DPAC’s Promotions and Marketing Manager Discusses Careers in the Live Entertainment Industry

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Ross Wade, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center, and Alan Foushee, Promotions and Marketing Manager for Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)
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Thumbnail Did you know one of the nation’s best live entertainment venues is right here in Durham? The Durham Performing Art Center (DPAC) presents Broadway, concert, comedy, and family shows throughout the calendar year. Internships are available for course credit every summer, spring, and fall in a variety of DPAC offices including marketing, sales, facility operations, theatre management, tech production, and programming. 

Alan Foushee, promotions and marketing manager for DPAC, took some time to answer a few questions for the Duke Career Center about career paths, networking, and the job search for the live event industry.

What types of opportunities (e.g. career paths, roles, offices) are in the entertainment industry?

There are many different career routes when it comes to entertainment from for-profit to non-profit, music, comedy, musical theater, fine arts, dance, sports, and all things that fall into “live show biz.” There are also separate segments of the entertainment industry closely related to live entertainment that include exhibitions, mass media and the music industry. Potential careers could include roles in management, ticketing, marketing, programming, production, sales, community relations/education or operations/event services at venues (stadiums, arenas, amphitheaters, theaters and clubs) that promote acts or house sports teams. You could also work from various behind-the-scenes roles that include publicists and press agencies, tour promoters (such as NS2, AEG) and artist management.

Describe a DPAC “dream intern.”
Our dream intern is someone passionate about entertainment with an enthusiasm that is evident in his or her work, ideas and goals. We look for self-starters that aren’t just here to complete their hours, but who want to be a part of actively contributing to a collaborative team.  We want a student who can take a task, think outside the box to apply their vision, communicates their needs and can present/enact a plan on a specified deadline.

How can students best utilize their time in college to gain relevant experience in this industry?
I think the best experience you can have is to work in the industry. Whether that takes the form of an internship or a part-time job, if you have a desire to work in live entertainment get your foot in the door and start building connections with the individuals who hold or hire for the jobs you want. Raleigh-Durham has a very diverse arts and entertainment scene that contains a lot of opportunities to volunteer and seek out different perspectives within the industry. Even on a local level, the industry is very interconnected and tight-knit with the national industry as a whole.

Use your resources available to you as a student to learn the trends within industry and start preparing yourself with the appropriate tools and knowledge. Apply what you’re learning in classes and delve into blogs and trade publications such as Venues Today, Pollstar, and Billboard that give you an eye into what’s going on in entertainment as a whole.

What is the best way to network and find great internships or jobs in live entertainment?
Target where you have an interest in working and seek out internships, then use your time as an intern wisely to network with as many people as possible. While in college, I interned for two years at two different departments within the Carolina Hurricanes NHL organization. When it came time for me to leave the Hurricanes, a director from a department I had never worked with lined up an interview that helped me walk into my current position at DPAC right out of college. You never know who is watching you and how they might be able to serve as a resource for you.

The entertainment industry is very inter-connected with competitors utilizing each other to fill positions of all levels. I would estimate that 50 percent of entry-level jobs are never posted externally as organizations seek to hire from their pool of interns or through their network of contacts with in the industry.

What is your favorite part about working in live entertainment?
I love the buzz that comes from working a show-night, regardless of the genre of music. Seeing people make memories that last a lifetime and knowing that I got to have a part in helping them get there is quite fulfilling. My position also allows for a fast-paced and challenging work environment that provides a great deal of professional growth and room to apply a range of strategies and new technologies, so I also never have an opportunity to get bored.

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