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Thursday, December 31, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 304:How do I deal with New Years drunks, when I don't drink?

The same way you deal with them every other day of the year. Listen, I know it can be annoying having a drunk person spitting all over you, and all the other unpleasantries that come with someone who has had one too many, but if you're going out to celebrate the new year, then focus on that. Have fun! Let the drunks be merry, and you be as far from them as possible should they feel the need to get sick.

And if you don't normally go out, because you don't like to be around drinkers and New Years is the exception, that just be understanding that people all have fun in their own way.

Hey, at least you won't have a hangover.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 303:How do you make real, sincere friends in a city full of hucksters and posers?

Family you're born into, friends... you choose. When you're young, you are put into forced social situations, like school, where you find your "group." The groups shift and expand as the grades get higher and smaller grade schools merge into larger middle schools, and finally everyone into one high school.

And then off to college. A whole new group of people with whom to assimilate. Perhaps, you're still forced into social situations like dorms, classes, sports, the Greek system, making it easier to sort for the like-minded people.

As we are sent out into the "real world" of being an entrepreneur, which make no mistake, you are as an entertainment industry professional, the forced situations aren't as readily available.

When I first moved to LA away from my friends and family in NY, I met a lot of "doozies." My sister referred to them as my "Freshman Year Friends." The similarity is clear: a new place, brand new people, and the longing to connect and have that familiar feeling you have with your "old friends," can cloud your judgement.

Be patient. There are certainly "hucksters and posers" in this city, but remember, that's your perspective. Those hucksters and posers have a whole circle of friends who think they're the coolest guys since James Dean.

Finding like-minded people means being open to the possibility that all of the wonderful and real people (by your definition) are out there. You start by finding one. That one person will have more friends whom you will likely connect with and they'll tell two friends and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on...

Also, do what you love to do. If you love the beach, go to the beach. If you love sports, get onto a team. You're most likely to find people you connect with doing what you love to do.

The most important thing to remember is to focus on your reason for being here. Don't let anyone throw you off your game because they're not your "type." Do your job, and do it well, and before you know it, you'll be surrounded by great people.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 302:How do you get your portfolio to the right people?

The question continues: "... without jealous and/or unprofessional people trying to stop you and/or make you look low quality?"

I will address the second part of the question first. Only YOU can let people stop you. People can be jealous and unprofessional and therefore not help you. In that case you need to meet new people who will.

Also, no one else can make your work look low quality, right? You are the photographer, therefore you are deciding the equipment you use, your lighting, and making all of the decisions that produce your finished work that you put in your portfolio.

Now to address the first part of the question: How do you get your portfolio to the right people? Depending on the industry of photography you're in, you'd be targeting different people. Movie and TV set still photographers, target studio photo editors.

1. Find out who judges the portfolios in the area of photography you're in

2. Contact their office to find out their submission policy and what format they want the portfolio in

3. If they don't accept unsolicited materials, ask who they accept materials from (reps, agents)

4. Contact those reps and agents

5. If after all of this, you still can't get your work seen, let me know and I'll start from the basics about creating relationships and getting referrals

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, December 28, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 301:why do so many people ignore my friend requests on Facebook?

Facebook is used by different people for different reasons. I personally use Facebook for getting back in touch with friends and family whom I wouldn't otherwise be in touch with and to help people in the entertainment industry.

When I get a friend request from a friend or family member, accepting their request is a no-brainer. But here's were it gets tricky (and I've changed the way I'll be approaching new friends in 2010 because of it). When I get a friend request from someone who doesn't send a message and we have a no friends in common (or maybe even a few), I immediately look them up to see if they are in the industry. If they are, I accept the friend request. Many people, however, have privacy settings, so I can't see any information about them. I ignore those. The bottom line is, my Facebook page is open to the public, so they can read my blogs and get my information. If they want to be my friend, I want to know why.

For me, it's not a race to see who can have the most friends. If a stranger wants to friend me I want to know why. In the past year, I've sent friend requests to many camera people whose names I've known from the Guild. I knew I had value to offer them as a friend because I blog every day. Still, because I didn't send a message, a few wrote to me before accepting and asked who I was and how I knew them. When I told them I knew their name for years because I worked at the Guild, it put their mind at ease, and they accepted.

If you want more people to consider your requests, I suggest sending a message as to why you want to be their friend. It could say something like, "we have mutual friends in the business and it's always nice to meet like-minded people," or, "I work as a ____ and you are a ____, I enjoy connecting my friends when opportunities present themselves."

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, December 27, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 300:can you talk about getting over FEAR, the biggest career killer?

Thank you, for the SO many GREAT questions submitted for number 300. I will address them all, though for 300 I chose this one because of something that just happened in my life.

Before I tell you about that, I want to agree with the person who asked this question. In my opinion, after coaching over 1000 people one-on-one, from anywhere from once to 9 years and counting, the lack of action due to FEAR is the number 1 killer of careers.

For you, I blog, create products, give seminars, coach, all with the desire to give you solutions to overcoming your fears.

I once offered a group of 15 people who'd been making progress, but not as quickly as they liked, (because of fear obstacles) an opportunity to compete for a $100,000 prize that a "successful client" had offered, to the person who showed the most action in one year's time. When asked who wanted to participate, 100% of the hands were raised. Armed with all the tools I'd given them, they created action plans for the year, eager with anticipation, armed with the taste of competition and the guarantee of a payoff at the end, should they win.

After sharing these outstanding action plans, that would indeed, catapult their careers, I asked where had this "drive" been for the past 6 months they'd been working with me? They laughed, and told me that it was both the love of competition and the knowledge that there was 100K at the end.

Then I informed them, that there was a slight adjustment: No "successful client" had put up 100K. As I looked at the deflated expressions on their faces, I reminded them, the element of competition hadn't changed. In fact, the prize had not changed, for with each of their action plans, was inherently the opportunity to make 100K upon succeeding. NOW each of them had the possibility of getting the 100K as opposed to just 1.

Do you think that cheered them? Nope. While I'd just shown them, how they EACH had the opportunity to make 100K, instead of me choosing just one of them, because there was no longer the "guarantee" that the money would be there in the end, it completely deflated their drive. And then the "reasons and excuses" started...

Well, I'm sorry to tell you this, but there are no guarantees in our business. In fact there are no guarantees in life. The story I told you I'd share at the beginning of this blog is this:

On Friday, I went to dinner and to see Avatar with my sister and a friend (both non-pro). We left inspired, excitedly talking about the many ways it moved us. It was a great night! One of those nights that I felt proud to be in this industry, realizing that what we do, causes our family, friends, and complete strangers to be WOWed, to think about "a bigger picture," to escape the stresses of life for a few hours, to immerse themselves in another world, to have fun. What we do touches so many lives...

But that's not what my story is about. As we hugged each other goodbye and said what a great night it was hanging out, talking, and seeing a great movie, my sister and I had no idea, that 15 minutes later, we'd get a call from our friend that he's just been in an accident. We turned our car around and raced to the scene where the police took his statement of the car, that had pulled out onto Beverly Blvd, completely oblivious to his motorcycle, and then took off, as he lay on the ground, the back of his helmet deeply scratched from landing on his head.

With my hand on his back and arm, holding him steady as the police filled out paper work, I could feel him trembling. He was clearly in shock. Then he said, "It's amazing, a few minutes ago, we were having such a good time, a really great night, and then in a split second... this"

I will continue to give you solutions to battle the fears that you create for yourselves. But I ask you, with life as precious and unpredictable as it is, how long are YOU GOING TO CHOOSE to let them stop you?





for more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, December 26, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 299:What do you do when a teacher discourages you about your work?

I have created this question based on a comment I received yesterday regarding a post I put on Facebook about a movie that I'd just seen and loved:

"I have a problem with that movie, I like it a lot, but mainly because I wrote a short-script almost identical... I never showed that script because my screenwriting teacher told me it was a good exercise but a bad idea for a movie, because there were no public in Mexico that wanted to pay for that kind of movie. I believed him..."

Teachers are voices of authority in our society. They teach because they are "experts." But let's face it, teachers, like development execs, and like agents, don't know everything. Listen to feedback, it's important, but if the voice that is speaking loudest about your work, is the voice in your heart, then THAT is the voice you should be listening to.

If I had listened to every person who told me "I couldn't do that," I wouldn't have a resume. The film industry is a risk. You take a chance that a story that is important to you will be well executed, and well received. It may not be, but if you want to tell your story, then don't let someone else tell you no!

That, said, you now have a second chance. I'm sure your short film is not identical, and you can change the bench scene to something else. There are only, what? Seven "original" stories. Your voice is what makes your story unique, so now that you know there's a market out there for this genre, maybe blow off the dust and give it another shot.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, December 25, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 298: Does it ever get easier being away from your family on the holidays because of work?

I would imagine not, if you have the kind of family who has a big traditional holiday celebration. You will always be missing out on the memories and the time spent with those you love, on the years you can't be with them.

I made a choice to move away from my parents and friends when I came to California. It was a sacrifice that had to made to pursue my career. Does it get easier to be away from them? Quite the contrary, it gets harder every year.

I've often written about the "nature of our industry" and weighing the pros and cons. If you were not born in Southern California and had to relocate here for work, leaving behind family and friends, that may be a huge "con" for you. It's a choice.

My suggestion to you is that you make the time to see your family in between jobs and be very present in every moment that you're with them. Create memories, and cherish the time you spend with them. You may find that you are in fact lucky compared to those who have their family near by, and quite possibly take them fore granted.

Again, it's all how you choose to live your life and treat the people in it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, December 24, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 297: From 1 workoholic to another, can I take Christmas off?

Absolutely, unless you have a daily blog. Then you have to answer a short question that will provide value to those who are work-o-holics like us and are actually reading your blog when they should be taking a few well deserved days off.... hint hint.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 296: Should I let someone produce my feature film without paying me for the script?

I feel like I've answered this question before or maybe I've just lived it. Either way, you always want to create a win/win, without biting off your nose to spite your face. If given the choice, everyone would be paid for their art/talent. That said, if you are trying to build your credits, you have never had your writing produced, and you are suddenly given the opportunity, it may be worth it to you.

As I started with, you want to create a win/win. I'm assuming you're not being paid because it's a low budget, non-union production company. They want to produce your script because they believe in it. Therefore, talk to a literary agent, manager, or entertainment attorney, who can give you some advice on signing a contract to receive money should it sell. You may also be able to add a few more things to the contract in the event that the movie "takes off."

The reason I advise you to speak to a professional, is because, without contract experience, you could end up losing a lot of money. Number people can be very tricky, and it may not even be the production company you're dealing with now, but the one that they sell to.

Approach it like you would a pre-nup, with love, trust, and "a teensy need for insurance." You appreciate the opportunity, you believe in the producers, and therefore, you want to know that they are just as invested in your success in the end, since you're willing to sacrifice in the beginning. If a contract is going to be a deal breaker, you have to decide if getting your first screenplay produced is worth it. Either way, congratulations on getting this far.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 295:what is your perspective on 2010 for the industry?

2010 from my perspective is a surprise... it’s an adventure. The people who will get jobs, who will build the foundation for a long career, are those who create goals and find out how to achieve them.

First you have to know what you want. Then you’re going to wonder, well how is that possible? That’s when you have to invest in learning like you do when you find out there’s new technology you need to learn.

The top 10% don’t “let a year go by.” They plan it out and they reach out for help to find solutions. I can’t predict what will happen with the economy or the number of jobs available. I can teach people to do everything they can do, so they feel proud of what they are accomplishing.

You will always get ROI (return on influence) when invest in yourself.

I can tell you in 2010 there will be:

1. Networking events to attend

2. People who will be willing to mentor others

3. New contacts to be had

4. Job opportunities for those who are willing to do what it takes to get them

5. New technology to learn

The question is, do you have the skills to maximize these opportunities, or are you going to spend 2010 doing exactly what you've always done?

In 2010, I invite you to release restriction and start expanding because if you don’t, somebody else will. You have to take advantage of the experts who can help you so you can get an edge over your competition!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 294: With contacts, do you keep beating a dead horse?

I crack up at questions like this because the answer is inherently in the question. No. You do not need to keep beating a dead horse. To use your metaphor, if you're trying to get something from the dead horse (like you're trying to get something from the contacts you have) "beating it" will not help you achieve your results.

So, let's address the matter at hand. You have contacts. You want something from your contacts that you aren't getting. Here are some of your choices:

1. Start over. Get new contacts.

2. Re-evaluate what you're asking for. Are you giving your contacts something they can say YES to? Many times you may think you are, but if you're continually getting no (and no response is a no), then obviously you're not.

3. Try a new approach. Help your contacts instead of seeking help from them. Be a connector for them. Seek out leads for them.

4. Get involved in social activities with contacts so you know you're connecting with like-minded people. Sometimes the contacts we have are not necessarily the contacts that are "right for us." Building business relationships in a creative industry is more like dating than many of us care to admit.

So lay the horse(s) to rest. No more beatings. It's not good for them, it's not good for you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 293: Is it worth it for me to create and produce a web series?

How am I supposed to know if it's worth it for YOU? Web series have been extremely valuable tools for talented people. Are you talented? Have you tested your concept? With sites like YouTube and festivals like ITV, there's a lot of potential for getting noticed with a web series... if it's good. If it stinks, save your time and money and don't waste other people's time either.

You have to believe in your work. You have to have passion that fires you up about it and therefore fires up others to want to work with you. Is investing in a project a risk? Always. That's the nature of our industry.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 292:How about getting a TV series as a DP after working as an operator for 20 years?

This was a comment on question 283. Absolutely, that's possible. It's probably one of the most traditional ways to get a DP job on a television series. After 20 years, I sure hope you've developed relationships with the executive producers and network execs on the shows you've worked on.

In some cases, your DP will move you up when he/she gets the opportunity to direct an episode. Either way, it's about the relationships you have. If you're ready to make the move up, you have to start talking to the contacts you've made through the years.

In some cases, you may be asked for a reel. If the only reel you have is an operator reel, you're going to have to create a reel as a DP. As all the name talents will tell you (and I'm sure you know already), lighting is crucial to a show. Directors may change around every episode, but the DP creates the look that sets up the show. In some cases, the lighting is literally a "character" in the series.

So, before network execs take a chance on you lighting a show that hasn't been "set" by another DP, you're going to need a reel, that proves you can do the job.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.thegreenlightcoachblog.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 291:What are techniques for motivating people who get good pay?

The question actually read:
"A lot of musicians are slackers. They tend to show up unprepared. Do you know of any techniques for motivating them, in a situation where the pay is already good?"

I guess what's confusing to me is, why with so many talented musicians out there, you are forced to hire slackers? There are so many musicians who would be thrilled to get paid well to do what they love.

But your question makes it sound as if you're stuck with them so here are some tips:
1. develop a reputation as someone who rewards professionalism. Do your research on your musicians. Those who come prepared get rewarded with a meal that goes above and beyond, or something else that fits their persona.

2. Let the musician know beforehand that you have a young person (or 2 or 3) coming to sit in on the session to learn from them. If they care about being a good role model, perhaps they'll step it up.

3. When I hire a freelancer, I let them know it's a "try-out" to see if we gel for bigger projects I have on the horizon. This tends to motivate them to do their best.

4. If you have any say over firing them, pre-set milestones with them. If they don't deliver on any of the milestones, they know they will be fired.

Overall, I need more information, because you could be dealing with the creme of the crop, who take advantage of their clout. In which case, unless the company behind you, stands by your decision to hire people who perform professionally, you could have a major challenge to overcome.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 290:How about if I just want to reach out to someone I worked with temporarily?

The full comment on yesterday's blog read: "How about if I just want to reach out to someone I worked with temporarily and it had nothing to do with anyone else getting me the job? I just got called in to day play."

You should absolutely stay in touch with crews who call you in to day play. Always make sure you ask for a call sheet so you know everyone's name. Again, now is the perfect time to reach out and wish them a happy holiday. They are most likely on hiatus, so clearly you're not asking for work, you're simply reconnecting.

Usually with this question, there's the "unspoken" fear of not wanting to appear like you are trying to take someone else's job. If you are at the point in your career, where you need to build up credits as a day player, then make it really clear (in the future not in the holiday card) that you enjoy being their go to guy/girl when they need someone to fill in.

If you're at the point where you have 100 dayplaying credits and you're ready for a full hire, then target crews who are working on hit shows where the exec producer will most likely get a spinoff or another show, and therefore will need an additional crew. For features, target crews that work on big budget films with MANY additional cameras.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit, www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 289:What's the best way to reach out to someone I worked for temporarily?

He continued: "when I spoke to you in the past, you said to watch the show I worked on and find something about which to complement them. I don't know when this show will come out. I could look up other shows by the producers/director and complement them on that. Is that the same thing, or is it more appropriate to comment only on the show on which I worked?

I was going to send a "great working with you" card, but since it's close to holidays, do I send it in the form of a holiday greeting, or keep it just a personalized business follow up?"

Long question, short answer: Compliments are always welcome so you can compliment them on any work of theirs that you've seen. If you send this out in your "great working with you card" this week, you can follow up with a holiday card next week.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

entertainment industry coach question 288: When I go home for the holidays should I bother to meet new people while I'm there (NY)?

Should you "bother" to meet new people. If it's a bother, then, no you shouldn't. If you want to take the holidays off to be with your family, then do it. If you happen to be around entertainment industry people, why wouldn't you want to create new relationships? You never know when it comes to 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.thegreenlightcoachblog.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 287: After successful working in LA for 15 years, how can I work from another state?

This particular person is interested in living and working in Colorado while maintaining work opportunities in Los Angeles. While many of my clients have successfully worked in Los Angeles while their residency was in New York, New Mexico, San Francisco, Colorado, Chicago, Detroit, etc., this person points out, that with social media, it's harder to mask where you are and what you're doing.

It's a very good point. Facebook has privacy settings, but that can be a pain in the butt. The point of social media in regards to work is to create and maintain relationships. Instead of saying, "I went for a hike in the Rockies," just say that you went for a hike.

When you're working, it doesn't matter where you're working because people go on location all of the time. The fact that you're asking this question eludes to the fact that you're already savvy to keeping yourself under wraps. Keep it up.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com


Sunday, December 13, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 286: What do I do to stay busy when times are so slow?

Staying busy during slow times? There are two ways to answer this question from my perspective. The first, is the business actions you can be taking and the second is the actions you can be taking to maximize your "off time."

Business action ideas:
1. Re-establish with 30 contacts
2. Reach out to 10 business advice mentors
3. Visit 5 sets (if it's holiday time, go to 5 parties)
4. Attend 1 networking event/week and meet 5-10 people at each

Many people spend all of their time in between jobs, stressing out about being out of work and then, once they have the next job, they look back and regret not enjoying their time off.

Off time ideas:
1. Hang out with friends you've been out of touch with
2. Once a week, spend a day doing something you enjoy: the beach, a day trip to another city, a movie with popcorn & soda, a sports event, a museum, the planetarium
3. Exercise
4. Pick up an old hobby

That should keep you busy for a while.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, December 12, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 285: Where are inexpensive and safe areas to live in Los Angeles for someone right out of college?

Not exactly a career coach question, so I'll give it a shot and ask that my readers chime in. This is what I know about renting in Los Angeles:

Expensive and safe: Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Westwood
Reasonable and safe: Beverly Hills adjacent, Studio City, the college area of Westwood
Cheaper and safe: Burbank
Cheap and sketchy: certain areas of Hollywood & the valley

Sorry I couldn't be more specific. Again, I ask my readers to comment.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, December 11, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 284: How do I make it as a director if I have controversial political views that I'm outspoken about?

This person went on to say, "I'm a conservative republican. And that will never change. I've had many friends tell me that 'you have to leave that to make it in this industry.' However, I'm not willing to. I'm not willing to sacrifice "me" to get that next directing job."

Fear not, some of my best friends are conservative republicans others are liberal democrats. This industry is so huge. You have to find the people with like-minded sensibilities. And also have the good sense to know when, and when not, to discuss politics.

This is in direct response to his movie trailer that I watched: Your first directing piece is controversial. If it's controversial enough to make a lot of money, you'll get more work. Keep in mind, that because your first work is so specific, that you may indeed, "pigeon-hole" yourself. That isn't always a negative thing if you enjoy the genre you're being pigeon-holed into.

I always tell people to think about their long term goals and make choices that are in alignment with both their goals and their values. Usually the two don't conflict. If you feel that they will conflict down the line, then you my friend, are at a cross roads, and you must decide... do you want to be known for your political views or your storytelling?

There is no right or wrong answer, just a decision to be made.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 283: Is it possible to shoot a studio feature 20 years out of film school?

This was in response to the blog about directing a studio feature 2 years out of film school. And while I know the person who asked the question, was kidding, it's actually a frequently asked question, so I'm going to address it.

MANY people have come to me for coaching and said a variation of these words, "I have been working on non-union films for 20 years, and I'm not going to do another film, unless it's union."

I then have to get into strong rapport with them, look them straight in the eyes, and gently deliver these exact words, "then you may never work again."

It's a harsh reality, I know, but if you don't have the relationships with studio executives, studio directors who have the clout to bring you on, or a track record that will make you sellable ONCE a film of yours "blows up," then not only do you have to continue working non-union, but you also have to spend time building relationships with the people who have the power to hire you at the studios.

Studio politics are impossible to understand if you have never been involved in the studio system. So find people who have been, who can give you perspective and advice.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 282: Please provide me with tips on how to negotiate health benefits on a non union movie.

How to negotiate for health benefits on a non-union film, is not my area of expertise. However, I will give you advice, based on three things:

1. That I've produced non-union projects
2. That I worked for the camera union for 11 years
3. That I am now a small business owner/independent contractor

Here's my advice:
The first thing I would do is evaluate the budget of the non-union project. As a producer of ultra low-budget projects, I can assure you, there was no money for health insurance no matter how much I wanted someone on my project or how great a negotiator he/she was. Therefore, if the money isn't there, there's nothing you can do.

If you do believe the money is there, you can anonymously call your union (if you're in one, if you're not, you can still call). Because the IATSE is an alliance, you can speak to a union representative about organizing a show without the producers knowing it was you. The reason they won't know is because, once the rep sees the possibility for organizing, he/she will call reps from other IATSE locals. When reps from 3 to 5 locals show up to organize, there's no way for a producer to know who tipped them off.

If organizing is not an option you want to consider, then if you're not already, you can consider becoming an entity. Without getting too technical, by becoming an official business, (which you are as an independent contractor), you can get health insurance as a small business owner. My suggestion is that you speak to the following before going this route:

1. SBDC- the Small Business Development Center, a non-profit organization for small businesses. This is a FREE service.

2. A Small Business Tax Accountant who has experience with people in the entertainment industry.

Again I want to reiterate, I AM NOT AN EXPERT in this area. I am like you, a small business owner (S-Corp), who works in the entertainment industry, and is in a union in addition to having worked for one. I am speaking from my own experience, and advise you to talk to at LEAST 5 people before making any decisions.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 281: What do you do when nothing's happening and you feel disappointed?

It sounds like you're asking me personally, so I'll answer you personally. When I feel disappointed or things aren't happening at the speed I'd like them to, I get back to what got me into this business to begin with. My creativity.

I'm in an acting class once a week, so that keeps me creative. But when I'm really out of touch, I'll work on a script that I'd put down, not a big budget romantic comedy, but a smaller budget script that I could potentially produce. In the past, writing has turned into 4 produced projects.

If I'm so bummed out that the creative juices aren't flowing, I pop in one of my go-to rom coms. Without fail, Pretty Woman, The Family Man, Notting Hill, and two piles high of others, stimulate ideas, while I'm watching, or when I'm dreaming, or while I'm driving and on and on. It's not long before I'm back at my laptop typing out what the characters request of me.

That's my method. I'm sure there are others out there who may want to share, so let's hear from you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 280: What exactly is a spec script?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A spec script is a "speculative" screenplay, one that the Variety slanguage dictionary defines as being "shopped or sold on the open market, as opposed to one commissioned by a studio or production company."[1]

Spec scripts are written for various reasons:[citation needed]

  • by writers who hope to have a script optioned and eventually purchased by producers or studios;
  • by writer/directors who want to direct a film themselves;
  • by amateur writers hoping to convince a literary agent to represent them or a producer to hire them.

I would like to add that spec scripts are also written for television to show that the writer can write for other people's characters. In television you usually need multiple sample scripts from various shows to prove that if you write one great spec, it wasn't a fluke.

If you want to write a spec, and have no idea how to start, I highly recommend the UCLA extension program. If you live in Los Angeles, nothing beats the class atmosphere where you get help form your teacher and create relationships with the students as well. However, if you're not, you can take online classes and have a spec done in one semester.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, December 6, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 279: How many days until 24 premieres?

FORTY TWO days until 24 Premieres with 2 hours of Jack Bauer! January 17th! Thanks for asking.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, December 5, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 278: How do I create a website that will get me work?

A website is a marketing tool to help in your pursuit of getting work. It is not a substitute for creating relationships, it simply compliments the process.

To start, you want to research websites that are getting attention and model them. Because it's a marketing tool, you want to spend the money it takes to get it right the first time. Unless you have the sharp know how of do-it-yourself, save the time that you could be networking for work and hire a professional.

Next, get advice from people who look at websites. Find out what they want to see and what they don't want to see.

Finally, be sure that whomever creates the site for you makes it easy for you to update because websites are works in progress, as is your career.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 277: Why do so many stupid films get made and I can't get mine made?

Other than the Wayan Brothers and a few other who go after big money in the "stupid movie" category, I don't think most filmmakers or studios set out with the intention of making a stupid film.

If you haven't made a movie, it's a lot like baking a chocolate souffle. You have a recipe, yet so many things can go wrong if you're off by the slightest bit.

I'm not naive enough to think that everyone is passionate about every project they work on (I've heard many interviews where someone has bashed working on my favorite genre), but I don't believe anyone intentionally sets out to be the piece of the recipe that causes the souffle to flop.

Keep taking the steps to getting your movie made, and forgive those who've tried their best but cost you 90 to 120 minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 276: Is it possible to be directing a studio feature 2 years out of film school?

Is it possible to be directing a studio feature two years out of film school? Anything is possible. Is it likely? Well, that depends on a lot of important factors. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Are you closely related to the head of a studio?
2. Did you make a film in film school that won Sundance?
3. Did you get at least 20 studio executives, A-list directors, and A-list writer mentors while in film school who are deeply invested in your talent and success?
4. Do you have a blackmail video featuring the head of feature development at a studio? (I don't condone this, but I had to ask)

The bottom line is there are politics in the studio system that go beyond the entertainment industry. Why do you think we see GE commercials every time we watch 30 Rock? It's not because Alec Baldwin thinks they bring good things to life.

So it's important that you get an understanding about studio politics, what it takes to get a director "greenlit," and the amount of money that gets invested in a film with a first time director.

Whatever you do, keep directing, everything you can (except blackmail videos of studio executives), learn from other directors who were successful early after film school, and stay focused on the most strategic path toward achieving your goals.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 275: I know I lack confidence and I need it in this business, what do I do?

First, I want you to focus on what you do have confidence in. Pick something that you feel 100% confident in: that you can tie your shoes, that you take a shower, that you know what direction the sky is. When you are sure that you have thought of something that you are 100% confident in, I want you to feel those feelings of confidence at 100%.

If you were unable to do that exercise, you may have something blocking your ability to feel confident that runs deeper than I can go with you as a career coach.

However if you were able to do the exercise, congratulations! You now know that you only lack confidence in specific situations. Now, because these situations are work related, if it has to do with your craft, then keep working on it. Preparation and practice will build your confidence. If business is the area where you're lacking confidence, it too is a practiced skill. Business and networking skills take practice just like your craft or tying your shoes.

Look over the topics of my past blogs to find the areas where you need practice. If you can't find the answers you're looking for, be more specific next time you contact me and I'll give you some techniques to work on.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 274: I'm planning a Dec vacation to New Mexico where they shoot a lot of movies. How do I maximize my trip?

Mixing work and pleasure are you? My answers will vary depending on whether you know industry people in New Mexico. If you do, make plans to see them. Perhaps plan a meet up at a restaurant where they can invite other industry people you don't know.

If you don't know anyone, you can research who lives there, whom you'd like to meet. Reach out this week for some advice about what to do while in New Mexico and ask if there are any industry events/holiday parties happening. If you feel you've built the foundation for a relationship, you can ask if he/she will be in town and you can offer to take him/her to lunch.

You can also call the film commission to see if anything will be filming while you are there and perhaps drop by for a set visit, if it's appropriate.

It would be great to mix in a little business, but don't get down on yourself if it doesn't work out. It is the holiday season and people are busy with family. You can still contact people after your visit to discuss what an amazing vacation you had.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 273:Do you have any good news for us in this bad economy?

Yes, the good news is that you're sticking with your entertainment industry career (otherwise you wouldn't be writing to me) and that means that you know what you are truly passionate about. This IS good news. I've met many people over the course of my life who feel they have no idea what they are "meant to be doing." I always wondered "is it better to have no clue what to do with your life or to have a dream that may never come true?"

The answer to that is for you to decide. I will tell you, I've answered it for myself. It's my dreams, the big picture that keep me inspired and motivated everyday. It's what keeps me in class even though I have my own business. It's what always pulls me out of a funk, no matter how long I'm in it (and the funks do get shorter and shorter as you develop the skills to stay focused on the possibility of your dreams).

People who don't have that dream spend years, sometimes a lifetime, in frustration. Not knowing your purpose can be truly traumatic. So to answer your question again, the good news is you will always have your dreams to return to, no matter the state of the industry or the economy. Passion is not to be underestimated!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 272: What kind of wardrobe do I need to be an extra?

The first thing to determine is your type and what kind of scenes you'd be brought in for. Unless money is not an issue, start with 5 wardrobe choices that you are most likely to be brought in for. Examples are: business attire, upscale party attire, hip student attire, average Joe (or Jane) attire, and mom or dad (decide your money bracket).

Some background artists, after many years in the industry and knowing their type, make specific wardrobe purchases, like: nurse, cop, or security guard uniforms. Just know, that in many of these castings, they will have that specific wardrobe for you.

Your best bet is to sign with an established extras casting company and ask for feedback from them. You may also want to ask advice from the established background artists you meet on your first few jobs.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, November 28, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 271: I just got an offer for a job the same week I planned my Christmas vacation. WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN?

I feel your frustration, I've been there. Because I can't answer the question "why does this always happen?" I will answer the secondary question buried within this question: how do you choose between a job and a vacation?

You have to weigh the pros and cons of both. Here are some questions. Answer them for yourself and them based on what you value the most, make your decision:

1. Are you planning on going on vacation alone or with significant others who are looking forward to time with you?

2. Can the vacation be rescheduled?

3. Has it been a long time since you worked or do you work regularly and fear saying no?

4. If you were to choose the vacation, do you have a trusted colleague you could recommend in your absence?

5. If you could cut to: your life 10 years from now, which decision do you imagine would have the greater positive impact on your life?

Decisions like this are not easy. There's a running joke in the biz that if you want to book work, book a vacation. But when you're the butt of the joke, it's not funny. Let me know what you decide and how it works out for you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com


Friday, November 27, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 270: I drank too much and made an ass of myself in front of important people. Now what?

Well, the entertainment industry can be very forgiving... but sometimes it takes time for someone else to make an ass of themselves for "your incident" to become a thing of the past. The good news is, at Hollywood parties, that shouldn't take long.

Seriously, is there anyone that you feel it would be appropriate to apologize to? If so, do it. Be humble about it. If they are people you didn't know well, perhaps just let time heal the wound. As someone who is always the designated driver, and therefore sees a lot of people making your mistake, I can say, my personal level of forgiveness stems from the level of "ass." If someone is nasty to me, I don't forget it too soon. I don't really care or take it personally if he/she is drunk, however, I wouldn't hire them. I'm not saying this to freak you out, I'm saying it as a lesson to those who are reading this. Be aware of your actions when you're out in public around industry professions. Your actions may have consequences.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, November 26, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 269: I have multiple interests, but when looking for a job, I'm being forced in one direction. Advice?

If you have multiple interests, there are quite a few things to weigh out:

1. What is your fastest path to making a name and an income for yourself?
This is to be considered if (a) money is an issue and you need to support yourself and if (b) you have the networking skills (or are willing to develop them) to make a name for yourself in one area, and then make a transition to another. For example: television DPs who build relationships on their show and then ask for the opportunity to direct.

2. Can any of your interests be done simultaneously without causing conflict?
Consider this, if one of the interests is an "office job" while other interests can be pursued after work and on weekends and no one is the wiser. For example: A studio publicist with an interest in producing can produce short films on weekends, as well as read scripts before going to bed.

3. Can your interests be prioritized so you can create a long term plan?
When you think about where you want to be in 20 years, can you work backwards and see how the different interests flow into each other? For example: (Years 1-3): an actress who starts out doing indie films, (years 3-5) makes a name for herself, (years 5-10) creates a production company producing as well as acting, (years 10-12) adds directing to her resume, (years 12 and on) has a productive career wearing all the different hats she desires.

4. Do the skill sets compliment each other or are they on completely different paths?
Some jobs in the entertainment industry compliment each other. For example: an editor who tells the story by putting the pieces together (literally) could take those skills and transition to directing. He may even save time in post because he's editing in his head as he creates his shot list.
Or are they completely different paths, like a camera operator who wants to produce. While it's absolutely possible, the skill sets are different. The learning curve it takes to perfect your skills as a camera operator (as well as staying up to speed on the latest equipment) can take just as long as learning how to produce a movie (factoring in development, scheduling, budgeting, and having a knowledge of the different departments). With producing, sometimes, the smaller the budget, the more you need to know. That's because on a studio film there are different people for the many different components to producing a film. With a low budget indie, you could be doing everything from raising the money, to filing in for a boom operator who doesn't show up.
5. Is one of your interests the "big dream"?
If so, consider the skill or craft that needs to be developed. Is that something you can do with a full or part time job? If yes, work on your craft and build relationships while maintaining financial stability. If no, are there opportunities to work your way up the ladder (in a studio system or a crafts department like in camera and production design) to make money and learn from mentors?

The good news is, today's version of the industry allows people to wear different hats and move up in departments. The "less-good" news is that it doesn't make your choices any easier.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 268: How do I get more work, better work, or different work?

This was a question asked on my Facebook wall, because as a career coach, that's what I do, and it says just that in my profile. I help people get more work, better work, or different work. Now the question itself is too general to answer in one blog, which is why I'm on day number 268.

My advice to this person is:
1. Read my blog, subscribe to my newsletter and watch my videos. They're all free and will give you ideas.
2. Do an evaluation of where you are right now. Getting work is in direct correlation to the number of people you know who can hire you and how well you know them. So how many people do you know who can hire you and how well do you know them?
3. Once you've done numbers 1 & 2, design specific questions that pertain to where you are in your career and ask them.

People in the entertainment industry work with a career coach because they've spent years working on their craft, yet, have neglected learning the business tools necessary for success as a freelancer. If you're frustrated because you've been doing the same things over and over to get work, and not getting the results you want, it's important to recognize that having business skills is just as important as having the skills of your craft.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 267: Should I call contacts on Thanksgiving to wish them a happy holiday?

This is one of those times when I make an exception to my rule (the rule being call people when you think you'll get them in). There's still time BEFORE the holiday to call and wish contacts a happy Thanksgiving. I wouldn't encourage you to call them on the day. Thanksgiving is a holiday to be with family and friends, so to call on the day, could be viewed as obtrusive.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 266: Are things picking up in the industry? I heard pilot season is getting back to normal.

"Are things picking up in the industry?" is one of those questions, that is relevant to you specifically. If things are in fact picking up according to what's in production, it's irrelevant if you don't know anyone who can hire you. On the flip side, if things are so slow that there are only 3 productions in town, yet you're working on one, it doesn't really matter if things pick up.

More importantly:
1. How are you educating yourself to find out what's in production in your area?
2. How actively are you pursuing the people who are working on those productions?
3. How often do you let "the state of the industry" be an excuse or something to blame, for you not giving 100% to taking action?

This has always been an unstable industry, so while I won't assume it always will be, I will prepare for (and suggest that you do, too) the ups and the downs that come with the life of a freelancer.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoach.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 265: Should I be building my reel in film school or taking business classes?

It depends on the business classes your film school offers. You should absolutely be focused on the business side of the industry while in film school, however if the marketing, sales, and business classes are not directly related to the entertainment industry, you will have to get really clear on how what they're teaching, applies to you.

Film school IS for building your reel, perfecting your craft, building relationships, obtaining mentors, and preparing for entering the industry armed with an understanding of the business.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 264: Can you always move up within your department?

If you're asking me if it's possible to move up in classification (camera assistant to camera operator, assistant editor to editor, AD to director, background performer to co-star, writers assistant to staff writer), the answer is YES, it is possible.

That said, you must be strategic about making the move. People who stop their "bread and butter" income classification cold turkey, when they don't have enough contacts to hire them as the next classification, spend anywhere from 2-5 years minimum trying to build the trust with people who can hire them.

Have a plan for making the move up, and if you need help, that's what I'm here for.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 263: What would be the best way to showcase my film with top studio executives?

The best way to showcase your film with top studio executives is to have a relationships with top studio execs. If you don't, understand that they don't have time to respond to all the people who wants to showcase their film. That's why they have development departments. The typical way, is to have an agent who represents the film submit it. Usually an associate will look at it first and then it will move up the ladder. If you have a great agent who has a great relationship with the exec, it may go to the exec directly. If you don't have an agent, perhaps an entertainment attorney. The bottom line is, there's a system of "not accepting unsolicited scripts/films" in place to protect you and the studio execs.

If you don't have a relationship with a studio exec, or an agent/attorney, another way is to get it into a highly accredited film festival, one where studio execs would attend, or at least have a representative from their office attending.

If it's not getting accepted into film festivals, get some feedback from qualified mentors. Once you get enough positive feedback, create a buzz campaign around it and then host your own screening.

These are just a few of the ways. Good luck!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 262: How do you live off of freelance?

You recognize that being a freelancer is the equivalent of being an entrepreneur. You treat your business the same way any CEO of a company would treat his/her company. In addition, you recognize the nature of being a freelancer. That means that because work could potentially be feast or famine, you save for "rainy days."

What I personally encourage my clients to do, is:
CREATE MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME!

I once believed that if I spent even a week taking a vacation, that it would cost my entertainment career. It didn't. Nor did having a supplemental, full-time, income job for 11 years. People in our industry are so afraid to take the time to build an additional income stream. You can choose fear, or you can take a risk. With fear, you know you'll never get any supplemental or passive income streams going. With risk... you never know.

For more tips and articles by the top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 261: Are there scams I should be watching out for?

In an industry filled with people who desperately want to work, there is a higher risk of running into scam artists. Perhaps the community can chime in with some of their experiences. Personally, I have not experienced a scam, though I can certainly give you some things to look out for:

1. An agent or manager who tells you that you have to pay to be a client.

2. When someone insists that before they hire you, you must pay to have pictures or reels redone by the person they recommend.

3. Someone who guarantees they will get you work once you pay them.

Are you seeing a theme here? I know there have been some scams on Craig's list that escape me right now. When in doubt, check it out. Trust your instincts, be smart (don't put yourself in a dangerous situation), and decide how much you're willing to risk.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 260: Who do I talk to about all of the changing camera technology?

I was just a moderator on a panel where this was the topic of discussion. You can reach out to:

  1. people in the camera department
  2. people at organizations such as the SOC.org (the panelists were all in the SOC)
  3. people at the rental houses

The overall message from the panel I moderated, was: technology is changing constantly. It’s important to stay current on the changes. Mentors are willing to talk to you, rental house employees want to help you and educate you, and resources are available for you to stay current no matter how busy you are.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 259: How many years do you have to be in the industry to be considered “experienced”?

I’m not sure why you’re asking me this question. I need more context. But for now, I’ll say, “Confidence can be more powerful than experience.” In other words, if you have enough experience to know how to do your skill or craft, confidence will get you a job over someone who’s been in the industry for 20 years and still doesn’t consider him/herself experienced “enough”.

Don’t get caught up in number of years. Our industry doesn’t have a rule book. Work on your skill/craft/art, educate yourself on the nature of our industry and the business side of the business, and finally, build your confidence.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 258: I want to be a set massage therapist. How do I do that?

You must give ME 100 massages.

Okay, that’s not the real answer, but I sure wouldn’t mind it. I don’t think there’s a union for set massage therapists, but I’d check with IATSE, just to be sure.

All of the tools I share with other classifications who want to work on sets apply to you, too:

  1. It’s who you know, so build relationships with people who work on sets and can get you on.
  2. Market yourself, and create a “buzzy” hook, so you’ll be memorable.
  3. Brush up on your interviewing skills.
  4. Find other successes set masseuses and model them.
  5. Network, network, network!
For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 257: Is it better to be with a small agent in a big agency or an aggressive agent in a smaller agency?

Every situation is different. I would start by asking your current contacts who know you, your body of work, and your networking skills, for their opinions.

Remember, you are a product that an agent is selling, but they get +10% for a reason. That reason is because you are still 100% responsible for your success. An agent is a part of YOUR team. When choosing between agents, who feels like the best fit for your team? What do you value in an agent relationship? Who do the agents you’re meeting with have relationships with? What are your expectations of what an agent should be doing for you.

Once you’ve answered the above questions for yourself, you’ll have a clear idea of the conversations you will have with the agents you meet. Then it will be more about the agent/client relationship and less about the agency.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 256: What is this FB group that everyone is joining about bringing work back to California?

The question continued: I live in San Francisco, does this still affect me?

ITS TIME TO SHOOT MOVIES AND TV IN CALIFORNIA AGAIN 2 !!!

Ed Gutentag started it, and yes, it affects you. Join the group and ask questions. This is working towards change at the grassroots level to bring film production back to California. They’ve already spoken to many California politicians and reporters. Get involved. It takes people to create change.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, November 12, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 255: What do I do if I accepted a freebie and then just got a call for a paying gig that conflicts?

This is one of those decisions that is an A-list problem to have, yet a problem none-the-less. It is important to trust your gut/instincts on this. What do you think/feel is the right choice. Can you replace yourself on the freebie, giving a colleague an opportunity and helping the producers who brought you on?

Obviously, you’d like to take the paying gig, which is why you’re asking the question (or you would have simply turned it down). Weigh out the pros and cons of taking the paying gig and abandoning the freebie. Think short term AND long term.

If you do choose to pass on the freebie, do it professionally and use everything in your power to help them replace you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 254: How do I find someone to write a short film for me?

There are many different ways to find a writer. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you know people who know writers, ask for a referral.
  2. You can post an ad on Craig’s List, something along the lines of: looking for a writer for a short film in the _____ genre. [no pay or some pay]. Please send writing sample for this genre ONLY to: (your email address)
  3. Research writer’s groups, websites, and associations and post the ad above
  4. Post ad on twitter and Facebook
  5. If you already know of a writer who wrote a short that you enjoyed, reach out to him/her
For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 253: How do I decide between film schools?

Deciding on a film school is such a personal issue. Things like cost, location, and size preference may factor in. From the business perspective, consider things like:

1. Location distance from a production city

2. Name recognition

3. A strong alumni community

4. The teachers (are they currently in the business, ever worked in the business, etc.)

5. Industry internships

If you have specific questions, email me directly.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 252: Is it appropriate for a background performer to eat food at the craft services table?

Absolutely! The reason there is a craft services table is to eat and drink so you can maintain your energy and stay healthy on the shoot. Be professional. Don't hog it all! And DON'T stuff your pockets for later!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 251: Do I look desperate if I try to speak to a celebrity after a Q & A?

It depends on how you present yourself. First of all, what is your purpose for speaking to the celebrity? If it's just to say, "I love your work," that's fine, not desperate, and NOT strategic. Celebrities hear that all the time, and while I'm sure they appreciate it, it's not unique.

A strategy is, to be unique by asking a specific question, and have a plan for following up. Your objective should be to build an advice and guidance relationship with the celebrity because he/she can give you tips on how to get where you want to go faster.

Another tip, is to watch what others do. When the celebrity steps off the stage to greet attendees, watch what people do wrong (infringe on personal space, not taking NO for an answer, gushing like a fan, etc.). When you see what doesn't work, you'll feel more confident about your professional approach.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, November 7, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 250: Is it bad when people tag me in pictures on Facebook that aren't professional?

It certainly can be. Remember, EVERYTHING on the world wide web is there "somewhere" forever. There have already been examples of actors who posted "revealing" blogs when they were unknown, and as soon as they hit stardom, some reporter dug up the blog and to my entertainment, it made The Soup.

What if five years from now you are interviewing for a job (in June) and someone googles you only to find an old Halloween picture with no knowledge that it was a holiday picture. All they see is a tasteless costume or an x-rated French Maid.

I'm not saying you shouldn't share your pictures, I certainly do. Just keep in mind that if you are partying or doing something that could end up on a google search some day, it could potentially come back to haunt you professionally. This goes for the written word as well.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 249: Why do so many people seem to be working and I'm not hearing about anything?

Stop comparing yourself to other people. If you really want to know why they're working and you're not, ask them what they're doing to generate work.

The bottom line, there's always work out there and there will always be people to work those jobs. If you're not getting the jobs, you have to focus on the business tools and strategies for building and strengthening your relationships.

Also, know that whatever questions you ask, your brain will come up with answers. I imagine your mind has been not been kind with it's answer to this one. Therefore, ask more empowering questions like: How can I generate work for myself, who do I have to know to get work, what more can I be doing to advance my career?

Let your brain ponder those, because it will come up with better answers.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 248:I'd like more advice on how to be my husband's manager.

This is in response to a previous post. Okay, basically, you want to create a strategy plan together for targeting people and companies. You can help by:

1. Making calls and follow up calls on his behalf
2. Being his "ice breaker" at networking events
3. Doing the research that he doesn't have time to do
4. Creating your own letter head/logo to send out letters and emails on his behalf
5. Create/deepen your relationships with the people who hire him
6. Take meetings with him (other than interviews)
7. Doing the tasks that need to be done, but make his stomach queasy

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 247: How do I learn what industry lingo means? Yesterday, I was an extra and was told to stand on an apple box.

This made me chuckle. It reminded me of my first shoot when I heard the DP yell, "Kill the baby." There may be a book on industry lingo, you should research that. I've also discovered that different crews/departments have their own "private lingo."

The important thing is that when you don't know, you ask. You may have to evaluate who the best person to ask is, but ask. If you spend 20 minutes looking around for an actual apple box, you'll look greener than if you actually ask someone.

As you acquire mentors, ask them what lingo they use.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 246: I like in Boca Raton, FL. How do I meet people from here?

Depending on your classification, you can start closer to home. For example, if you're in the camera department, there is a Local 600 office in Orlando. You can call their office and begin there. If you're not in camera, research local unions in your classification in Florida. Because Florida does have more production than most states, you can begin reaching out to the entertainment community in Miami and Orlando.

In addition, you can reach out to people in Los Angeles and New York (larger production cities) through Facebook, unions, production companies, etc. I'd have to know what classification you're in to give you the specifics, but I can tell you that most unions have a directory either on line or in hard copy.

1. Research the people you want to contact to build a relationship with and be sure you have contact information before doing thorough research.

2. Reach out to the people you want to create a relationship with on Facebook. Be sure to send a personal note about who you are and that you'd like to ask for some advice.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 245: How do you get the "big break"?

This was asked today on the podcast I was interviewed on. The "big break" is somewhat undefinable, illusive like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. The "big break" can be when you got your first agent, who sent you out on the first audition, that led to 2 years later the casting director bringing you in for an under five, that led to more roles, that led to your series regular role, that led to you getting a movie on hiatus, that led to more movies, that led to your "breakout film," that led to your Oscar role.

The point I'm trying to make is, don't look for the "big break." Don't anticipate if this is the "breakout film." Do your work and celebrate the successes along the way. Acknowledge the people who help you as you build the stepping stones of your career.

Terms like "Overnight Success," "Breakout Film," and "Big Break" are created for marketing purposes. How many times have you heard someone say that it took them 15 years to become an overnight success?

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, November 1, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 244: I met someone at a Halloween party and didn't tell him I was in the industry. How do I follow up now?

The same way you would follow up with him if you didn't know he was in the industry, and you just hit it off so it made sense to keep in touch.

This is when "a client" will typically say, "Well if I didn't know he was in the industry, I probably wouldn't follow up." Okay, I respect your honesty. Most of us have plenty of friends already. However, I appreciate your ability to spot an opportunity.

In the future, if you know the person is in the industry and you don't want to share that you are as well, then treat the conversation "as if" you wanted to continue a friendship with him/her. Then you will know why you're following up, because you'll have discussed the things you have in common, possible plans for a future get together, or a specific plan. I don't mean be phony, I mean, really look for the commonalities.

In this case, because you didn't reveal that you're in the industry you can either:
1. Reflect on your conversation and see if there is a commonality you can build a follow up conversation on.
2. Call specifically to tell him: you're in the industry, what you do, and have a business advice question for him (for which his answer will require you to take action, so you can follow up with him on your results).

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, October 29, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 242: I'm thinking about sending business postcards (In addition to phone calls) as a follow up to a resume.

The question continued: Is this a good idea? If so, are there things I should keep in mind when doing so?

The person who asked this is an editor. Many actors have postcards, (their headshot photo) that they send when they have announcements or to stay in touch.

Postcards are one way to stay in touch with people. They are a more costly way. I say that because you have to pay to have them printed and mailed. Many people's follow-strategy is email, which is free. That said, emails aren't always opened and postcards are usually seen. You have to decide if the investment is worth it.

Two things I want to address:
1. Why the follow up postcard after sending the resume and making the phone call? Is this a "cold-call" resume sending/call/postcard? If it's cold resume, the postcards are just as cold. The only difference is that after a resume and a phone call, the postcard would be the 3rd contact from you. Still, you know my feelings about putting a large percent of your "work" into pursuing cold leads. I'd rather see you strategically go after 10 jobs than pursue 100 jobs cold. You'll have better results.

2. What to put on a postcard? The same contact info you'd have on a business card and resume and then you have more freedom with the image. Perhaps, something that is unique to you and what you do, something personal (a cute picture of "you" in an edit bay with "your dog"), or a beautiful image that they would put up to look at. My allergist's postcard, to remind me it's time to come in, is a picture of a desert island with a palm tree and a clear blue ocean surrounding it. I have this postcard up in various locations and think of him, and my clear sinuses, every time I see it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com



entertainment industry coach question 243: When calling my network, what do I ask these people I may have only met once at an event?

Ask for anything but work! If you just met them once at a networking event, they don't know you well enough to hire you yet. There is always the chance though, that you'll catch them on a day when they are looking to hire, so ask a question that shows you're looking for work, without actually putting them on the spot. For example:

"I met you at [insert the name of the networking event]. I thought that perhaps you could advise me on other worthwhile organizations that I can join to meet [insert classification(s) of people who hire you] who hire [insert your classification], such as myself."

Now the person knows you're looking for work in your classification, yet you didn't put him/her on the spot. If they are interested they'll offer. If they aren't, at least you've given them something they can say YES to.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

entertainment industry coach question 241: How often should I call my list?

Call your list as often as you have "new news." Anyone can call and say "I'm available," or "Just checking in," but those types of calls are 1 in sometimes 100 (especially if you're calling someone who is listed as working in a production report).

Your objective is to deepen your relationship with the people on your list. In fact, I'd rather change your question to read: "How do I deepen my relationships with the people I know?"

The reason I did that is because there's a distinction that your mind makes when you refer to a "list" as opposed to referring to "people."

So, how do you deepen your relationships with the people you know? Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Ask a business advice question that requires a call back to answer (a question regarding an area where you're stuck, or that will help you further your education).

2. Share "new news." This can be job related or personal. People relate to people they share common interests with, so don't be afraid to get personal.

Don't have any interesting personal stuff to report? Sounds like an opportunity to do something exciting, to tell people about!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

entertainment industry coach question 240: What are the hours on a television show and can they be flexible?

The hours on a television show vary from show to show. They also vary depending on the length (1 hour drama vs 30 minute comedy), the genre (sitcom vs drama), and the budget (shows that can't afford overtime and meal penalties, will most likely finish earlier).

Can they be flexible? That depends on your reason for needing flexibility, your relationship with your boss(es), and the ability for them to continue production without you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com