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At What Age Should You Start A Career In Entertainment?

At What Age Should You Start A Career In Entertainment?

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I get a lot of questions from people regarding various aspects of having a successful entertainment career. One of the ones I hear the most often is from people who have been told (or have themselves decided) that they are too old to start an entertainment career.

“When is too old to start an entertainment career?” they want to know.

People outside Los Angeles have an overblown sense of the youth obsession in L.A. Other than keeping the entertainment machine well-stoked with winsome ingenues, babyfaced popstars, and the like, it’s largely about what you’ve done, what you can do, who you know, and so on. The usual things that give heat to one’s career.

The Right Time To Start A Career In Entertainment…

Yes, the youth are obsessed with youth. When haven’t they been? But the rest of us recognize that it takes years to build a good network of connections, a broad skill set, and a list of ever-more-impressive accomplishments.

So instead of worrying about whether you are too old, you’d better get crackin’ on your entertainment career, right?

The flipside of the too-old question is the too-young question. Students are chomping at the bit to start making things happen in their entertainment careers. I’m not just talking about college school students, either. The high school students want to start making things happen, too. To all of them – and the elementary school set as well – I also say, “What are you waiting for?”

When Spielberg was a kid, he made 1000s of Super 8 films.

When Universal President of Production Debbie Liebling, who started out in her career creating television programming, was little, she and her friends played a game where they would make up TV show ideas. Yes, they pretended that was their job!

As I’ve said over and over again, people in the industry don’t care if what you’ve done was done in L.A. In fact, depending upon what you want to do, you’ve got to start making your mark outside the industry for anyone to pay attention inside it.

Win a contest, produce a web short or series that gets a following, form a band that plays weekly to a packed house at the campus coffee joint. The progress you make now will give you an advantage when you graduate, even if nobody in Hollywood knows your name.

Example:

“Hi, I’m Joe. I produced four comedic shorts. They were all popular on Funny or Die and one won the audience award at the college film festival.” Shows you’re sharp. Also, a good conversation starter.

OR

“Hi, I’m Joe. I’m a recent college grad.”  *crickets*

There’s a lot students can do to set themselves up for success. In a Mogul Mindset eblast, I detailed three of those things, but here I’m going to give you just one.

Network at school. Align yourself to the people who really make things happen, people who want to be in the industry enough to be making progress now like you are. Collaborate with them.

So, whether you think you are too old or you think you are too young, you are not. And even bothering to ponder it is wasting valuable time you could use to get that career moving.

Age entertainment career image from Bigstock

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Jenny Yerrick Martin Jenny Yerrick Martin is an entertainment career expert, veteran hiring executive, and the founder of YourIndustryInsider.com. She is the author of, "Breaking into the Biz: The Insider's Guide to Launching an Entertainment Industry Career."