Being in music management and film production can leave you in a world that feels unstable and confusing.
People who work behind the scenes have some similar experiences around what it’s like to pull the strings and set the stage for success. Even so, your experience as an agent, manager or executive producer is unique to that position which is why explaining yourself to a new person can feel pointless. You want to get help but it feels like you have to spend all this time teaching someone how to understand your world because, its actually pretty nuanced and complicated.
One of the complications you might face is that this behind-the-scenes role often has you feeling pulled in two different directions, from feeling proud of your work to feeling invisible.
If you’re an artist manager, there’s this expectation that you’ll be available for your artist at all times, which often means late nights and early mornings. Sometimes it feels like you’re just living for everyone else, and you always have to be “on.”
Managers tread a fine line between keeping their artists happy while also trying to keep them safe – you see them doing things that could damage their career, but you find yourself torn since they can fire you at any time (and you’ve see how they do it with other people).
And it’s not just keeping your artist happy, at some point they also are your friend. You find yourself being there in a way that feels intimate and close, you trust them and they trust you. You meet for drinks and generally enjoy hanging out with each other which makes the boundaries that you have to set feel really uncomfortable or virtually impossible.
You’re wearing so many hats: Friend, boss, parent, therapist, and you feel sometimes like those roles make you bad at ALL of those jobs. And if you set a boundary- you could lose all of that. You could be left without a job, a loss of a friend and a new found resentment for the industry that you once wanted to thrive in.
This feeling of having to cater to other people causes so much stress that you end up neglecting your own health and feeling doubt in your career choices.
Managers in Relationships
To add to the stress of your already packed schedule, the pressure to work late hours and be emotionally available to your work makes it hard to maintain healthy, normal relationships. You want to give your attention to relationships, but you get caught in the cycle of wanting to meet professional goals first – goals that never seem to feel like enough once you reach them.
Sometimes it feels like you have to choose, and this second guessing at work has also bled into your relationships.
If you’re in tv/film production, you take responsibility when your show/film seems to be failing, yet when it’s successful you doubt how much you actually contributed. Turn around is quick in your industry and you can lose your position, not get hired back or just need to move on; you feel the loss of the pride and accomplishment that you once felt. One day you feel like you can’t believe you’ve made it here and then next you feel like you have lost everything and everyone knows that you didn’t deserve to be here in the first place. You begin to feel like you can never win.
Producers In Relationships
The pressure to work late hours and prioritize your work above all else makes it hard to maintain healthy, normal relationships. You want to give your attention to relationships, but you get caught in the cycle of wanting to meet professional goals first – goals that continue to get pushed onto the horizon while other ones pile on top. Sometimes it feels like the only way to have a relationship would be to choose it entirely over work, and you fear that you would not be happy or healthy making that decision.
WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
It’s so hard for women managers and producers because they have to fight to get a seat at the table. The only way to survive this industry is to have a certain amount of grit and determination; yet, if you push too hard at the wrong time, you’re ostracized or referred to as a “bitch.”
You’re expected to be both aggressive and a people-pleaser, and you just can’t win. You often feel like someone is going to find out that you have no idea what you’re doing or that you don’t deserve the achievements you have gotten. Oppositely there are times when you feel like you have worked yourself to the bone with little to no acknowledgment.
Another problem is that the same assertiveness that helped you get to where you are doesn’t translate well into your relationships. You learn from work that in order to get anything done you have to battle or you have to “suck it up and let go”- except you never really do. Battling puts you in “fight-mode” to potential partners and sucking it up wears on you. In relationships you feel impatient and irritable. But adding a new style of communicating to your already exhausting work feels like balancing plates.
All you want is balance and loving relationships in a world of chaos, and instead of looking at the precarious lifestyle around you, you begin to wonder : IS IT ME? You want stability and a solid relationship but your lifestyle of over working, late nights, and exposure to substances may send a different message.
When you’ve invested so much of your time and energy into a show or an artist, the idea of walking away is almost unbearable. But now you’ve become resentful of your work, the people holding you back, and you can’t help but compare yourself to the successes of those around you. You don’t know what your next steps should be.
Simply put: You’re starting to feel burned-out.
It’s hard to make a plan when you’re unsure and beginning to question your path. You find yourself wondering if you’re still in love with this work, but you’re afraid to admit that to anyone. After all, you’ve sacrificed so much to get here.