Advice to Navigating the Entertainment Industry

By Livia Peterson

I’ve pursued and continue to pursue my dream within the entertainment industry for ten years and counting now (essentially since middle school). I’ve endured numerous up and downs along the way, as some things work for me while they work for my colleagues. With that said, I am sharing some advice to navigating the entertainment industry.

The entertainment industry is difficult to break into, regardless if you are a journalist (like I am), publicist, filmmaker, and the like. This industry demands patience even if you lack it. Patience unlocks doors, even if it does not come right away. There are many times I was tempted to give up, but do not give up.

Start out small such as the local arts scene. Do not initially think big because you will receive a wake up call. Thinking big is ambitious, but smaller is better in this instance.

Networking is essential in any industry due it could lead to open doors. I’ve networked with fellow journalists, filmmakers, theatre professionals, and marketing and public relations folks to name a few. Some of these connections have opened doors for me and indeed, it is understated. If you an extrovert, network. If you are introvert, still network. From online networking (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn) to face to face networking, it will do you well than harm.

Create excellent relationships with the publicists. As a journalist, I am constantly in contact with public relations, from receiving press releases to direct contact for interviews. This is crucial due to most of the time you are not in direct contact with the artists involved in the project. It is through a publicist, who established a marketing and publicity plan for the project.

Read the press releases even if it’s just the headline. I cover film, theatre, and art within the Milwaukee arts scene and indeed, sometimes receive irrelevant press releases. It is okay to ignore irrelevant press releases even if you dislike it.

Take advantage of opportunities within the industry such as screening committee member and marketing volunteer. I am a Milwaukee Repertory Theater marketing volunteer and help promote their productions via social media, as this position allows me to enjoy productions and network at the same time.

Do not be afraid to step out of the comfort zone. Even though film is my primary ‘beat’, I immensely enjoy covering theatre and art as well. Broadening your horizons allow more opportunities, as long as it is within your ‘beat’.

Set goals. Goal setting is equally important, as it allows you to ensure you are on track. One of my goals is to receive the Milwaukee Film Festival press credentials this year and I am shooting for it, regardless of what anyone says.

I immensely enjoy what I do even though I have many miles to go. Celebrate your victories, even the small ones. Continue to motivate yourself and remind yourself this is your calling. You will eventually get there, I promise.

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