Listen to the interview (approx. 52 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2005 with majors in Music Business and Music Production and Engineering (MP&E). Principal instrument: vibrophone.
Position: Bidding Manager at Double Negative, a large visual effects company that produces effects for movies. Charlotte works with prospective clients to detail the work, then works with department managers to produce and accurate estimate of the effort required. She then submits the bids “In order to keep over a thousand special effects people who work here employed.”
UPDATE December 2016: A few months after doing her interview, Charlotte was promoted at her company! She will be production manager on an upcoming film Meg., and visual effects producer on another upcoming film Hostiles.
Overview: Upon graduating Berklee Charlotte did three (unpaid) internships while working for money as an usher. One was at a recording studio, which helped her figure out that “The non-stop lifestyle of recording albums wasn’t for me–I once worked 24 hours straight, and didn’t think I could do it in the long run.” She sent out many resumes, including to Boston-based studio Soundtrack, and was offered a job as a receptionist. Charlotte took the job, seeing it as a “foot in the door,” and soon took over accounting when someone resigned, then moving on to handling payments and a myriad of other business-end tasks, while taking night classes toward an MBA from Suffolk University.
By 2008, Charlotte wanted to move to California, and was sending out resumes. She got a job offer from Skywalker Sound. Starting as a production accountant, over the next 6.5 years she finished her MBA and was promoted twice to Associate Producer of Bidding, and then Associate Produces of Bidding & Scheduling. At that point, a recruiter for Sony reached out to her to do finance and bidding for visual effects in Vancover. Charlotte took the job, then a year later took the opportunity to work for Double Negative in her current position.
You can see Charlotte’s LinkedIn profile here. Charlotte encourages Berklee graduates interested in working in the business end of film to contact her via LinkedIn. She has learned many things, knows many people, and is happy to make a connection!
Choice Quotes: ‘I enjoy working with the artists and seeing how it goes from nothing to the most amazing thing you’ve seen on the screen! I’m lucky to be able to work with people who are just THAT talented.”
“I read a lot of (movie) scripts. Sometimes that’s all I get. Sometimes I get concept art, scene breakdowns, or even storyboards. I spend a lot of time with Excel–I’m bidding down to the detail of how many days of work each facet of the work is going to take. I’ll do the first pass estimate, then run everything by the supervisors of those who are doing the work.”
“It’s rare for people in film to have MBA’s, and it has been really valuable. If you have that education you then can discuss why something doesn’t work and say what you would do instead–and you can articulate it well and be taken seriously. I feel a lot more confident at work and am glad I did it.”
“If you’re first coming out of school and want to work in this field, look for production runner or production assistant jobs. IF you see people doing something good that you’d like to learn tell people. Most of the time people are happy to help you out and talk about what they do. Talk to recruiters about what you’re interested in.”
Charlotte as a Berklee student interning at a studio. “My MP&E background definitely helped my career. It gave me an edge because I could speak the right language to clients about what they needed. When Skywalker Sound called me for an interview, they gave me the job because I could speak the right language to both their clients and the other workers”
Charlotte in Iceland. She loves to travel, and has a great travel blog! She’s very happy with her career path, and has some advice for recent Berklee grads: “Be open to opportunity. Don’t try to think so big right away. Just figure out what works with were you are put your nose down and work hard–ask for more work and ask to learn more things–and people will notice.”