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Breakin’ into Hollywood—Assistant Style

Submitted by Ethan

imageInstead of posting in our blog series, “What We Can’t Teach You” (WWCTY) today, there’s been a change of plans. Yesterday I came across a very interesting bit of information about what the newly combined William Morris Endeavor Entertainment agency, William Morris being my former employer BTW, is paying their assistants so I just couldn’t wait to post about this… and rest assured, we’ll continue the WWCTY series next week.

Every year, college and graduate school grads make their way to Hollywood in search of the Holy Grail—a career in “the biz”.

MBAs, Law Degrees, wanna-be agents/managers/writers/directors & any other fast talking/ambitious person with some chutzpah and love of everything in lights are all part of the mix and competing with each other for the limited number of executive assistant and administrative assistant positions that dot the map known as Los Angeles and New York. As you can imagine, the competition is fierce and thus the pay for these positions can be next to nothing (as you’ll see shortly) as any number of people with just as good or better qualifications are standing behind you to take the job that you don’t know if you can afford to take.

Welcome to Hollywood.

Nikki Finke of is one of the most keyed-in reporter/bloggers to cover “the biz” and in her recent scoop, she gets the goods on how the newly combined William Morris Agency and Endeavor are setting the pay scale for their assistants. Here’s the break down from her scoop:

So here’s what begins August 1st:
Under 1 year - $11/hour
1 - 2 years - $12/hr
2 - 3 years $13/hr
Over 3 years - $14/hr
The pay increases $1/hr for every year over 3 that the assistant is employed.
Any raises from the end-of-year reviews have been taken off the table.
Official hours are from 9-7 PM and a 50-hour work week is expected.

Whatcha think?... could YOU live on that in either LA or NYC WITHOUT help from Mom, Dad or a trust fund?

I was able to work at William Morris in ‘98 & ‘99 due to some savings, living in a dirt cheap apartment (by NYC standards) and yes, with some help from my folks who were thrilled just to not have to pay for my health insurance anymore as I tried my hand in the biz. Luckily, a somewhat quick promotion into the music department put me on much better financial footing… but what about the assistants who work those 60-70 hour weeks (don’t let the 50 hour expected work week fool you) for 3 or 4 years waiting to get their promotion? Somehow they do it… and they do it because its their way in.

So the reason for this post is to put assisting work and the executive assistant salary into perspective because there are many other industries out there who employ assistants with starting wages of $16-21 per hour and higher with a college degree and you don’t have to live in NYC or LA… they just aren’t as sexy as Hollywood. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment is paying their assistants those rates because THEY CAN… and they still have a long line of applicants waiting just outside their door.


#1. Posted by Mamma M

wooooowwwwww that’s really low. I was not expecting that.

I agree its really surprising that an industry which has so many wealthy directors, actresses and actors can pay the junior people so low. Even the work hours are so much





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