FremantleMedia is a content powerhouse whose portfolio speaks for itself. Between household classics like America’s Got Talent and Family Feud as well as scripted newcomers like American Gods, they’re a company that represents a wide span of award-winning programming.
But, more than that – and more than their portfolio – FremantleMedia is a company with a distinct culture that’s rarely found in the entertainment industry. In fact, they’re a company that, instead of solely focusing on a product, takes the time to focus on developing a vibrant workplace that feels less like a competitive battleground and more like an open and supportive community.
I spoke with Melanie Parker, the Director for Human Resources at FremantleMedia’s Los Angeles office, to explore the variety of opportunities they have to offer current students and recent graduates as well as the general structure and philosophy that runs their office.
What makes FremantleMedia different from other studios?
“I started my career with a massive studio – one of the ones that everyone knows. And part of the reason I left there was that I was looking for a place where I felt heard. I wanted to join a team where I felt like I was able to make an impact… Generally speaking, the business is usually disconnected from its people at other studios. They’re based on a structure that misses out on a sense of community teamwork.
What’s different at FremantleMedia is that we try our best to stay connected with our employees and employees are encouraged to connect with us. If you’re having a challenge we want you to feel like you can come to someone and share that challenge and feel heard. It’s this ‘open door policy’ that really sets us apart as we support a flat structure with great transparency for our employees.”
It’s worth noting that this is somewhat based off of the competitive nature of working within a major studio. There is a general sense that sharing challenges or seeking help is seen as a sign of weakness or that expanding one’s skillset horizontally endangers the work security of others on set. There’s an easy solution to this issue, of course: Building a Community
Can you tell me a bit more about the culture at Fremantle?
“We offer our staff a lot of consistent perks but the difference is that we don’t offer them because they’re cool, hip, or trendy. For example, we offer snacks because we want people to talk. We spent some time thinking about connections between employees and how to spark conversation in the workplace and we eventually decided that people are most likely to connect when breaking bread.”
This approach encourages conversation amongst employees and can have the effect of creating a more unified community that keeps its members in the loop. As Melanie explains, “If you change up the snacks, people notice.”
And with this community comes an important company value: “We don’t want to see people fail. Having a community gives us so much more than a workplace could as we’re creating a culture where people help one another and a culture where no one is above doing anything to help a co-worker out.”
What interests you about Emerson specifically?
“Is it bad for me to say that I get contacted by my executives about why we’re not getting Emerson applicants? Emerson is part of a group of schools that really push television and that’s what we’re looking for: Candidates who are passionate about media and are looking to become a creative force in the industry. So a better question would be: Why wouldn’t we want them?”
What are some things you look for in a potential candidate?
“Do your homework about who we are. Don’t just Google our name and visit our website. A lot of people Google us and turn around to say that they’ve only found information about our international business and they assume that’s where it ends. But, if you keep Googling and you keep clicking through our site, you’ll find information on deadlines, industry news, information on our CEO, and much more that gives a more accurate depiction of who we are. The person who tells me they can’t really find anything shows me that they might not want to be here. Or that they’re not really interested because, if they were, they’d ask. So come prepared with a few questions, just ask me anything. If you can’t think of anything to ask at least ask why I would want to be here.
More than that, we’re looking for people that really know what they want to do in the field. Our goal is to really commit time to developing individuals within a role that they’re passionate about as we’ll continue to develop you horizontally before considering anything vertical. The applicant who comes in thinking that this is a good stepping stone to another role in the company may be disappointed with this but it’s how we keep our company culture and community together.”
It’s worth noting that, in the time that Melanie has worked at FremantleMedia, she’s seen 3 employees return to the studio with minimal turnaround in between. This is rare in the entertainment industry as so many folks are looking to advance their positions or are always looking for the next opportunity but it’s not surprising:
FremantleMedia maintains an impressive workplace complete with a sense of community that outshines many other competitive structures. This is one studio you do not want to miss.