Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Make the Dream Happen - Go Backwards!

If you have a BIG DREAM whatever it is... maybe to make movies, or save the world through important documentaries or to write the million dollar screenplay, it is always seems easy at first. The dreaming part is really fun - imagining yourself receiving the Oscar, or riding in the Rolls, or directing Tom Hanks. But once you start down the road of making that dream come true - reality hits. It's going to take work.  Probably a lot of work.  Most people have to make money while waiting for their dream to come true.  There are mortgages to pay and lights to keep on and food to put on the table.  So your dream has to be woven into the texture of your current life.  What does that look like?  Maybe it's writing your script early in the morning or late at night. Maybe it's trying to squeeze in a meeting a week with people that are already in the business.  But you are the one that has to set the goal and then figure out the steps to achieving it.  And if you break that huge dream down into tiny steps it can be achieved.

I start by writing my goal down on some paper and then go backwards.  If my goal is to sell my screenplay these might be the steps in reverse:

10. Sell screenplay for $$$$
9. Agent negotiates deal
8. Agent sends screenplay out to buyers
7. Agent gets final draft of screenplay
6. Rewrite of screenplay based on Agent suggestions
5. Give agent screenplay
4. Get agent
3. Write screenplay while working at my day job and sending letters out to agents
2.  Get a day job that will pay my bills while I pursue my dream
1. Dream about selling a screenplay

Now obviously there could be dozens of steps in between these steps.  Like taking a class in writing. Or moving to Los Angeles.  And the steps would be different for directing or acting or producing but hopefully you get the idea.  List your goal and then all the steps to reach it and then go in reverse. Once you have done that try to guess at how much time it would take to do each step.  And then to make this really happen - now put those steps on a calendar.  This brings the dream into the real world. You aren't just thinking about it, you are giving yourself mini goals and a time period to achieve them.  Whew. Sounds like work. It is work.  But climbing a mountain takes work.  Standing in the valley and gazing at the peak won't get you there. You have to start climbing!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fashion Advice for the Hollywood Wannabe

Help! I have a meeting. What do I wear?  I have been invited to a premiere – how dressed up should I be?  I am having coffee with a director…  do I wear a suit?
Having been around the biz for what seems forever – I get asked these questions all the time.  And although I am not a fashion maven I can offer some simple advice to the person who is new to the entertainment business.  At first glance, L.A. seems like it is anti-fashion.  As you walk through a mall you will see everything from Grunge to Euro trash.  People in wildly expensive suits shop next to people in pinned together jeans.  Pierced navels, eyebrows, Madonna tattoos are everywhere and easily seen through highly revealing pants and shirts.  Surfers, Skaters, Nerds crowd the sidewalks of Melrose. How can one possibly know how to dress with such a huge buffet of bad, good and boring fashion to choose from?
Luckily, the answer is not that difficult.  The entertainment business does have a sort of dress code.  It’s unspoken of course. But it is there nevertheless.  In a recent article I wrote for HubPages I provide several tips for dressing for the Biz.   You can find it here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hollywood No No's

There are lots of unspoken rules in Hollywood.  Things only insiders know.  Usually the only way to learn how to behave as you network in the entertainment business is through trial and error.  Luckily since I have already experienced many of these mistakes, I can share with you some of what I have learned.  An article I wrote recently addressed the faux pas that one can make in their eagerness to break in. 

Schmoozing Don'ts in the Entertainment Business

In my article on Schmoozing, I listed some of the positive steps a newcomer to the entertainment business can try to take to improve their networking skills.   This article will focus on a few of the No No’s.  My experience as an agent in Hollywood since 1991 has given me ample time to discover (the hard way) all the little things that people in the biz find irritating.  Click here to finish reading the article!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Either Schmooze or Lose

Learning how to navigate the waters of Hollywood takes practice.  In the entertainment business it's all about relationships - who you know.  While we may wish it was about talent...sadly that only is needed ONCE someone knows and likes you. Your talent is what will keep you working. But schmoozing or networking is what will break you into the circles you need to be in.  So how to do it?  A few months ago I wrote an article on learning how to schmooze.  You can read it at  Ten Steps for Networking in Hollywood.