Sunday, January 18, 2009

Interview Tips

Michael writes: Ideally, I want to work at a talent agency. Any advice on interviews, or how to get another round of interviews at the agencies now that the new year has begun?

Be confident, especially at agencies. Agencies are filled with confident, even aggressive personalities and you need to be able to fit in there. That being said, don't come off as desperate. Relax and be yourself, and show off your passion for the industry.

Do your homework. Know who the agency's biggest clients are, what show's they've packaged, that kind of thing. If you're interviewing with a specific agent, find out who some of their successful clients are. You can find this info on IMDBPro, or ask an employed friend to look up info on StudioSystem, an amazing database that most agencies, studios, networks, etc. have subscriptions to. Every agent loves to be congratulated on their successes.

I'd be wary of saying you want to be a writer. Generally nobody wants to hire an aspiring client. They feel like you're using them, and they probably assume you're no good at what you're aspiring to do. Imagine you are the one hiring - wouldn't you want to hire someone who is dedicated to working at your company and giving it their all? Still, don't lie and say you want to be an agent if you don't want to. You're usually safe saying that you don't quite know what you want to do yet, maybe development, maybe producing, but you just want to learn as much as you can - that kind of thing. You don't have to lie.

Don't highlight your weakness or lack of experience. If you don't have much experience, highlight the fact that you're a fast learner and a hard worker. Focus on what you CAN do, and what skills and qualities will make you succeed in the job. They probably will ask you that question about your greatest weakness... I don't know quite what the best answer is to that. I think I once said I was a perfectionist but even that's kind of a cop out. Whatever you pick, maybe the key is to spin it that you're working on whatever that weakness is.

Write a handwritten thank you note after the interview. You'd be amazed how impressed people are by the personal touch.

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LazyWriterOnTheTV said...

Re greatest weakness: please don't say "kryptonite". Please.

Neil said...

Dammit. And kryptonite IS my only weakness. Oh well, just have to find something else.

Good post, Amanda.

Sasha said...

Hey Amanda,

I'd planned to move out to LA in the spring, but with the economy so horrible... I'm worried about getting work, and am wondering how much of a nest egg I should save up- enough to pay my way for three months? four? five?

Are agencies still hiring for entry level positions? How long would you expect to wait before landing a (paying) job?

(BTW, I've been an assistant before (in a law firm), but I don't have connections in Cali, and have never interned).


Dan Williams said...

"What's your greatest weakness?"

The one that I learned to say was, "I'm always working. I need to plan out a vacation in advance and make myself take it. But in general, I find vacations boring and work a lot more interesting. But I've come to realize that everybody, including me, HAS to take some time off." If you say this, they are reassured that work is your primary interest.

Another good answer might be, "I'm always ten minutes early. Meetings, interviews, church, lunch dates, to see a movie, you name it. My parents hated to be kept waiting so I just grew up doing stuff ahead of time and not keeping them waiting. One of these days I'll arrive a minute late for a meeting and everybody will have a heart attack." Here you are reassuring them that you have a sense of urgency and can make your deadlines.

LazyWriterOnTheTV said...

You can actually turn any negative into a positive.

I make lousy coffee-- but I'm great in bed.

I'm hopelessly disorganised-- but I'm great in bed.

People say I procrastinate too much--

You get the picture.

theunderling said...

I second Sasha's question. How is the economy affecting entry level jobs in the industry?

Unknown said...

Very nice and informative post.
This will help everyone at the time of their interview.
Thanks for you post.

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