California is the perfect amalgamation of entertainment job opportunities with the nucleus of technology up north in the Bay Area and the epicenter of film and television down south in Los Angeles. And it's a good time to be hiring or looking to be hired. California added 150,000 more jobs last year than previously believed.
Entertainment is no longer defined by the trifecta of stage, screen and smaller screen. We find it on a phone, on an iPad, on a laptop, in an app, embedded in the narrative of a video game, and even in the words following a hashtag. All of these sectors of entertainment need people to make them run.
The multitude of entertainment career opportunities due to this build out of the industry is exciting. And California is at the helm of this new digital age that is redefining entertainment. In this age of employment, meaning more online functionality, more mobility, and a more freelance, what better playground is there than a place that calls 55 degrees a really bad day.
Northern California: Second to the tri-state area of New York, San Francisco and its surrounding area boasts more Fortune 500 companies than any other region. Entrepreneurs, engineers, ux (user experience), and web developers flock to the Bay Area to be part of the digital movement, which includes over 13,000 funded startups, according to Mattermark. The Bay Area which includes these nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma has reached record heights in job growth this year.
Technology is the biggest producer of jobs up north, seizing 22 percent of the region's market. The average starting salary for entry-level software engineers in San Francisco is $97,000 (Glass Door) and opportunities are in abundance in the golden age of apps.
Digital juggernauts Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Yahoo, LinkedIn, AirBnB, Yelp and Zynga are all headquartered in the Bay Area. It's home to newcomers like Slack, and Patreon who are all growing fast and valued at 2 billion and 50 million respectively, according to Business Insider.
And for those with a more traditional entertainment taste in mind, there are many more opportunities in film in Northern California than there were a decade ago. A few big players are housed in the Bay Area such as Lucasfilms. The production company known for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises, moved its headquarters to the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco in 2005 and employs 2,000 people. And for sound junkies, its sister company Skywalker Sound, is located in San Rafael at Skywalker Ranch, Lucasfilms' former home.
For animators, there's a little company called Pixar located in the Bay Area, specifically on a 20-acre site in Emeryville. Three of Pixar's films, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, and most recently Inside Out are on the list of 50-all time highest grossing films in industry history. Pixar, known for its approach to investing in the longterm with its workforce and opting out of employment contracts, attracts top talent every year. Pixar was also bought by Disney for 7.4 billion in 2006.
Anyone watching House of Cards or Orange is the New Black? That company that used to send you red sleeved DVD's and now dominates your plasma, Netflix, is located in Los Gatos, about 54 miles south of San Francisco. Netflix currently boasts 81 million subscribers worldwide.
Southern California: Down south in the SCAG (Southern California's six-county region) - which includes Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Orange and Imperial counties - is experiencing a positive trend in the job market. For example, Los Angeles County, recaptured the 300,000 jobs it lost in the recession and added an additional 100,000, according to the City of Los Angeles. Unemployment clocked in at 5.7 percent in November of last year after sinking to a low 12.4 percent in 2010. Entertainment is providing a large piece of that job supply in Los Angeles, whether it be wage and salary positions or the hundreds of thousands freelance and independent contractor opportunities that make up the industry.
The Hollywood buzz is high on all things television whether it's through traditional cable or riding the same transit as your internet. The landscape has changed a bit but content is being created in more proliferation and with more voracity than ever. The Hollywood job market may look and feel different but the bottom line is when content is being created, jobs are created as evident by the job increase. Also, the $330 million California tax credit program for film and television has reassured creators that the industry is not going to be exported.
Of the "Bix Six" studios, Paramount, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal, Disney, only one parent conglomerate is headquartered in Los Angeles - Disney. However, all six studios' major operations are located in Los Angeles. The Big Six mostly now function as backers and distributers for smaller independent production companies such as Lionsgate and MGM, both headquartered in Los Angeles.
The majors also control subsidiaries that have their own distribution networks such as Sony's Screen Gems and Fox Searchlight also based out of Los Angeles. In sum, there are a lot of ways to get involved with the multi-layered complex system of Hollywood in the entertainment capital of the world.
The state of California has the largest population in the country and luckily now we can say the state of its job market is starting to catch up.
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