I was recently asked for my top piece of advice to anyone who’s trying to work their way into Hollywood. It’s hard to boil it down to a single bite sized idea so instead I chose these two:
1. Just don’t quit.
Sometimes I’m amazed at how far you can get in this industry if you just stick around long enough. I look around at Producers, Managers, and Executives and in many cases they were simply the last person standing. Keep one phone number and always pick up SoCal area codes, even if you think they might be spam. With so many jobs coming together quickly, you’ll get messages from people you forgot you worked with about last minute opportunities. Which leads me to #2:
2. Bring Donuts.
You can take this advice figuratively and just be someone that people remember as a good person to have around or you can take this advice literally and show up with donuts every week, but consider that in an industry where gigs with long hours come together and fall apart rapidly the difference between being on a list to get a call and not is often a general feeling of “do I want to be around this person all day, 6 days a week for the next two months.”
There was a large production that had a person in a middle management position who was astoundingly mediocre in their work, rarely took initiative, and I honestly couldn’t tell you anything they actually did on the show. When I asked my boss at the time how this person got hired I was told, “Oh that’s the donut person”
The defining feature of this person was that they brought donuts to the production office nearly every day. That’s a career built on a weekly breakfast baked good budget of around $40. I can just imagine a producer pulling togher a her crew and going down a call list:
Producer: “Our first two choices aren’t available who’s left?”
Asst. Producer: “There’s the donut person”
Producer: Sure, call ’em.
Imagine how far you might go if you brought donuts AND you were hard working.