Saturday, June 30, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1208: How do I branch out into the bigger things like major feature films, commercials?

Here's how the entire question read: I am an actress here in Akron/Cleveland OH and there are some really good projects going on independently that I am working to become apart of, but how do I branch out into the bigger things like major feature films, commercials and things?

I wrote back and asked: Are you referring to major projects that come to OH or major projects outside of your area that you would be willing to travel for?

To which she replied: I was referring to both, I'm just looking for genuine opportunities, whether it is in front or behind the lens.

There are actually multiple questions in here:

1. How do I transition from independent work to major projects, as an actress in Ohio?
2. How do I generate work as an actress out of Ohio?
3. How do I generate work behind the lens?

I will answer #1 today and #s 2 & 3 tomorrow and Monday.

To transition from independent work to major projects as an actress in a smaller production city, there are some actions you must take:

1. Get to know EVERY casting director in your area. If there are bigger cities in your state where casting directors work, make the trip and get to know them. There are many ways to do this. For example, many casting directors or their associates teach workshops. 

2. Go (in person) to your city's Film Commission, and get to know the people who work there. Film Commissions know when big projects are coming to town. When you have relationships with people who work there, they can keep you in the know about the who, what, and when of major projects. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1207:After I read your blogs and your book I realized I did so many things wrong. Did I burn bridges?

It's REALLY hard to burn a bridge in our business. The key is NOT to remind people of the mistakes you made in the past. Don't even say, "hey remember when I visited you on set and I embarrassed you in front of your crew. I really learned from that and would never do that again."

Most people who ask this question, are concerned that they didn't follow up. It's never too late to get back in touch.

If you screwed up at your job, there are other fish in the sea. If you had a problem with drugs and alcohol that is now under control, make amends. If you stole somebody's guy/gal, move on-- and don't do that again.

But as far as the business tools I blog about, you tend to make a bigger deal over something than the person, who may or may not have noticed.

If you have a specific situation, put it in the comment section and I'll address it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1206: Can I be a screenwriter if I don't live in Los Angeles?

I just had this conversation with a screenwriter who doesn't live in LA tonight. Must be in the air...

In my opinion, it's probably the easiest classification to be, if you don't live in Los Angeles. Why? Because you can master your craft and build your script collection while living in a cheaper city/town, not get beaten down by the rejection that so many experience, be close to family & friends, and even have a fulfilling job as you write. You can also build mentor relationships from afar via email, phone, and/or social media.

Once you have a number of great quality scripts, and relationships that you've been nurturing, then you can plan a business trip to LA to take meetings.

The key is to never stop writing, because you always want to be current and you always want to be growing as a writer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1205: What is the difference between networking and schmoozing?

Technically, the difference is the meaning you choose to put on the words. But because I'm a coach who loves doing seminars on successful networking, my two cents are:

While reality TV and scripted TV are both types of television, they are completely different genres.

Similarly, schmoozing and networking are both ways to meet people, they are simply two different "attitudes". Networking is a professional attitude whereas schmoozing can be interpreted as either playful or sleazy depending on the person doing the schmoozing and his or her intention.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1204: What is a good way to start my stand up career?

Taking stand-up comedy and improv classes. In LA, the big names are Groundlings & ACME, in Chicago there's Second City. You're from NY, so you want to find out the top training schools/classes. Do your research on NY comedians to see where they trained. Google them or check them out on Wikipedia or IMDB.

Stand up is part talent and part craft. You may have the talent to make people laugh, and you want to develop the craft of designing comedy sets for yourself. Or you may not have the talent to make people laugh, but don't let that discourage you. Comedy has a lot to do with timing, rhythm, and writing. All of those are skills which can be developed.

The second thing you should do is go to as many comedy shows as you can and watch from the perspective of:
1. How is the comedian creating rapport with the audience (or if he/she is not, why not?)
2. Which jokes are working and why?
3. Listen for "the music" in the delivery. Each comedian has his/her own style/tempo/music in delivery.
4. Break down the jokes. Some comedians tell quick one-liners. Some tell stories.

The third task I would recommend is study the masters like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Whoopie Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams. And then compare them to the contemporary comedians you admire.

The goal is to find your own unique voice while studying the good habits of successful people and staying current with the trends.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1203:My parents have given me a deadline to make $ or they will stop supporting me. Can I speed up the process?

Ummm... well, if you plan to make a career in entertainment, you are going to have to support yourself during the ups and downs of being a freelancer. So, my first suggestion is to focus on your entertainment career AND a secondary source of income other than your parents. Just a suggestion...

How do you speed up the process?

1. You continue to master your craft

2. Create as many relationships as humanly possible

3. Seek out A-list mentors

4. Help others

5. Feel the fear and act in spite of it!

There are specific strategies, which vary per individual. When I coach people I give them an evaluation to determine where they are. For some people it can happen quickly because all they are missing is the right strategy. But in MOST cases, what's missing are the number if relationships with people who hire. So if you know you don't know enough people who can hire you, then you know where to start,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1202: I'm a man. Is it appropriate to send flowers to a woman who got me a job?

Sometimes. The note has to be crystal clear that it is a professional thank you! Also, check the internet for appropriate flowers. Red roses are the obvious no-no. In fact, from a woman's POV, roses of any color, not appropriate.

Some women like to get flowers, but because it could be misconstrued, why not stick with something safe; a treat that can be shared with her staff, a gift certificate for a basic store like the Gap or Coffee Bean, a luxury gift certificate for a spa treatment (my personal favorite, hint hint).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 1201: Do I have to look like a supermodel to make it as an actor?

She continued "I have talent but feel I will get judged on looks, not skill."

I have no idea what this question-asker looks like, but no matter what she looks like, the answer is NO you DO NOT have to look like a supermodel to make it as an actress. Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, fabulous and successful actresses. Look at the women of Grey's Anatomy, overall, not supermodels. None of the fore-mentioned actresses are unattractive, but supermodels are supermodels.

Now, there is a classification of actresses who aren't necessarily "leading ladies." They are called character actresses and they have great careers, some even cross over into leading lady roles... Whoppi Goldberg, for example.

I also don't know how old you are, and you may be thinking that for a young person, the situation is different and I'm naming older actresses. I don't like to name names with younger actresses, because I would never want to say anything that could damage a young person's self-esteem, even in a simple little blog post like this. I will point out that Disney and Nickelodeon have their stables of character kids.

Looks ARE important in that you "look" the part. And parts are written for every shape, size, age, ethnicity, disability, etc.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your talent. Beauty exudes from within. Have a beautiful spirit, and you can have a beautiful career...

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...