Leveraging UP! Excerpt


No one would know this better than the most influential man that has ever walked this earth. A predisposition of humility sets the stage for greatness. Employment is but a mere opportunity to share your best gifts with a unique group of people—your work family. It is then that favor and promotion will follow you in the manner of the quoted author.

If you are reading this book because you wish to gain a positional advantage in the entertainment industry, then be prepared to renew your mindset. Whether you live in a remote terrain far from the lights and camera of Hollywood or find habitat in Tinsel Town itself, it’s not about where you rest but what you possess. Attitude does determine altitude, and if your dreams lie in an untold story of writing, directing, producing, or a close cousin to them all, there is a pathway for your soul to emerge.

Some get on this battlefield unprepared for war with their energies about them, hoping to be whisked into a soldier’s opportunity that serves their most recent bachelor or graduate degree. Having spent years in a prestigious film school, toiling over theory and practicum, they come into this Chariots of Fire arena, befitted to run the race and forget that it is not a sprint but a marathon, where certain training is most necessary for advancement to the finish line.

Others have graduated from a four-year college after months of writing highly structured papers and enduring popular lectures by published professors, dreaming in between classes of the movies they see on the weekends once their labor has taken a break. Pretending to be one of the diverse talent in the Oscar®-winning Crash, or even the then unknown director who maxed out his credit cards for his first creative black-and-white film debut She’s Gotta Have It. Your passion boils with hungry hope and dubious desire beyond the hours of popcorn smackin’ and theater guffawing. Or maybe you are like me. Hailing from a small town in Ohio, beginning my career as a page at NBC, giving tours to tourists whose eyes would light up when walking the TV set of Hollywood Squares, a popular game show possibly before your generational timeline, but nonetheless representative of “making it” to Hollywood. Of all the things I knew this Midwest girl could do, there was one thing that stood out from all the rest. It had nothing to do with a degree, a paper written, or even a skill sharpened. Rather, it emanated from the very being of who I was as a person: I owned an innate desire to help people.

If just given the chance, I could aid in this most crucial and time-sensitive arena of meeting daily deadlines. If nothing else, I could become both the right and left arms of a busy executive in the assembly line of success. So after my cousin did me a favor by getting me a position as a page, it was then my turn to show ‘em the real deal. From the Story Department to Programming and various posts in between, I gained invaluable experience. The highlight of my entry-level position was appearing on the Tonight Show with the late Johnny Carson, patriarch of the Late Night TV family. Soon, I was supporting the Director of NBC’s Movie of the Week department, Hamilton Cloud, who gave me my second and most important break. It was there that my hard work and potential was recognized as I poured coffee, answered phones, typed memos, and listened to his every beckon call. Yes, I was Girl Friday.

Girl Friday then traveled many executive desks, all the while making her executive’s daily duties easier by sustaining them however I could. Some of it I learned by trial and error. Other administrative skills were pure instinct. Keeping the distractions away during busy creative meetings or calling ahead to get an appointment at a favorite restaurant so he could experience an hour of happiness, that was my talent. It soon placed me in the chairmen and presidential offices of Grant Tinker, the late Brandon Tartikoff, Robert Wright, Warren Littlefield, Kerry McCluggage, and John Agoglia. Just do a search for them on Google™ to find out how much influence they had and still have in this close-knit fraternity of greenlighters.

From major mergers, co-ventures, joint ventures, the establishing of new networks, station acquisitions, industry milestones in talent deal negotiations to the hiring and firing of key executives, I aggrandized in knowledge. You may be wondering why I never became an entertainment executive. Two reasons: First, I love my family more than my own aspirations. Second, I figured if I could make duplicates of myself, this replication could eventually infiltrate the industry to create top-level executives. Therefore, my company Executive Temps, which started as a dream, soon became fuel for passionate professionals, many of whom have become junior and senior management at the major studios and networks.

Over 20 years later, just like Walt Disney says daily to millions, “Dreams do come true.” And to repeat the famous words of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “He who desires to be greatest among you, let him first become a servant.” This is the credo I live by.

Today, there is a new generation that has entered the workforce: Generation Y! This progressive millennium age group produces more than 27,000 film school graduates every year for careers in the television and film industry. From behind the lens of a very high-powered Executive Assistant, you will soon take a journey through the world of entertainment. The format is high definition, covering everything from interview techniques and resume writing to development and production. Major players in Hollywood today began their careers as executive assistants. Talent agencies understand the importance of this rite of passage by requiring every wannabe Hollywood agent earn the right to “get on a desk” by first training them in the mailroom.

Everyone from Steven Spielberg to Oprah Winfrey sowed seeds of service before they were empowered with a decision-making position. If you want to learn the key to launching your entertainment career, then you have picked up the right book. Learning how to support a power player coupled with understanding office etiquette and network and studio protocol are essential to traveling this road.

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