Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Not to Wear: the Staffing Agency

First off, thanks to everyone for the comments and encouragement!

This morning I went to a staffing agency that works exclusively in entertainment. Yay for rush hour...somehow, it took me longer to go 1.4 miles down Sunset than 8 miles over the canyon. Oh, silly LA. Once at the agency, I had to fill out a ton of paperwork and then take Word, Excel and typing tests. I got 97% on Word (I think I missed one question about mail merges or something), 80% on Excel (who knew you could put NUMBERS in those spreadsheets!) and 64.8 words per minute. Personally, I think I can type faster than that...I got 80 the last time I took one at a temp agency in Buffalo...but whatever. Then I met with an agent...she was overall pretty nice, until my physical appearance came into the conversation. She asked, "Do you always wear your hair like that?" and made me turn around twice so she could inspect it. She thinks it needs to be more "professional," since agencies are going to be hiring people who "could be on magazine covers." She then proceeded to instruct me on how to put my hair into a low ponytail at the nape and twist it under. No, I'm not kidding...and it gets better. Then she said, "Do you ever wear ANY color on your face? Do you know how pale you look?" (For the record, I was wearing foundation, bronzer, eyeliner and two kinds of eyeshadow.) Then she BUSTED OUT A MIRROR, held it up to my face and said, "Look how pale you are!"

I don't think there's any film school that prepares you for this kind of thing.

Luckily, she found my new suit from Banana to be acceptable (that's it over on the left). And it was on sale! Thank God, 'cause suits are damned expensive! Regardless of the unorthodox visual judgements (and the weird trough on her filing cabinet in the corner that was oozing steam), she did fax over my resume to another Giant Agency for a floater position, and to a small boutique management company in Sherman Oaks. So we'll see. Later I went to ICLA and saw Holly and my favorite professor/advisor Steve Ginsberg, who nearly choked on his Caesar salad when he saw me again. He assured me that the staffing agent's critique was insane. "Play the game if you want to, but know that that's ridiculous," he said, shaking his head. "It's 2007 and people are still saying that kind of thing."

Meanwhile, I set up another interview on Thursday at a development company through an email train of Ithaca grads. I'm slightly concerned because I can't seem to find any record of what they've done or are doing, and my meeting is going to take place in Starbucks. But they're offering good money and benefits (benefits!), the job description involved script reading/notes, and it might be a cool opportunity to help launch a new company, if that's indeed what it is. Besides, who doesn't love a mid-afternoon green tea frappucino?


wcdixon said...

Welcome to LA, eh. That interview story was too much...

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