Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Mickey Carter, Fox News

mickey-carter

Mickey Carter, Vice President of National Accounts in the Affiliate Sales & Marketing department at Fox News shares his strategies for breaking into the entertainment industry as an attorney.


What was your first job upon graduating from law school?

I attended Harvard College on an Army R.O.T.C. scholarship. After working for a general practice law firm in Chicago for a short while after graduating from Notre Dame Law School, I fulfilled my R.O.T.C. obligation by serving on active duty as an Army officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

How did you make the transition from being an Army JAGC attorney into entertainment?

Upon discharge from the Army, I moved to Indianapolis where my law school roommate and I opened a sports and entertainment law practice. What began as a small practice representing a handful of Gospel music recording artists grew into a full-service entertainment law firm with clients in music, radio, and television as well as professional sports. I moved to New York when I was offered a position in the Business Affairs department at Jive Records after getting to know their attorneys fairly well from having negotiated deals across the table from them.

How did you land the position at Fox News?

Before joining the Fox News team, I worked at Time Warner Cable where I negotiated content deals for cable and broadcast television. In that role, I had the opportunity to negotiate several deals across the table from Fox. When I heard that Fox News was looking for a Vice President of National Accounts, I called to express my interest and was hired in April 2007.

What are some of your job duties?

In my current position, I am responsible for distribution strategy for Fox News content and the negotiation of content distribution deals with Fox News’ affiliate distribution partners, including Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and Yahoo.

What are some of the most fulfilling aspects of your job?

In this fast-paced age of digital media, I enjoy the opportunity to work with a group of talented people at Fox News in developing distribution strategies for our content with a growing number of affiliate partners on a growing variety of platforms including, but not limited to, cable television. I have always enjoyed negotiating contracts, and this position gives me the opportunity to negotiate some of the more complex and interesting agreements of my career.

In your opinion, what skills are crucial for being successful in your position?

I think it is important first and foremost that you love the process of negotiating agreements and doing deals. With regard to specific skills or bases of knowledge, I think that it is important for an effective deal-maker in today’s world to have a working knowledge of accounting principles. The well-publicized corporate accounting scandals of the last few years have brought increased scrutiny upon how deals are structured and accounted for by companies and made this analysis a much more important part of the process.

How can someone prepare for a career similar to yours during and immediately after graduating from law school?

I think it is important during law school to focus upon getting the best grades you can. I know this answer is not very insightful, but I think having success during law school is the most reliable path to receiving the best opportunities for excellent training after law school. I believe the practice of law is something you learn after law school, and you should seek the best opportunities to work with attorneys in an environment where you can learn to draft and negotiate contracts.

What advice would you offer to an attorney seeking a position similar to yours?

Entertainment jobs are not very easy to find for young attorneys graduating from law school. In the absence of a great job working for entertainment clients or an entertainment company right away, the best advice I can offer is to focus upon getting the best training/experience you can in an area of the law that interests you. As you gain experience, almost any legal specialty can give you a path to begin representing entertainment clients or to work in-house for an entertainment company. In addition, do not underestimate the value and utility of attending entertainment conferences, seminars, or other industry events where you can network and meet the people who can help you find your next opportunity.

Interview with Mickey Carter conducted by Natalie Holder–Winfield of the Committee on Career Advancement and Management.