Welcome to Hollywood: Getting a Gig

Once more into the breach department: Yeppers, kids, we’re jumping up and waving our arms to answer the single most-asked question in showbiz: “How do I, you know, get in?”

Well, actually we aren’t answering it, this great article we found the other day is:

Welcome to Hwood Captureby Dennis Coleman

A lot of you are going to have to come here to Hollywood if you want to work in the movie or TV industry. Sure, there are local gigs just about everywhere and if you’re happy doing that, more power to you. But if you want to play with the big boys and girls, you’ll have to head to southern California. New York and Vancouver are also good, but I can’t really address those cities.

I’m not talking about filmmakers who are already directing and producing their smaller, indie projects. Stay where you are. Trying to do low-budget labors-of-love in Los Angeles is next to impossible. You need clearances and permits and professional crews (they’re worth the money, but they’re going to cost you). If you’re starting out, shoot where you are. If you’re in a small town where you can get the local high school or cemetery or town hall for free, then do it. And keep doing it. Once you’ve caught the attention of the business, they’ll bring you out.

I’m also not talking about writers. Fortunately you can write anywhere and email your projects in (as with the Happy Writers on this site). Again, if you get attention, you’ll be brought out for meetings. But you don’t have to stay here.

But for the rest of you, Hollywood is the place to work in production. I’m going to go through my adventures when I arrived here – and give you some advice along the way.

I came here before the internet was up and running in full force. Now you can look for work online (more on that later), but I couldn’t do that. So right out of college, I hopped on a plane and came to Hollywood. My family thought I was crazy. My Dad, who was a cop, said “you go try that for a year or two then come back and I’ll find you a real job!” (Me, a cop? I can’t stand the sight of blood! Thanks, Dad.) I didn’t know anyone. Well, I knew one guy who’d been in one class in college with me. But I barely knew him. I just knew I loved movies and TV and wanted to dive into it. So out I came. I’d already made a bunch of mistakes before I’d left the ground.

 

HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER

If you’re going to look for a job, then you’ve got to have something that would make someone want to hire you. Not just a nice smile and a good attitude. Why should they bother with you? Do you know about lighting and grip equipment? Do you know about editing? Do you know about script formatting? What skills and knowledge do you have that would make you an asset?

didn’t have any. I was an English major in college. Sure, I’d worked on my friends’ student films, so I had a basic working knowledge of a set, but not very much….

Read it all at Stage 32