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How To Make It in ...
How To Make It in Hollywood includes everything you need to know about agents, managers, lawyers, the casting couch, chutzpah, schmoozing, networking, Godfather Calls, rhino skin, Power Rolodexes, handling rejection, constant unemployment, and keeping yourself on the track to your dreams when real life keeps telling you to give it all up and move back to Cincinnati!
Author Biography: Linda Buzzell has worked as a production company vice president at Columbia and Lorimar, a development executive for Jacques Cousteau, and an associate producer of documentaries for ABC and PBS.
As the founder and director of the Entertainment Industry Career Institute, she has helped thousands of people in the entertainment industry with both personal and professional issues. She teaches at the American Film Institute and lives in California.
The Hollywood Game
Is It For You?
Mom, Call Hollywood!
For director Patrick Read Johnson, the road to success in Hollywood started in Wadsworth, Illinois (pop. 750), and ended on Mars.
At the age of ten, young Patrick set his train set on fire and filmed the spectacle with his dad's movie camera. By the time Patrick was thirteen, his mom was so sick of driving to Chicago to buy movie magazines for him and hearing him complain that he hadn't yet been discovered by Hollywood that she picked up one of the magazines herself--it turned out to be American Cinematographer--and called a name off the masthead: Herb Lightman, editor.
A determined Mom got through to Herb in Los Angeles. "Listen, Herb, I've got a kid here who's been making 8-millimeter films since he was ten. He's thirteen now. He wants to be Stanley Kubrick. I don't know anybody. I don't know what I should do with him. Should I send him to film school? If I put him on a plane and get him a place to stay with friends in L.A. for a week, will you introduce him to some of his heroes?"
Luckily for Mom and Patrick, Herb turned out to be one of the Hollywood good guys. He chuckled. Who knows, maybe Mom reminded him of his own mother's exasperation with a youngster obsessed with films and filmmaking. He agreed to Mom's proposition and a week later Patrick was on a plane to Hollywood, explaining to the astonished guy in the next seat that he was going to visit a special effects wizard named Douglas Trumbull.
Not only did Patrick meet Doug Trumbull, but Herb let him tag along as he visited the set of a new movie Doug was working on, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where anordinary-looking guy in a trucker's cap who asked him if he wanted a Coke turned out to be the director Steven Spielberg. Patrick's last day in Hollywood was spent watching the rough cut of a film called Star Wars that everyone thought was going to be a nice, small, kids' movie.
After that introduction to the business, it's no wonder that young Patrick couldn't wait to get back to Hollywood. He finally went back in 1980 and worked in special effects for a few years. He also co-wrote and directed a low-budget film about a group of wayward alien invaders who land on earth Halloween night. Steven Spielberg looked at it and called his buddy Jeffrey Katzenberg at Disney to suggest that they release the picture--which became Spaced Invaders, a Touchstone release. Patrick is now one of the hot directors in town, romanced by studios, producers, and agents. In 1994 he directed the comedy Baby's Day Out, written by John Hughes and starring Joe Mantegna, for Fox. And he's hard at work on his next film, which will be coming soon to a theater near you.
Sometimes Hollywood dreams do come true. Just ask Patrick's mom.
The Hollywood Game
The Hollywood game isn't always this easy, of course. And those of us without a lucky mom for an agent need to learn the rules.
Entertainment is one of America's most successful export industries. While many other U.S. products can no longer compete in the global economy, American entertainment talent and "software" (films, TV programming, music, new media, etc.) are eagerly consumed around the globe. In fact, the Hollywood entertainment industry has become so desirable that major international corporations have invested billions of dollars in Tinseltown.
Unfortunately this doesn't mean that there are plenty of jobs waiting for you in Hollywood, especially during bumpy economic times. The entertainment industry is now more ruthlessly competitive than ever. The world's best and brightest in every job category--performers, directors, executives, technicians--are flooding into Hollywood in ever-increasing numbers.
To succeed in the entertainment industry--even as a hermitlike independent--one must not only have great talent and do outstanding, original work but also understand the Hollywood game and its players. There is an entertainment industry culture that characterizes the show business game as it's played all over our rapidly shrinking planet. With telecommunications and air travel linking the far corners of the globe, the industry is becoming increasingly unified in its rituals, habits, and mores. Industry people in Los Angeles, London, Cannes, and Hong Kong have more in common with each other than with hometown friends in accounting or insurance.
Newcomers--and even many industry veterans--have trouble understanding this arcane system and its unspoken rules. And many people are put off or intimidated by the blatant wheeling and dealing, the ruthless tactics, and the dramatic personalities.
As an introduction, I'll give you a "person from Mars" view of this fascinating industry culture, taking a closer look at the colorful natives, strange behavior patterns, rituals, and language idiosyncrasies that characterize show business and make it different from every other manufacturing industry.
This is the way it is--not necessarily the way it should be. If, once you're established in the industry, you decide to make some changes to the system--more power to you!
In the meantime, my advice to those of you who decide to make show business your life is to learn the game, appreciate the people, and relax and enjoy the craziness. A sense of humor about the whole scene will keep you sane.
But as veteran director Melvin Van Pebbles has observed: "If you're not in the game, you can't win." You don't have to indulge in the more obnoxious customs and practices yourself, but you will need to know how to deal with people who do.
|Preface: Why Should the Hustlers Have All the Fun?|
|1||The Hollywood Game: Is It for You?||3|
|2||The Power Players: Larger-than-Life Personalities||18|
|3||The Right Reasons and the Wrong Reasons for Going into Show Business||26|
|4||Focus: To Know Where You're Going You Have to Know Who You Are!||35|
|5||Producers, Script Doctors, Best Boys, Dolly Grips, and Wranglers: Industry Jobs and What They Require||61|
|6||Target the Niche That's Right for You||97|
|7||Is There a Job for You in the New Media?||108|
|8||Pitching and Hustling: A Way of Life||129|
|9||Targeting Your Buyer: How to Get Access to Public, Private, and Secret Hollywood Information||145|
|10||Building Your Power Rolodex and Hit List||157|
|11||Just Do It! The Action Log, Sales Scale, and Rhino Skin||169|
|12||Don't Be Dull! The Chutzpah Factor||192|
|13||Resumes, Reels, and Showcase Films||204|
|14||Getting a Foot in the Door: Entry-Level Jobs||222|
|15||The Shmooze Factor||236|
|16||Hollywood Agents: The Supershmoozers||258|
|17||Managers, Lawyers, Publicists, and Headhunters: Who Needs 'Em?||279|
|18||Crossover Moves and Midcareer Crises||289|
|19||Don't Be Desperate: Personal Survival Issues||303|
|20||Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot!||313|
|21||What If I'm "Different"?||329|
|22||The Luck Factor: The Opportunity You Prepared For||343|
|Talk That Talk! A Glossary of Showbiz Jargon||347|
Posted March 7, 2001
hello, me name is megan. i have wanted to be an actress since i was a littles girl. right now i am 12..i will be 13 in about a month,april 6. i have not auditioned for anything yet but i really would like to. out of everything i have done in my life i have always put my self down but when it comes to acting i dont do that, i know i can do it. on my spare time i get my frineds together and we make little skits. some are funny, some are horror, and some are also sad. i knoe i make mistakes sometimes but who doesnt, but i knoe if yoiu can help me i can do it. maybe if you can get me an audtion or if you could help me get a agent... that would make me really thankful thank you for reading this <333 megWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.