BE ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 822: I'm watching the Housewives of New Jersey. Is it okay for kids that young to be in entertainment?

Are you asking because you're a parent of a child who's interested in being in entertainment? I'll answer with the assumption that you are. And if you want to know for any other reason, you'll have to send a more specific question.

Is it okay? Yes, it's okay. There are laws and unions to protect minors. There are even requirements for set teachers so children on sets have time for education.

If The Real Housewives of New Jersey is your inspiration, I must point out the underlying implication of the "controlling stage mom." The entertainment industry can be hard on a child's self- esteem. There is a lot of rejection that isn't necessarily personal. I don't give out parental advice. What I will say is there are plenty examples of Stage Moms gone wrong (again, assuming you're a woman, didn't cross my mind that a dad is watching TRHoNJ). I'll say the same thing to you that I say to my clients: you've got to love it and enjoy the journey, or do something else. So, keep an eye on your child and be sure he/she loves it and is enjoying it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 821: Is late 20's too late to join the party? see blog for detailed question

Actual Question: A friend has just moved out to LA from NYC and been offered a job at a great entertainment company but the pay (of course) is low. It's an assistant position with potential to grow but she's wondering if she should take it even though it's not exactly what she wants to do. She's late twenties so she's also worried that she's late to the party so to speak but knows she has to start at the bottom. What are your thoughts?

You used the word "great" when describing the entertainment company. As a coach I deal with tools and strategies. My strategy for someone in her late twenties, who wants to break into the business, is to meet as many people as she can. Working at a great company gives her access to a lot of great people. If she has the tools to make something of these relationships, as opposed to simply sitting behind a desk for a year doing her job, she can really get into a great position. Then, in a year, she can pursue exactly what she wants with 200 relationships in her rolodex. That's if she works smart.

After working in development myself for 8 months as well as coaching clients who work for producers or agencies, I highly recommend this strategy. There are a lot of benefits. I could be more specific about the benefits if I knew what type of company it is.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 820: Which city has the best potential in terms of finding a job (LA, NYC or Chicago)?

In order of entertainment "capitals" it goes: Hollywood #1, New York #2, Chicago #3. That said, the number of people pursuing careers are relative. The majority come to LA, next NY, and then Chicago.

Which city has the best potential? That's not really a question that can be answered. In which city do you have the strongest relationships? If none, I'd say one certain advantage LA has over the others is that everyone here is 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon to someone in the industry. Your gardner may mow Brad Pitt's lawn, your gynecologist could be married to the producer of Twilight, and your next door neighbor who you walk your dog with could wind up winning an Emmy when you didn't even know he was a director.

New York and Chi Town, you never know who you're walking next to.

Friday, May 27, 2011

getting Jobs in Entertainment question 818: How do I get answers about who hires me when my only sources of info are the people I'm competing with?

This is a great question that people in many different classifications struggle with. When you're let's say, a still photographer, it's not as obvious who hires you for a job. Yet, the people who WOULD know are other still photographers, who are your direct competition, right?

Not necessarily. The only ones in direct competition with you are the ones at your level. If you're breaking into a new market, established still photographers shouldn't feel threatened by you. Some will. Some are very closed off with information. Remember, you can reach out to still photographers all over the country. The camera guild has a directory (it also has one for publicists, which is crucial for still photographers because it lists photo editors and VPs of photography, etc.). If you live outside of Los Angeles (which this person does) you want to do the research of the people who hire you, develop a mentor/advisor relationship through phone and email and then, as you get to know them pretty well, find out a good time of year to come out for a week of meetings. There's nothing like meeting in person, and people really respect someone who is willing to fly out to meet with them.

Los Angeles still photographers (or insert your classification here if you live somewhere else) may be more open to speaking with you because again, you are out of state and therefore, they may not view you as direct competition.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 817: I don't have the reel to get work as a DP, but I'm afraid to take other work for money. Am I wrong?

The people who hire DPs are not the same people who hire you in other classifications. I don't know if the work you're referring to is within the camera department (AC, OP), as a gaffer, or something else. Unless you are working for money as another head of department (Editor, Production Designer, etc.) who are also hired by the people who hire DPs, you're okay.

Here's what I suggest:
1. Keep making money in your classification to support yourself and save for the future

2. Build relationships with the people who will know you and hire you as a DP

3. Build your reel as a DP

4. Keep the two separate unless you are 100% sure that your current crew is supportive of your desire to transition

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 816: I'm trying to get work on TV but people aren't returning my calls. What's wrong?

You're not necessarily doing anything wrong. This is the hiring season for television, so people are really busy. If you're leaving messages about being hired, they most likely "got the message," but if they don't have an opening for you, it can be uncomfortable to return a call where they have to tell you, "I don't have anything for you." And if you're not asking for work, you're just "touching base," you may not be a priority because they are trying to get hired or doing their hiring.

That said, be conscious of the messages you're leaving; your words, tonality, requests, etc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 815:What do people really want to see in a reel?

It depends on who's looking at it. There are many types of people who will look at your reel. I will address 3 types:

The first type is the person who knows what constitutes talent in your classification. This person will be looking at your talent & skill. If it's there, then it may or may not matter if you have recognizable talent/projects on your reel.

The second type doesn't know the nuances of what you do (ex: a writer* looking at a DP's reel). This person is looking for recognizable talent/projects, something that appeals to his/her sensibilities, and his/her medium.

The third type is looking for "his/her movie" on your reel. In other words, if his/her movie takes place in the interior of a restaurant and you're reel is comprised of a montage of interiors in a bedroom, a car dealership, a bathroom, a classroom, and a gym locker room, he/she will wonder, "Yes, but can you do a restaurant?" What are you gonna do? I know a 5-time Oscar nominee that encountered this, which leads me to...

You can't please everybody so:
1. Put recognizable talent/projects up front
2. Get other qualified people's feedback, because sometimes your opinion is biased
3. Research your competition's reels so that the length and style of your reel is current

*disclaimer: there are many writers who have a great knowledge of lighting

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 814: Just worked on a show, when is too soon to send a TYN don't want to 'seem over anxious and needy actor'

You should send a thank you note the day you leave set.

Sending a thank you note is an act of appreciation and gratitude,

There's nothing needy about it and too few people do it, so those who do stand out.

Just be sure it is a stand alone thank you not, no "hoping to work with you again soon" or anything like that.

Share a moment that you loved, while working on the show, and compliment them.

Do not attach business cards or any other type of promotional tools.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 813:Is it true that if I take a vacation I'll get called for work?

The question continued...
"because I haven't taken a vacation in two years, nor have I gotten much work. I really need a vacation!"

Considering I just returned from a mini-vacation in Miami Beach and feel wonderfully rejuvenated (I did not turn on my laptop OR carry my cell phone.. I know, crazy!) I'm going to answer this question with a story...
When I graduated college, my graduation present was a trip to Club Med. At the time, it was the BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE. I really wanted to go and be a Club Med Counselor... BUT, the time commitment was 6 months. I was convinced that if I missed 6 months of pursuing acting, my career would be over. I did not become a counselor for Club Med. I did not book any acting jobs during that time or the four years after.

I can look back now and see what a small chunk of my life those 6 months were. Who knows the memories I could have created.

I'm not really one for shoulda coulda wouldas, so that said, take a vacation. Create some memories. This is your life. If you get called for a job and you're out of town, refer someone you know. You get a vacation and the chance to help someone else. You only live once. Enjoy it.