How to Make TV in NYC is the latest in a series of talks presented by The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and the Center for Communications. The panel was held Monday, October 22 at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in Chelsea. The panel was moderated by Willie Reale, who wrote for the show Billions. Estelle Caswell, creator of Earworm and VOX employee, Ryan Cunningham, owner of her own post production house, and Kelsie Kiley, a member of the Jax Media Group, made up the panel of working NY professionals. Both the moderator and panelists were sharing insight into their journey from starting out their work life to the positions they hold now.
Students and public in attendance were able to listen and learn from real world experiences. Each panelist gave their advice on how to advance and find your place in the industry when you are just starting out like many in attendance.
Kelsie Kiley of Jax Media gave this advice for newbies. Kiley started her career as a coffee gofer. Anticipating her boss's needs, she showed up early, stayed late, and maintained a happy smiling disposition. Once, a boss had a liking of a particular gum and chewed it often. Kiley found said gum, purchased multiple packs to have on hand, and when the boss had a desire for gum, she was proactive in anticipating that want and was able to provide it on the spot of his request. The forward thinking she exhibited caught the attention and left a positive impression. This is an important action in getting someone to recommend you for the next promotion.
Estelle Caswell found that consistency in creating content is key to her success. Being able to put out more and more content constantly, meaning do it every day, will get you where you want to go in your career. "Consistency in putting out content" was Caswell's advice.
Ryan Cunningham's advice is to have an opinion. Don't just say I like something, say why you like something. Say why or how it can be better. Your opinion is your power was Cunningham's advice.
The panel suggested looking for the following job titles when trying to get in the door and start finding which aspect of the industry you want to land:
Production Assistant Entry Level
Other sound advice from the panel, at times be a fly on the wall and observe, know what you're talking about, read the room, become a resource for productions, anticipate the needs of production, show extra effort to advance. Many of the teams in NY use their internship pools for hiring. The internship is considered a long interview process, but one that can lead to a new position. Go after what you want. It will not come to you. Tell as many people as you can that you want to be a writer, actor, director or whatever your ambition to be. State it often and to many people.
On How to Make TV in NYC. Kelsie Kiley noted the small tight community that exists in NY's TV and Film production. Talent in the city is hungry for work and opportunities to move up in the industry. NY offers advancement as many positions in LA are currently being held for decades at a time with less room for advancement. Shooting in NY feels like "you are stealing scenes on the streets" as you film in a subway or on a busy city street with regular traffic flow of people amongst your set and crew.
Willie Reale shared his experience with Billions where a scene called for coyotes in Texas. The crew was able to secure a location in Queens that doubled for that very Texas coyote location. "New York is so beautiful... visually, little pockets of fascinating stuff," Wille said as if he was describing a memorable love.
To view the panel in it's entirety...