The Business of Entertainment Club (Facebook / B-Involved) recently ran a “career trek” to Los Angeles. We had the chance to converse with legends in the entertainment business, such as Steve Mosko, Chairman of Sony Pictures Television, and James W. Barge, CFO of Lionsgate, as well as some truly creative executives at HBO, Warner Bros., Disney Animation Studios, Paramount Pictures, Maker Studio and Netflix. What we learned from this trip extended far beyond the studio visits themselves, as we had the opportunity to be exposed to the financial side of the business, emerging technologies like Virtual reality and Augmented reality, as well as the creative side of script writing and managing those creative assets. We also learned how to run a successful employer trek.
Below are 7 tips we have for you to help you plan a successful trek:
- * The 2-day Buffer: When you initially outline your visit, make sure to plan for 2 additional days to meet up with the contacts you collected along the trip, the individuals you meet on the trip and are always looking to share their resources with you after they have gotten to know you.
- The Pitch: Practice your elevator pitch and get the right mix of stories you want to showcase before each employer. For example, you wouldn’t talk about distribution to a marketing company.
- The Housekeeping Rule: Always have two leaders assigned for a company you visit. One should introduce the group, their purpose and the school they are representing while the other leader monitors a meeting, decorum and tracks the time.
- The Capital “Q”: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want to be general with your questions. Tailor your questions to be specific to the person or team you are meeting. Be direct with your asks and allow ample time for their reply. Discuss your questions before meeting the company so that you don’t waste valuable time asking for information that is easily available on the website.
- Housing and Airbnb: Airbnb is the most economic option for stay and allows for people to stay together in groups, making travel planning easier.
- The Thank you’ s: Make sure to carry a Thank You gift for each employer by which they can remember the group. Personalized thank you notes or email are very effective in establishing a long lasting connection. In addition, it might be useful to create a booklet of all your resumes and profile photos so that the employers can quickly reach out to you if they were interested in your meeting.
- The Closing: It’s not a bad idea to end the meeting with a few action items or tasks. Based on the situation you can ask employers to recommend you for certain roles you liked within the company, to connect you to other suitable contacts they might know, to secure a meeting with HR on a future date and so forth.
Lastly, remember to always ‘be considerate’. Our meeting with Sony occurred only because one student requested to change the seating arrangements, as the executive we were meeting with was sitting at a position against the sun’s glare. This executive was so impressed that he went out of his way to arrange the meetings for us the following few days.
*Please note that the trek to LA is a unique situation and the “2 extra days” might not be an option for each career trek.