For college students looking to get into the media or entertainment industry, we asked Stephen Friedman to share his insights about the industry after a 35+ year career at Twentieth Century Fox, Discovery Network, and Warner Bros. What does it take to get into the industry? How should students prepare for the interviews? Based on the changes in the industry, what recommendations would Stephen give to an aspiring media professional? Stephen shares helpful tips to guide you through the process.
- Reach out to your network, talk to family and friends, to learn about opportunities. There is no shame in using your connections to obtain an internship or a job/
- Read up! Conduct research on the industry and the company you are interviewing with so you can talk a little about a lot of things.
- For the entertainment and media industry, know how to read the ratings, how to measure performance, the technology, and various platforms, and the state of the business.
- Learn the nuts and bolts of the business
- At some point, you have to work in LA if you want to be in the entertainment business
- A lot about the television business is human nature – you can learn a lot that way
- How the syndication business works
- Be open to finding success and do something that you enjoy
- Presentation skills are important
- Spend time perfecting your resume
- During an interview, be open to other opportunities
- Not every job is a perfect fit
- Expect change – you can’t stop change. Always keep educating yourself on the latest technologies to be in the know.
- Be versatile
Important Resources and Links:
Meet Stephen Freidman
Stephen Friedman, a graduate of The University of Rochester, began his career with TV research in New York City. After a few years he transitioned to a studio career at Twentieth Century Fox, rising through the ranks of research in Fox’s syndication division. Stephen later became head of research and spent 4 years learning TV sales as head of Fox’s Syndication office. Following that he returned to LA as head of market research for Fox.
In 2000, Stephen was recruited by Discovery Networks in Miami to oversee their marketing, research and communications efforts in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Adding international experience to his repertoire was invaluable as it provided a new perspective on what constitutes success and was extremely helpful when he returned to the US business.
After 3 1/2 years in Miami, Stephen went back to the domestic side as VP of Northeast Sales for Warner Bros domestic television based in New York. He then spent 17 years building up invaluable station contacts that have been a great asset in his long TV career and even helps tremendously now in his current consulting job. Stephen can count on these relationships now as he helps to give young people critical access to how the television business works. Stephen currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida and is now available for speaking engagements and podcasts as well as mentoring young people on how to pursue a very rewarding career in TV.
Thank you Stephen for joining us today to share your knowledge and experience in the entertainment industry. As a mentor to college students and millennials, you advise students to cast their net wide. Reach out to family, friends, and industry experts to ask about their experience, lessons learned, and what they would do differently entering the business now. It is important to learn about the industry before you contact references or hiring managers – talk a little about a lot of things. Don’t be put off or scared to take entry-level jobs that will provide a good training ground for the business.