Company: Evolution Media
Title: Post-Production Manager
Industry: Television Entertainment
Education: BS Radio, Television, and Film from University of Texas, Austin
EHC: What is your daily schedule like?
I work roughly a 10-7 schedule. If cuts are going out, I could be in the office until 10:30 p.m. though. It can be a little bit unpredictable sometimes. This season, we organized it so that I work late Tuesdays and Thursdays and alternate Fridays with my boss. If we don’t do it that way, then it can be impossible to have a social life.
EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?
Watching new episodes! I actually enjoy the show, and it really is a lot easier when you work on a show that you genuinely enjoy.
EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?
I started out as an assistant editor and switched to coordinating, but networking played an important part in how I got involved in the show.
EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
Find mentors. Speak to women in the industry and actively work on honing your negotiating skills. A while ago, I was surprised to learn that some of my male colleagues were making 25% more than me.
EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
I like putting things together. To do this job we take forty hours of footage and turn it into one episode.
Nicole is a post-production manager for the reality TV show “Vanderpump Rules,” which airs on Bravo. This involves collaborating with editors and story producers to create each episode, taking the raw footage and transforming it into an engaging show. As a manager, Nicole must balance all kinds of deadlines–from the producers and the network–to keep everyone on schedule. Another part of her role includes deciding what episodes to submit an awards. This year “Vanderpump Rules” won a reality TV award.
Before Nicole worked on “Vanderpump Rules,” she worked as an intern for the film “The Tree of Life” holding several roles (casting, production, and post-production) and worked as an assistant editor at a trailer house in Los Angeles where she was among the first people to see footage of Captain America in his full costume. (Trailer houses put together all the previews that you see before a movie starts.) From these experiences, she discovered that she enjoys the logistical side of post-production and moved from editing to managing.
The Value of Networking
The entertainment industry is full of freelance work. While Nicole works for Evolution Media, she is technically a freelancer. It is possible to work directly for a media company, but a lot of jobs will be freelance due to the seasonal nature of the industry. Once a TV show or film wraps up, you will need to start looking for your next job, and it can be intimidating. Because of this, two of the most important aspects of finding your next job are timing (which you can’t really control) and your professional network (which is totally within your control).
Typically, post-production can take anywhere from six to nine months, sometimes longer, so you don’t always know exactly when you’ll be looking for your next job. That means that you need to keep lines of communication open with your network all the time. Nicole is part of an industry-specific Facebook group and is part of a “Women in Post” meetup group so that she can maintain and grow her network. The job at “Vanderpump Rules” came to her because a friend reached out that the show needed a post coordinator. From there, she sent in her résumé. Since you don’t always know when you’ll need to find a new job or when other people will be hiring, staying in contact with your network is invaluable.
Nicole’s advice to any young girl thinking about a career in post-production, or the entertainment industry in general, is to find mentors. You should try to find women who are doing what you want to do and reach out to them. When Nicole receives an email from someone asking to have coffee and just talk about the job and her experiences, she’s always happy to do what she can. People are generally open to having coffee and talking about their job or the industry.
Another important point is don’t be a jerk. Nicole said that lots of people think they can gain something by being harsh or abrasive, but you always have more to win by being a considerate person. But don’t confuse being considerate with being a pushover. Always stand up for yourself. At some point, you will need to negotiate a salary or contract, and you can’t assume that your employer will be giving you the same deal as everyone else.