Everyone Loves Entertainment

Whether you’re a talented singer-songwriter or a writer looking to pen sitcoms, the entertainment industry is one place that has a career for just about anyone.

Everyone loves entertainment. Whether you’re into romantic weepies, punk rock, or the Food Network, there’s a niche to fit virtually every artistic taste. TV, film, music, theater, and even radio continue to be strongholds in the vast world of entertainment, but with the growth of the Internet and digital media, new technologies only increase the ways in which we are entertained- and the opportunities to make your own career a part of that process.

Plus, you don’t have to be a performer to participate. Do you love the magic of movies, but have no desire to get in front of the camera? Are you a music buff, but can’t sing to save your life? Never fear. Although entertainment is usually equated with the big-name movie stars and musicians that make it seem so glamorous in the first place, it could not exist without the thousands of professionals that create, produce, and support the films, TV shows, theater productions, and radio programs that we so eagerly consume.

Advertising, engineering, business, sales, and production are just a few of the areas that are fundamental to the entertainment industry that can make great careers for non-performers. Although a college degree isn’t as necessary as talent and experience are for an aspiring performer, it’s often a requisite in other fields. A degree in accounting, finance, or business is necessary to work in the financial arena. Degrees in journalism and communications are most practical for careers in television and radio broadcasting. Movie studios and production companies have lawyers, too, but you’re going to need that law degree to be one.

As varied as its career opportunities may be , with so many creative, driven people seeking to break into the industry, the entertainment industry is a dog-eat-dog world. If you think you’re interested in a career in entertainment, start gaining experience as early as possible; and while everyone would love to work for MTV, be willing to think more realistically and embrace any experience. Get involved with film and theater productions on campus. Work for your college radio station. Take your love of entertainment seriously and invest all of the enthusiasm, persistence, and talent you have, and you could be in for the ride of a lifetime.

Industry Culture

The entertainment industry may be a showcase for creative talent, but it’s first and foremost a business, and an intensely competitive one at that. Where you live and who you know can often trump your ability and talent.

Hollywood: As you may be aware, the center of the entertainment universe is a little place known as Hollywood. As varied and far-flung as opportunities to work in the entertainment industry are, if you’re interested in working for the major (and minor) players in the film or television industries, your chances of getting a foot in the door and ultimately succeeding increase strongly if you’re based in Hollywood or L.A. At the same time, job seekers face stiff competition from the hordes of other eagerĀ  stars-in-training flocking to the city.

New York: Although Hollywood may immediately conjure images of celebrities and elaborate studio lots, New York has its own possibilities. The Big Apple is the place to be if you’re interested in making it in independent film or theater, and its music scene is one of the biggest in the country.

Fierce competition: Whether you’re behind the camera or in front of it, onstage or off, the entertainment industry is extremely competitive. Case in point: the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the film industry’s major labor union, represents an estimated 120,000 performers alone- compare that to the number of celebs who have actually made it big. Even internships in production or art departments are very difficult to come by.

Low pay: Working in the entertainment industry by no means consigns you to a life of paltry paychecks, but when you’re starting out, the experience and connections that an internship or assistantship can yield are also accompanied by very little, and often no, money.

Emerging Trends

Technological innovation has transformed every aspect of entertainment. Consumers and creators alike are driven by the changing landscapes of the Internet, digital video, and media-on-demand.

  • Entertainment Goes Digital

The late twentieth and early twenty-first century saw a technological revolution that continues to evolve and has profoundly changed the way the entertainment industry operates. From iTunes to YouTube to podcasts, new methods of viewing and sharing content challenge the industry’s ability to adapt to changing technologies and maintain consumer loyalty in an age where it’s easier and cheaper to pirate a DVD or song instead of pay for the real thing. ABC, for example, has begun to offer recent reruns of its most popular shows online for free.

  • New Demands, New Opportunities

At the same time, the dawning of the digital age creates both opportunities and demands. In the realm of video, digital film has literally revolutionized the way that film is produced. It’s cheaper, easier to create (consider the number of videos on YouTube alone), and is even being taught in many high school film classes. At the same time, film directors and editors must keep up on the latest technologies and video-editing programs, and technical expertise in editing and special effects are more and more important. Even the advent of blogging has brought a more democratic method of showcasing talent: some high-profile bloggers have gained a level of visibility and readership that makes them authorities in everything from celebrity gossip to political commentary. So while your blog may not effortlessly land you a career in journalism or screenwriting, it’s a great way to hone your writing skills in the semi-public eye.