Did Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the Oscars, or Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson’s rousing speeches give you the buzz to work in showbiz? If the answer is yes you need to read this. If the answer is no, don’t be so sure…

Mai El Khalifa is an UAE-based TV broadcast professional and an executive coach with more than two decades of business experience. She says of the world of showbiz: “The media industry and specifically TV broadcast is an ever changing industry where to survive and excel you cannot compromise your motivation, drive and hunger for all that’s new, exciting by always giving viewers that content-value experience.”


“Although very glamorous on the outside, it’s a tough industry on the inside,” she adds.

Still interested in a life in showbiz? To help you make it in the Dubai TV industry, here are Mai’s top 10 tips:


Stay Determined: The TV industry is a highly competitive industry so don’t expect that your first job will be a dream job. Once you get in, stay determined no matter what is thrown at you. Put your ego in the closet, and let your determination take its place. Slowly but surely you will grow.


Be Courageous: You are always faced with big decisions to make under pressure. Believe in yourself and be courageous to make decisions. You will learn from mistakes and triumphs that is how you build solid experience in TV.

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Hold yourself accountable: Be truly accountable, and always note in your mind that once you are given a job to do, you will do it to your best knowledge. Keep your accountability check internally high first, and then externally.


Be a people’s person: In television you are always communicating with people, whether on the job or out. You must master the art of communication, have a sense of humor – learn to laugh at yourself. TV people do not work solo, but instead are constantly engaging with many departments for the smallest of programmes or acquisitions.


Remain Disciplined: As with any career there are always ups and downs. When the downs come, always look at the bigger picture of things; keep your thinking high-level without involving yourself in the details. Remain disciplined and focus on your career outlook and where you want to be. With that vision, look inwards for what needs to happen.

10 Top Tips On How To Make It In The Dubai TV Industry

Mai Elkhalifa


Be Curious: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and never ever assume things. If you try to figure out things instead of asking, you are taking the longer route to solutions and TV is all about the best quick solutions. When you are curious, you not only have the right answers, you also gain respect from others on how you genuinely care about your job and performance. Get curious and build your knowledge bank,


Stay Objective: Steer away from the politics in your organisation. Focus on making great content and avoid dwelling on the rumours and the water cooler gossip, which stirs up all the negative emotions in any job. When you are doing your job brilliantly, you don’t have to worry about what happens next, because eventually doors will open for you. Just stay positive, objective and do your job well.

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Care about content and quality: They say content is king, and I say quality is queen. To be successful you have to care about the ‘what’, and the ‘how’ of storytelling. In every genre, the most important thing is the way you tell the story.


Take care of your creativity: In order to stay creative, you have to master the art of switching off. These days we are digitally switched on all of the time, and this creates a constant ‘brain fuzz’. To feed our creativity, you have to switch off and refresh your mind by taking breaks, holidays that truly inspire your imagination.

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Stay current and always think of your viewers: It’s easy to get carried away and feel personally passionate about things, so always remember that people have different tastes. Stay varied in how you see things. Remember always it’s not about you and what you like, but instead it’s about your viewers. Watch a lot of TV, from different regions thinking about what lots of people might be interested in. Always get curious and knowledgeable on technology developments, because TV and Technology are inseparable.


Mai El Khalifa will be talking at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, for more details visit here.


Images: Getty and Supplied