Thursday, March 31, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 756: What kind of gift is appropriate for someone who introduced me to someone who hired me?

That’s up to you. How much money are you making on the job? What relationship do you have with the person who introduced you? Gift cards, spa certificates, something specific that the person who introduced you likes and probably wouldn’t buy for his/herself. And if you are not in a financial situation to spend money, what's something you can offer to help the person? Even just being thoughtful is appreciated. What can you do that's thoughtful?

I encourage you all to be thoughtful this week. Be consciously aware of the people around you. Help a stranger, smile at someone who looks like he's having a bad day, call someone out of the blue who would be happy to hear from you, hold a door for somebody, let someone go ahead of you in line, carry a bag for someone. What else can you do?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 755: Do you recommend sending postcards as thank you notes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 754: How do I get into doing voiceovers?

I get this question from many actors and some non-actors with great voices. Voice over work is one of the more challenging areas of entertainment to break into. It's a tightly knit group and they try to keep it that way. Many working voice over artists own their own home studio so they can audition from their home and email it to their agent or a specific advertising agency. Some even do the jobs from home.

Voice over artists have marketing materials such as a website, and a voice over CD. There are different areas of work, such as commercials, cartoons, video games, greeting cards and animated movies.

I wish someone would re-do the voice on the awful garage ticket machines. That voice gives me the creeps.

Do your research on the voice over industry. Have informational interviews with successful voice over artists and agents who represent voice over artists.

While many think of it as a supplemental income job to their entertainment career, you will quickly learn that it is just as much a full-time business as anything else.

Monday, March 28, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 753: Why doesn't talent count for anything?

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 752: Is it better to pursue multiple areas of entertainment or focus on just one?

That really depends on you, your talent, and your ability to manage your time. There are plenty of slashers ( / / / ) out there. People run into trouble when they become Jack of all trades, master of none. But look at how many talented people out there act, direct, write, produce, shoot, etc.

If they can do it, maybe you can too. Only you can tell if you are mastering the arts or spreading yourself too thin.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 751: What's the best way to find out about jobs without an agent?

Here's what most people do: They look through the trades or online and "cold" submit. The problem with that is, the people who get the cold submissions are being bombarded, because if you found it, so did many others.

You've heard me say it over and over!!!! Contacts CONTACTS CONTACTS!!! You are going to get jobs through the people you know. An agent isn't the answer to getting you work. They get +10% because YOU are 100% responsible for your career. Research what jobs are out there and then do your 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon to figure out who you know who knows somone who is connected to that production.

Network, research, preparation, follow through, professionalism. All ways to get work without an agent.

Friday, March 25, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 750:I wrote & self published a book.I have been told it should be a Liftetime do I go about doing that

There are many ways to go about the process:
1. A literary agent can represent the project and take it to Lifetime
2. You can write a treatment and along with the book, pitch it to Lifetime
3. You can actually write the script and have it read by Lifetime

Sounds easy enough right? Except, that Lifetime won't read unsolicited material and unless you have an agent, or an entertainment attorney, there's "grass-roots" work that needs to be done.

My first question to you is: Is Lifetime the only network this book/movie is right for? If so, you're going to have to create relationships with people in development there, because they are literally the only people who would make your movie. Therefore, you may or may not want to spend the time going after an agent to rep the project.

It's difficult to answer this question more specifically, because I don't know your relationship to the industry (this question comes from Twitter). If you have no connections at all, I'd give you a very different answer than if I knew your self-published book had sold a million copies and you have interest from agents.

And then finally, there's a query letter that you can send. You can google how to write that, and research the right person to send it to at Lifetime. If they have an interest in the book and the synopsis of your story to be made into a screenplay, they'll ask for more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 749: do you suggest living in one state and flying to LA to work?

I don't make any suggestions when it comes to people's personal lives. If you can easily make that commute (get to work on time, get flights when needed, not have flight delay problems) and have enough contacts that you get called to work in LA when you live somewhere else, then it's a decision for you to make.

There are union rules about living in one place and working in another, so be sure to research those. You also have to consider the types of projects you'll be working on; how long will they keep you away from home and where will you stay, how often might you have to commute, etc.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 748: What do I do if I have to leave a phone message?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 747: What should someone who is 12 and wants to be an actress do?

Well, if you don't live in Los Angeles (which I can tell she does not), use your "kid power." What's kid power? Most people LOVE to help a kid with drive. Make a list of actresses, actors, directors, and producers that you would like to one day work with. For example: Steven Spielberg often talks about how he was directing movies in his back yard as a kid. Find people like him and reach out to people in a letter. Tell them how old you are and what you're doing now to pursue your dream. Tell them where you live and ask them for advice on what more you can be doing right now. If you plan to go to college, ask them for advice on which colleges to consider and what you can be doing now for extra curricular activities to help you get in. If you don't plan to pursue an acting career immediately, explain that you don't plan to pursue acting as a job until you're finished with your education, but in the mean time would like to build relationships with mentors so when you do move to NY or LA, you'll be ready and educated on the business side of the industry. If you do plan to start as soon as possible, that's what you want to ask advice about, what steps to take now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 746:How do you leave NAB in Vegas in April with 50 Valuable Contacts?

You attend my free seminar!

For those of you who RSVP you'll also get a complimentary pre-NAB teleseminar to prepare you for the days prior to the live event.

See you in Vegas!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 745: I am meeting a director I would like to work with. I've researched him but I don't know what to say.

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

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

Some tips:

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

2. Share personal and professional stories

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

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

Sincere compliments are always appreciated.

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...