Cool Jobs: Centric TV VP Talks Working in the Wild World of Entertainment

Jon Marc Sandifer went from humble beginnings to network success

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Jon Marc Sandifer, VP, Centric TV (Image: File)

We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the BlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.

From the humble beginnings at a public access channel in Manhattan, Jon Marc Sandifer has risen to the heights of vice president of music strategy, programming and specials at Centric TV. Always having a passion for television and moving imagery on screen, Sandifer is continuing to provide viewers with 24 hours of original programming.

The Path: My first foray into television and filmmaking was public access. I had a public access show on a cable provider in Manhattan. I had been doing that and my mother saw that I really enjoyed it. She called me at home one day to tell me about an ad in the paper for internship opportunities at Spike Lee’s production company 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks Film Production. I went, and after maybe six or seven interviews, I got the internship and began working on “Jungle Fever.” That one phone call from my mother altered the direction of my life in terms of what I was going to do.

The Ah Ha! Moment: While interning at 40 Acres, I was still shooting my public access show in Manhattan. With access to dubbing equipment, I began giving my masters of the show to the 40 Acres post production intern to transfer so I could watch them at home. This was a risky thing to do because the stakes were high at 40 Acres, and somebody got canned everyday. Soon enough, I thought it was my turn.

As I was walking out of production dailies, Spike’s assistant director called me over. He had asked me if I had been having someone dub a TV show for me in post production. At that moment, the first thing I thought to myself was, ‘What do I have in the office that I don’t need? I know I am about to be fired, and I can leave from here and bounce.’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ He paused for a second and said, ‘You know, I saw the shows, and you did a really good job. Keep up the good work.’ This was the moment that made me realize that this career in TV is going to be my thing.

The Hustle: The grind and the hustle doesn’t stop. Even when I got a internship at 40 Acres, I was still doing my show for public access. It gave me the instant gratification of being able to shoot something and have it on air the next day which ultimately led me to TV. I was able to take my internship opportunity and discover things I liked and didn’t like, but more importantly I learned more about myself.

The Advice: Identify your interest. It’s not only knowing what you want to do, but what you like to do. Perfect your craft. Whatever lane you choose to drive in, soak up as much knowledge and experience in that lane that you can. Work Hard. A lot of hard work is what it is all about.

Daron Pressley (@daronpressley) is an entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, and The Washington Post. Knowledgeable in marketing and branding, Pressley works with professional athletes, organizations, and individuals to develop strategies to create, build, and grow brands. As a speaker Daron has reached over 20,000 students, and provides dynamic insights on leadership and branding via his Website, DaronPressley.com.

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