Last week, I had the opportunity to attend New York City along with my other classmates for the Television, Radio, and Film benchmark industry trip. Over the course of the week, we were able to speak to previous Newhouse students, as well as TV and film experts who have found success in the entertainment industry. Among those who we spoke to was none other than the infamous Ed Bleier.
For those of you don’t know Mr. Bleier, three words come to mind when I think of him — pillar of wisdom. Like us, Mr. Bleier attended Syracuse University and went to become one of the most influential players in the TV and cable industry, as well as holding top roles at Warner Bros., Warner Communications, an Time Warner. Although the knowledge shared with us during our talk with Mr. Bleier was enough to last me until next year, a few memorable things stood out to me.
Don’t go into the industry without expecting to work hard!
Mr. Bleier told us that landing our first job will be the hardest thing we will ever do, but it is possible with hard work. When we are job hunting, we should first decide if we are interested. If we are interested in certain jobs, we should then put them into categories based on interests, locations, etc. After doing that, we need to send out at least 100 letters of interest (or emails). That way, he said, we can expect to get five interviews from those 100 people we contacted, and most likely a job! Those numbers may sound insane, but they are 100% realistic — especially with so many students around the world looking for the same jobs we are.
Mr. Bleier was also kind enough to tell us exactly what to say in the interest emails that we send to prospective jobs. First and foremost, he told us to always get a name. “To whom it may concern” is so impersonal and will land your email in the sea of unread mail. He also told us to say that we “work hard and aren’t expensive “ and that we are “interested in your company.” Lastly, he relayed that it was imperative that we ask if we can call them back on a specific day to make an appointment.
Before taking that degree
Last but not least, Mr. Bleier told us to promise him that before we take that degree in May, we vow to do no harm, follow our conscience and always do what’s right. He told heartwarming stories about working in the industry during the civil rights movement in our country, and how he had to choose what’s right over what was expected of him to do. This was so inspiring and moving, and I think it is the most important piece of advice we were lucky to receive from such an amazing man. Thank you, Mr. Bleier for your contributions to this industry and our futures.
-Kayla Skipper is a graduate student studying television, radio and film