Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Question 28: What is rapport? You keep talking about it. Part 1

It's true, I do keep talking about it.  Because rapport is one of those unconscious ways of communicating that can make or break a conversation.  

The definition for rapport that I like is: the presence of harmony, trust, and cooperation in a relationship.

I'll break this up into two parts.  Today's part is understanding why rapport is important. Tomorrow I will talk about how to create rapport.

To understand why rapport is so important, first you must understand communication.
Communication is broken down approximately like this:
7%- the words you say
38%- the tonality you use when saying those words
55%- your physiology 

How many times have you heard an actress mutter the words "I hate you" into her lover's chest with a purring tonality, as she tears off his shirt? 

That's how little the words mean. Why is this important for YOU? The actress's true feelings were love and desire, masked by the words "I hate you." 

CUT TO: YOU meeting a GUY who can potentially hire you.  He asks you, "How are things? Are you working?"  

After a work slow down, and your many angry conversations about the problems with the industry, this question unconsciously and immediately, triggers your feelings or bitterness, frustration, and desperation. BUT, despite those feelings, you smile and say, "Not working right now, but things are great!!!"  

I added the 3 explanation points, for each of the previous emotions I mentioned, that unbeknownst to you are seeping through.  This causes the guy, to unconsciously wonder, "what's up with you?" After all, the words you're saying are fine, but the tonality you're using, and the tiny physiological gestures that you're revealing (perhaps a clenched jaw, a cheek twitch, a bulging neck vein, a change in your breathing pattern) are saying- not so fine.

The guy can't quite put his finger on it, but he is out of rapport with you and therefore doesn't mention the dayplaying job on his show next week.      

People always tell me that they're great at hiding their true feelings, that they always put on a smiling face and say the right things, when talking to people who can hire them.  Sorry, that's CRAP! Even as they are telling me those 3 !!! are seeping into my atmosphere, and I choose NOT to be in rapport with them. 

Don't let this happen to you.  I'll tell you how tomorrow...

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Question 27: Do you recommend sending postcards as thank you notes?

Since I know an actress asked this question, first I have to clarify to the other classifications, that actors make postcards with their headshot and contact info on them. Some people have the opinion that sending your postcard as a thank you note, is another way to get your face in front of the casting director.

I have a different opinion.  I believe that thank you notes should be a sincere and genuine expression of gratitude. To me, a postcard with your picture, or a thank you note with your contact information is a subtle solicitation. Therefore I suggest following these steps for thank you notes:

1. Send an actual card (something that reveals something about you or something you know they like)
2. Remind the person where you met
3. Thank them for something specific
4. Add something personal to show that you were paying attention to what they were saying
5. Sign your first and last name CLEARLY

One of the reasons why people don't know what questions to ask when they meet people is because they haven't started at the end.  What do you want the outcome of your meeting to be?  What if the outcome you want is to be able to write an amazing thank you note that answers 2, 3, & 4? Knowing that you need to tie in something personal will create the questions you ask. Knowing you have to thank them for something specific will cause you to listen with more intention, creating deeper rapport with the person. 

For those of you (and I know you're out there) who are thinking, "But, if I don't put my contact number (or picture) how will they remember who I am and know how to contact me?" 

I've received hundreds of thank you notes from people. I always remember who they are. On top of that, I'm resourceful enough to know where to look for their contact information when I want to contact them. 

You can follow up with "new news" on your postcard or on your letterhead, a week later. Allow yourself the simple gesture of gratitude, with a sincere thank you note, and believe me, you'll stand out. 

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Question 26: What if I can't find anything on the person I'm researching?

This is a shortened version of the question I received in the comment section of Question 24.

So, you've googled, IMDBd, and polled your friends and there is nothing to be found on the person you're meeting with. 

1. If you're meeting at his/her office, quickly do a scan to see if there is something to ask about, comment on, or a common interest.

2. Focus on creating rapport.

3. Design general questions based on what the meeting is about.

4. Prepare your own stories to share so you'll feel confident about having something to discuss.

5. Relax.  If you couldn't find anything, the person knows there is nothing to find.

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Question 25: Why doesn't talent count for anything?

This question was followed by: 
"I'm sick of seeing people whose reels aren't as good as mine getting work when I'm not!" 

So, to answer the question, yes, talent does count for something.  To comment on the comment that followed:

This is an industry of relationships.  People want to work with people they know, trust, and like. They also want to work with people who lend credibility, money, and any assets such as equipment or locations, to their project.

There are numerous reasons why someone with less talent may be hired for a job. My question to you is, why are you focusing on on something negative that you have no control over? Instead of letting frustration and bitterness take over and therefore seep into everything you say and do (and before you try and tell me you "hide it" when it counts, I promise you, you're not hiding anything... explanation points speak volumes), focus on what you do well, and getting it out there. 

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Question 24: I am meeting a director I would like to work with. I've researched him but I don't know what to say.

It sounds like your question is: How do I craft questions for a person I've researched? If I'm wrong and I haven't answered your question, please clarify with more specifics in the comments.

The key to creating a good first impression is to remember that the person you're meeting with is learning about you and if he/she wants to spend time with you on set. Therefore, steer the conversation toward subjects you're both passionate about and bring out both of your personalities. 

Some tips:

1. Bring up any mutual connections you may have discovered in your research

2. Share personal and professional stories

3. Ask technical questions about the working relationship between him/her and your classification

4. Ask about his/her connection to the material if you are meeting on a specific project

Sincere compliments are always appreciated.

Want more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Question 23: I've been out of the industry for 2 years because I was sick. Is it possible to get back in?

The curse and the blessing of our industry is that there is no rule book.  It's a curse because there's no manual to follow, no steps to take, no correlation between hard work & commitment=success. However, the blessing is, because there are no rules, no one can tell you that "you can't." 

Yes, it's possible to re-emerge in the entertainment industry.  Rekindle old relationships and create new ones. There's no reason to bring up your illness unless, your fight and victory over it is a source of pride. Then, share your triumph with others and let that lead into your passion and drive to get back to the career you love.

I've coached people who were forced to leave the industry for many reasons: spouse got relocated, a sick child or aging parent, illness, a new career that wasn't the answer, depression, divorce, and so on...

You know what, there are plenty of people out there, who in the last 2 years that you were healing, were doing less than what you can now accomplish in a month's time if you put your heart and mind to it. 

I wish you all the success you desire, and if I can be of help, let me know.

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit: www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Question 22: Are there any no-nos for staying in touch with people?

I'll re-word that question to be: My lists of DONT'S when staying in touch.

1. Don't call someone everyday.  This may seem obvious to you, but it's not to everyone.  So, if I help one person, not to make this mistake, my job is done. 

2. Don't forget to BCC when sending out a mass email about an accomplishment or an event! This mistake can get you blackballed. Seriously, privacy is a big deal in our industry.  Don't be the person who shares everyone's contact info. 

3. Don't call/email for no reason.  It's transparent. 

4. Don't be attached to your agenda.  If you call someone and he/she says that it's a bad time, get off the phone.  Don't say that you just need a minute or you just have a quick question.  It's never a minute and the answers are never quick. 

5. Don't send "good luck," "money angels," or any kind of emails that will make your business contacts feel like they are going to have bad luck forever or cause an angel to lose it's wings if they don't pass it on to 50 people they know within 15 minutes.

6. Don't forward a "warning" email about a guy who slashes peoples' feet from under SUVs, or sprays poison perfume, to your business contacts. In fact don't forward them to anyone without checking first on www.breakthechain.org. Most of these emails are fake.

7. Don't misspell names.  Just don't.  www.IMDB.com 

These are all I can think of right now.  If you have any doozies to share, please feel free to put them in the comments.   

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Question 21: Should I stick to one thing (directing/acting/camera) or diversify?

That depends: how good are you at the different things you want to do?  

These days people are wearing many hats or using many /s.  I think it's great.  I do it myself. The important business question is: 

How are you marketing yourself?

The big mistake I see people make, is putting everything on one resume: editing, camera operating, background artist.  It's one thing to market yourself as a DP who operates, or a writer/director, it's another thing to be "Jack of all trades." People want to know that the person they are hiring is an expert at what he/she does.

I suggest you have separate resumes, websites, business cards, and reels.  If a situation arises, such as a LOW budget film, and they want a director who can also shoot and edit, then put together a package that shows you can do it (if you can deliver).  

Remember to trust your gut about whom you're sharing what, with.  Some old school people don't appreciate those who haven't worked their way up through the ranks. And some traditionalists prefer someone who they believe is passionate about one thing.  

Personally, I LOVE being, Jessica Sitomer, actress/writer/producer/author/speaker/career-coach/blogger/dog owner/chocolate lover/Jiu-Jitsu white belt (with 1 stripe)/"24" fanatic

For more tips and Greenlight Coach articles visit: www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, March 23, 2009

Question 20: What if I have to leave a message?

This was a comment on yesterday's question.  See?  If you ask, I will respond...

When I first started coaching, I would tell people to call 3 times before leaving a message (because the point was to get them in). However, with today's technology, people are checking their caller ID, so if they see you're calling and not leaving a message, they may think it's strange. Then again, they may be curious about what you want and call you back.  So, the "3 calls before leaving a message" is up to you.

Another obstacle is: if you're calling from a blocked number, they may never answer.

Here is what you want to do when leaving a BRIEF message:
1. State your name- CLEARLY

2. State your phone number- CLEARLY
*I can't tell you how many people have called me and left out one of the above. Usually #1 and then I have to do a google search of the number and hope to find a name to match. Most people are not as caring as me.

3. Give them a compelling reason to call you back. This, while having to be spoken CLEARLY, does not have to be as clear.  This is what's called in the biz a "teaser" or a "cliffhanger." 

If you just call, "to check in," "to tell me you're available," or "to see what I've been up to," you may never get a call back, or may fall to the bottom of my priority list.  Nothing personal, I just have people calling me with urgent matters, questions only I can answer, and something really cool to share (these are all examples of #3).

Always know what you're going to say, should you go to voicemail, before you make the call.  

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Question 19: When is a good time to call someone?

If you want to speak with them,  a good time to call is when you think they'll answer. Here are the concerns I hear around "when to call":

1. If I call during the week, I'll disturb him/her at work
2. I can't call during the weekend because it's his/her time off
3. I can't call at night because it's too late or I'll interrupt dinner
4. I can't call in the morning because it may be too early and I don't want to wake him/her

Are you doing the math, here? 

Your job is to make calls.  Decide when you are going to make the calls, and when they answer, ask, "Is this a good time for you to talk?" If they say that it's not, you ask them when IS a good time for them.  When they give you the answer, you'll know. No more guessing. Make sure you are professional and follow up when they tell you to. 

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Question 18: How do I get work when so much depends on luck?

I'm answering this question today, because my lucky # is 18 and this is question 18.  Here's what I think about luck:

Luck is another one of those excuses that people use to blame, when they aren't taking action.  "I'm just not lucky." Of course you're not.  You're in your apartment, sitting on your couch, waiting for the phone to ring.  I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but the successful people I know have WORKED REALLY HARD to get to where they are.  To chalk someone's success up to "luck," is unfair. Even people who claim that they "just got lucky," spend ten minutes with me dissecting their career path, to discover that they had far more to do with their own success than luck.  

The only example I can possibly conceive of as lucky is: a girl in Kansas walks across a street, gets hit by a car driven by Peter Berg (I know random, but I dig him), and he promises to give her a speaking role in every film he directs for the rest of their lives IF she doesn't sue him. She agrees, he stays true to his word, and suddenly she has an acting career.  But seriously, how often does that happen?      

Create your own, luck.  Do your research.  Build your relationships.  Get yourself out there.  Put yourself in the right place, and it will become the right time.
*disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that you jump in front of a hot director's car!!!

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

Question 17: When are you too old to make it? Everyone seems to want younger people.

I won't deny that ageism exists in our industry.  I also won't buy into it.  You know why? Because I've coached over 1,000 people one-on-one, and here's what I've learned:

1. Anyone over 50 who thinks he/she is not being hired because of his/her age tells me, "No one will hire me, because I'm not the young, hip, it-guy/gal."

2. Anyone under 30 who thinks he/she is not being hired because of his/her age tells me, "No one will hire me, because I'm not the old experienced guy/gal."

3. Anyone between the ages of 31-49 who thinks he/she is not being hired because of his/her age tells me, "No one will hire me, because I'm not the young, hip it-guy/gal and I'm not the old experienced guy/gal."

The bottom line is- I know people in their teens to people in their 90s who are working in this industry. If they can do, you can do it.  You create the perception you want people to believe. My belief: you are never too young, never too old, and never in between.  You are just right. Stay true to your passion and work with people who respect you for the job you do...

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question 16: How do I artfully turn down work with someone I'd like to work with again later?

Because I can't ask you why you're turning down the work, if you want to work with this person, I'll address this question based on two possibilities.  If it's some other reason, put it in the comments section and I'll answer based on your actual reason.  

1. You are already working. In this case, be honest. Work is good. It means you're "in demand." Tell the person that you'd really like to work with them in the future. Then, offer one of your trusted contacts to fill the position. This way, when the next job comes up, if the person calls your trusted contact again, he/she can tell the person to offer you the job first.  If the person only wants your trusted contact, be happy.  Wouldn't you rather you contact get the job than a stranger? And now that your contact is booked, if he/she gets a call for work, you will be recommended.

2. You don't like the current job being offered. So, you don't like what the person has to offer but still want to be considered for other jobs in the future. Tell the person you're working and follow the steps of #1. If your integrity meter is flying off the charts right now because you think I'm telling you to lie, I'M NOT! Just because you're not working on a show doesn't mean you don't have work to do on the business side. Trust me, there is always work to be done. My Greenlight Intensive Group is working on the Rule of Five this month. I assigned them five business actions to take each day of the month. They are working!   

For more tips and articles written by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Question 15: How can you get yourself known on the web, without seeming annoying or cheesy?

Sometimes the way y'all phrase your questions, cracks me up!  Let me address the later part of that question since it's what's helping me fill my laugh quota for today...

If you are not annoying or cheesy, you will not be perceived that way.  I'm going to go out on a limb, and guess that you're neither of those.  Because if you were, you wouldn't recognize the annoyances and cheesiness of others, and therefore, you wouldn't recognize the need to NOT be like them.  So, go easy on yourself, and don't do anything that you find annoying or cheesy.  

Ways to get yourself noticed on the web that are professional, effective and a smart way to market:

1. Create a website that honestly represents what you do professionally, makes it easy for people to find the information on you that they want, and showcases your best attributes.
*NOTE: if you are not website building savvy, and will spend a lot of time learning as you build, I suggest what my mentor Loral Langemeier says, "Strengthen your strengths, pay for your weaknesses."  It's better to spend money on a professional web designer, so you can spend YOUR time generating money with your professional strengths.  I recommend Kathy Hoffman at http://www.hoffmansites.com.   Tell her you're my client.  She's very reasonable and very reliable.

2. Get on Social Networking Sites like: Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Plaxo, etc. For me, Facebook is the priority (this week). Make informative or inquisitive posts on people's walls. 

For example: a camera operator needed an AC.  He posted his request on my wall and on my Greenlight Coach Group wall, and found his AC through my friends network.  (hint, hint, if you're reading this you should be friend requesting me on FB, joining The Greenlight Coach Group, and following me on Twitter.  

3. Write an informative blog or create a podcast.

4. Post videos of yourself (demonstrating /teaching/ working) on YouTube.  No dancing to a montage of music from the 80's... that's cheesy (the only exception is: if you're a professional dancer). 

5. Post informative comments AND success stories on other people's blogs, like this one!  Or www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com.  This gets you recognized as an expert in your field, in a community of like-minded people. 

If you have more detailed questions about any of the above, post it on my comments section and I'll answer it as a separate question. 

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Question 14: How do I sharpen my negotiating skills? (ex: day rate)

I get this question a lot from people who don't have agents.  Negotiating is a skill that takes practice and training.  Now, if you're like most people in the industry, you don't have a lot of opportunity to practice or you'd probably have an agent who snatched you up to do the job for you.  Training can be expensive, time consuming, and in many instances, boring for creative people.  

So, here's an answer that you probably didn't expect.  It is fun and extremely entertaining while at the same time educational:

2. Go into A and/or B (at least three 1 high end, 1 low end, 1 middle): 
a. GYMS: Equinox, Crunch, 24 Hour Fitness, Ballys, a small neighborhood gym 
b. CARS: Bentley, Lexus, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Kia
3. Allow yourself to be "sold to" 
4. Negotiate with them BUT don't buy 
5. Give them your real phone number and email address, so you can see their follow up techniques

Gym and car sales people are trained to negotiate.  You can learn so much from their different styles.  A Lexus sales person negotiates much differently than a Toyota sales person.  

Back in your car, jot down some notes.  What worked?  What turned you off? What words were used to persuade you? What was their body language?  Did they create rapport with you, and if so, how? Was a manager brought in to help close you, and if so, was the manager's style different? 

Start writing a script based on bits and pieces you take from each that you found to be effective. Then try negotiating with people in your life for basic things like, a movie you want to see, a restaurant you want to try, and the new car you now want to buy because the Lexus dealer was so darn good!

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

Question 13: What do you do when you're calling people who talk about nothing but gloom and doom?

This question came up today, during my Greenlight Intensive Group meeting. My Intensifiers (as I lovingly call them), are seeing this time in our industry as an opportunity. Yet, everyone they call, complain about what's in the news and wind up sucking my "shooting stars" into their black holes.  

Don't get sucked into the black hole!  This is a time of opportunity for creating new and deepening old relationships.  If you are calling people who want to discuss politics, contracts, lack of work, runaway production, etc., discussions are okay. What's not okay is having to listen to a complainer.  To clarify, a person who wants to discuss any of the previously mentioned topics, will share what they've heard, their opinion, and/or their concerns and ask for yours.  The goal of the discussion is to find solutions.  A complainer is not looking for a solution; a complainer is looking for something to place blame on for the situation he/she is in.

If you find yourself on the phone with a complainer:
1. Share the positive things you've been doing 
2. Say up front that you don't want to discuss "the touchy subject" because you are optimistic and see this as a time to seize opportunities
3. Ask if he/she is interested in a solution, and if so, give them some ideas about what they can be doing with their time to stay positive.

What I've seen over and over again, are people who are in-between jobs, forcing themselves to suffer because they're not working.  Then, when they do get a job, they look back with terrible REGRET, wishing they had enjoyed that time.  One of the benefits of being a freelancer is the schedule.  Instead of choosing to be miserable when you're not working, choose to take the action necessary to get work and enjoy the remaining hours of the day.  You deserve it!  

For more articles and tips by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Question 12: With so many commitments, how do I manage my time?

I chose to answer this question today, because it's 1:30 am.  You see, I made a commitment to YOU, to answer a question per day, and guess what? For me, life showed up today.  I didn't have time to blog because of my other priorities.  Now, because this is a priority for me, I'm doing it before I go to bed, so I am in fact answering within "my day." 

I'm sharing this with you as an example of accountability and taking one small step.

You can manage your time by:
1. Making a list of what you WANT to accomplish 
2. Making a list of what you MUST accomplish
3. Prioritizing both lists 

Then # 4 is KEY:
4. Taking at least one action per day on that list

And # 5 will keep you emotionally stable:
5. Forgiving yourself if you can't

There will be days when I won't be able to post because life will happen, and I will choose to to de-prioritize this commitment because something or someone is more  important.  And that will be okay. I don't aim for perfection anymore. I aim for enjoying the journey.  There are other specific time management techniques that I will offer in this blog. For now I want YOU to practice enjoying your journey until it is no longer something you practice it is who YOU ARE. 

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Question 11: What is a realistic number to meet at a networking event?

Yesterday's comment becomes today's question...

"Realistic" is going to be different for each individual and each networking situation.  If you are an outgoing individual who is attending a large function with 500 people, the potential is very high. If you are a shy individual, your goal is to meet the number that pushes you out of your comfort zone while being productive.

A networking opportunity can occur at an intimate dinner for 6, a movie screening, or a seminar (to name just a few).  

I suggest you set a number goal that is:

1. More than you would normally reach out to 
2. In line with the number of people who will be at the event
3. Do-able; set yourself up for success

Remember it's not about the number, it's about creating relationships with people and getting out of your comfort zone. 

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Question 10: What 3 things should you do when you go to a networking event?

1. Set a goal for the number of new people you will meet
2. Spend time creating the relationship before asking for their card (getting their information is far more important than giving yours. Of course you should still give yours once you get theirs)
3. Put notes on the business card to remind you what they looked like and what you spoke about

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Question 9: How do I know when it's time to give up on my dream?

Oh, this question kills me!  It breaks my heart.  As someone who has been in this business for 18 years, I've struggled with it myself.  As a coach, I've had this conversation with countless people. I'm telling you this so that you know you're not alone.  I can't tell you when it's time.  You have to decide.  What I can tell you is what I ask myself and my clients:

1. Is pursuing your dream causing you more pain than pleasure?
2. Is there something else you can do that would give you just as much fulfillment?
3. Can you do something else to get you back on your feet financially and emotionally, while still pursuing your dream?
4. Would treating your dream as a hobby fulfill you because you're still being an artist/craftsman, and there's no pressure to make money at it?
5. Do you remember why you wanted to pursue your dream in the first place and do you still feel that way?

Also, remember that no decision is permanent.  Should you decide to take another path and find yourself longing for your passion, you can always come back.  I've left the business twice to pursue other careers and as Michael Corleone said, "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

Now, I am a Career Coach for Entertainment Industry Professionals AND I continue to pursue my dreams in the industry, as well.  If you need further individual guidance on this issue, contact me at www.TheGreenlightCoach.com  

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Question 8: What tools can I use to not bring work home with me?

This is an important question for many reasons.  I'm going to focus on one.  

If you have a bad day at work, come home in a bad mood, and your significant other gives you a hug to make you feel better, you are creating an "anchor."  What happens is, unconsciously,  the stronger (negative) emotion is being anchored to your well-meaning significant other.  Therefore, every day for a month you do this and viola- you have created a negative anchor to your significant other.  You don't know why, but every time you come home, (even when you're not in a bad mood) seeing your significant other puts you in a bad mood.  Not good!

To avoid this, you must change your emotional state before you go home- hence today's reader's question.  There are many ways to change your state;  some quite silly, others quite practical.  

*note: the key to a successful change of state is to be sure that the tactic you're using creates a more powerful state than the negative one you're in.

Here are some practical ones:
1. Create your own soundtrack.  Ever hear a song that instantly changes your mood because it reminds you of a thrilling time or a great movie?  Choose songs that really put you in a good mood, burn them on a disc, and play it in your car on the way home.

2. Vigorous exercise.  That's right, do some jumping jacks, run in place, do some "Rocky" style sit-ups, just get those endorphins flowing and sweat out the frustrations of the day.

3. Use your imagination.   Close your eyes and imagine a scenario that makes you feel an emotion that is stronger than your bad mood.  I suggest having some scenarios thought out when you're not in a bad mood to be used later.  This is because when you're in the bad mood it's harder to come up with something that will make you feel better.   

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Question 7: How do I stay in contact without being a pest?

I've heard this question asked in many forms:
How do I politely stay in contact?
How do I avoid being a pain in the a$$?
How can I let people know I'm available without being annoying?

Here's the thing... It's your job as a freelancer in the entertainment industry, to let people know you're out there and looking for work.  Working people understand this and even expect it.  Therefore, get rid of words like "pest," "annoying," "pain in the..." and simply ask me: 

"How do I effectively stay in touch with my contacts?"

To effectively stay in touch with contacts, you must be proactively BUILDING your relationship as opposed to simply asking for work and letting them know you're available.  As long as your focus is on the relationship, you are being professional.  As I often suggest, put yourself in their shoes.  How often would you want to be called if you were working an 80-hour week? And what would prompt you to return a call?  

Give them a reason to call you back!  

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

Question 6: How do I deal with discouragement and the feeling that I have to give up on my dream in tough economic times? (PART 2)

In Question 5, I wrote about the economic part of this question.  Today, I'm going to write about the "mental" part of this question.

Discouragement is a feeling... an awful one.  I know, I've been there. Which is why I've had to come up with solutions to help me get through those confusing arguments with myself: to give up or to keep going. 

Here are two helpful exercises:

1. Write a Mission Statement about what having the career of your dreams will mean to you, your loved ones, and the world.  When you're feeling down, re-read this!  It gets you back in touch with the "why" you are doing this.

2. Make a list of 30 fun, relaxing, or entertaining things you want to do in the next 2 years. Don't sensor yourself with "cost".  Do put things on the list that don't cost anything.  When you are feeling discouraged, do something from your list.  Most people don't allow themselves any joy when they're not working.  Whatever the excuse is for this phenomenon , it is still just that-- an excuse.  When your steady work comes, you'll look back on this down time and WISH you did fun things instead of wasting these precious moments of your life on energy draining emotions. It may be easier said than done, and so is any new habit you want to establish.  Trust me, this is a GOOD habit to incorporate into your life.  

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Question 5:How do I deal with discouragement and the feeling that I have to give up on my dream in tough economic times? (PART 1)

I have two answers to this one.  I'll give you one answer today, and one answer tomorrow to start your Monday off right.

To answer this question, first I must dispel a tragic myth in our industry.  That myth is: Unless you're making money at your "craft/career/art" you're a failure.  

In other words, it's better to be a starving artist, living in your car, than to make money to support yourself as you pursue your dream.  I had countless clients come to me at the point of bankruptcy because they refused to make money doing anything but their "entertainment industry" job.  None of whom ended up telling their story on David Letterman.  Being poor does not make you a better artist.  It makes you a stressed out artist.  

In order to maintain stability in a freelance industry, you must have multiple streams of income to sustain you and/or employ you when you're not working at your passion job.   I know this is a controversial point of view.  I imagine I'll be getting comments about why you can't have any other means of making money.  Bring 'em on!  I'll bet I have an answer to any argument you give me.

The only reason you would feel discouraged and the need to give up your dream during tough economic times is because you didn't financially plan for the tough times and now you're having money problems.  If you want peace of mind and financial stability, you must plan for it the way any other person, freelance or not, plans for it.   

It's never too late.  Start with a curious attitude about multiple streams of income.

Part 2 tomorrow... 

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Question 4: How do I turn a cold call into a warm call?

As I pointed out yesterday, people in the entertainment industry don't respond well to cold calls. If you want to "warm up" your call, the BEST way, is to get a referral to the person you're calling.

If you don't know anyone who knows the person you're calling, do research on the person.  Find a common link, something you admire, or a question that only he/she can answer.  

Whenever possible, send a personalized letter introducing yourself and explaining the reason for your call- BEFORE you make the call.  This way, the person can absorb what you're calling about and be expecting your call. 

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

Question 3: What is the best way to make a cold call to get work?

For all of you who hate making cold calls, you're going to love my answer to this one: DON'T MAKE THEM!  I know in some industries cold calling is the norm, but ours is a creative industry, so it's not.  The reason is because people want to hire people they know, like, and trust.  Money, jobs, and reputations are on the line.  Put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the hiring.  If you had to hire someone on a $50 million feature and your job and reputation was on the line, would you hire a cold caller or someone you've worked with for 10 years?  Even if your entire network of people was unavailable, would you hire a cold caller or ask your network for recommendations to other people?  Cold calling is a long shot.  I'm not saying that people have never gotten jobs making them, I'm saying it's working hard, not smart.  

I'll answer the obvious next question tomorrow: if I shouldn't cold call people, how do I meet them?  

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Question 2: What is the purpose of doing a set visit?

There are many reasons to visit a movie, television, or commercial set.  To name a few:
1. As a professional, who could be called to work on that set one day, you want to assess the atmosphere so when you show up to work, you fit right into the mix.  It will make it a smoother transition for everyone when you already have a sense of the workplace.

2. There is an energy about being on set that can be very inspirational.  Stay for a while to soak up that energy that comes from creative people doing what they do best.

3. It's a great place to meet new like-minded people because you've been invited by someone who will introduce you to the people they know you'll connect with.

4. If your union has an "available list," it's your job to let other members know who you are so when they call for the list they see a familiar name.  It makes their job easier when they recognize the names on that list.

5. Ever heard the expression: Being in the right place at the right time?  Put yourself in the right place, and it will become the right time.  If someone working on set gets a call for work and they're already at work, they may turn to you and ask if you'd like the job.  (This has happened to quite a few of my clients.)

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachblog.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Question 1: How to generate Union work without Union contacts

Answer: In general- you don't.  If you want to work union jobs, it's imperative that you have relationships with people who hire union members.  I have clients who have been working non-union for over 20 years.  When I look at their list of contacts, everyone they know is non-union.  

The good news is, at least you know what's missing.  Create a target list of people who can hire you for the types of union jobs you want. Don't concern yourself with "how" you're going to meet them.  At this point, just become aware of who they are.

On today's teleseminar I'll be talking about how to figure out who you need to know and the importance of researching your targets.  We'll also cover where and how to research them.

To hear the archives and get on the live calls, sign up at www.TheGreenlightCoach.com and click on the And...Action! Teleseminar series.

To your success... 

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A question a day to keep the creditors away

Here's the book.  You don't need to have it, to ask a question.  I'm aiming to answer a question a day.  Let me know the challenges you're facing in your job search, with breaking into new circles, and everything else that has you shaking your head in this unusual time in our industry.  I'm here to help! 

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

A place for Questions

Tomorrow is the 6th tele-seminar for my book And...Action!, so it's time to create a place where all of you who are taking action can contact me with more questions!

We've already covered the first 8 Chapters.  Tomorrow, we'll cover chapters 9 & 10.  I'll be answering questions about getting mentors and researching people and shows you're targeting.  

Looking forward to helping you on the calls and here on the blog!   

For more tips and articles by The Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1280: I grew up in India and as a result English is my second language (cont'd)

"I grew up in India and as a result English is my second language. I  am looking to improve my comprehension when I read my text book...