Sunday, January 31, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 335:How important is my business card, some people don't have them.

I've blogged on business cards before, so what I'll say is, follow the advice I gave you for what to put on your business card, because it IS important to have one. The reason is because it's how people can contact you. It's one less hoop for them to jump through.

That said, you should only be handing out your card to someone with whom you've created a relationship. To just hand them out randomly, is pretty pointless. Take the time to connect with someone and have some conversation before giving out your card.

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 334: How do I become a movie extra?

Well, first of all the term is now "background talent" or "background artist/performer." And the answer is there are agencies that you can Google, depending on where you live. There are SAG and AFTRA regulations that apply.

First you would start out working non-union, which means the alloted contracted union workers would be hired first and then if they needed more the producers could hire non-union.

I suggest calling SAG and/or AFTRA to learn more.

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 333:What happens if you're working 16 hour days and you're exhausted?

You get as much sleep as you possibly can, and make SMART choices. DO NOT drive if you are too tired. Get a hotel. Research Brent's Rule.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 332: Do I need branding as director?

Yes, everyone in the entertainment industry needs branding. The difference between your branding and "Coke" or "Lexus" is that they are branding a product and advertising it in print and media.

You, are branding yourself and advertising it in a more personal way. Therefore, you want your branding to reflect the type of work you want to get. Here is a situation where you want to be specific. I know you can do multiple genres, but until you are a brand the way Quentin Tarantino is, let people know where you see yourself fitting in.

I have a great "guy" for this, by the way. Contact me at

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 331: Is it too late to break in if I'm over 40 and never worked in the industry?

You didn't tell me what classification you're in... what you wanted to break in as. I can tell you the easiest gig for someone your age would be getting work as a background actor. And if you're a writer, good material is good material at any age (even if you need your 22-year-old nephew to take the meetings as you .. kidding... sort of).

But if you had something more technical in mind like Director of Photography, or Editing, or Directing, there is not only an art to these forms, but specific skills to master that can take years. That's not to discourage you, just to give you some perspective. I've heard stories of people in our industry who've started at 40 and had very successful careers.

Some careers, you may want to stay away from because they require a lot of heavy lifting and dragging. Not that you're ill equipped to handle that now, but think about the physical training regimen you'll have to maintain to do that work into your 60s.

How about instead of me guessing, you just tell me what you want to do in the comment section.

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 330: Why are the singers on American Idol SO bad and I can't get on because I'm 29?

Well, I must point out that the guy who sang, "Pants on the Ground," was 62 and DID make it onto the show. Look, it's a game show. There are rules and you can't be older than 28, apparently.

However, keep in mind, that the first few weeks of auditioning are entertainment. They have 10,000 people or so per/city. The judges are not seeing all of them, which means that screening pre-judges are deciding who the final contestants are to see the judges. They send through the really good and the really... unusual.

BUT, if you truly are better than the American Idol contestants, there's a nifty website called YouTube and YOU can let the world decide how good you really are.

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 329: Do you believe that location is the key to success?

This was based on an email sent to me that said: "I wanted to get you opinion about the location of where you live in relation to achieving success. I am based in Ohio and have been mixing sound for over 10 years now. I have worked on several successful reality shows and programs, but yet I still struggle to get to the next step. Getting more calls, and just getting my name out there. I know it can't be true that just because I don't live in L.A. that I can't be known as a first call mixer. I have many friends in the business that don't live in L.A. and are traveling all the time."

You just answered your own question. If others are doing it, you can too. The key is not location, the key is the strength of your business relationships.

I'm curious what the "next step" is that you're asking about because that could potentially change my answer. If the next step is to be the first call mixer and these are traveling reality shows, it seems to me that as long as you have strong relationships with the people who do the hiring, and therefore, you're "top of mind," it doesn't matter where your home base is. It's when they're shooting a reality show in Los Angeles and don't want to pay per diem and such, for bringing someone in from out of town, that it becomes an issue.

My next FREE newsletter is all about evaluating the contacts you currently have. It will be going out tonight or tomorrow, so sign up at, and see where you stand with your current contacts.

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 328:Do you have to put someone's title in a letter?

It depends to whom the letter is being written. If you are writing to a network executive, or someone with a network, studio, or production company title, it is appropriate to send a business style letter. Therefore, the top left a few spaces below the date, will have the person's name, under that the title, and under that the address.

Depending on the nature of the letter you would address the recipient as Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs or by their first name only.

When you are writing a letter to someone whose title is director of photography, it's a little formal to put that in a letter, HOWEVER, if they are in the ASC or another honorary organization, it is with respect, that you would include their membership letters after their name.

When deciding about including a title, think about what you would wear to an interview. Most crew members who interview in a business suit, "freak out" people because camera assistants don't wear business suits. So if you're a camera assistant writing to a camera operator, you probably wouldn't use his/her title, but you would put SOC after his/her name if it applies.

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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 327:Should I let the people I work with know I want to transition to another classification?

That depends on the crew you work with. If you've seen in the past they've been supportive of moving people up, then you can tell them your goal.

If you're not in a situation where you feel you're being nurtured to move up within your crew, or if you're looking to transition outside of your classification, like from Camera Assistant to DP or Director, where people outside of your crew would be hiring you, I usually suggest that you stay quiet around your "bread and butter."

There are always exceptions and "the exceptions" tend to know who they are, what they can get away with as far as forging relationships on set with people who can help with their transition. But if you feel you may risk your money job by sharing your goal, don't do it. There are a lot of relationships that have to be made in order to make a move up or out. This can take 2-5 years to gain the trust they will need to hire you. In the mean time, keep working and making money at your current position. That's my opinion.

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 326:I own equipment and EVERYONE is asking to use it while offering me a pay cut?!?!

Not exactly in question form, but I get it. I am NO expert on the economy or the changes in technology, all I can say is that from a non-expert's view, I can make a few observations:

1. In an economic downturn, which I think we can all agree we've been in, people really don't have money to spend. So by you taking a pay cut and offering your equipment (if you have nothing else to do that could be bringing in income), gives you an OPPORTUNITY to create a new relationship with someone. The hope is that when the economy turns around and there is more money going into projects that your rate will go back up and you've built strong relationships with people during this tough time.

2. Sometimes, things change permanently. When the Steadicam first came on the scene, few operators owned it and were qualified to use it. They got paid big bucks and rental. Now, the majority of the operators I coach are qualified to operate a Steadicam and own one as well. This has saturated the market, in a negative way.

What you can do is stay on top of trends in equipment and technology. Go to trade shows. Technology is changing so quickly now, that fewer people are buying equipment, they are renting it.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 325: How do you navigate egos on a movie set without alienating yourself?

I asked for more details on this one, and the gist is, a 2nd AD is doing a great job and getting high praise from the "higher ups." The 1st AD and one of the producers, is not liking the attention being paid to him.

First, let me say, that I really dislike the word ego. I think it's thrown around too much. In most cases when the person really does have an inflated ego, he/she isn't threatened by anyone, because by definition, Egomania: Excessive vanity, pride or arrogance. To be overly taken with ones own importance, doesn't allow them to care about you.

Usually what's going on is not egomania, but plain old simple insecurity. When someone doesn't feel completely confident about his/her abilities, job security, knowledge, etc, they feel easily threatened.

You can't control other people's insecurities, however you can do your best to put their minds at ease. If you pick up on the signals that they feel threatened, go out of your way to:

1. Ask them what you can do to help them.

2. Go the extra mile; see what they eat or drink from the craft service table and bring it to them when it looks like they can use a break.

3. Make it clear that you are there to support them and make them look good, and are ready to take their direction.

4. When you are given praise by the higher ups, acknowledge your fellow crew members and tell them what a great team they've put together.

It's not for you to make yourself small so that others can feel better about themselves. It's for you to be at your best so that others can shine along with you.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 324: What do I make of someone who says he wants to meet with me but keeps rescheduling?

You "make" another appointment. If he says he wants to meet with you, take him at his word. I don't know what position he holds, but if he's working, he's probably very busy. Things come up all of the time, pushing you down on the priority list.

What kind of urgency did you create, if any? Do you have to meet with him because you have a deadline of some sort coming up that you want advice on? If not, there is no urgency, and that's okay. It just means that you have to be understanding about his priorities.

Until someone says NO, and tells you to leave them alone, you keep rescheduling. Also, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Set up meetings with many people so you're not waiting on this one guy.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 323:How do I connect with someone professionally on Facebook who I share friends with?

Here are some ways to connect with people on Facebook with whom you share friends:

1. Ask your mutual "friend(s)" if you can use their name as an introduction and put it in the personal note when you make the friend request.

2. Send a personal note with a friend request pointing out your mutual friends, as well as a personal reason you'd like to connect.

3. Ask mutual "friend(s)" to connect you. There's a "Friend A is friends with Friend B and suggests that you be too" feature.

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 322:I read your newsletter but why would anyone want to read a blog about me?

Re-read the newsletter 3 times. If you still have that question, ask someone close to you to help you with the formula I outlined.

What makes this question important to all of my blog readers (and if you want to receive the free newsletter with great career boosting articles every month, sign up at is what's underneath the question within your question: Why would anyone want to read a blog about you?

Let's leave out the words "want to read a blog about" and insert "be interested" so that the question now reads: Why would anyone be interested in me?

Because really, isn't that what you're asking? This is a confidence issue. Confidence is one of, it not, "the" most important success mindset you can have in this industry.

The fact is, everyone has confidence in something. Perhaps you're confident that you can tie your shoes, or boil water, or turn on a television. Therefore, it's not that you lack "confidence" it's that you lack confidence in your ability to be interesting when desired.

This is a process that is too long for a blog. The good news, is that building confidence is easier than you might think. The bad news is, that 90% of you won't take the action to build this important mindset.

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 321:I used to work a lot and now people I worked with work all the time and I don't, what gives?

You MUST stop comparing yourself to other people. For all the people who you notice are working, there are hundreds who like you, had a career and are struggling to revive it.

What you SHOULD do is:

1. evaluate what you are doing to generate work for yourself

2. Analyze what the successful people are doing

3. Model their success

Consider the fact that you have a track record and how to utilize that.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 320: I moved out to LA 6 months ago and I'm homesick. Does this mean I'm on the wrong path?

Do you think it means you're on the wrong path? That's a question only you can answer. If you moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment and you expected certain results within 6 months, and because you haven't achieved them, you're discouraged and homesick, it's understandable. BUT, you have to know the nature of the industry that you're pursuing. It could take a lifetime, there's no telling. So, YOU must decide if this is the path you want to follow.

I can give you tools and strategies for getting faster results, but ultimately, you have to decide if this is the business for you.

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 319: I'm always the 2nd choice. What am I doing wrong?

If you're the second choice, it seems that you're doing a lot right. I jut had a discussion with an actress who has been the 2nd runner-up for everything she's gone up for recently. Her name is unknown, and the actresses getting the jobs have powerhouse parents, or there's an offer out to a "name".

Is she doing anything wrong? Heck no! Can she be doing more? Yes. I suggested she get herself some powerhouse mentors who can make a call on her behalf. Maybe she wasn't born into Hollywood royalty, but she can certainly get herself "adopted".

If you are interviewing for jobs as part of the crew and coming in 2nd, that means you're really close. Can you do more? Yes. If you feel the interview went well, stay in relationship with the person you interviewed with. You never know where it will lead.

Patience is a mindset to master for success in this industry. Be proud of how far you're getting. Don't let it discourage you or it will start to chip away at you. Instead, let the butterflies of excitement stir in you knowing how close you are, because one of these days, it's going to be you!

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 318: Publicists are so expensive. Is there any way I can do this myself?

Timing is everything! I wish you had sent this 3 days ago, because I just listened to a great call by Lisa Manyon: No Cost & Low Cost Online Press Release Strategies. This is Lisa's area of expertise. I'm not going to comment on this because as you can tell, I'm just learning about it myself, but I will say that she gave so many great ideas. Hopefully, you can contact her and get a copy of the call. Tell her Jessica Sitomer, The Greenlight Coach, told you to contact her and ask if you can get a copy of the No Cost & Low Cost Online Press Release Strategies call.

Here's what she spoke about, so if it's up your alley, I'll give you her contact information:

1. How you can use press releases to get more traffic and visibility
2. How to use press releases to get more credibility and exposure
3. How to get free press
4. What is a press release
5. The difference between paid and free publicity
6. What happens to a press release once it's out there
7. How to build relationships with people in the media
8. How to leverage local media
9. What makes newsworthy press releases
10. Tip sheet press release
11. Nuts and bolts of writing a press release

To learn more about Lisa Manyon go to

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 317: My New Years resolution is to get a new agent. How do I do that?

I gave a seminar last night and the majority of the people had that same resolution. Well, some just wanted to get an agent. You saying you want a "new" one, implies you have one. I have posted on this topic before, I've also made a video about it that you can watch at:

Instead of repeating myself, I'll just give you a few tips:

1. Create buzz about yourself that an agent will take notice of

2. Know the timing of the industry (If you're an actor, agents who rep TV actors are headed into pilot season, so a better time to pursue an agent would be after pilot season when they've let go of their clients who didn't deliver)

3. Remember that agents get +10% for a reason. You are still 100% responsible for your success and an agent is icing on the cake.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 316: How do I balance my life and career work based on your blog yesterday?

My blog yesterday, was about treating your freelancing career like a business. That stated working at least 20 hours per week on your career even when you're not "working at your craft." Keep in mind, in the business world, 20 hours is considered part-time.

In answer to your question about balance though, what do you consider balanced? If I drew I pie graph and had you put slices in the pie like: Work/Career, Finances, Family, Friends, Charity, Spirituality, Personal Growth, Fun/Pampering, Health, etc. Then I asked you to fill in each piece of the pie rating it from 1-10, what would your pie look like?

Most people think that to be balanced, the pie needs to be equal; everything at an "8." Not true. It's what balance means to you. If you want to spend 3 days each week in the gym and you're going twice a month- you're out of balance. If you value your friends and family but are spending all of your time at work and barely make time for a phone call let alone seeing them in person- you're out of balance.

To determine how to balance your life and career, ask yourself what's important to you, and how you want to spend your time. Then map it out and see if your definition of balance is in alignment with your goals. In other words, if you want major career success but want to spend 10 hours a day playing with your kids, perhaps you should watch the movie Daddy Day Care and go into a new line of work.

When you are looking at balancing your life, what you value shows up. There are a lot of sacrifices that people in the entertainment industry are forced to make due to erratic schedules, working on location, long hours... I could go on and on. However, it's one of the rare industries that when people are working they are living their passion, they are truly fulfilled. So if you don't feel that way, this may not be the industry for you. If that is how you feel, and you can't imagine doing anything else, then balance means, budgeting your time so that you can generate work for yourself, and then maximizing the experience of everything else on your list.

For clients I've had tell me their kids miss them when they're away, I tell them to do everything in the power, to create special memories when they do have time to spend with them. That could have more impact on their children, then the parents who work 9-5 jobs every day and then come home tired and blow their kids off.

I could go on and on about this topic, so if you want more, just let me know what you want to hear about specifically and I'll blog about it.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 315:All my friends are on 9-5 schedules, how do I delegate my time as a freelancer?

Many people who work as freelancers in the entertainment industry have trouble maintaining motivation when they're not working on a project, because they're not accountable to anyone. Your friends who have 9-5 schedules, are accountable to someone and don't get paid unless they work those hours and are productive during them.

As a freelancer you have to recognize that you do have a daily work schedule. In fact, you may have to work more than just 9-5 in the beginning to have the career you desire. And by "beginning," I don't mean the beginning of your career. Many of you have been at this for 10+ years. I mean the beginning of when you start treating yourself like the CEO of YOUR company.

Here are a few tips to start the process:

1. If you are self motivated, set a time to wake up in the morning and "go to work." That requires having a designated space in your residence, for an office. Set your lunch hour, give yourself two 15-minute breaks, and know what time your day ends.

note: If your friends ask you to do favors for you because they know you're "not working," now is the time to start setting boundaries. Just because you work from home doesn't mean your work isn't equally as important as theirs.

2. If you aren't productive at home because there are too many distractions, find a place with free wi-fi and go there at least 4 days a week for at least 5 hours.

3. If you are not self-motivated, find a partner or a group of freelancers, who would like to be productive and meet 4 days a week for at least 5 hours. A group works well for this because then if someone has to miss a day you can't skip out like you can with a single partner. You can take turns at each other's houses or meet at the place with free wi-fi.

If you are not working at least 20 hours/week on your entertainment career, you are not being competitive and therefore, are losing out on jobs to the people who are getting themselves out there the right way.

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 314:Is it a good idea to produce corporate videos on the side while pursing my dream?

And his question continues, "or do something less demanding on my time?" Here is the advice I give EVERYONE who is making a transition with few or no contacts in the area they are transitioning to. (I'm assuming you have few or no contacts or you'd already be making the move). Keep your "money making" job!

After coaching over 1000 people 1 on 1, the average person takes 2-5 years to make a transition. The reason is because it takes that long to create relationships with people who know, like, and trust you, and are willing to give you a break. Once you get that break you have to maintain the work momentum. This takes time.

There are tools, mindsets, and strategies for building your "business," (and that is what it is), that like any business, take time to develop. As you learn them and take them step by step, you'll realize that it's very manageable to have a time consuming day job while building relationships in the area you want to transition to.

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 313:What should my next step be from corp videos to producing TV, Film, and Docs?

The next step will have to do with researching the market. As you can see by the complete question below, it comes from someone in England... Liverpool to be exact.

"I've been spending the last 5 years producing corporate videos for non profit orgs. But my dream is to produce either documentaries or dramas and work in TV or Film. What should my next step be? As my showreel is mostly corporate videos"

As a coach, my job isn't to know the market in England or anywhere else. I happen to know it in Los Angeles because that's where I live and work. I have a pretty good idea of it in other larger production cities in the US, because I've either done seminars there, or have clients who work there.

My job is to give you universal tools, so here's the next steps for you, no matter where you live:

1. Research the market; who is doing what you want to do successfully?

2. Research the people; who are the people who've transitioned from Corporate Video to TV, Film and Docs?

3. Start building a reel of narrative work. As someone who wants to produce, seek out projects that you believe in.


5. Join entertainment organizations for filmmakers, for TV, and for documentary, and start establishing new relationships. Each medium has different "players" and you need to know them.

Even if you had no background in corporate video, and wanted to break in, these are the steps you would take. You have an advantage because of your background so use that in your conversations. Know what your background brings as an advantage for producing the type of work that interests you.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 312:I'm obsessed with to-do lists and get very frustrated when I don't get stuff done. Any suggestions?

Oooooo, a to-do list person. Welcome to my world. I know, you LOVE checking things off. I used to, now because my to-do list is on a computer, I make them pretty colors when they're done. DONE, I love that word. But unfortunately, we to-do list types know... it's never done. Once we check off or color in with pretty colors, our minds start racing for new "to-dos."

Here's 2 suggestions, one from me, the other from one of my mentors:

From me: Make your list fluid. Whatever doesn't get done that day moves to the next and then the next, with NO guilt attached. Prioritize your to-dos, so the most important ones do get done on time and then have the others as reminders, and things to give you comfort, because we to-doers get comfort knowing we have things to do. (perhaps a psychologist would like to chime in right about now)

The second, from one of my mentors, James Malinchak: Put 3 (that's it) 3 to-do actions on a post it. Do them, then crumple up the post it, throw it in the garbage, and move on with your day.

Obsession, as you put it, can lead to sleep trouble, unnecessary stress, and psychological burdens that you just don't need, because really, for most of your to-dos you have "imaginary deadlines." So, make a commitment as this new year starts, to go easy on yourself. Everything that needs to get done will. See how you can do it with ease. And I'd love to hear feedback from you on how it's working out in a few months.

Good luck!

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

Thursday, January 7, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 311: Is it appropriate to have your dog on set?

I sure hope so, because I have two camera hogs. One (the Saint Bernard)of which is leaning on my computer right now, hoping the little camera is on.

But, back to reality. Is it appropriate? I met Felicity Huffman's Bernese Mountain Dog, on the set of Sports Night. Of course she was the star. Every set is different, and let's face it, cute little pups can turn into major distractions.

If you're asking because you think it's inappropriate, unless you're in charge, probably best to focus on your job. If that's hard to do because the little love is peeing on your equipment, tell your direct supervisor.

If you're dayplaying or a guest star, don't risk it.

When in doubt, ask.

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 310: How do you pitch an idea?

I asked him to be more specific and he shared that it is a reality show idea that he wants to pitch to a specific television network. This could almost be two questions:
1. How to create a pitch
2. How to get in the door to pitch

I'll focus on 2, because you can google "how to create a pitch," or buy a book on it. It's a skill/art that is too long for a blog post.

So how do you get in the door to pitch your idea to a network. There are so many ways. Here are a sampling:

1. Get a literary agent or manager to represent the project and set up the pitch meeting for you. **You may need to have connections to get you a meeting with an agent or manager. If you don't, you'll have to pitch yourself on the phone and convince them that you have a truly unique idea.

[aside- speaking of truly unique ideas, protect yourself. Register your treatment with the WGA]

2. Attach yourself to someone who already has a track record. There are many smaller reality show production companies out there with established track records who can get in the door at networks. **from #1 applies here too.

3. Reach out to everyone you know and ask if they have connections to anyone at the network you are interested in. Even if it's someone in the mailroom, establish a relationships and then let him/her steer you to the right people.

4. Go to the website or call the development department to see what the submission policy is for a synopsis. Some companies won't look at your proposal unless it's submitted through an agent, manager, or entertainment attorney. Others will have you sign an agreement before accepting your synopsis.

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 309: When does pilot season start?

I assume you're asking this question because you want to get work during pilot season. My concern is, if you don't know when pilot season starts, are you connected enough to get a job during pilot season or is that not the next step for you?

Pilots are usually staffed and cast with the top dogs, the bankable people. This is understandable, because it's going to make or break whether the show gets picked up. So if you are not already in with the "in-crowd," it is pretty challenging to get a job during pilot season.

My advice would be to focus on the relationships you need to create between now and May. That's when the upfronts are (when shows get picked up). Once a show is picked up the production company and studios start to staff writers and crew. Once the scripts are written casting begins.

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

Monday, January 4, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 308: How do I deal with people in power, making advances when I'm not interested?

The actual question read: As a young female in the business, I find myself having to deal with flirty men a lot. While I have no interest in them romantically, I can't rule out the possibility that today, or even down the road, they can help to get me a job, as I rely on others and word of mouth. How do I handle these situations without having to lie about being in a relationship or loose the possible connection?

Because this affects both genders in more ways than one, I thought I'd answer it in a more general way. While this does run rampant in our industry, it is by no means exclusive to our industry. You could handle these situations with confidence, humor, and grace. It's actually very personal.

While I'm sure I've experienced this, I can't recall a time, because I always charm my way out of these uncomfortable situations using humor. That's my personal style. The bottom line is, if the only reason I was going to get hired was if I "went above and beyond the call of duty," I wouldn't trust the person who was putting me in that position. Not that I would do it, I'm just saying, who's to say that they're going to follow through after you do?

Did I mention I hate this subject? It comes up a lot and I've put it off until question 308... geeesh.

Anyway, if you do not choose to sleep your way to the top (though some are fine making that choice), then stay away from the sleezeballs that will put you in that position. If it's not a sleezeball, but someone who is genuinely interested in you, and the feelings aren't mutual, tell him/her that you start all relationships by getting to know someone as a friend. Then you can maintain the relationship, and either enjoy a blooming friendship, or perhaps your feelings will grow into more. If it's as you say, "flirty men," flirt back. Two can play at that game. Just know when to put the brakes on. Model a Texan Gal... they're fantastic at it!

Perhaps a Relationship Coach or a Human Resource Person can chime in, in my comments section.

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

Sunday, January 3, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 307:What's an out-of-the-box way for a freelance film/video editor to network for job leads?

...or relationships that lead to work? I've answered this question to many classifications in different ways, but this editor wants an out-side-of-the-box way to create relationships that lead to work.

Based on his IMDB credits, I see that his editing work has been non-union, low budget, and in a few cases, written, directed, & produced by him (bravo for that).

For someone at this level I have 2 suggestions for today's blog:

1. Find working actors who want to direct.
There are many working actors who want to direct. It may be a short, a pilot presentation, a web series, or a full length feature. The fact that they are working actors, gives them credibility so they can get other recognizable actors and actresses on their project, who will look good on your reel. If you work well with the actor/director, the plan is to create a future partnership.

2. Reach out on Craig's List to people with unfinished projects.
Most projects make it "into the can" and suddenly the funds run out and they never see the light of day. That's where you come in. Place an ad on Craig's List offering to finish a project in limbo. People interested have to fill out an extensive application. You decide what the criteria for accepting a project will be for you. Is there name talent in it? Is the material so good that you feel it has legs to actually move if completed? Is it a higher budget/quality than anything on your reel? How much of your time will be invested?

Then interview the directors and producers to see if these are people you want to create relationships with.

While everyone would prefer to be paid (and even in these cases you may be able to get something), the reality is that as you build your contacts and credits, freebies have become a way of the industry. With this method, you can be selective and strategic about the projects you take.

note: you may have to place the ad multiple times and in multiple places (other than Craig's List). You may even put in the ad, if you or someone you know has a project that is in limbo because you can't find an editor...

double note: you may receive angry responses from union editors who think what you're doing is wrong. I work with many union editors, and the bottom line is, if you don't do it, no one will. These are not union projects, you are not taking work away from a union editor. These are not stingy people who are holing out on the cash (you're interviewing them so you'll know that). These are people who you are helping complete their dream. And with some good marketing, that finished project can turn into union work for all of you.

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 306: Why do people say yes to looking at my reel and then they never get to it?

He continued on a rant which I'll just sum up with a "why bother saying yes in the first place?"

I can't read people's mind. There are many reasons why people say yes to watching your reel and don't. Here are a few:

1. It's on their to-do list and they will get to it.

2. They had every intention to, but life and work got in the way.
2.5 you continued to follow up with them and as your attitude got more resentful, your follow up got more obnoxious (and they either felt too guilty to contact you or just thought you were a jerk)

3. You put them on the spot when you asked them to watch the reel in the first place, and like a girl who gives out a fake number, they said yes, to end the awkwardness.

4. They think your reel stinks and they don't know how to tell you so they're avoiding the situation.

5. They misplaced your reel and they don't want to admit it.

6. They thought your reel was so great they passed it onto their agent and they're waiting to find out if he's going to take you on as a client so they can share the good news with you...

I can make up stories all day. It's probably what you've been doing. I noticed two stories in your rant. The bottom line is, you, me, and everyone we know, will NEVER know the actual reason.

All you can do is go back over the conversation of when you gave the reel to them in the first place. Were you professional? Were you in rapport? Did their physiology and tonality align with their "yes?" Did you ask them to watch it by a specific time and tell them that you'd follow-up accordingly?

If you feel good about how you handled the situation, then let it go. I have a pile of DVDs of people's documentaries, short films, feature films, and pilots, that they gave me, and I had every intention of watching them. The people range from ones I've met once at a speaking engagement to clients I've had for years. I still want to watch them. If I were living in a movie, it would be Duplicity, and one of my "selves" would watch them, while another self was blogging right now and working 16 hour days, and another self was on a romantic getaway in Hawaii, and another self was back in NY visiting my family and friends.

Unfortunately, there's just one me. And yes, I'd feel awful if someone was ranting about me for not watching something they gave me, the way you were ranting about "some people not watching your reel." But as awful as I'd feel, I can only do so much. I am doing the best I can with what I have. I'd like to think that everyone out there is doing the same. It sure beats some of the stories I made up in this blog.

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

entertainment industry coach question 305: What is the first thing you'd have me do to kick off the new year?

Normally I'd ask for a little more information, but because I know who you are and that you're a cameraman, I would suggest that the first thing you do to kick off the new year is:

Update your contact list. Re-rate everyone 1-5 based on how well you know them. Then, re-establish relationships with all of your 2s and 3s. Set a goal for yourself to get those 2s and 3s up to 4s and 5s in the next six months.

The new year is a great time to re-establish relationships because it's the typical time that people make resolutions, one of them being "re-organizing their office." Get back in touch with people because while "re-organizing your office" you came across their card or an old call sheet.

What is it that Kim Kardashian said last week, "Little white lies don't hurt anyone." And if you're feeling to guilty, then it's a great excuse to re-organize your office.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career 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...