Case study

Assistant agent — James Bacon

James took his love of music and live events and made a career from it. If you’re looking to do the same then he suggests you get stuck in

What degree did you study and where?

BSc Music Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University, Leicester.

What is your current job title?

I’m an assistant agent at celebrity and motivational speaker organisers NMP Live.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

I graduated with a passion for music, radio and live events. My degree gave me a broad knowledge base around media editing, music and web design.

I went on to become a freelance media producer and also worked for music management companies. I initially applied for a job at NMP Live as a multimedia editor, working on speaker show-reels and web content, but subsequently I have moved over to the agency and client side of the business.

Although my degree was not strictly in events, it gave me a strong work ethic and, without it, I wouldn’t have the editing skills that I use every day.

What does a typical day look like?

Fortunately, there is no typical day at NMP Live. My duties range from fielding enquiries and handling bookings to liaising with clients, speakers, celebrities and their managers. I edit show-reels and generate web content, and also arrange travel and logistics for events. I sometimes attend the events too.

How has the role developed?

When I first started, I was almost entirely working on editing content for the website. Since then, I have worked closely with the company directors to learn about many other aspects of the business. I now respond to online and telephone enquiries, and liaise with clients to organise bookings from start to finish. I love where I work - we are a good team, and I’m looking to learn more about the talent that we work with and keep progressing within the company.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

The most enjoyable part of the job is speaking to the client the day after a job, and receiving fantastic feedback on a celebrity or speaker that we’ve booked and the positive impact that he or she had on their event.

Of course, I have had the opportunity to meet some fascinating people, including world famous celebrities, speakers and entertainers. The best thing about working in this sector is meeting everyone from gold medal-winning Olympic athletes, inspirational entrepreneurs and politicians to pop stars, world-class magicians and comedians.

What are the challenges of working in this sector?

Inevitably, as a negotiator between two parties, it can sometimes be tricky to keep both talent and clients happy all of the time. With our meticulous attention to detail and refined booking process, the vast majority of bookings run smoothly from start to finish. However, the odd challenge will arise where tact, diplomacy and mediation need to be used.

Any advice for others who would like to get into this career?

Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to veer off your chosen career path - sometimes the best careers are in things that you might not have considered initially. Pursue as many extra-curricular activities as possible, as employers like someone with interests. Finally, don’t be afraid to take opportunities and risks while you’re at university. I set up and organised a music festival a few years ago. It was a steep learning curve, but a lot of the skills and experience that I gained through this venture are useful every day.