As I’ve said before, and as we all know, this is a tough industry (as, frankly, I believe just about any industry is right now). It requires long hours and a lot of flexibility, but still the appearance of grace under fire. As I’ve been sharing, this is a very hectic time for me personally right now, so my initial thought was to share with you all the little things that help me survive and stay ready on a regular basis, but then I had the thought to expand it even farther than that and share some basic must-haves when you work in entertainment.
Now, this doesn’t include those things that are intangible: a thick skin; confidence without arrogance; unique style; a strong personal brand…We’ll talk about those another time. This also doesn’t include the obvious like Blackberry/iPhone; a strong assistant; business cards. These are just a few things that make your life and your job a little easier, even when things are nuts. And no, it’s not a Top 10 list, just 7 out of many (I have the feeling if I waiting another week to write this, iPad would be on this list. Ha.) I’m sure you all have your own “must-haves” to add, and I’d love to hear them.
1. A pair of amazing sunglasses: You might think this sounds shallow, but it’s real. Note that I didn’t say they have to be expensive sunglasses, they just have to be great frames that look good on your face. When you’re working with little sleep; just getting on or off a plane; haven’t had time to apply your makeup (ladies); or even if you have on sweats and otherwise look crazy: if you have on great sunglasses, you look like a superstar, guaranteed. My current personal life savers are a pair of gold rimmed Tom Ford aviators. Even with my hair a mess, no makeup, otherwise half-pulled together, with those on I look like somebody.
2. Wellness Formula (or other multivitamin) – About seven years ago my old boss introduced me to Wellness Formula, and I’ve been singing it’s praises ever since. In fact, I can remember several long working weeks where I basically subsisted by popping Wellness, eating lemon heads, and chugging water and Red Bull (not a recommended combo, but it worked for me). I was told back then that it’s an “industry secret.” My boss heard about it from an A&R in LA who apparently heard about it from Snoop…or something like that. The directions aren’t even that specific; you’re supposed to take one or two pills whenever you feel “unbalanced.” It sits on my desk at all times. I take it when I’m tired, partied too hard the night before, or feel myself getting sick. Now this is not an advertisement just for that particular supplement (although I highly recommend it), but you should definitely invest in some kind of multi-vitamin. This job requires stamina, and you don’t want to walk around feeling sluggish and “imbalanced.”
3. Personal Credit Card – This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many grown executives don’t have a personal credit card. Listen, the days of being able to wild out with a corporate card and expense account are long gone unless you are a very senior level executive, and your finance department will now heavily scrutinize your spending. Aside from that, though, you are limiting yourself in terms of the overall flexibility you have if you can’t put your own card down. No, you cannot pre-pay the hotel for vacation; no, you can’t put cash down for a rental car. And for those of you that say “What about my debit card?” Do you know how annoying it is to