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stay clear of the rarified air

stay clear of the rarified air - Want to Lead Steer Clear...

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September 25, 2010 Want to Lead? Steer Clear of Rarefied Air By ADAM BRYANT This interview with  Abbe Raven,  president and C.E.O. of A&E Television Networks, was conducted and condensed by  Adam Bryant Q.  You worked as a teacher before you started in television.   A.  And I worked in theater before I became a teacher.  Q.  Tell me more about that.   A.  I trained for it as an undergraduate. I wanted to be a director, and I became a stage manager. So I was very much  behind the scenes and got great experience in college and directed and stage-managed a number of plays. When I  graduated, I actually became a professional stage manager in regional theater in New York.  I loved it, but I made a decision that I needed to do something else. I didn’t want to work only at night. I wanted to  have a normal family life. So, at that point, I went back to school to get a graduate degree in film and theater. I also  earned an education degree at the same time and became licensed to teach English and drama, and so I did that for a  few years.  I loved being in front of the kids, but at some point I felt this pull to get back into the entertainment world. Around  that time, cable television was really just beginning, and I said, “I think that’s what I want to do.” I don’t know quite  why, but there was something appealing about it.  Q.  So how did you break in?   A.  I didn’t have much television experience, and there were a lot of broadcast people trying to get into cable. I pushed  my way into a job. I kept calling and eventually got to see one executive. He said: “You don’t have enough experience. 
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I have people that have been working in broadcast television for years that want a job here. So they’re way ahead of  you.” So I said, “I will do anything.” And he said, “Well, I don’t really have anything.”  As I was walking out the door, he said: “Well, see these scripts here? I need them photocopied.” I said, “I’m in.” So I  started Xeroxing scripts and answering his phone and then learned the business.  Q.  And how did the teaching experience help in your career?
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