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A Hollywood Talent Manager on How to Foster Talent

March 1, 2016

3 tips that will help you help them

I’ve been working in entertainment for the past 10 years, and a big part of my job is spotting and fostering celebrity talent. I also make an effort to support the people I work with and do whatever I can to set them up for success. Here are the best tips I’ve picked up along the way on how to help the people in your life learn and grow.

1. Encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone
When you’re working with someone, you should really try to encourage them to keep pushing themselves forward, never stay stagnant and always challenge themselves.

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One of the things I love about guiding others is that you have the opportunity to give them an outside perspective. I’ll say, “I’ve seen you do X project, X project and X project. What I’d really like to see you do is something like this. Is this something you’d like to try, as well?” Or, “What if we try this other thing? We might fail, but if we do make it work, then it’s something you’ve never done before—and how exciting is that?” Being able to provide this third-party perspective and encourage someone to keep growing and learning is so important—it’s a big reason why we all need mentors.

Here’s how to find motivation, whether you’re a manager or the one being managed:

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2. Don’t be afraid to provide honest feedback
Not everything is going to pan out perfectly for you or the person whose talent you’re fostering. At the end of the day, if you’re providing honest feedback and you’re doing what you can to help this person achieve their goals, then you’re doing a good job.

I’ve definitely given feedback to people I’ve met who are a little timid, for example, and I always encourage them to get over their shyness so people can see who they really are—and they can maximize their odds of success.

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3. …But also give compliments when they’re due
So many people go through their careers without being told when they’re doing a great job, and I think that’s a shame. I firmly believe that, when someone does something that’s worth praising, you should compliment them—it’s the best way to support anyone.

I’ve seen talent in many of the assistants I’ve had over the years. Even when I don’t know whether they want to stay in the field, I always support and encourage them—so they’ve at least had a chance to hear that they’re good at what they do. After that, it’s up to them to decide how to utilize their talents.

Emily Gipson is a producer/manager with I Can and I Will Productions and Primary Wave Entertainment.