Publicist and Script Analyst
Hayley Wilcox left her position as Executive Assistant to the CEO of Showtime Networks in late December. Her goal was to find a position that allowed her to not only use her strong background in film publicity, but also one where she could generate ideas and create meaningful story content. In February, Hayley joined the Tribeca Film Festival as Junior Publicist. Just weeks later, we all know what happened in NYC as COVID-19 took hold. Not only did Hayley prevail as she launched into her new position, she has since secured another as a Script Analyst at Imagine Entertainment, a film and television production company. Quarantined since March in Oakland, California, she’s been doing these NYC-based jobs remotely.
Here are some highlights of our interview:
Q: You had been on the job for three weeks with the Tribeca Film Festival when NYC closed down; what happened then?
A: We had to pivot and work from home. Through that pivot, I was given the additional responsibility of helping the head of Communications with scheduling and working with social media. We basically had to figure out how to do the Film Festival online so there was a lot of learning for all of us. I had much more responsibility than I have ever had previously in this position. I knew the job would be a great opportunity for growth and learning. But, due to COVID, it turned out to be in a much different way than I expected. It was great that they honored everyone’s contract until the beginning of May.
Q: Tell me about the challenges you had working from home.
A: When we started off working from home, we simply had too many Zoom meetings. The meetings would actually start at 6:30 AM in the morning for me. It was difficult to actually get the work done. That improved with time. For some of the social media training, we had to learn to rely on screen sharing; before I would have actually sat with the person to learn the process. We also started using Slack a lot to communicate and work on specific projects.
Q: What is the biggest challenge working from home every day?
A: Definitely being distracted by my dog and living with my parents, there’s always a pantry close by. Initially, I was quarantined in NYC with my two roommates, but that was just too close and too many other distractions.
Q: How do you see the next few months and your career steps playing out?
A: The Imagine job started for me in mid-May. I got this freelance position because I was interviewing at Imagine before Covid. Then the job was put on hold. But they remembered me for my current Script Analyst position.
I’m also applying to MBA programs at Fordham and NYU. I had been thinking about going back to school but over these past few months. I decided more definitely that it would be good to be able to pivot to the business side of this industry. I think entertainment industry jobs will be a bit tougher to find for a while.
Q: Any advice for those still uncertain about what to be doing right now relative to getting a job or advancing their career?
A: Check in on people – not just to network, but to see how they are doing. Stay connected. I think the business-related connections have been more likely to respond over the past few months. Also, work on your Plan B – for me I’d like to work and go to Grad School. But, if I don’t have a job at any specific time, I’ll be focused on my studies.
Thank you for sharing your story, Hayley. We hope these spotlight stories provide encouragement and insight for those going through a job transition.
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