their agent training program which is very exciting. I have to finish one more year of school then I'm back out to start a training porgram at one of the top 3. My question is whether or not I should even bother applying to the other agencies. My situation is unique in that the agent I worked for became my mentor. He's an executive there so he has pull. His assistant who I became good friends with even said my agent would be offended if he knew I applied for caa and wma so I'm wondering your opinion on the situation. I do have to look out for my own and so I'm thinking why not go for the top agency caa. At the same time this agent has been such an amazing person to me, took me out to lunch twice, let me pretty much be is second assistant, and said he would get me into the training program. So I wanted to know your take on all of this. Sorry for the length. Any advice would be helpful.
Hope all is well at your new job. [ED. NOTE: Chuckie was off by a few months, as Hollywood jobs should measured in dog years.]
Regards,
Chuckie
-------------------------------------------------

My advice was pretty simple:
If you've got a powerful mentor in the industry who wants to help you, I say let them. Use your connections- that's why you intern in the first place. CAA may be all about 100% market share, but it's unlikely they'll be on top forever. If ICM is treating you well, and you like your mentor figure, I'd say it'd be silly to throw that away. And also, you must have done something right-- might as well get credit for, and take advantage of, the groundwork you've laid. Plus, once you're an agent, you're expected to jump ship anyway. If you wait, CAA could eventually shower you with cash for bringing over/stealing your clients from ICM.


But see kids? Dreams really can come true-- even in Hollywood.


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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest a "how to get that internship in the first place" post.

5:54 PM

 
Blogger Assistant Atlas said...

It's very simple, anonymous.

Agree to work for free.

If you're doing that, you have the power, not them. Of course, you're not making any money, so there's a downside.

Just so you know.

10:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn! Hollywood is small indeed! I think I know who "Chuckie" is!

12:02 AM

 
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