What It Takes To Work At Today’s Film Academy Is Almost Scary


If you want a little scare for Halloween—not as big as the election, civil unrest, or coronavirus—take a look at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences job listings on Oscars.org.

Last week, the Academy posted its call for a new Executive Vice President, Member Relations and Awards, to replace Lorenza Muñoz, who recently left for Amazon. It’s quite a listing. In fact, what it takes to work at AMPAS these days is almost frightening, at least to those who can recall a simpler time, when the Academy’s then-spokesman Bob Werden, for instance, might let a reporter spend hours in a headquarters supply closet watching Oscar videos for a piece on over-long speeches.

Things are more complicated now. In fact, staff at the 9,000-plus member Academy has become thoroughly regimented, professionalized and bureaucratized — not to mention jargonized, and touched with a certain grandiosity — as reflected in the responsibilities and requirements for the new membership and awards administrator.

For starters, don’t even think about applying without “15-plus years of experience in a leadership role involved in hiring, managing a team, driving accountability and performance in management-level staff and above.” All that, and “solid knowledge and appreciation of the value of CRM-based processes.”

Embarrassingly, I had to look the last part up. CRM means “customer relationship management,” referring to systems that manage business relationships and data. “Customers” in this case would probably be those 9,000 Academy members, especially when they’re clamoring for awards-night tickets to the 3,400-seat Oscar venue in Hollywood.

In all, the new executive vice president will have at least 17 areas of responsibility (the last of which is an open-ended “other duties as assigned.”) To describe all these obligations would exhaust your patience and mine. But trust me, they are weighty. Leading and managing the Member Relations and Awards department, with six direct reports and weekly department meetings, are the least of it. Seating and arrivals for the Governors Awards, Nominees Luncheon, Academy Awards and Governors Ball are mere seasonal headaches.

Much more, the new EVP, like a latter-day Louis B. Mayer, must “drive collaboration across the organization and throughout the industry.” To smile-and-dial around Hollywood isn’t nearly enough. The modern Academy manager is expected to “create and measure analytics to drive membership engagement.” Indeed, the fostering of “innovative and automated processes and procedures” is a must. And the winning candidate — playing well with everyone, inside and out — will “engage stakeholders and champion interdepartmental teams.”

Yes, you will still have to do the drudge work — that is, to develop and track the Academy awards calendar, and oversee the Sci-Tech Awards. But the larger obligation is to “develop leadership and inspire growth,” and even to engage in “succession planning,” though for whom or what is not entirely clear.

Oddly, the listing does not assign the new membership and awards EVP explicit responsibility for administering the Academy’s new “Aperture” program, which will enforce inclusion and diversity standards for Best Picture contenders. Maybe that problem will land elsewhere, perhaps with the Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity, with which the membership and awards administrator is expected to work.

But that’s OK. The new EVP will be busy enough with supervision of “the membership program for 9,000+ members in 68 countries.”

A masters or higher degree is preferred. Not quite an afterthought, but lower in the list, the candidate should also have “passion and acumen in the film, entertainment and arts industry.”

Of course, the Academy is an equal opportunity employer, and prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation or genetic information.”

For a minute, I thought about hitting the “Apply Now” button. But I’m still intimidated by those CRM-based processes.

And besides, the security officer posting at the Academy Museum sounds like more fun. You get to greet visitors and watch for “suspicious activity,” even if that does mean standing around for “up to 6 hours per shift.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/10/what-takes-work-film-academy-almost-scary-1234595500/