Taryn Ariel works at a world-renowned talent agency in New York City. Drawing upon her experience working in the agency’s comedy department, Taryn shares a series of articles with The Media Chronicles featuring tips and advice for those looking to make it in the competitive talent agency industry.
An entry-level job at an agency is different from any other kind of entry-level job. You are constantly running a fine line between keeping your head down and getting people to know you.
In my experience, the most noticeable thing you can do is be reliable. Be the go-to person for any kind of request, be it small or large. If you become the go-to person for setting up a conference room, you will be the person interfacing with the bigwigs when they set up their meetings. If you are the person who responds to emails quickest and with perfect grammar, people will start requesting your help when they have a project and need someone who is fast and trustworthy. This is the best way to get noticed at any company, large or small, before you graduate to more industry-like responsibility.
Once you start to get access to more things, be it lists for shows, scripts to read, or musicians to check out – take advantage of them! Read everything, go to things when you can, and try to stay in the know with everything going on in the industry. Sign up for alerts from Deadline, so that you know when pilots are being made, movies get stars, and executives change roles. This will make you more knowledgeable and give you the ability to ask informed questions of your superiors.
Ask questions! If there is something you are interested in, be it your motion picture department, comedy department, branding department, or otherwise – let those people know! Ask to be educated on things. Read up on all the latest things happening with those clients, the deals being made, and who they are being made with. When something doesn’t make sense to you, or you are curious why something happened (Why did Warner Bros. buy five similar-sounding pilots? Why did Jerry Seinfeld start a web series? Why did Scarlet Johansson step down as Oxfam’s ambassador?), ask the agent involved! They will appreciate your interest, and their answer will give you insight into how an agent helps shape their clients’ careers. You will learn what are “good moves” and “bad moves” and how you can present things to different people.
Entry-level jobs at an agency are a great place to start relationships with managers, business managers, venues, and other assistants who will grow with you. Take advantage of every interaction to find allies, because you never know who will help you in the end. And you will help many of them – you just don’t know it, yet.