Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 791:Do I really need a good academic background to make it in Hollywood?

Well, that’s what my parents told me… but that was so I’d have something “to fall back on.”
It depends on what classification you’re in and what kind of academic background you’re referring to. It helps for a writer to know spelling and grammar. Some below-the-line classifications like an art history or fine arts background. Directors may want a psychology degree to help them deal with the different personalities they’ll have to manage.
Overall, most classifications don’t need an academic background. What you do need is:

1. Training in your craft/skill

2. Marketing and sales training

3. Business training

Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 790: How do I get my foot in the door with a cold email?

The person who wrote this said that usually the best way for him to reach people is via email. But when trying to get in to new post houses, he doesn't know what kind of email to send other than a "Hi I'm ___, here's my resume.. it'd be great to be in touch." He imagines they get a lot of those and wants some tips to stand out.

First of all, he's right. The type of email he was referring to is a solicitation because his resume's attached. Clearly if you attach a resume, the person on the other end thinks "this person just wants a job." And if you want to get into a new post house (or insert your potential contacts) it's important to create a relationship with the people. Soliciting them will immediately cut off the possibility of building a relationship.

You want to make a request that a person can say yes to. For instance:
1. "I've heard wonderful things about your facility. Would it be possible to come in for a tour?"
2. If you know of someone specific who works there, you can send a business advice and guidance mentorship request.
3. You can ask colleagues and social media connections for a referral to the people you want to meet and open your email with "John thought we should connect.

Put yourself in the person's shoes. Imagine what his/her day is like. If you were in their position, what would get your interest? What would help you? What would make you want to say YES to a stranger?"

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 789: I just moved to LA. How do I make enough money to stay here while I try to get industry work?

Well, you broke many of my rules regarding relocation (see question 31, April 3rd, 2009).

That said, congratulations and welcome to LA! This questions varies depending on classification. Actors, specifically, generally need their days free for auditioning. If you are not an actor who auditions regularly, follow the guidelines I'm about to share.

I'm going to answer this question with the assumption that you're not moving out here with a large number of contacts who can hire you, back your projects, or represent you because you're an "it-guy/gal." Therefore, I always suggest getting a job in the business.

I know, I know... you're thinking, "but that will take so much of my time and I want to devote all of my time to my career so it launches fast!"


YOU looking at your life realizing how quickly time has flown by and you are still living in a rented apartment, eating ramen noodles, and bar tending.

Could you be the exception to this scene? Possibly. But if you are one of the 98% who aren't the exception, it's going to be a long impoverished road, that can lead you into dark, desperate times.

Yes, you can wait tables, bar tend, work at Home Depot, but what if you didn't? What if you took a job working at a studio, production company, agency ,or PAd on sets? By doing this, you make "some money" (generally as much as a server in an average restaurant), the advantage though, are the connections and opportunities that you would never get in "side jobs."

If you use the tools that you learn from me during one year at an industry job, you can acquire:

1. Amazing mentors

2. Relationships with assistants; tomorrow's producers, agents, writers, directors, etc.

3. Skills that will give you an edge over future competition

4. An understanding of industry politics

5. Access to the "circles of influence"

While working at an industry job, you can continue whatever you came out here to do: write, go to acting class, build your directing reel, produce projects, edit, shoot, design...

AND should you get your break while at this industry job--you quit. There are hundreds of people in line to fill your seat at the desk. You're just going to have to trust me that a year is not a long time to devote to building your business.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 788:How long does it realistically take to make it as a screenwriter?

First, let me re-phrase that question to add in any classification in the entertainment industry. Then let me give you the answer you may not want to hear, but it's the answer you need to hear.

There is no realistic time table, in fact there's no time table at all. I'll go even further to say there's barely a measure of someone who's "made-it." I work with Oscar and Emmy winners who are out of work. People who you view as successful, are scared of losing the ground they've gained. You've watched huge names like Travolta, Roberts, and Rourke go from huge to vanished to huge again...

Some people vanish and never make it back, some people make it, yet aren't a "household" name. So what's a person who needs more stability to do?

1. Define what "making it" means for you, so you'll know when you're there.

2. If you need a timetable, decide that. If you don't want to put a timetable on your success, plan for additional streams of income so that money is never forcing you to give up on your dream.

3. Treat the business like a business. No lame excuses for not knowing what to do. You have ME to tell you. Too many people "wish they'd met me when they first started pursuing their career." It's unfortunate I was a toddler then, but nonetheless, I'm here now and armed with information.

4. Invest in yourself and your career.

5. Surround yourself with experts.

To your success...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 787:Can one get a steady job in the entertainment industry?

Is any job really steady this day and age? For the most part, positions in the entertainment industry are freelance. There are some studio and agency jobs that are contract jobs, but the reality is, nothing is truly stable in this industry.

Some people are fortunate enough to get on a series that lasts for ten years. They, unfortunately, have their own set of complaints.

If you were a teacher or a janitor and had tenure, your union would protect your job. In the entertainment industry, a union protects your contract and safety. An entertainment union can not guarantee/secure a job for you. Basically, you are a business owner, so the success of your business depends on you.

Knowing this, I suggest multiple streams of income.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 786:What do you do when your family doesn't get/support what you do?

This is a tough scenario. I've coached a lot of husbands whose frustrated non-pro wives, give them ultimatums, young adults whose parents "give them a few years," and friends who joke "Are you still doing that (insert your talent here) thing?"

Creatives are very sensitive people for a number of reasons:

1. They constantly feel judged
2. Their work is an extension of themselves
3. They don't always get rewarded with money
4. They have a dream that not only seems like a fantasy to non-pro people, they also have a talent that tears them up inside if they can't share it
5. Insert your reason here: __________________________________

There is a solution-- a great one. You must share with your loved ones and friends only the bits they can understand. For the rest, you MUST seek out people who are beyond where you are now, who know what it takes to succeed, and most importantly, can see you BIGGER than you can see yourself.

If your wealth is the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with... the sum of your success can also be measured by the 5 people you spend the most time with. In other words, if you spend a lot of time with people who see your great potential they will continue to lift you up. If you spend your time talking about your goals to people who don't get them, they will discourage you, not from a bad place, but because they want to protect you. Sheltered people don't soar... find people who will push you to your greatest heights!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

getting Jobs in Entertainment question 785:How do I stand out?

You already do, you just have to own it. Every person brings his/her uniqueness to what he/she does. Where you get stuck is when you’re in the presence of someone who can hire you, or who impresses you. All of a sudden “you” leave the room. You start trying to be someone you’re not. You start saying what you think people want to hear. Be yourself. You won’t click with everyone, but you will click with people who have likeminded sensibilities and that’s what great careers are built upon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

getting Jobs in Entertainment question 784:Do you have to live in Hollywood to have a successful career in entertainment?

You don't HAVE to do anything. How successful do you want to be? If you wanted to be a ski instructor and you lived in Miami, Florida (snow ski, not water ski), how successful could you be? I don't recall the last time there was snow in Miami.

If you're an actor, would you be satisfied doing community theater? If you're a producer or director, would you be satisfied making movies with your own camera using local non-union crew & talent? If you're a writer, would you be satisfied writing your heart out and not having access to the people who can buy your scripts?

Are you getting the picture? When you are breaking into an industry, you want to be in the heart of it. Now, there are other 2nd, 3rd, 4th, place markets where a union member can make a decent living. So, it's up to you. How successful do you want to be? How committed are you to that success? What sacrifices are you willing to make? I grew up in NY, perceived as the #2 market. Two top agents told me to move to Los Angeles. I left everyone I knew and loved, and it's paid off.

The flip side is that the smaller the market the less the competition. Here's what to evaluate for where you live:
1. Is there a market for your skill/talent that has the level of jobs you want and the pay scale you desire?
2. What are the rules for you to work in your local market?
3. What is the level of talent and connection of your local competition?

Because of tax incentives, there are many places to work successfully in the US at this time. If you don't live in a production city and plan to make a move, there is a lot to consider.

The choice is yours for the making.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 783: Is it difficult crossing over from television to film, or vice versa?

Back in the day, you were one or the other. In recent years, the business has changed and people go back and forth. Is it difficult? That depends. Do you have solid relationships with people who can hire you in both? Do you have individual marketing materials for each medium? Do you have a recognizable name?

If you didn't answer yes, to any of the questions, it can certainly be a challenge. Now you know what's missing, and you can work to build in those areas to make the cross-over easier.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 782:I read your list of people to get referrals to on page 79 how do you ask when people are so competitive?

This was a question from someone who is reading my book AND ACTION!

Here are my suggestions for asking for referrals:

1. Ask people you’re not in direct competition with. Who else knows the classification of people you're trying to meet?

2. Explain clearly, what you want to speak to their contacts about. Many times people aren't sure why you're asking for the referral, so they are resistant. Be sure to give them a reason they can say yes to.

3. Have an upbeat energy when you’re asking, a mindset of possibility. If you sound like you're apologizing for asking, or have any negativity in your tonality and/or physiology, people pick up on that. They want to help people who are confident and upbeat.

4. Be prepared (have a target list). Straight out of Jerry Maguire - help them to help you.

5. Know your objections before and have an answer prepared. If people have said no in the past, know why and address those objections in the future either directly or change how you're asking for the referral.

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

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...