We had just arrived at my friend's house, and I announced myself through saying, "I'm home." My friend's dad said, "Welcome back...I guess." While no one thought much of it, his utterance resonated with me. It proves to be more true every-time I come back for a break.
I can call Los Angeles home, but in reality for the last 3 years Geneva, NY has been my residence.
When I talk about school, I'm constantly smiling. I am well too aware of the rose colored glasses I wear when sharing my anecdotes. But, the truth is that whether I genuinely like HWS or I've made the best of my situation, in less than a year I'll be on the steps of Coxe Hall grabbing the diploma that equated to 4 years of hard sacrifices.
I've recently worked out something harder than moving away from home. Moving away from the person you used to be. I used to think that I really knew myself. However, we are always in the process of becoming. And I have become a version of myself that is hyper focused, sharp, and also sometimes erratic. One of my strengths is how I can go from 0 to 100 in .5 seconds. It can also be my greatest weakness. I can get passionate about something so quickly. Yet, I can also jump off ship before we even hit the ice berg. It's been my time at HWS that has helped me realize this fury that is double sided.
In talking with a close friend, I know that I have a lot of potential to do amazing things in life. And I also have the potential to crash and burn if I'm not ready.
So here's to a summer where No Chill Will gets some chill. Because, we all have to grow up eventually.
April has arrived, and not only is the world blessed knowing that my birthday is approaching, but it's also formal szn here at HWS. Spring was supposed to spring, and it did for a day, for like an hour. Regardless, we're still rallying regardless of the risk of frost bite. Silly bands may have gone out of style but #YOLO lives on!
This spring, I have had the fortune of finding my way into an amazing friend group that I can declare as squad goals. From my fellow juniors, to the seniors suffering from the scaries, and even the sophomores and first years whose names I'm learning, this spring has been such an engaging one. I've not only come back to make new friends, but most importantly I strengthened some. Being able to know that I'm only a text away from finding a friend is a sentiment that I missed for almost 3 years since I got to college. Thanks to all my friends this spring, I feel like Hobart is closer to being called home.
Anyways, let me get back to the juice of this piece. The hype for all things formal season. You already know all the Insta captions from, "Formalaties aside" to "A little formal never killed nobody." While these captions are tired, and we have all see the sorority squad to death, I'm here to say DEAL WITH IT! J.K. C'mon people, step it up!
This is the time when Beef expectations are thrown aside and people transcend their fashion and kidney's limits. From online shopping, to not eating the week before the formal, this is the time to rally and really show up and show out. I'm personally excited to see my Snapchats every Sunday morning, because I know it's something I won't remember. Formals can start to add up, which is why I don't recommend going out all month long. Instead, I would rather go to 1 or 2 where I know all my friends will be. That way, I can get the most bang for my buck. Of course, if you got the coin to show out every week then hey more power to you! April is an exciting and nerve wracking time because this is crunch time for people at the Colleges. Everyone is moving up, earning new responsibilities along the way. The seniors have to start worrying about the real world, the juniors have to start doing adult things like finding housing and internships, the sophomores think they run the show, and I think the first-years are just trying to stay alive.
We all have our crosses to carry, just make sure you have a great friend group to help carry your Swarovski encrusted one.
Summer internships. Two words, but one phrase, that carry a lot of weight for college students of all age, including myself. Being a junior, there is the looming worry about landing that perfect internship that will set me up after graduation. There's all kinds of things you hear from upper-class men friends like, "OMG if you don't intern now you'll never get hired", "You need to intern at a huge company", or "This is your last chance to do something!" No wonder people second guess themselves and review their resume almost a dozen times looking for every comma that's out of place!
By no means am I a career guru. But, I have had plenty of experience working with professionals learning about what helps a candidate stand out in an application pool. The biggest take away is that language is key. Rarely will you get a chance to make your first impression in person, and so it is up to a carefully crafted cover letter, and reviewed resume, to get your foot in the door and your seat to that dream desk.
The resume is the heart of any application. This is the document that communicates to a reader what skills and experience you carry. Everyone will always have different resume advice, but themes I have found in conversations with professionals is that clarity, concession, and coherence is the key to a strong resume. Below are some tips that can help elevate your resume to a strong piece that ignites a conversation.
Using Strong Verbs: "Utilize" the sin of resume words! One of my Writing & Rhetoric Professors stresses the point that verbs drive the English language, and people love to read about people and places. These have become the tenets of my professional writing knowledge. Here is an example from my resume:
Here is a link to a great PDF: http://career.opcd.wfu.edu/files/2011/05/Action-Verbs-for-Resumes.pdf
Finding Relevant Experience: "What am I gonna do? I don't have any previous internship or job experience?!" I hear this one a lot, and I tell all my friends the same, "You may not have had an internship before, but what are you doing right now that is relevant?" As college students, we honestly have a surplus of time. Honestly, we are not ALWAYS that stressed. However, if you are that stressed, than you probably are on the right track. I'll explain why in a bit. Being part of clubs, sports, on-campus jobs, Greek life, etc. there are dozens of leadership positions that exists on our campuses that help cultivate your leadership skills. For example, being President of an animal shelter volunteer club means you clearly manage logistics, build relationships, manage accounts, etc. See what I mean? You often do things for fun that are giving you practical skills that could contribute to whatever company and team you intern with. Sit down and find what you do well. Once you have this down, start thinking about what you do, and don't say you "utilize" anything!
Make it Pop: For most people who have never written a resume, I notice that they end up getting an online template, or they use a basic one from their school's career office. This is fine, but you have to understand that your resume has to stand out in a sea of many. Adding a pop of color, I literally mean like on line, like honestly the most SUBTLE details, can make your resume feel fresh to someone who has gone through hundreds in one day. Using programs like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign offer a great way of working with both your font and aesthetics. A monogram never hurt anybody right?
White Space is Good Space: My last bit of advice is to let your resume breath. Do not feel like you have to get your whole life down on this 1 sheet of paper. It is both impossible and unnecessary, that is why cover letters exist. Your resume should look polished and precise. This means that having smaller margins is a good thing, and having enough space between sections is appreciated. You want your resume to look like a relaxed piece of work, instead of an investigation of who you are.
Cover letters are somewhat confusing, but I will try to explain it best I can. A good cover letter compliments your resume. It should add details and experiences that were not included on your resume, and it should invite the reader to refer back to your resume too. Despite what you may initially think, a cover letter should be brief, thoughtful, and memorable. Here is what I recommend for a cover letter.
Your First Line is Paramount: "Hi my name is...." if your cover letter starts with these 4 words, expect to be pushed aside. This is perhaps the worst way of starting off a cover letter! Why? Because your reader already knows this! A few other mistakes include "I go to X College", "I major in X" or "I am a X year." Once again, these are things your reader knows. Your first line is where you have to be direct and show that you are here to work hard, and work smart. A safe first line is, "I am writing to show my interest in X position." Short, sweet, and to the point.
Formatting: A good cover letter is seamless in style with your resume. This means that the font, margins, and spacing should be similar to each other. The top of your cover letter should often be copied directly from your resume.
End on a High Note: Before you end your resume make sure to thank the reader for their time! This may seem like a minuscule detail, but people really do forget to thank the person who gave them the time of day. I personally think that this shows how you are someone considerate and thoughtful, and not simply there for the company's name. Also make sure to include a line the invites the reader to contact you for work samples, more questions, etc. Including a line like this helps keep the conversation open, instead of done once the paper is put down.
Also, make sure you also have a great mentor who doesn't mind when you text her 3 times in a row asking for the best way of saying "I did this"! Whether it's your friend, professor, coach, etc. get as many eyes on your documents!
Tomorrow starting at 9 AM PCT, I will be taking over the Oscars’ snapchat in honor of the Academy Gold Program’s graduation ceremony. Along with being elected as the student speaker, I will be giving an inside view of the closing today for this revolutionary program. Make sure to add the Academy’s Snapchat: Theacademy to see the full story.
The ceremony will include recognizing interns from across 20 of the most successful companies in entertainment like Disney, HBO, FremantleMedia, Fotokem, Technicolor, Warner Bros., and many more. The Academy will also announce the mentor pairings for the Gold interns. Each of the 68 Gold interns will receive a mentor.
Mentors are Academy members, many Oscar winners, who have volunteered to offer their time and expertise about breaking into Hollywood. Along with having mentors, the soon to be alumni will be invited to continue to attend Academy screenings. For those interested in fellowships and contests, the Academy will waive the fee for former Gold interns to enter contests.
Tomorrow is sure to be an amazing ceremony, and I hope you can follow along. The Academy’s Snapchat is theacademy .
Between two premiere internships this summer, I have gained an invaluable and intimate knowledge of the unspoken rules and moves to make in order to make it into the Hollywood biz. A lot of what I learned seems like common sense, but all too often students and hopefuls let their ambition blind them from being courteous and careful. Unlike other industries, in entertainment you have to give face-face-face and then still give face.
I live by the motto that it's not about who you know, but rather who knows you.
I think instead of just having a pile of business cards it's more important to build a cohesive network that knows you. Who can advocate for you and your talents? That's one rule in this business that almost every executive I have met has discussed. For many at HWS, Hollywood represents the pinnacle of making it in entertainment. I won't disagree. But I will say that I do not think everyone is made for Hollywood, and I especially do not think that Hollywood will accept everyone either.
I have only been to NYC once and so I cannot speak on the city's culture, but having grown up in the City of Angels I can tell you how this city works. Between my publicity internship in Burbank, CA and my time throughout Beverly Hills and Santa Monica attending panels and screenings, I can also tell you how this industry works.
One of the greatest lessons I got from my father was the importance of finding your team - Sofia Coppola
I cannot tell you how small the entertainment industry truly is! I swear everyone knows everyone and the 6 degrees of separation feels like 3. Earlier last week, Fremantle sent its' monthly newsletter out introducing us interns, and out of nowhere I got an email from a Hobart alum. He was ecstatic to find someone from the college unknown to most in L.A. working in the same company as him. This shows how you never know who you will run into, and it also shows how communication channels are so tight in this town.
Finding your team means finding people in your company, and neighboring companies, that you can trust to support you in your career. Whether you grab lunch together or ask for advice on a project, your team compliments your weakness. You then offer your strengths to compliment them. As an intern, this is a prime time to build my network because this is when I have the time to explore. My host company, FremantleMedia, has 10 interns and I am proud to say that they have become my team. We grab lunch together, go out together, and we even help each other connect to the contacts we have.
Building a team is crucial in this industry because in order to advance you have to have a platform behind you. Never burn a bridge in Hollywood because you may never get a second chance.
There is the misconception that as people of color in entertainment you are competing with each other, but that's not the case. The right opportunity will find you and you have to believe that. - Jada Pinkett Smith
At most colleges like HWS, there are two groups of students that want to work in entertainment. One group consists of people with some avenue into the industry, nepotism is real y'all, and then there are those with no connection at all. I am in the latter group. Regardless, breaking into Hollywood is tough.
What I want to share with you is how not every opportunity you get will be the right fit. While you may land what you think to be your dream job, the truth is you don't know what is right for you until you get it. I had no idea that I would like the realm of public relations and marketing as much as I would have until I got to work at my current desk. I had been offered a position with the scripted department, but I admit to my HR contact that I was hesitant on accepting the role. That's when she told me how just minutes before the call the Senior Vice President of Communications & Marketing had asked for an intern. The rest is history.
Many of the executives I met have all shared vastly different stories in to how they got in. Some sent in cold applications and others bounced around for years before it clicked that show biz was for them. The point of this point is that you cannot expect to land at your dream desk without paying your dues. That means starting in the mailroom and working your way up. There's a reason agencies use this model.
If what you want is money or to build your ego than leave. You have to love story telling if you want to work here, that's the secret - Victoria Alonso
One of the most salient points I have learned this summer is that Hollywood is not as glamorous as one may think. There are more roles that just writing, directing and producing. Any vocation you can think of can be under the umbrella of show biz, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. We do not have "normal" 9 to 5 days. We do not spend all day just meeting celebrities. We especially do not all eat kale salads for lunch. We work hard.
In regards to film, movies are planned at least 7-10 years before they come out. Television shows are born 4-6 years before you see them on the small screen. That means that the work that goes into what you see is around the clock. The average talent agent works 18-20 hour days. What about weekends you may ask? What are those?
Entertainment is a a very demanding industry, but the pay off is amazing. In my case, my team will go on set from 8 AM and not leave until 7 PM. During this time, talent is being prepared, journalists are being called and rallied, and phones are on making sure all meetings for the next day are still on. Thus I reiterate this point, if what you want is money, fame, or glory, than take a velvet seat because you won't ever be on the screen just admiring it.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.