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EVENTS, ORGANIZATIONS, SOCIETIES, AND UNIONS - American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists (aftra)

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in the Music BusinessEVENTS, ORGANIZATIONS, SOCIETIES, AND UNIONS - South By Southwest Annual Music Festival, National Association Of Recording Arts Sciences (naras), Country Music Association (cma)

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS (AFTRA)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

JOB OVERVIEW

The director manages and directs the day-to-day administration, public relations, and promotional activities, including negotiating contracts, enforcement interpretation, budgets, and staff supervision.

SPECIAL SKILLS

“People skills are the most important above everything else,” says Randy Himes, “because we work with the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are people who default on payments, people who are good payers, and people who are irate because they don't like unions. You've got to be able to think quick on your feet and you need strong negotiating skills.”

A DAY IN THE LIFE

CAREER TIPS

“You've got to be able to do whatever it takes to get the job done.” Don't be too proud to start as an intern and then hustle and be the best intern anyone has ever seen.

“You've got to be versatile and flexible. With AFTRA and SAG, there are no black and white lines in many areas. You have to be flexible enough to deal with that and not become frustrated.”

On one particular day, Himes finished looking over a contract for Jim Owens Productions, researched new technologies to determine what to charge for webcasts of The Opry, and worked on a student film agreement for Watkins Film School. “I always have a lot of phone calls and contract negotiations going on throughout the day. I may be giving someone rates or helping to solve a problem. There is a lot of dictation and follow-up correspondence. There are board and committee meetings. I sometimes have site visits for film and commercial work. I liaison for performers with the governor's and mayor's board for film, and the city film commission; whatever it takes to best represent performers. There are no set hours and no set days. I had a producer roll into town to do a commercial and we were up talking until eleven at night, straightening out the employment situation.”

THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS JOB:

“What I like the least is the politics that occur in every industry organization.”

THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS JOB:

“I like seeing a need and finding a solution. I'm very goal oriented. I like to see results. With a lot of activities we do have closure. You can negotiate a contract, see it through, and then see the performers working under it.”

POINTERS FOR THE JOB SEARCH

Volunteer to work on a committee or help with an event to learn more about the organization, and for them to become familiar with your work habits and abilities. Previous experience in the music industry is helpful.

RANDY HIMES, ASSISTANT NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SOUND RECORDINGS, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS (AFTRA)

“I love music,” says Randy Himes. “My mother was an organist in the Methodist Church since she was 13 years old and her side of the family is all very musical. I sang in a quartet while growing up in Rockford, [Illinois].” In his youth, Himes learned to play piano, played in rock bands, and devoted eight years to the French horn. He enrolled in the recording industry management program at Middle Tennessee State University with the intention of becoming a recording engineer. After graduating, he sent out resumes and worked at a gas station in Murfreesboro, Tennessee while trying to get a music industry job. A regular customer, who was a local deejay, found out about Himes’ interest and recommended him for an interview with the head of the Nashville AFTRA office. Following a marathon three-hour interview to ensure that he did not want to pursue a performing career, Himes was hired in 1978 as a local field representative.

Later promoted to a national representative position, Himes remained stationed in Nashville, but traveled extensively. He found a mentor in an AFTRA attorney who taught him negotiation skills, which proved invaluable as he negotiated contracts at radio and television stations and became involved in troubleshooting operations around the country. When the chapter director left the organization, Himes was appointed to fill the post of executive director in 1986.

During his tenure as executive director, Himes served on the bargaining committees in negotiations for AFTRA's Sound Recordings Code and led organizing campaigns at Disney Orlando, TNN Cable Network, and the Grand Ole Opry. He was named assistant national executive director of sound recordings in 2005. Himes’ responsibilities include outreach to sound recording artists, oversight of contract administration, and strategies for protecting performers’ rights in the face of new technology and servicing the needs of recording artists. www.aftra.com

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