Friday, July 31, 2009

question 151: should I be telling people about a movie with a great cast but didn't do well in the box office?

You should always talk about anything you're proud of. If there was an exact science to a box office success... but there's not. Accentuate the positive.

The same goes for movies/TV you've worked on that you're not proud of, yet monopolize your resume. In those cases, you focus on something that was wonderful about the project. Was it shot in a cool location? Did you meet your wife on the set? Was there a scene that was a great challenge or that you "saved the day" on?

When your credits come up, you're either making conversation or you're in an interview. If it's the later, they already know your resume. In both situations, people are just trying to get to know you, so be yourself and talk about the moments you cared about.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Question 150: Should I lie about my age?

Yes!!! Just kidding.... no I'm not... yes I am.. not, yes.. no... Okay enough of the Eddie Izzard impersonation. Should you lie about your age? I always dreaded the day I'd get this question.

Here's what I say (with irresistible charm), "I'm young enough to tell you and old enough to know better."

Some people will know when you get a job and you have to give your drivers license (like agents, etc.) The question is when do you tell them? Before or after you sign on the dotted line.

Look, plenty of people do it. Is it right for you? Only you know the answer to that. Do people judge you by your age? Some do and some don't. You can't predict. Borrow my line and pray they let you get away with it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Question 149: How do I follow up with someone after a networking event?

Did you get contact information? If so, contact the person based on something you discussed that you want to follow up on. If you didn't actually speak, but the person gave out contact info to the group, send a thank you note (with some depth referring to what you got out of the evening) *NOTE: never ask for work in a thank you note. Let it be a genuine act of appreciation.

If you did not get contact info (why not?), look them up on IMDB pro and repeat above instructions. AND for the future when you meet someone:

1. Ask a question or find a common interest that sets up a reason to follow up
2. Ask for contact information and how they prefer to be contacted
3. Whenever possible, tell them when you plan to follow up

Be sure when you follow up, you're calling for something specific that they can say YES to. Don't ask for work before they know you, like you, and trust you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

question 148: I've been looking for work as a PA and I wonder if you have any advice.

PA work is usually the easiest to get because people are willing to take a chance on someone to do their coffee runs and grunt work. So here are my suggestions:

1. Send out an email to everyone you know (Blind CC) and let them know you are looking for PA work. Ask if they can directly help you (hire you) or if they know someone to introduce you to. This person may work on a set or in an office that may need a PA or this person may in turn, know someone else who does. And so goes the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

2. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for PA work.

3. Ask your entertainment friends on Facebook to put in their status that they have a friend who is looking for PA work and how to contact you.

The bottom line is, even to get a PA job, it's going to be through the people you know. Because you live in Hollywood, tell EVERYONE you're looking. You never know who your meditation teacher, your Trader Joes buddy, or your bus driver knows. Keep an open mind and be willing to ask!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Monday, July 27, 2009

question 147: Should I change my name to sound like someone famous to get in the door?

You mean like change your name from Alexis Whisenstoneawitz to Alexia Jolie, so people may think you're related to Angelina and bring you in? I can't say it will get you in the door, but I can say, it could be to your advantage to change that last name, simply to make it easier for people to find you.

I've had clients with common names like "Smith" or "Jones" joke about changing their name to something foreign to give them an edge. Then I've had foreign clients seriously want to change their foreign last name so they'd fit in locally.

A name is not going to get you hired, unless you are actually related to a celebrity (and that's still no guarantee). Like the first example, if your name is too complicated it could hurt you. For example, as an actress, I've had to slate my name (when you say your name for camera at an audition). Because my name is a bit unusual, I've changed the way I pronounce it, specifically for slating, when I found people got more caught up in "what my name was" than my audition.

Be sure to check with the union you are in or may potentially join, to make sure there is no one else with the name you are choosing. While it may be tempting to get confused with an established celebrity, the pain in the butt to change your credits on IMDB, is NOT worth it. And people DO NOT take it lightly when people try to ride their coat tails, nor do the people hiring appreciate finding incorrect credits for you when they research you.

Changing your name is like creating a new brand--- CHOOSE WISELY.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Question 146: You always say that creating relationships is the key to success in this industry. Is this true?


Thanks for the easy question. A nice short one... live from Vegas. I'll give you a meatier question tomorrow after the long drive home.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Question 145: What is the fastest someone’s gotten a job when working with you?

I think I understand what you’re asking and the answer is: within 24 hours of making their first appointment, three of my clients had to reschedule because they got a job from using thethe preliminary tool I give all of my one-on-one clients before they come in for the first meeting.

I’m curious as to why you ask? Do you want fast results? If so, what actions are you taking? My clients, who want results, get them as easily and quickly as they take the right actions. In other words, do the right things get the results you want.

Another shift in mindset you may want to consider is that comparing yourself to others is wasted time. Shift your focus to yourself; what are you doing? Is it working? If not, what you can do differently? Focus on successful people who can mentor you and give you the tools you need to get your desired outcomes.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Friday, July 24, 2009

Question 144: What is the first thing a student should do upon finishing film school?

Kick him/herself in the butt for not asking this question before finishing school. Sorry if that’s harsh because there’s no point in looking back at the shoulda coulda wouldas, BUT there’s so much to do while you’re in film school, starting from the day you get accepted. (By the way, for those of you about to start or already in film school, this is a hint to start asking me questions.)

Too late now, so let’s address your question. Here are some tips:

  1. Research the film school’s alumni base and start contacting them as business mentors
  2. Start an accountability group with 4-10 classmates where you set goals and keep each other moving forward
  3. Join 3 networking organizations

If this opens up a whole new set of questions for you, GREAT! I want you thinking differently and asking questions. Bring ‘em on!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Question 143: What do you do when you've worked at 3 places and everyone burns you? It's hard to trust people in this industry.

Okay, there's a lot of stuff going on in this question. A couple of, what I refer to as... red flags. First, you've only worked at 3 places. If you're passionate about what you do, are you going to let 3 bad job experiences end your career? Second, "burned you," I'm not sure what you mean by that but it doesn't sound good. Third, you said, "Everyone," which makes me ask, "Everyone?" That's a HUGE generalization. Fourth, "it's hard to trust people in this industry." That's a major limiting belief. Trust them with what? Your ideas? Your talent? Your self-esteem?

I will answer this with a generalization. There are good and not-so-good people in EVERY industry. You get what you expect. If you expect people to burn you, you'll find a way to see that they do. If instead, you expect to find like-minded people whom are trustworthy, creative, and kind, you will.

I invite you to be aware of your language. If you speak negatively around trustworthy, creative, and kind people, they're going to be turned off. BE the person you want to attract. Like attracts like.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Question 142: How do I choose which film festivals are worth going to for networking purposes?

More importantly, what is your goal for networking at the film festivals? You see, once you know your goal, you'll know which festivals to target.

If your goal is to meet 10 new directors, it doesn't matter which festival you choose. Therefore, you can go to one that's closest to you, fits your budget, and/or is coming up soon.

If your goal is to meet 10 A-List directors, then you have to go to Sundance, Cannes, or Tribeca.

Most people go to a film festival and "fly by the seat of their pants," letting randomness determine who they meet, what screenings they go to, and if they'll get into a party.

You can create an entire strategy for a film festival that includes having 5 desired outcomes and the plan to see them come to fruition. Time is money. This is your valuable time. Use it wisely.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Question 141: Seriously, it's summer and everyone's on hiatus or on vacation. How do I get motivated to network?

Go with the slow summer flow, my friend. Take the pressure off and enjoy the networking process. How you ask? Like you say, many people are on hiatus, so a great way to network is to get them all together. Plan a get-together at the beach. If your contacts have families, make it a family day. If your contacts are competitive, make it a beach volley-ball day.

If you don't live near the beach, invite your contacts over for a bring-your-own_____ BBQ. Or host it if you'd like. Don't have the space? Organize a night where everyone can cool off in an air-conditioned movie theater. Then go out for coffee and dessert afterwards.

I think you get the picture. Get creative, have fun, and be cool this summer...

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Monday, July 20, 2009

Question 140: You commented on Facebook "tech-etiquette." What are the rules?

What are the rules to Facebook tech-etiquette? I have no rules, only opinions. And here are my opinions:

1. Facebook is a great resource (and quickly becoming a necessity) for creating business relationships in our industry.

2. Treat people with the same respect on Facebook with which you would treat them in person. If you wouldn't be sneaky and calculating in person, don't do it on FB.

An aside: what I was referring to in my Facebook status about "tech-etiquette" was in regards to a "FB friend" who I did not actually know, posting a link to his business on my wall.

First of all, I think it's rude to post a link for your business, without permission, on someone else's wall. But second of all, and what I found most offensive, was that he tied in my previous status in order to do it. I posted that my mom baked cookies for me. He then posted on my wall something like: I'm going to a concert with my kids tonight, how would cookies tie into that? And if I can help you with your business let me know (with his link attached). HELLO!!! TRANSPARENT!!! If he genuinely wanted to help me he should have sent me a private email.

So what does this have to do with you? Don't go on other people's FB pages and post a link to YOUR reel/website without their permission.

3. People don't necessarily check their FB inbox/page as often as you do. So if you need something in a timely manner don't contact them through FB. If it's your only link to them, don't take it personally if it takes them a while to get back to you. Personally, I have over 100 messages in my FB inbox that I have not read or responded to. I get 300/day to my business email account. I just don't have time to correspond with people on FB. Not personal...

4. What is FB good for then? Building relationships with people whom before you had no access to. I've built business relationships with people on FB, whom I'd heard about for years. In the past year I've met many of them in person.

How did I build these relationship? I post statuses and links that are helpful to others and informative about me (ie: I don't tell them when I'm going to the bathroom or that I'm "just being"). I post pictures that represent what I like and what others can relate to (ie: I have dogs, I like 80's hairbands, I like macaroni & cheese) because these are conversation/comment starters. I help others by posting job leads. I comment on other people's statuses that I relate to (I will jump on any Anchorman quote status I see!!).

5. Know your audience! If you have a mix of professional and personal friends, be aware of "who you're being on FB." While your friends may find it funny that you went to a "sexy lingerie party," that's probably TMI for your business associates.

And no, I don't think you need separate FB pages for your business and for your personal. I think it makes it too confusing. If you are an overactive party person who enjoys over-indulging in drugs, alcohol, sex clubs, and streaking, and must share it with the world... all power to you. Just know that you are narrowing the people who will want to work with you. They may want to party with you, but they won't want to trust you with their 100 million dollar project...

And REALLY remember, that people have long-term memories. So what might be funny to you now at 23 may hurt you in five years when someone remembers your crazy FB antics.

Just my opinions. They could change tomorrow, in which case, I'll blog about it...

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Sunday, July 19, 2009

question 139: I'm not in your business, my husband is, and I just don't get it. I'm very frustrated!

This can mean so many things since you didn't exactly put it in the form of a question, however, I want to address the issue in general. Let's talk about people in the entertainment industry... and the people who love them. Some of you readers, may be under the assumption that she's frustrated because:

1. he's never working or contributing financially

2. he's always working, makes a lot of money, but is never home with the family

3. she doesn't understand how someone can be so passionate about something that may never happen

4. she wants him to "grow up and get a real job"

5. his moods are in direct correlation with his work or lack of

I can go on and on. The bottom line is, it doesn't matter what's causing the frustration. Here is a person who loves a man who works in entertainment. Our industry is like all others in that it has its benefits and drawbacks, but that's usually where the similarities end!

Most non-pros (that's what we call anyone who is not in our Biz) whom I talk with, complain about their job, their boss, their hours, and a whole long list of other things. People I talk with in the Biz, complain about being out of work.

You see, Non-Pro... the Biz person you love, is extremely passionate about what he or she does. The Biz person you love is happy when he or she is working. It's when the Biz person is not working that he or she is unhappy or stressed.

What you don't know CAN hurt you. Because you love your Biz people, it's important that you understand what they have to go through to generate work, because quite frankly, they love working and generally, thoroughly dislike having to generate it. Knowing that you love a job with all of your heart and can't do it all the time, pains your soul. Rejection chips away at the psyche. Being torn between taking a job that materializes out of the blue and the planned family vacation, rips your heart out. These are just a few of the sufferings of a person who is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.

What I'm saying is, take the time to understand the nature of our Biz. The actors I coach whose parents support them, have their parents read my book to understand what they have to go through to get work. I suggest you read every entry in this blog to see what your husband is dealing with and then ask him to tell you the story of when he knew this is the career path he wanted to take. After that ask him to tell you stories about times when he was happiest doing what he does. Watch him light up, hear his joy, feel his passion.

Understand the driving force that people in the Biz have, so even if you don't "get it," you can respect it, or make the decision that this is not the long-term lifestyle that you want.

If you are specifically frustrated by something I didn't address and want further answers, put it in my comment section.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Saturday, July 18, 2009

question 138: Any tips on technology etiquette? I was at a meeting with a guy who kept checking his iPhone.

Well, it sounds like you need to share this blog with him, because anyone who checks his/her iPhone during a meeting without pre-framing it with you that he/she is waiting for an emergency message is just rude! So, here are some tips:

1. Phones: don't answer them, check texts, or check emails, during a meeting, UNLESS you let the person know beforehand that there's an urgent message you're expecting.

TURN THE RINGER OFF, possibly the whole phone if you're on set. You never know how an incoming call/email/text is going to effect equipment during a take.

2. Texting while on set: do it on a break whenever possible. I know you're always looking for the next job, however you want to be careful that you're not perceived as bored or self-absorbed, so try to do it out of eyesight.

3. Email response: you don't have to respond to everyone especially if they haven't given you a reason to respond. If you do plan to get back to them, the sooner the better. And if you can't get back to them as quickly as you'd like, apologize for the lag time. When I had less than 20 clients, I had a 24 hour rule. Now, I couldn't possibly get back to everyone who emails me within 24 hours--- so sorry, if you're still waiting. I do tell clients that if it's a time sensitive issue, to write that in the subject line.

A great tip I read is: think of your technological devices as "crossword puzzles." Anywhere it's acceptable to pull out and work on a crossword puzzle, is okay to use your device.

If you have more specific issues you want addressed, put it in my comments and I'll write about it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

question 137: I’ve been trying to relocate to LA, from Scotland. How do I get round the catch 22 situation of requiring a VISA to work in the US...

it continues...
and first needing to secure work in order to get a VISA?

Now, I've coached many people who've moved from other countries, however, I've never had to coach them in regards to a VISA because at the point they were working with me, they were okay to work.

So, I did what I coach my clients to do... I asked others what they knew about it. Here are the two responses I got:

1. Does the Scottsman have a reel on a website? Perhaps that will help him land the job. Get some fan-base.

2. H1 Visas can be obtained, but the applicant needs to prove that they are uniquely qualified to fill the position and their skills are not easily obtained in the local marketplace. They also need to be "Sponsored" by the hiring entity...That means being paid on a W2. After a few years, the applicant can apply for residency. However, if the job ends, the applicant has approx. 60 days to find a new Sponsor or leave the country. In the IT Consulting world many people from India are pay the hiring company to put them, or keep them, on the payroll. It is a loophole in the system. I hope this helps...

After reading the second response, I wonder if the person who asked this question can get a job doing something other than directing/DPing/editing, in order to work in the US. Then create relationships with people who can hire you in your craft while you're here until you have the connections to secure an entertainment job.

My other advice is to reach out to people who've made the transition successfully and find out how they did it. You don't have to know the people, just where to send a letter. Then personalize each one with who you are, what you do, and where you'd like to be. Further explain your question about the catch 22 and ask if they'd be willing to correspond with you to tell you how they did it successfully.

If anyone else has a helpful comment, please let me know so I can share it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Question 136: You say know "everybody," but I gotta tell you, there are some weird people in our business! What if I don't want to know them?

You know the old saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover?" Well, it's okay to judge weird people and not choose to form a relationship with them. What I mean by "everybody" is, "don't judge a person by their classification." Most people tend to only network with people in the same classification/union or with the people who can hire them. What they don't recognize is that there are people out there in other classifications who may not be able to hire them, but know the people who can. And someone who is not in your classification is far more likely to share his/her contacts with you than someone who is the same classification as you.

So when I say everyone, I don't mean that literally... Lord knows I don't! I simply mean know people in all classifications. And don't feel badly for the people you consider "weird," they find each other and create relationships. Like attracts like and everyone is happy.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

question 135: How can I make my career transition without reverting back to entry-level wages?

Unfortunately, when you are changing classification, it may be necessary to start at an entry level job. Let's say you are an editor who has worked your way up after being an assistant editor and now you're interested in getting into development. Yes, as an editor you have to have an eye for creating story, BUT, in the studio world that probably won't transfer. You will have to start as an intern or an assistant to learn the skills of doing coverage, giving script notes, observing how your bosses interact with writers, agents, and executives.

Just because you've worked as a production designer on big budget union films doesn't mean you can easily transition into being a post production supervisor. Different classifications have different skills that you learn as you move up the ranks. You don't always have to move up the ranks, plenty of film students come right out of school as directors of photography without starting as a loader.

It's up to the "industry standards" and it's also up to you. Do you feel you'd be a better director if you understood what all the other departments heads that you hire (DP, editor, prod designer, script supervisor, etc) do? Do you think you'd be a better department head if you'd already done the jobs of the people you're managing?

There are no right and wrongs, just choices for you to make.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

question 133: I want to get back into production after 10 years. What's the best way?

Because I know this person, I know he has transferrable skills from the career he's had over the past decade. Based on that, here's my advice: take meetings with at least 3 people you're still connected to in the "biz" and discuss...

1. What you want to do in production?

2. Based on your past production jobs and the skills you have now, where they think you fit in?

3, How to market your skills from past and present to make you an enticing package to someone who's hiring. In other words, how do your skills from your job now, give you a unique perspective, tied in with your past set experience, to make you the best person for the job.

Once you and your 3 advisors have come up with a plan of action, ask them for referrals to other people who can help you. Also, get back in touch with your old contacts. If they are no longer in the biz, ask if they can refer you to people they know who are.

You may need my advice on your resume, so feel free to ask. Your corporate resume is not going to translate in the world of the "creatives."

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Monday, July 13, 2009

question 132: I work an 8 to 5 job, which I feel blessed to have. But, it doesn't give me much room to go on auditions. Should I quit?

The question continues: "...others suggested I quit and look for something, but I'm not sure if this is the best choice. What do you think? I know it is a loaded question, and one that's hard to answer with little information and in an email."

It is one of those questions that I can't answer for you. However, I can give you some things to ponder over as you make your decision:

1. Do you have enough contacts that should you quit your job, you'd generate your desired number of auditions?

2. Do you have enough money saved to leave your job without another source of income?

3. The best way to get another job is through people you already know. Can't you send out an email and pursue a flexible day job while still at your current job (on your two 15-minute breaks and your 1 hour lunch break)?

4. Have you gotten yourself into the habit of spending one-hour on your career while in your current job? If not, I suggest getting into the habit first to prove to yourself that you have the discipline to go after your career with consistency.

There is nothing wrong with sticking with a reliable day-job if you're not positioned for success in your craft yet.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Question 131: I'm frustrated by the limited amount of jobs relative to the people who want them. What to do?

What to do? Get an advantage. Every time I survey people in the industry to see what they're doing to generate work, I get the same 3-5 answers. There is SOOOO much more you can be doing that most people "competing" with you have no clue about. Your competition narrows tremendously when you start working in a different way than the masses. If you keep doing the same things over and over expecting different results, that's the definition of...

So, start doing things differently. If you don't know how, you have to reach out to people who are already successful. They know what works, what doesn't work, what will get you where you want to go faster, and what leads are dead ends. And of course, you always have me : )

For more tips and articles by top entertainment coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Saturday, July 11, 2009

question 130: I'm not in the "biz" can your tools still help me?

I appreciate you reading my blog even though you're not in the biz, and yes, my tools are applicable to anyone who works and beyond... While I've found my niche in entertainment, it's because I'm passionate about movies and tv. The metaphors I use are from my favorites shows from the big and little screen. The tools I use are the same for any business I just use creative terminology to appeal to the storytellers in my business. The lessons and strategies I share can apply to love, health, family, money, etc.

So, if you're looking for shifts in your life, created with a little Hollywood flair, keep reading and keep sending me questions.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Friday, July 10, 2009

question 129: How do I sell myself while avoiding sounding overconfident or too experienced?

First of all, the language in this question concerns me. Believe it or not, it makes you sound like you're not confident and don't have enough experience. Why? Because a confident experienced person would never ask a question like this. To me, over-confident reads, "I act cocky to appear confident even though I'm not." Too experienced reads, "I'm applying for jobs I'm overqualified for, but I need the work."

Secondly, I'm going to re-work the question to read:

I have years of experience. How do I sell myself to people with less experience without seeming overqualified?

There are very specific strategies I use to coach my clients in this situation. In fact, I like to address every job opportunity with them separately. So, for the sake of the readers, I'll give you some general guidelines:

1. Imagine why the person hiring you would object to your experience.

2. Create a positive counter conversation for any objection you imagine. In other words, show the person how your experience makes you an asset to them in a way they never considered.

3. Re-consider how much you choose to share about your experience if it really is hindering you.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Question 128: Doesn't having a Facebook/Twitter link on my website look unprofessional?

I pulled this from an audience question at a panel I attended this morning. It was on web design and how to make your Mac work for your career. (visit One of the participants insisted it made her look unprofessional to have a Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site (SNS) icon on her website. As a career coach in the entertainment industry, I couldn't disagree more!

We are not stuffy, suit wearing, hard-nosed professionals. We are an industry of story telling people. In other words we are in a social industry. Most of my clients love social networking simply because they don't have to network face to face (of course I coach them on the importance and benefits of face to face).

Therefore, not only does linking your website to SNSs increase your website optimization, it also shows that you are socially connected. AND if you're using SNSs correctly, a cool person to connect with.

So before you stick your nose up to SNSs, read my blog entry about how they can be used to your advantage. You'll have to check the archives... I'm on day 128 and can't remember what day I wrote about it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

question 127: How do I convince someone I can direct without going back to school?

Direct something convincing. I know, I know, I sound sarcastic, but I'm not. I'm serious. If you do your research you'll find that many directors have not gone to film school. I've coached Directors of Photography who've moved up to director. They got their "schooling" on set. Others just do it. They write and direct shorts and full length features.

First and foremost-- you must change your own belief. If you believe you need school to convince someone you can direct, then that's exactly the vibe they're getting from you. If you feel unsure of your ability to direct, educate yourself without school; get mentors, do set visits, read books, take courses, practice with a group of actors.

Technology makes it easy to direct a piece. The challenge is finding a good piece of writing to direct.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

question 126: What is the biggest problem you see with people in our industry?

I prefer to call it a challenge as opposed to a problem, but really--- it's a problem. Here's what happens: People in our industry send out cold resumes to hundreds of leads per year that they read about on line or in the trades and get them no where. By the end of the year, they are frustrated and bitter. Then, they come to me, frustrated and bitter about the industry in general.

I ask them, "How many people do you know in the entertainment industry?"

The average answer is 5 -40.

Then I ask, "and of those 5-40, how many are in the position to hire you?"

The average answer is 0.

The biggest problem is that people in our industry understand their craft/art, but don't understand the business side AKA how to generate work. I know I answered your question, but I'm sure this will only trigger more questions about "how" to generate work effectively. And to that I say...

for more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Monday, July 6, 2009

Question 125: What is the best way to overcome the notion people have regarding reality vs scripted vs documentary to further my career path?

Perception is everything. Know what people's "preconceived notions" are, and have a new perception ready to throw at them.

Create a list of people who have transitioned from reality to scripted, etc. In other words, arm yourself with information, and avoid buying into their stories.

Be confident, persuasive, and ready to prove why you are qualified to work in the medium of your choice.

And of course, when in doubt, find mentors who have successfully made the transition you want to make and find out how they did it.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Sunday, July 5, 2009

question 124: How do I make the most of non-entertainment industry events to find work?

Surprisingly, this is the first time I've been asked this question, though not the first time I've addressed it. I'm glad you recognize the opportunity at non-pro events. This may not work as well for non-industry cities, but for cities like New York and Los Angeles, it's all about six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The way to maximize your opportunity is to share your passion with everyone you meet. Ask people what they do, see if you can help them or be a connector for them in their field. Then ask if they know anyone in the entertainment industry. You can start specifically with the classification that hires you, then get more general if necessary.

Present yourself as an expert in your field. Build their confidence in you by speaking with authority and passion.

Don't tell them you're looking for work. Always steer the conversation toward desiring to meet talented, like-minded people, to invite into your community network.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Question 123: How can I find out what it's like to work in scripted to make sure it's everything I hope it will be?

Great question. It's always a good idea to research the market you want to transition into before putting all of your effort into it. Here are my suggestions:

1. Get 10-15 mentors in your classification to discuss their original expectations of scripted television and how and if they've been met.

2. Get 10 mentors in other classifications who work in scripted television to discuss their experience. Ask them about the hours, the politics and political hierarchy, and the balance of work and personal life.

3. Visit, in your case, edit bays. Other classifications would visit the set or the writers room depending on what area of scripted television they are researching.

Communicate your expectations and get feedback. Notice I suggested 10-15 people. This is not a random number. If you ask 1 person and they discourage you, it's important to have other people lined up to speak to. You will get varying opinions and it's important to hear from a variety of people so you can make an educated decision.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Friday, July 3, 2009

question 122: I've had a prestigious career and feel I'm being blacklisted now. How do I handle this?

It can be extremely frustrating when you've earned a negative reputation. Some people earn it, then see the error of their ways. Others, may be the victims of fear-based sabotage, by people who feel threatened. I believe that either way, you can do damage control. Here are some ideas:

1. Create relationships with the "new generation." Go into film schools and speak. Make yourself accessible as a mentor. The more new people who see you in this positive "light," the more people who will stand up for you if the older generation try to tarnish your name.

2. Volunteer to speak on panels and at Q & As. Partner with an equipment company and get out there and speak. Re-build your reputation as someone who gives back.

3. Invite studio decision makers out to lunch to discuss how you can help them. Some ideas may be to do a training on setiquette for crew members, or speaking on "how the crew can make the executives' jobs easier."

If you did, in fact, earn your reputation, it's important to address the "purple elephant" in the room. Tell them your new outlook and how and why you've changed. Remind them that with your level of talent mixed with your ability to lead, you want another chance to be a valuable part of their team.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, the Greenlight Coach, visit

Thursday, July 2, 2009

question 121: Can my grandparents be in movies?

The rest of the question read:
"...They are recently retired and very bored. I'm a wardrobe assistant who's just breaking in myself, so I don't know how to help them, but they think it would be fun."

I don't know what they retired from, so I'll assume it's not entertainment. Because of that assumption, I'm guessing they have no relationships in the industry, and probably no specific talent like Cinematography or Editing. Starting from scratch, may be a bit of a stretch in a competitive, unionized, industry. YET, they can still be in the movies.

Yes, it's true. If they are willing to listen, take direction, and "pretend" to talk, they can work as background artists. It sounds like you live in an entertainment city, being a wardrobe assistant. If your grandparents do too, they can register with an extras casting agency. Central Casting is one of the biggies in LA. Google "Extras Casting Agency."

What makes it even easier for them, is they don't need to be in a union when they start out. It's certainly something to aspire to, but not a necessity for breaking in.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

question 120: After I read your blogs and your book I realized I did so many things wrong. Did I burn bridges?

It's REALLY hard to burn a bridge in our business. The key is NOT to remind people of the mistakes you made in the past. Don't even say, "hey remember when I visited you on set and I embarrassed you in front of your crew. I really learned from that and would never do that again."

Most people who ask this question, are concerned that they didn't follow up. It's never too late to get back in touch.

If you screwed up at your job, there are other fish in the sea. If you had a problem with drugs and alcohol that is now under control, make amends. If you stole somebody's guy/gal, move on-- and don't do that again.

But as far as the business tools I blog about, you tend to make a bigger deal over something than the person, who may or may not have noticed.

If you have a specific situation, put it in the comment section and I'll address it.
For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

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...