career

Break into Hollywood: 4 Secret Weapons to Get Interviews, Jobs, and Representation

I completed my internship and one of the executives asked me, “What do you want to do next?”

I told him I was thinking about going to an agency.

He picked up a phone. He said to someone on the other side, “Have I ever asked you to meet anyone? Okay, well, I got someone I want you to meet.”

He hung up the phone. “You’re all set, you’re going to interview at WME.”

I interviewed with Carole Katz — not her assistant or her junior executive. Her. You’ve never heard of her, but she’s been head of HR for WME since 2001.

She told me (like they tell everyone) all the reasons I’d hate the job. Minimum wage. 12-hour days and weekends. No life. Think carefully, she said.

I said I’d let her know first thing tomorrow.

I emailed her the next day: I’m in. She said she’d put me on the consideration list.

I never heard back.

And it’s 100% my fault. Because I never followed up. Instead, I was waiting for her to “give me my chance.”

All the mistakes I’ve made in my career have come from waiting for my chance.

Fortunately, if you’ve moved to Los Angeles and you’re building your career (or even if you’re still working on getting out to LA) there are dozens of things you can do to create your own chances — even if you don’t have experience or connections.

I call these your “secret weapons” for breaking into Hollywood.

So let’s talk these secret weapons. (Btw, yes, you’ve got to have skills, too. If you’re a writer, actor, director, whatever, I’m assuming you got chops and every day you’re working to get better.)

Secret Weapon #1: Prepare Like You’re Going to War

With basic preparation, you’ll outshine 90% of your peers competing for the same attention, meetings, and jobs.

Because you know what preparation looks like for most people? 10 minutes of Googling on their phones 15 minutes beforehand. And it shows.

That’s why most people ask terrible questions, like, “Uh, so what advice do you have?”

Or when they’re asked to talk about themselves, they launch into a 10-minute rant about how she’s loved film ever since her parents took her to the $3 budget cinema next to Lechmere’s.

You’re different. Here’s are your rules of thumb: [click to continue…]

Why they never break in

That first decision to move to Los Angeles is thrilling.

You dream. Gorgeous weather. Warm sand stretching on the shore from Malibu to Redondo, curling between your toes. Finally the right environment to grow and find people like you.

Then you look at the practical details to actualize this dream…

  • How much to save
  • Your skill level at your chosen craft
  • A network to build your career

It can be hard to believe you can actually do it.

Every day can feel like you’re pushing a boulder uphill. The dollars never add up. Your skills don’t stack up to the professionals and despite sending dozens of emails, you still haven’t connected with anyone who can help you.

To the untrained eye, it looks like you haven’t done much at all.

But here’s what I see:

  • Steady progress towards reaching a savings goal that you’re inching towards everyday
  • Someone improving their craft each minute they work
  • Every email sent building a relationship — whether you get a response or not

It takes time.

People don’t make it not because they weren’t good enough.

They just didn’t work for long enough. [click to continue…]

How to get agents to ask YOU to read your script

Last week, I showed you a note requesting help from my friend, Jeff. Jeff’s friend wanted his contacts, so he could pitch a script for representation.

Jeff is a good dude. Instead of telling him to spend 4 years of his life building his own contacts (as others would have) he decided to help.

He showed him how to get agents to read his script.

Jeff’s email I’m sharing below is specifically about screenwriting, but the same principles apply to acting, music, photography, etc.  

A little context: Jeff moved to LA with no contacts, no car, and no job in 2010. Today he’s an associate producer on Vanderpump Rules and writes and produces the web series “Quality Time”. He drops A LOT of knowledge in this email, so I hope you enjoy.

Here’s his response. [click to continue…]

Would you help him?

Here’s a note my friend received recently, via LinkedIn:

Hey Jeff,

Glad to link with you on this thing. Pun intended.

I’m really trying to push my television pilot. I know you’re not looking but could you possibly lead me to some places (or folks) that are? I promise I won’t make you look bad. 🙂

Or you can hit me on the personal tip: [HIS EMAIL]

Any advice at all would be appreciated.

One love.

Let’s analyze all the things wrong here, then commit them to memory. Because if you’re going to make it in Los Angeles, you will have to ask for help.

But you have to do it the right way.

Here we go: [click to continue…]

Why You Should Move to LA (the reason no one talks about)

If your weakness isn’t exposed, is it still a weakness?

I recently started jiu jitsu. Until I did, I didn’t realize I had shit for elbows.

After sparring, I complained how sore my elbows were to my professors. They gave me a weird look, like “this guy only comes to class 3x per week why is he bitching about being sore?”  

I’ve been icing them every night since, and I still feel a twinge.

Other weaknesses I’ve discovered: [click to continue…]