Thursday, February 24, 2011

Online Dating for Networking

Recently, I wrote about the importance of putting yourself out there when job hunting, and today I wanted to just touch on a seemingly silly activity that actually does seem to help--online dating.

So, in moments of severe boredom, I admit that I have taken a peak at some of the dating sites out there these days. I setup a profile, write an about me (specifying that I work in entertainment), put up a few pictures, etc. After a few minutes (literally), the messages start coming in. And I have been very surprised by the number of people who mention that they are also in entertainment. I love creative people and have always liked being with other people who are also in film in some capacity--I guess this feeling is pretty common in this industry because a large percentage of the people who message me are also in the industry.

I don't really expect to find my soul mate online, but I've gotten drinks with several people and even if we don't want to date long term....I've managed to find some good contacts! And even had a few job leads come my way via people I met :)

After all, it really is all about who you know!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Everyone in LA is a Writer....

Including those in the adult world apparently....

My friend received this email in regards to a craigslist post he put up looking for new webisode material. I thought it was funny.

Confessions of a Juggler

I read this short essay by Tina Fey, which I found quite good.

I know I'm a little young to be worrying about being a working mom in Hollywood, but it is something I ponder from time to time. I've always felt that I don't want to have to give up anything. I want a Hollywood career and a family all at the same time. Blessed with three hard-working and ambitious daughters, my parents instilled in us a sense of female empowerment and we were taught from an early age that we could do anything. I remember being little and telling my mother that I was just going to marry someone rich when I grew up so I never had to worry about money. This was by far the worst thing I ever could have said out loud, in her opinion. She told me not to rely on that but to instead make my own money....which was something more in my control. So I've always felt a responsibility to my gender to find a way to have a successful career.

In her article, Tina says: "The fastest remedy for this “women are crazy” situation is for more women to become producers and hire diverse women of various ages." Sadly, women are a scarcity in top level film jobs. According to The Los Angeles Times, "A woman is more likely to hold a seat on a Fortune 500 company board (15%), serve as a member of the clergy (15%) or work as an aerospace engineer (10%) than she is to direct a Hollywood movie (7%)." Now that is just sad! We women need to stick together and with a little determination maybe we can remedy this harrowing statistic. And with more women in top level positions, perhaps someday the "baby-verses-work" question will not be so much of an either or situation, and the balance between a career and family can reach equilibrium.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Job Hunting

The film business is a tough one, indeed. Especially in these economic times. Well actually, that is just a guess since I've only actually been in the job market 8 months. But I'm just going to guess that it is at least a little tougher.

Someone once told me that looking for a job, IS a full time job. And I believe this somewhat. You can spend days looking online for job openings. You can be as on top of it as they come--excellent resume, beautifully written cover letter, great references.....and still you wait by the phone, and nothing.

It's because in this business, it's all who you know. I can easily say that all of the cool, fun jobs I've gotten have been thru people I knew....either people I graduated with, friends from home who now live in LA, family friends, people I met thru internships, etc. I have gotten a few (let's say about 1 out of 100 submitted resumes) random calls, but they usually turn out to be for companies I've never heard of that don't seem to have much credence.

So in my humble opinion, you are far better off getting out of the house--go to a bar, volunteer at a homeless shelter, go join a squash game at your gym (squash seems very popular among the film crowd)--and MEETING people. I know often times you feel guilty, if you aren't forcing yourself to sit at the computer screen robotically submitting resumes, but you really really do have a greater chance of finding a job by putting yourself out there in LA.

Even if you do find a listing for your dream job online, your resume has a way higher chance of being read if you have someone in the industry submitting your resume and vouching FOR you. I know we all want to be proactive and feel like we are doing things on our own, but its a sad fact that nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood. So jump on that bandwagon and milk every contact you can!!!

Life of a Hollywood Assistant

A friend at UTA sent this to me. It's pretty funny (and sadly, sometimes accurate) portrayal of life as a Hollywood assistant.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Office vs. The Set

Well hello friends. Sorry for the extended absence. Life has been quite busy--I spent a couple months as a director's assistant for Alloy Entertainment's digital division during the pre-production of a rather large scale webseries, and then during production acted as script supervisor. The crew was great and I really am looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Now I am just pondering my next big move. I have long since heard that going the agency route is a wonderful way to learn about the industry, as well as to get to know future power players in the film world. The big agencies seem to be at the center of this industry, with scripts, actors, filmmakers coming into them and packages flowing out of them. Producers have told me over and over again that it is a great first stepping stone to take after getting out of film school.

At this time, I have an opportunity for a job at one of the big agencies. However, in spite of all the advantages, I am a little leery. Taking long term jobs is scary. So far everything I have done has been freelance....which is nice, because even if the gig sucks, you are done with it after several weeks and can go on to something else.

I guess the big decision right now, is the office vs. the set. I love being on set, but the freelance lifestyle can get a bit stressful--never knowing where your next paycheck will come from. However, on set, I get to perform a job that has a bit more prestige than being someone's assistant. As script supervisor on set, I have people bringing me coffee; as an assistant in an office, I will be bringing other people coffee. I am fine with that, but it is definitely something to think about.

Here is how it breaks down:

Agency (The Office):
  • Great opportunity to network
  • Fabulous learning experience that teaches you about all phases of the industry
  • Rigorous, but really prepares you for any job you get afterwards
  • Opens doors to many other career opportunities, thru the people you meet
  • Many studio execs, agents, managers, and producers have started in the mailrooms at big agencies
  • Consistant Pay
  • Job security & consistency--knowledge of exactly where you are going to work each day and at what time
  • Long hours but less than on set
  • Low hourly rate (9-10/hour in mailroom, small bump once you become an assistant on a desk)
  • Administrative work that does not have much of a creative component
  • Possibility of interacting with difficult personalities and being subjected to subhuman treatment (not a guarantee, but one does hear stories....)

Production (The Set):
  • Exciting and exhilarating atmosphere
  • Getting to be an important part of a film and having a direct impact on the outcome of the film
  • Opportunity to work hard for several weeks and then take time for yourself....can book appointments during the day and get things done on your off periods
  • Each project brings with it new people to meet and contacts to be made
  • Better hourly rate than most office-based assistant positions + lots of money for overtime
  • There is a good chance of extended time periods with no work
  • Very long hours (12+ hours a day)
  • Being a key player on set right out of college is great, but there is not much upward mobility since Script Supervisors are the only ones in their department - so the experience does not lend itself to other jobs