Had an enlightening phone call today and I’ve found my boss’ advice so helpful i’m going to post the gist of the call.
“It’s always the easiest of things that can make you chances of succeeding that much greater.”
I’m aware of how not easy it is in L.A, and there aren’t as many doors as you think. It’s just that the few doors that are there are heavy and you need help opening them. If you’re having a hard time breaking in, then just find something (there are always PA jobs). If you’re not working, people think you’re lazy. If you’re hustling, they pay more attention.
This business is all about who you know. You write a script, give it to someone you have a relationship with who has a relationship with someone else, and they pass it along. Sometimes that’s formal (passing it to a producer, manager, or agent…I guess technically even sending out cold letters fall into this category) or sometimes it’s a friend (hairdresser, postal worker, assistant at an agency, etc.). And once you realize this truism (that’s it’s all about relationships), go back and remember #1 above: publicize your intent. People, at least most people who are decent human beings, want to help out their friends and people they like being around. So:
—- be a friend
—- be someone people enjoy being around
—- be proactive in communicating what you want to do (without putting pressure on those around you)
You’ll be surprised at how this works if you’ve never done it before. Be willing to work the entry level jobs, if you do get stuck in one, you won’t be there for long as long as you have a solid work ethic, are likable / pleasant to be around, and solve more problems than you make.
Mostly, be friendly, meet people, try to help others as much as you are able, and let everyone know along the way (and at appropriate times and places) what you want to do and where you think the next step of your career is at. If you ask them directly for a job, that puts them in an awkward position.
What Hollywood people don’t want? Someone coming up to them and hounding them to “read my script.” Just be a decent human being. Talk to them. Tell of your dreams and goals. And then, if they like you, and if they’re in a position to help you, they’ll be in touch.
I mean, think about it this way, if you had 5 minutes with, say, Jerry Bruckheimer, what would you talk about? Are you gonna beg him to read your script, are you gonna try to pitch him, or would a better tact be to be more interested in him than in yourself? Something like, “What’s a project you’ve always wanted to do but just couldn’t get everything aligned correctly?” or “What’s been your favorite thing you’ve done in Hollywood and why?” Those are way more interesting questions than: Can you read my script? or Can you get me a job?