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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