Monday, April 30, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1147: 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,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1146::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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1145: 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...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1144: 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!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1143: 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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1142: Question about a time management technique from your newsletter

the question continued, "I've been experimenting with the time-management techniques from your newsletter. I've been doing the one where I write down 3 things I want to get done for the day and then I throw the paper away. What do I do with the rest of my day?"

It sounds to me like you're a do-er. That technique is for people who can't get started or focused, or simply don't want the pressure of a long to-do list. It works really well for them. If you're finding that you're getting your 3 things done and have plenty of "business time" left in the day, you can certainly do more. You chose the 3 most important things and accomplished them. Celebrate that and then do more on the days you feel like working, or take some time to do something non-work related on the days you feel like giving yourself a break.

My newsletters are jumping off points. You have an "And...Action!" task, because I want to get you started. You've taken the bull by the horns, now make it your own.

And once again, congratulations for taking action and implementing the techniques I write about in my newsletter!

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach,
To stay current on The Greenlight Coach's speaking engagements, recommendations, and work success articles, sign up for her free newsletter at the top of the page and get a great bonus 1-hour MP3 on creating powerful business partnerships when you do!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1141: 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,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1140: 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.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1139: 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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1138: How do I choose a mentor?

The answer: Not as carefully as you may think.

Remember, when I'm suggesting you pursue mentors, I'm referring to "business advice and guidance" mentors. Everyone who has reached some level of success can give you new information. You can even learn from unsuccessful people (though it's not the most strategic way to go). I love to watch the crowd swarm the guest who spoke at a Q&A and see all the mistakes people make.

Therefore, if you can learn form the good and the bad, anyone can be a potential mentor. That said, you'll get to where you want to be faster, if you're strategic in who you choose. The mistake that most people make, is getting too caught up with choosing the perfect mentors. This is a waste of time. Set a goal to choose a specific number of mentors by a specific date and if by that date you're 2 people short, close your eyes, open a directory, and point out 2 names.

Helpful tips for choosing mentors (yes, I suggest you get MANY):

1. Choose people who have taken a path you'd like to emulate

2. Choose people who know the types of people who hire you

3. Choose people who hire people who do what you do

4. Choose people you've seen do Q&As or volunteer somewhere (that means they like to give back)

5. It's okay to go after A-listers AND have some "safe-schools" (people who will likely say yes)

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...