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.
Behind the camera is where Bronx, New York native Todd Tucker (@todd167) is most comfortable. Today, he’s a fixture in the reality TV production game, but Tucker has had to grind his way to success. In his early years at BET, he helped to develop shows such as “Road to Platinum” with Bow Wow and Omarion.
Now, he’s producing hit shows such as “Hollywood Divas” (airing in October 2014 on TVOne) and his own wedding special (Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi’s Wedding) under his production company, TTucker Productions. The TV production exec who took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles in high school, shares with BlackEnterprise.com his humble beginnings and boss advice for young leaders.
Industry Beginnings: I first got into the industry through music videos. A producer buddy of mine out in Los Angeles gave me my first shot, so I took it and made the most of it. I was asked to read a treatment and find a location for a video shoot, so I hit the streets. Long story short, I was able to find a few locations, and the music video director picked one of my sites to shoot from. I kept up with the music video scene eventually becoming a production manager working with everybody from Kelly Clarkson and Busta Rhymes to Sting.
Leveraging Networks: Developing strong relationships within this industry is key because you are only as good as those relationships. During my time at BET, I learned early on to leave an impact through my work. I let you know that I am dependable, always available and ready to get it done when you call my name, which in turn keeps people continuously calling on me. These qualities that people associated with your name is what keeps you working.
School of Hard Knocks: I didn’t go to school for this. I got the opportunity, I hustled, I worked hard, I learned and payed attention. Regardless of your learning experience (formal or informal) you still have to possess the same qualities to succeed. Fortunately enough for me, I was surrounded by people who were supportive and willing to teach me. For the young kids out there I would definitely say go to school, knock it out, use the tools gained, and also keep that hustle mentality.
Dynamic Storytelling: Telling a story that connects people from all over the world is really the coolest part of what I do. It is amazing to tell the story of the Hollywood divas or Kandi and myself through our wedding special. It’s when we receive feedback from so many people on how these projects have helped them in their personal lives that we know we are doing our job.
Boss Advice: Success does not happen overnight. Humble yourself, be ready to grind and work so hard that you make them feel like they can’t do it without you. Observe your environment, see what people are doing and learn the personalities of the people around you. If you can do these things you will get there, and once you get there always reach back to give someone else a shot. Also, it’s important for our younger generation to put the phone down, meet people and build that connection because it’s what will keep you going.
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.