Stacy and Ted Milner
The Milners: They’re on the jobs

By Stanley O. Williford
Director of Publications


For a couple who often contact power players in the entertainment industry, Ted and Stacy Milner are without the usual Hollywood fanfare.

An observer explained it this way:  They put their faith first.

Ted is on the board of CCC, and since 1989, he and Stacy have owned Executive Temps, an employment agency that mainly services the television and movie industries. They provide both temporary and permanent job placement at levels reaching into the chairman’s office as well as the mailroom, said Ted. Included are positions in such departments as legal, finance, television development, film, and assistance to top-level executives. If there is a need for an employee, their agency fills it.

Stacy was working at NBC when she and Ted married in 1983. Ted was playing minor league baseball.

“But I had left the job to be at home,” said Stacy, “and I’m watching a show on TV about venture capitalists. I got up and I remember asking Lord, what can I do?  

“He asked what are you good at? I said I’m good at being an assistant. He said, well, create four or five more of you and then you can have an agency.  You can name it Executive Temps or Entertainment Temps. I opted for [the title] Executive Temps to assist the movers and shakers of the industry. From the time I got the idea from the Lord it probably took a year to get it going.”

Ted ran the agency when he was not away playing baseball. Although Stacy had given up full-time employment, she stayed in touch with the industry by doing temporary work at NBC because of her strong knowledge of the industry.

Ted said it took him about a year to get comfortable in his new role. “I didn’t know that business. I would call Stacy and ask her what to say when interviewing potential candidates.”

NBC became their first account, but they still struggled for years. Once a temp was hired, they had to pay the wages out of their own pockets because NBC only reimbursed them on a monthly basis.

“In placing people, I had good employment expertise,” said Ted, who holds a degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University. “We started placing people immediately. We used Stacy’s paycheck to pay the temps until the money came in from NBC.”

For years it was touch and go.  Ted at one point did janitorial work to make ends meet. Later, he worked for Brinks, the private security and protection company, fixing ATMs in the evening, a job he held for about two years.

 “It was about four years before we ever took a paycheck,” he said.

“We had favor because we were growing. I was working [as a temp] for the president of NBC,” said Stacy. 

The president of NBC at that time was Warren Littlefield. He suggested that she and Ted talk to the people at Warner Bros. and use his name to go after other accounts. To bolster their cash-strapped company further, he offered the Milners access to his credit line.

What Littlefield’s generosity meant was that they no longer had to pay salaries out of their own pockets.

The Milner’s have placed workers at many, if not most, of the big entertainment companies and networks – Disney, HBO, The CW Network, Turner Broadcasting, ABC, Skydance, the Oprah Winfrey Network and others.

But the Milners are also about giving back, so there is another side to what they do, which is to create a path for young black students to enter various phases of these industries.

Six years ago, Stacy joined forces with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities under the Obama Administration and launched the Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program (EICOP).

An outgrowth from the EICOP is the HBCUs in L.A. Internship Program, which assists students in “leveraging a career in the entertainment, media and communications industry.” While Ted runs the employment agency, Stacy spends much of her time training HBCU students and recent graduates and positioning them to become knowledgeable about the entertainment industry. The program has been a success from its inception. Since 2017, the program has placed 75 students into key internship roles. Ten of the students have received jobs, but most are sophomores and juniors who can’t immediately seek positions because they must return to school.

According to the HBCUs in L.A. brochure, “the program focuses on recruiting talented students and placing them in competitive internships with major studios, networks, talent agencies, production companies and other industry hubs across Los Angeles. In addition to their internships, students participate in enrichment sessions and professional training with industry leaders and Hollywood insiders.”

During the summers, the interns are housed in a college dormitory for eight to ten weeks and exposed to those working in the industry. They attend such events as panel discussions at filmmaker Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY Creative Campus and a panel at Sony Pictures called Recruitment 101, which dealt with what it takes to land a job successfully.  Live Nation Entertainment has hosted a diversity spotlight session called The Black Experience in Music & Entertainment and the United Talent Agency hosted a panel discussion called A Peek Behind the Curtain.

For the Milners, their recruits and students, the old musical line rings true: “Hooray for Hollywood!”




     
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