Jeff tells the story of how to get a job in Hollywood. Note: This is not a guarantee. These are my thoughts and suggestions.
How to Get a Job in Hollywood
Prep a Rainy Day Fund
Live for the future, not the present. Set aside money into an account that grows (Ally, etc). Add money to a diversified investment account (Fidelity, etc) and watch it grow. Saving money is fine, but putting money into a savings account at a brick-and-mortar bank may be safe, but it will not grow as fast as an account like Ally.
Be the Best
Whatever your dream is, be the best at that. Work hard. Hone your skills on a smaller scale and get better as you go along.
Look for Internship opportunities
Be on the lookout for Hollywood internship opportunities online, as well as local college, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask around, sometimes people ‘know’ about an opportunity that may not be on a posted list.
Check out every opportunity that meet your interest and go with your gut. If something seems sketchy, walk away.
Prep Resume, Info and References
It always pays to have a resume updated and ready to go. For Hollywood opportunities, focus on applicable skills and schooling.
Line up at least 3 dependable references. They may not be needed, but you never know if they might be needed.
Bonus tip: Have your passport paid up and ready to use. You never know. A friend told me a story that someone built an incredible radio-controlled R2D2 and Lucasfilm asked the builder to go overseas to film one of the Star Wars films, but he didn’t have his passport current.
Be ready for anything, always.
Prep for Terminology and Workflow
Read books on the job you want. Learn the lingo, learn the workflow, learn as much as you can about the job you want and prepare before you get there.
Find a Mentor
Books, articles and Youtube videos are great, but the best way to prepare for a Hollywood job is to find someone who is or has done it and learn from them.
Bonus tip: Underneath the glitz and glamour, Hollywood jobs have just as much stress as any other job. Learn how to deal with and connect with the many different personalities that are in the crew.
Attitude is (Just About) Everything
Having a great attitude is a balancing act. Yes, believe in yourself, but it is just as important to be open and learn what you don’t know.
Work an Internship like a Job
Working in Hollywood is a dream for many. It’s not easy. If you get the opportunity, make the most of it.
Even if you are not getting paid for it, work like you are making 6 figures.
Be on time, maybe even early.
Bring a great attitude.
I read an interesting book about making it in Hollywood and it mentioned that if you have a desk, put fun toys on it. The idea behind it is that you will stand out and it will draw people to you. Once they are there, connect with them.
Building rapport is finding common ground with others and building a bridge on that.
The truth is that Hollywood jobs rarely are forever and the more you can connect, befriend and be helpful to others at the jobs, you could be remembered for a future opportunity.
Bonus tip: Whether you believe in Karma or not, helping others is always good currency in life. Don’t let yourself get taken advantage of, but if you can, help others.
Build your Legacy
Life is rarely happenstance. It is the result of being intentional. Everything you do, everything you create, and the decisions you make are bricks that build your legacy.
Keep moving forward, learn from your mistakes and be the best.
The things you don’t when you don’t think anyone is looking (Being on time, every day you are needed, being dependable, having a good attitude, being flexible, dealing with difficult people, etc.), builds up what people remember about you. That is the biggest part of your legacy.
The End and the Beginning
In the early nineties, my first marriage was falling apart and I was laid off from my real estate job. I moved in with my Mom for the time being to get my bearings.
My Alma Mater points the new way
Being laid off for an extended period of time gave me more time to think and remember the dreams I had when I was in college. As fate would have it, I didn’t live too far from the college I graduated from (S.C.C./Vanguard University), so I decided to visit and find new opportunities – and it turned out, that was a great decision.
Old Dreams Never Die
I entered the Radio and TV department and looked around for something to point me in the right direction, and there it was, “Intern needed for the ‘Jones and Jury‘ TV Show”. I had always dreamed of working in “Hollywood,” and (because of the downturn in the real estate market) this was my chance.
There’s an Age Limit for Dreams?
I sent my resume over and got a call back for an interview. I went in and the Line Producer interviewed me and seemed to be quite shocked that I was interested in this internship.
I explained that I always had in interest in working in Hollywood, but never had the opportunity, until now.
He mentioned, “You realize that we cannot pay you,” I nodded my understanding of what he said. He continued, “Alright, you will be here on time every day we need you and will fulfill the tasks we ask of you?” “Yes,” I answered. The final thing he said to me, “You will be the oldest intern we have ever hired. Congratulations. See you tomorrow at 7:30AM.” I shook his hand and with that, I now worked in Hollywood.
Where the Magic Happened
The production offices and the stages they taped Jones and Jury were on the same lot as a local, Los Angeles TV station, KTLA Channel 5.
I can recall walking to the entryway to the security guard, giving my name and watching the security perusing the guest list, then nodding and motioning me in. I was now welcome in Hollywood.
The dream came true.
During my lunches, I would walk around the studio lot and down Sunset Boulevard wondering how many other stars had walked where I had stepped along the way. It was amazing.
I remember during Thanksgiving that year we had a sit-down lunch with the entire crew in one of the sound stages on the KTLA lot. It was almost like it was scripted when an older gentleman on the crew said, “You know what was filmed in the soundstage?” There was silence, and he continued, “Solid Gold, the dance show,” I was stunned at the history that was made on this lot. He continued to explain the shows and movies filmed there over the years there. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I said, “Do you all know how lucky we all are to work here?” I’ll never forget that moment.
Work (even non-paid) is Work
Oh right, the job. I was always early and ready to do whatever I was asked to do. I would copy scripts for storage, answer phones, search for people that were needed on the phone, straighten up the break room, whatever was needed.
I would ask questions like, “What do you do?” and learn stories about how many different people go onto the crew. The gentleman that hired me as an Intern saved up a large emergency fund and moved to Hollywood to do whatever it took to make it, and he did. I can remember answering calls from celebrities that used pseudonyms (which the crew members explained who was who), but some did not. One time, I answered a call from Meshell Ndegeocello and it so happens that she was up for the Best R&B Album Grammy in 1994 and I told her I thought that she would win. She didn’t – Boyz 2 Men did.
I was always there, on time, dependable, with a good attitude.
Intern Job Became a Paid Position
One day, I was called into the Line Producer’s office and I was offered the receptionist position for pay. I accepted and quickly learned that on the other end of the telephone ring was someone that needed something – now.
Many times I would be running from the reception desk to the production room during tape nights to find a crew member that was needed on the phone. One call I remember was from and video duplication company that called back from being on hold for too long and told me they had ‘two birthdays’ waiting for me to find the crew member for them.
It was stressful but fun. I remember nicely asking people to walk more quickly to their phone because the person on the other end of the phone needed them NOW.
When the Good Times End
When the filming schedule ended, the show went on a break. I went back home and plotted my next move.
A position opened in a job that called on my Real Estate background and I went for it. Even though my career choice was away from Hollywood, I often think about what it was like to fulfill my dream of working in Hollywood.
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