Written by Claire Sigler, professional development director for Allen Hall Public Relations.
Disney Channel Publicity Manager and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication alum Julie Mitchell joined our Feb. 27 meeting via Skype. She launched her career in television public relations when she began working as a Media Relations Coordinator for the Disney ABC Television Group. After working there for almost five years, she got a job in the Publicity and Talent Relations Department at the hit soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” Julie is a huge soap opera fan and spent over eight years promoting the show. She then worked as Global Distribution Marketing Publicist for Disney Media Networks and traveled the world promoting various series for almost six years. In the last year, she started working as the Publicity Manager at Disney Channel where she oversees the PR efforts for several of its hit shows.
The firm was thrilled to hear about PR in the entertainment industry from someone as experienced as Julie. Here are our top takeaways from her presentation:
The entertainment industry is not always glamorous.
Julie spoke about some of the perks she has experienced during her career including free Disneyland passes, movie screenings and the opportunity to travel internationally, but she reminded the firm that all of these benefits come with years of hard work. Julie explained to us that most people start in the entertainment business as an assistant. Even the most esteemed directors and producers all started out as assistants. She explained that “you have to start out as an assistant because you have to pay your dues. That’s a big part of the entertainment industry. But you will always have fun.”
Passion for the entertainment niche you want to work in goes a long way.
Being a huge television fan her whole life, Julie decided to specialize in that area of the entertainment industry. She explained that entertainment companies value employees with a genuine passion for the industry they are going into, so Julie’s enthusiasm for television helped her to launch her career and stand out among other candidates. Julie also reminded us to not be afraid of rejection or let it dull your interest in a career in entertainment. Hard work and determination will pay off in the end and employers will see that.
Everyone knows everybody in entertainment.
Julie made it clear that connections are essential to break into the fast-paced entertainment world. She jokingly remarked that “everybody knows everybody” and to never pass up a connection or the opportunity to learn from someone in your ideal role because you never know how they can help you. To stand out in large applicant pools, she recommended finding the hiring manager for that specific role on LinkedIn and introducing yourself in a message. She said that it is a great way to differentiate yourself and show genuine interest and excitement for the role.