New TV series will help job hunters stay positive


POSTED: Friday, July 24, 2009

Hawaii's increasing involuntary career changes have spawned a new TV production that is seeking job seekers to profile.

With 47,745 Hawaii residents unemployed and a June unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, the show was created “;kind of out of necessity,”; said Rich Figel, co-producer.

An award-winning screenwriter and former direct-marketing executive, he found himself needing an income stream. He was shopping projects around Hollywood with no luck. Funding for the freelance projects he had been doing shrank or disappeared due to economic conditions.

Rather than focus on the dour dilemma, “;Career Changers TV”; will explore the positive steps people can take to make themselves more attractive to potential employers or step out as their own boss in a new business.

Creation, production and the content of the show will be all about walking the walk Figel is talking.

“;If you're older, in your older 40s or 50s, it's going to be real difficult getting a similar job”; at a comparable pay level, Figel said. “;You create your own opportunities, become a consultant, start a small business—and that's basically what Ron and I are doing with the TV series.”;

Ron is Ron Darby, producer of “;The Pet Hui”; and “;Island Driver,”; which air on OC 16, where the duo hopes the show will land in September.

Longer than a passing snippet on a TV newscast, the show will feature advice for job seekers and “;provide some inspiration and reason for maintaining a positive outlook, profiling success stories”; of how people overcame adversity, Figel said.

One quick tip is, “;Don't bring your relatives.”;

The pair heard stories of applicants whose “;whole families”; came along to wait for the job interview.

One applicant listed “;911”; as their emergency contact number—not a good look.

One employer pet peeve is applicants who know nothing about the company or the position for which they are applying.

“;I did trace that back to people not reading the (news)papers,”; Figel said.

Figel and Darby are looking for job seekers willing to have a camera tag along on job interviews for a reality TV-like segment.

Interview footage will be reviewed by employment agency owners who will provide feedback and coaching.

There is no pay, but the job seeker will receive one-on-one employment counseling—oh, and TV exposure.

Anyone interested should have an outgoing personality, a thick skin, and be able to contact Figel at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

And back to walking the walk, the show will cover how small businesses can use trade or barter. Figel and Darby will promote on the show, the Web designer preparing the show's Web site.

“;We're going to be doing a lot of the things that we recommend because we are in fact a small business ourselves,”; he said.

The High Technology Development Corp.'s Entrepreneur Investor Pitch Competition will be covered to show how the HTDC works with startups, not all of them high tech.

It also will explore other resources the state offers to hopeful entrepreneurs.

“;A lot of people are feeling a lot of stress and a lot of pressure, and that can very easily make you depressed and pessimistic, but we can show them if they don't give up hope and can make their own opportunities, that things can turn around for them,”; Figel said.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).