Where Hollywood Finds New Careers: 'It's Hard to Land Right Now'
An exodus into gaming and other industries is underway as entertainment wobbles
This is second in Elaine Low’s Culture of Work series about employment in the entertainment business. Her first piece covered company loyalty.
Between a series of anxiety-inducing corporate restructurings and layoffs, a pandemic that upended priorities, and a growing gerontocracy that just won’t quit (literally), today’s suits in Hollywood are finding themselves on shaky ground.
The usual game of musical chairs — the one that sees entertainment execs hop from one VP slot at a legacy studio to another at a streaming platform, and vice versa — has experienced an alarming number of record-scratch moments over the last few years. And in the name of corporate cost-cutting, those chairs are getting taken away. Not put in storage, but likely discarded for good.
“It’s hard to land right now,” observes one former senior-level studio executive who exited their post during the pandemic. “It was easy five years ago when everything was expanding and blowing up. People are having trouble finding work. That’s the truth of it.”
Consolidation at the major studios and streamers means there really are fewer gigs to go around now, says Joanna Sucherman, founder of media consulting agency JLS Media, which has placed senior-level Hollywood execs at major entertainment companies. “And these are good people, good executives, a lot of talent. But they aren't using as many people to do the jobs that they were before… a lot of good executives out there are all competing now against each other.”
Fighting friends for work isn’t most people’s idea of a good time, nor is waiting out turbulence. The notion of “funemployment” from a few years ago, when times were flush, has given way to palpable anxiety for those on a job search, either by necessity or desire. And the siren song of Hollywood has, for many, lost its allure.
Finding a new calling, however, can be tricky: Silicon Valley is hemorrhaging jobs by the thousands and the banking sector is in crisis. Both cast a long shadow over other professional industries.
So where do Hollywood execs go when they decide they’re done trying here?