Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Melanie Massie, She is one of the best Principal Talent Executives in the entertainment business. So enjoy my interview with Ms.Melanie Massie on Ufront Media Insights.
Roger- How did you get your start in the media business?
Melanie -I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be in the field of Entertainment, but I always thought I’d be on the other side of the camera as an actress. It wasn’t until I went to college and had 7 internships that I realized my passion was actually behind the scenes. Once I graduated I was blessed with a job as a Production Assistant at BET where I stayed (in various capacities) for 18 years.
Roger- Tell me about your journey to become a Principal Talent Executive?
Melanie- After starting my career at BET as a Production Assistant, I realized that I wanted to try to excel and grow into a producer. After about 6 months an opportunity opened up to produce BET’s flagship show, Video Soul and eventually after much hard work and convincing and badgering my boss, I was placed in that position. Back then BET didn’t have a Talent Dept. so I was not only producing a live show daily, but I was booking it as well. Several years and shows later, Stephen Hill joined BET and was completely shocked that we had no Talent Dept. That’s when BET Talent was born. At that point I had to pick a side, and the rest is history. I spent the next several years heading up the BET Talent Dept. until leaving to launch my own company, Mel Mass Media, in 2010. My relationship continued with BET, just in the consultant role.
Roger- Can you talk about some of the artists and actors you have worked with and which artists are your favorites?
Melanie- I have worked with almost everyone in the urban and pop worlds, and many Hollywood A-listers. My favorite and best memories over the years have included Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Snoop, Jay Z, Common, and Beyonce just to name a few, all for different reasons. Let’s just say there’s never a dull moment in my line of work.
Roger- Can you give me an idea of what your day to day duties as a Talent Executive are?
Melanie- Because I work for myself, it varies project to project, but I’m on the phone all day, pitching, following up, pitching, begging, convincing, more following up…it’s never ending. I also take several “generals” with job-seekers or talent looking for new opportunities. I also manage the talent I book on-site for events like the BET Experience (my current project.) Relationships are definitely the key though. I do a lot of booking for charity events, which usually means the artist is required to waive their fees. That is a huge challenge, so a good relationship with a manager or agent is very helpful in those particular cases.
Roger- What advice do you have as a Talent Executive for upcoming artists that want to get booked on TV shows and events like THE BET EXPERIENCE?
Melanie– First and foremost, have a great product. Some people think you need to be signed to a label to get booked, or have outstanding social media numbers. While those elements help to get the product in front of me or any decision maker faster, it’s not the ONLY way. I like to look for talent who take chances with their craft…who are not trying to be like everyone else – the creative standout. When I am able, I love finding new talent and giving them a chance strictly based on their skill, and not who they’re connected to. I will admit that this is harder to do when working for someone else.
The industry is so saturated right now, so my advice to new talent would be to be true to yourself and your craft, and if you’ve got what it takes to be a successful artist, it will eventually shine through. Be persistent and patient though. If it’s meant to be, no one will be able to stop your destiny. Thank you Roger.
Roger– Thank you Melanie and for more information about Ufront Media Insights check us out all of our platforms and stay tuned for more interviews.
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