Special Member Profile: Eric Neumann
The JHRTS is the junior membership division of the HRTS and continues our organization’s bi-coastal tradition of networking and community building by nurturing those young professionals at the assistant through manager levels. I recently had a chance to interview former JHRTS New York President, Eric Neumann, a digital native who has made the transition to the creative side.
Eric transitioned from the business side, picked up a microphone 5 years ago and has become one of hottest rising star stand up comedians in New York selling out multiple clubs and venues. One of his most prominent shows to date, was that in September of 2015, he became the first breakout artist of the year to sell out Caroline's on Broadway. He is currently working on a web-series and writing multiple pilots.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in entertainment?
A: I grew up in NYC and loved watching movies since I was like 4 years old. I was obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Terminator 2 made me want to work in the business. I was absolutely blown away by it.
Q: What is a favorite memory from your career thus far?
A: I couldn't find a job out of college so decided to get a paid internship in this tiny agency, and by paid I mean $10 a week plus a metrocard. My second week there I went to the bathroom and checked my phone and got an email from ICM offering me an assistant position.
Q: How did you first get involved with the JHRTS?
A: while I was at ICM I was approached by the former president to do an agents panel. I did it. We had a pretty nice turnout. I joined the board, and months later, became president.
Q: What prompted you to transition from the business side to the creative side of the industry?
A: I love the business side of the industry. It's challenging and exciting, but I had this voice inside of me that i couldn't ignore. I knew I needed to be on stage, and work on my craft consistently, and that's what I've been doing for the last few years.
Q: What advice would give someone considering a similar transition?
A: look, it's scary. You're diving head first into the unknown, but that's also what makes it exciting. Nothing in entertainment is "safe" but the talent side is increasingly unsafe. Don't be afraid of that. If you have the voice inside of you that tells you to perform, don't ignore it. It will never go away. Make sure you have a job so you can pay rent, eat, and take a cab once in a while if you really need to. Other than that, don't worry about anything else. Just go out there and be you. There's no time like the present.
Q: In today’s world, what is funny?
A: honesty. Raw and real. I think that's the biggest part of my development. I used to think "write funny". Now I'm like "write honest, and eventually it will be funny".
Q: What are some of the ways in which comedy has adapted to the time-shifted, on-demand era?
A: there's so much comedy now. It's a very over-saturated market. Web series, sketches. It's not just about "being funny" anymore. It's about a following. If you can get followers, you can be a star.
Q: How do you establish and maintain a transmedia presence?
A: just build your brand. Figure out who you are and get better at being you. I think that's one of the most challenging parts of it when you first start. You don't really know your voice. Once you find it, voice it, and get a freakin Twitter account.
For more on Eric, visit his website: