Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dealing with Rejection

Piggibacking on my last post, I am not an expert on getting a job, but I am an expert on Rejection. To date, I have sent out over 800 emails, query letters, job applications, submission applications, etc. Also to date, I have heard back from a grand total of 3 positive responses. One job interview that eventually fell through b/c the company didn't have the fund to support the function. One job interview where I was told that I would not be strung along, but if I was at least I would be told I was being strung along, and one intern possibility.

After EP-ing films, producing movies, and directing TV, those are the only three positive recognitions that I received. Now, I have a 34000 dollar loan, a car, and two cell phones, not to mention rent, gas, utilities, bunnies, etc. And I have a bank account that started at 30000 and is now down to 3000 in a month. are some tips to deal with rejection:

1. Drink--A pretty good short term solution, but it wastes money, and you never wake up feeling better.

2. Keep plugging away, while working at Starbucks-- a sensible solution for everyone involved. You still get to think you're living the dream, while you make some money. However, the problem with this is your job interferes with auditions, writing, directing, or anything that you would like to do with your time.

3. Don't work and network constantly--This is a great solution for someone with some money. You can get your bearing in this situation, network, get your script/reel out there, and get some good leads. However, if you don't have the goods, don't bother. You will just be spending money, spinning your wheels, and you won't get anywhere. Even with a good script, you will get many more rejections than successes.

So, those are the big three. And then there is some combination. For myself, I am livin' the dream, hoping that I don't get a rejection from starbucks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting a job in LA

So, I am by no an expert at GETTING a job. But I have become an expert at finding where jobs are. To date, I've sent out about 800 resumes/query letters, etc. And has a grand total of 1 interview. However, i did find 800 jobs/companies. So, here's my beginner's guide to hollywood job search.

a-don't be underqualified.
b-don't be overqualified.
c-you are not qualified.

But, there are a lot of places to look (please, do not join one of those pay job search sites): (just the jobs section, not the gigs)
-studio websites (the biz)
-the Creative directory( Query, Query, Query)
-the UTA job list (Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't does)
-Networking Groups (Jeff Gund; to sign up) Try to hit up as many as possible as much as possible.
-Employment Agencies that specialize in Entertainment (, a good list of them I'm currently checking out).
-LA 411

It's really all about hitting the pavement. In my first week I made really good contacts, now this week I have to make more, and more, and more, and more. And that's how the game is played.

Query Letters

Query letters are criminally inefficient, take forever, and are a necessary evil. having just moved to La, i sent out 480 to different tv shows and agents, and will most likely hear back from non of them.

Here's how it works:

1. move to LA. Make sure you have that La number/address.
2. buy the Creative Directory/Representation Directory.
3. Write a query letter saying all the best things about you.
4. Look through the directories and find the addresses of all the companies/agents that interest you.
5. For agents, include a postcard. For production companies, include your resume.
6. Send those suckers out. Don't forget postage, that's how they get ya.
7. Wait a while.
8. Get either no call or a rejection letter.
9. Go to #1.

That's it for now. Next up...temp agencies.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First few days in la

So, I have a general impression that I gave to someone about my first few days in La, first I will give you the skinny.

Sat--moved in, missed a great panel I'm super bitter about.

Sun--went to a scriptwriter's network group. found that the first people I met were really good and insightful about writing. Was told to get my butt to CineGear, which I will.

Mon--First, had a job interview, which I think I did okay on, but might have talked myself out of the job in the final minutes of the interview. She's interviewing 7 people, but the place is so hip, it has a pool table. Then, i went to a birthday for the screenplay lab's founder, Gabrielle. The people were really nice and I got an offer from the President of Scriptwriter's network to coordinate all the writer's groups. So in one day i went from a new member of one group to the Director of all the groups. Pretty cool right. I'm already moving up the ladder. I also saw Gary Durant, from CSI at the DMV. Someone recognized him, and he left.

Tuesday--Went to Bank of America for 2 hours, looked for a Hyundai Dealer, bought a bike, went to the 3rd St. Promenade 2x, once on a bike. There's nothing like cruising on a bike along the beach to tell you everything will be okay.

So, down to the nitty gritty. If you're looking or thinking about moving, here is an email I sent to someone in DC today. Minid you, it's only based on my very limited, not even week old, opinion:


the best advise i can give, even though I've only been here for 2 days, is to get your ducks in a row. Make sure you have material to show people when they ask, that you have quality projects you can talk about, that you've worked on a lot of formats, that you know the industry inside and out, and that you can give people material if they ever ask for it. luckily, I have been working on projects as a producer and director and writer for several years, so it helps when I meet people to discuss my projects and send them to my reel online.

Have tons of business cards made out. I have already regretted not having them when I first got out here with my new information on it. I must have passed up on giving out 20-30 cards already.

After that, find a nice place, not a shit hole, nut up, and move. I've already found people in 2 days that could potentially help my career more than I did in 3 years in DC. The people are pros, they know they're shit, and they can spot a fake from a mile away. However, at the same time, they have been overwhelmingly nice, gratious, and giving of their time. I have found actually the opposite of the cut-throat, is that because everyone needed a break at the beginning, they all recognize and want to foster new talent.

If you're into tv, there are lots of fellowships closing this month or next month. If you're into features, try the screenplay lab, scriptwriter's network, and UCLA extension. If you're into production, try film independent and AFI. There are also tons of public access stations out here. One station is housed on the old lot of a major studio. Try to find that in DC.

That's it. I say NUT UP and MOVE ALREADY!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Last Day in Dc

I'm freaking out. In 24 hours I will be in an airport, waiting for a plane, that will take me to California.

Assets I am taking with me:

-2 completed Feature Scripts
-3 completed original pilots
-5 spec scripts
-3 fellowship applications
-1 job interview
-1 half-edited movie
-0 money

A few contacts are just not enough, I feel. Now, for the scared-ness freak out moment:

-My entire life, at least since high school, I have wanted to be in films. I have begged, pleaded, worked on shit, lived in shit, taken out loans, and killed myself, all hoping for one day to be able to get to LA with enough confidence to allow me the opportunity to make it.

Now, I think I'm in pretty good shape, but I still feel as though I am destined for failure.

So, what am I going to do today? drive to Brandywine with Jon, do some last minute errands, drinks with the in-laws, dinner with friends, try to squeeze in my lawyer in there. I'm sure there will be plenty of freak out moments.

Next time I post a blog, barring some freak out. I'll be in La. So, I'll be discussing La, how to get ahead, where to get ahead, and what events are worthwhile.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Austin Film Festival

So, I applied for the Austin film festival as both a screenwriter and a teleplay writer. I think the pilot turned out really good. I may have wanted another week, but I was just tweaking tweaks.

This starts a new period in my life. I was once a screenwriter who produced my own content. However, now I would like to move into a writer who is noticed for the writing, not the directing.

We'll see how it goes.

Working on a proper film

Okay, so I've worked on tons of films, from no budget to millions. However, I've been off the production wagon for a while, both because of my old job as an executive producer and my disability.

However, this past week I was able to work as a production assistant for an IMAX documentary "We the People". Now, I've been director, DP, producer, and Writer on different projects, but I needed the money to help me move, and I liked the premise. Not to mention, I've never even seen 70mm film, let alone a 70mm film camera, so it was exciting to be able to work with the format.

I made sure to take extensive notes on how their production was set up, ask everyone what their history with the project was, and take stock of how the ADs ran a set. And I have to say, it was refreshing to be with people who know what they are doing. There was no yelling, or belittling, or confusion. Everything ran properly, like a well-oiled machine.

And, it comes down to this...plan properly. The thing that separated them from the new production companies with less money...yes, the food was better, and yes the equipment was better, and yes the people were more experienced... was the preparation, and the fact they knew exactly what they wanted and how to get it. In addition, they had plenty of crew to work in the positions they needed. They brought their own generators to set and had their own trailers. But, the major thing is, they were prepared and they treated their people with respect.

So, take a lesson from it, if you're in production, treat everyone with respect and figure out what the heck you are doing, don't yell, it's not becoming, and keep your nose clean.