Hollywood Executive Assistant

Hollywood Executive Assistant

HEA

Los Angeles, CA

Female, 0

High-Level Assistant to Chairmen & CEOs of Fortune 100 Companies & Hollywood Executive Producers. Ask me anything! "Like" my answers, especially if you submitted the question so I know you read it! :D Thx!

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Last Answer on August 23, 2020

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How much of your time is spent working on your boss's work stuff vs. his or her personal stuff? Regarding the latter, can he even legally ask you to do those things (pick up dry cleaning, get a babysitter for the kids, etc etc?)

Asked by mongo over 8 years ago

I would say that 85% of my duties have been business related and the other 15% personal. However, that 15% was also about 10% work-related to a degree. For example, my boss would be a board member of another company or some personal events would overlap with networking. I've never heard of it being illegal to ask for personal errands to be run although sometimes it might not make a lot of business sense. Keep in mind, there are some jobs where the role is designed to be mostly personal work even though you are the executive assistant and not the personal assistant. It's up to you to figure out how much of the role is what. You can ask in the interview in a nice way. Executives are so busy that to go to one person for everything really makes their life easier. The most high-profile executives will have a minimum of two executive assistants. It's rumored Lorne Michaels has four. Or there is a combination of having the EA, a personal assistant, a nanny, and a whole crew of people at their service from an estate manager, accountant to lawyer that you the EA will have to interface with. The newer and younger you are to the industry the more open you should be about doing SOME personal work. If you aren't, there is always someone else willing to do it, sometimes even for a lot less.

What's the one part of the job that drives you the most crazy? Trying to schedule meetings amongst senior execs whose calendars won't cooperate?

Asked by Vicky G. over 8 years ago

There are two things that drive me absolutely crazy that are the same answers from two different perspectives. Kevin Smith had a great story about this in his latest Q&A DVD about when he was working for Prince. Prince wanted llamas or some exotic animal at 2am and wanted his assistant to take care of it, but obviously at the hour nothing is open. I will go above and beyond the call of duty, but sometimes the answer will be no. When executives usually get what they want, and they should, it's hard to get them to accept that I can't control people/companies no matter how many times I try or brainstorm for a solution. It's like that part in The Devil Wears Prada when all the planes are grounded due to weather and she wonders if she can call the military so her boss can catch a flight. I can't force people, I can't change the weather and I can't [insert dilemma here]. In those rare instances, that shouldn't be a reflection upon me or my talent. It's just a fact of life that sometimes there is no fair or ideal solution. I would like to think that because I'm able to solve 99 of my boss' problems (and a _____ ain't one - - Jay-Z anyone? LOL), the one I can't solve totally throws them for a loop!

I work at a travel and event planning agency. We are a great resource for Executive Assistants (we have several that we work with currently) booking high level travel globally but I am having trouble reaching out to the right people. Any suggestions?

Asked by Travel almost 8 years ago

Believe it or not, while some EAs do hold tremendous power, because travel is a very expensive and uncomfortable aspect of business, many executives or companies are very specific on what is or isn't allowed and which airlines they will or won't fly. Unlike catering or gifts where the EA has a lot of decision-making power, travel is usually dictated by the powers that be. Most large companies have in house travel department or a pre-approved vendor and agency list. Smaller companies are so poor they use Expedia, Kayak, or Southwest Airlines. For event planning needs, the EA, admin assts, HR, and Facilties and Operations usually chip in and help. Large companies have depts dedicated solely to event planning and they only hire vendors for red carpet, lighting, catering, and furniture. You will have a bit more luck if you truly have a niche company with helicopter or private jet rentals since there is less competition. It's best to reach out to the EA, CEO, and the travel or vendor dept. What I can share with you is why and how I choose my vendors and which ones make a great impression. 1) Make my life easier. Business happens at an ungodly fast and slow rate. Decisions needed to be made 2 weeks ago and I'm scrambling for an answer, a decision, approval, and the money. There is also never just 1 plan, there are at least three or five. It's hard for vendors to make exceptions and to hang in there, but when they do, I love them. It's not uncommon for you to get a deposit, then the full amount at the event or even after the event. Or maybe you go the extra step. For example, maybe if I needed car service, but my boss needs his morning coffee, you'll have the drive get the coffee at Starbucks for us first before pick up and charge us for it so my boss doesn't have to go in and wait in line. Sure, you're a travel company, but helping out in little ways makes all the difference. 2) Personalize the experience. Realize anyone that uses your services is a connection to more business. Or anytime you are out and about a party, everyone there is a potential client. I once went to a new restaurant and got such impeccable service it was almost weird. The host greeted us by name and asked for everyone else's first names too. The GM of the place was summoned and shook hands with each individual. They took my coat and folded it neatly. They came to check on us a lot. The strange part is, I was not there for a business mtg at all, but they did that with all of their customers. And as an event planner and EA myself, I will remember that venue. It was obvious they wanted to give that "Cheers" feeling where everyone knows your name. You can offer to take out potential clients to lunch so you can give your sales pitch then or offer to come in for a mtg to their office. 3) Offer an introductory free samples or a great discount. A lot of the times when we don't choose a vendor it's for outer lying reasons like the vendor is too far, it's not the right theme, we have too many people or too few people. Price does matter too, but for us to even consider a vendor we usually want to find someone that serves our immediate needs. We also keep a list of vendors we always want to use or consider for the right party, event, or meeting. This is why you should give free samples or a great discount and keep in touch with clients at least once a year via a personal email. For a travel and event company, perhaps you can offer the highest priced service or menu at the 2nd highest pricing level instead. Or drop off an assortment of desserts that you would serve at a party that would feed 10 people so all the decision makers could try it. This will help you get your foot in the door and be on people's minds once the right event comes along. 4) Make your company searchable. 9 times out of 10, whenever I need to take care of task, the first thing I do is Google it, look for it on Yelp, or look on LinkedIn. Then I call and email every vendor. The first who gets back to me and who is the nicest, most timely, reliable, and reasonable will be my first choice. It's very shocking when I reach out to a company and NEVER hear back, even if I try again. Other times I will get a response 2 weeks later when my event is already over. Timing is everything. 5) Don't just seek out EAs. Travel and event planning is handled by admin assistants, dept assistants, coordinators, project managers, production assistants, producers, production coordinators, wives, estate managers, nannies, personal assistants, husbands, managers, directors, executive producers, and associate producers. At every company, there are probably a few people you could reach out to. Cast a wider net! "Like" my answers, especially if you submitted the question so I know you read it! :D My own blog can be found at musingsofahighlevelexecutiveassistant.blogspot.com/

Is it true that the executive assistant role in Hollywood is often the entry-level position that can lead to mid-level of senior positions at a company?

Asked by borclans over 8 years ago

An executive assistant role is a great spring board to get your feet wet in the industry. However, you also have to know where you want to end up and work your way backwards. Any smart assistant will know within a few years how much potential they have to climb the ladder at a company. The shorter the amount of time you are an executive assistant, the faster you will rise as they will realize your smarts and talents are wasted being an assistant. How you network, how you brand and sell yourself, and how amazing you are as an assistant all play a factor. Very often, the job description will say up front if they want a career executive assistant. Or they will say they want people to be in the training program or how previous assistants have gotten promoted after a couple of years if they were the right fit. If you are an outstanding worker they will come to you with bigger projects, a better title, and discussions about your future. This is how you'll know. There will always be an amount of paying your dues and the corporate ladder environment. Your best bet is to start at a smaller company where you can wear a lot of hats or a new company that is just starting out. Be willing to do anything and learn a lot of different skill sets and software programs so you are indispensable. If you want to be a director, producer, or writer, being an EA won't help very much - unless you start out as a writer's assistant, producer's assistant, or a PA, etc, which are totally different avenues and only one way to break into the industry. As with anything in life, know where you want to end up so you know how to get there. If you don't know, try everything and learn what you DON'T like so you can make better decisions.

As an assistant, are you expected to be accessible 24/7?

Asked by jimmy james over 8 years ago

Most often, EA jobs in Hollywood are 24/7. The reason is because production and executive's lives are non stop or they just work really insane and long hours. They also travel a lot all over the world. You will find the odd executive assistant role where your boss is lower level or is a really great family man so you will luck out. The best case scenario is they will tell you up front how long the hours are and/or expect to pay your dues the first few years of your career. 40-hour work weeks are rare, typically it's at least 45-50 hours. Anything above that up to 80-100hrs is not unusual. Being in Hollywood is not for the faint of heart, but it's also unlike any other industry!

Worst blow-up you ever witnessed from a boss?

Asked by JBT over 8 years ago

My war stories in this department are so boring it's almost pathetic. The worst blow-up I've ever witnessed is someone yelling and even that has only happened twice. To top it off, it wasn't even the same person. It was two different bosses and they were yelling at other people that I so happened to be present or they were so loud I could hear them from another room. This is how lucky I've been in my career. Now, other assistants, I'm sure they would have a tale or two...

I recently saw a job posting for a large TV entertainment company seeking EA. I have never actually been an EA, but I have experience in costumer service, private aviation, etc. What is the best advice for someone looking to apply as a first-timer?

Asked by Kimee Bee almost 8 years ago

What a great question! For a first timer, here are some things I suggest you try. 1) Focus your resume on your skills/talents vs the job title/chronology. You want to highlight how similar your skill set is to what they are seeking. Whatever bullet points and items they list that you do well, lift those sentences verbatim from the job description and put them in your resume. 2) Temp while you look for a job so you can say you have executive or admin assistant experience and within entertainment. Call every single temping agency in town. Most major companies also have one on site already. 3) Ready my blog to make sure you want to work in entertainment and for an executive. There's nothing quite like it out there! 4) Try to network or search online for that job posting on other sites or thru other people. Sometimes you can figure out which company it is and tailor your cover letter and resume or find the HR or hiring manager's email address online. 5) Be prepared to take tests. Sometimes companies will give you tests on Word, Excel, Grammar, Listening, Logic, etc. There are about 10 different types of tests out there. 6) The largest obstacle you will face is the catch 22. You need experience to get the job, but you need the job to get the experience. Aim for entry level work where you only need 1-3 years of experience. 7) Get on LinkedIn and make sure you have an online presence that is professional. It will help you brand and sell yourself better and network! "Like" my answers, especially if you submitted the question so I know you read it! :D This is my blog: musingsofahighlevelexecutiveassistant.blogspot.com/