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Working in Hollywood

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have a strong passion in film and I'm interested in working in Hollywood. To the point, I want to be a movie producer. I'm planning on moving to LA soon and I'm currently in the process of planning things out.

 

I've talked to several people about starting a career in Hollywood and one guy told me that the best way for me to become a producer would be networking and getting to know people in the business. Specifically he said it might be a good idea to try to get a job in the mail room of a talent agency and work my way up to being a talent agent. By becoming a talent agent I would be able to get to know all the stars and major role players in the industry.

 

I know that there are many different ways to become a producer but originally I thought the best path for me would be to start as a production assistant. However, what the guy told me about starting in a talent agency made sense because networking cannot be stressed enough in this industry.

 

Also how would I even go about getting a job in the mailroom in a talent agency? From my research nowadays working in the "mailroom" is a bit of a prestige due to so many successful people in Hollywood starting their career there. You now have people graduating from Ivy leagues wanting to work there, willing to take low salary. Although it's not the same level as an Ivy league, I still graduated from a fairly reputable university (University of Washington) so how does someone like me compete with these people for these job positions? I read that most people get in through connections and people they know but I don't have those kind of resources.

 

Another thing is that although I'm considering starting my career at a talent agency, being a talent agent isn't what I ultimately want to do, I want to produce films. Is it easy for a talent agent to make a transition into film producing?

 

Lastly, another thought that has been lingering in my mind is discrimination. Does being an Asian seriously hold you back in this industry? Particularly in the fields that I'm trying to work in.

 

Are there any SF members here that has had experience or currently work in Hollywood? If so could you please give me your input and any advice would be extremely helpful.

 

I wasn't planning on writing a long post but somehow it ended up this way, sorry!


Edited by dgsdm - 8/14/12 at 9:53am
post #2 of 14
Are you trying to make your text a pain to read?
post #3 of 14
I've produced a couple of movies. I think the whole "work in the mail room" thing is a bit of a cliche. You want the fastest path to becoming a movie producer? Make a lot of money doing something and invest that money in movies. But make sure that whatever you were doing to make money keeps making money because most movies are a money pit that never return a dime.

Another way to become a producer is to find investors and put those investors in touch with people who are making movies (with you taking a cut of course).

Having said all that, I'm not sure you understand what being a "movie producer" entails. In fact, there are a lot of different types of producers. That types of producers I mentioned above are usually referred to as executive producers. If you want to be a producer in the sense that you want to be the one putting together the entire production (usually the person who is titled as "Produced by" or "Producer" in the credits, you have to find a script, find investors, and turn the script into a movie. There are also line producers, associate producers, co-producers, co-executive producers, etc.
post #4 of 14
Yeah, I was always under the impression that producers usually started out with a shit load of money.
post #5 of 14
I'm a Production Assistant. Doubt I'll ever be a top film producer though.
post #6 of 14
Welcome to Hollywood, what's your dream?


Being Asian will be a disadvantage. Being Jewish is a plus. Being a self-hating Jew is a bigger plus.

Though not necessarily a faster path, given today's changing media landscape, if you have some self-motivation and show that you know how to churn out things people are interested in, being an "independent producer" will get you noticed. Say, if you have a youtube channel with well produced content that becomes popular.

Producing marketing campaigns today is big deal since now you have to worry about digital platforms.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater View Post

I've produced a couple of movies. I think the whole "work in the mail room" thing is a bit of a cliche. You want the fastest path to becoming a movie producer? Make a lot of money doing something and invest that money in movies. But make sure that whatever you were doing to make money keeps making money because most movies are a money pit that never return a dime.
Another way to become a producer is to find investors and put those investors in touch with people who are making movies (with you taking a cut of course).
Having said all that, I'm not sure you understand what being a "movie producer" entails. In fact, there are a lot of different types of producers. That types of producers I mentioned above are usually referred to as executive producers. If you want to be a producer in the sense that you want to be the one putting together the entire production (usually the person who is titled as "Produced by" or "Producer" in the credits, you have to find a script, find investors, and turn the script into a movie. There are also line producers, associate producers, co-producers, co-executive producers, etc.

 

I want to be a producer in a sense that I would be the one to work out the logistics of a production, initiate a project, look for and develop a script, etc etc. What do you think about trying to go through the talent agent path and making a transition into film making?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humphrey Appleby View Post

I'm a Production Assistant. Doubt I'll ever be a top film producer though.

 

What do you do exactly?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Welcome to Hollywood, what's your dream?
Being Asian will be a disadvantage. Being Jewish is a plus. Being a self-hating Jew is a bigger plus.
Though not necessarily a faster path, given today's changing media landscape, if you have some self-motivation and show that you know how to churn out things people are interested in, being an "independent producer" will get you noticed. Say, if you have a youtube channel with well produced content that becomes popular.
Producing marketing campaigns today is big deal since now you have to worry about digital platforms.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgsdm View Post


What do you do exactly?
I look at orders coming into the warehouse, keep track of how many items we have to sort and pack and look at productivity of the whole site and individuals, as well as a few quality issues.
post #9 of 14

If you want to be a producer, produce something.

 

lefty

post #10 of 14
Word of mouth. Start a studio, finance smaller films. Involve yourself.

You bring money to the table, people start listening. Create a name for yourself, don't become someone else's bitch. People you've worked with and invested into will eventually continue to do more work, stay in contact and keep spearheading good plans to get their films off the ground. It's a lot of being nice and friendly, lunches, phone conversations, exchanging ideas and information as well as finding other investors who want to support certain films, making insightful choices on things like actors/scripts and make things 'happen'. People should recognize you as the person who got 'shit' done, and then when you have parted ways, you need to keep in touch and find out who is doing what next, assess the value of the different films/projects and see what they can pull to get you involved.

Eventually you'll be doing the same pulling of people. At a certain point you will take a look at certain people you valued at one point and will hire their skills, its a two way street and I think I make it easier than it seems.

I'm only an amateur but it seems pretty evident that most of the industry works this way, I have much to learn, and too little money to make it work this way, which is why I try to being value to myself through my insight on the creative end.
post #11 of 14
Prepare yourself for a long haul, particularly if you don't have connections or a large amount of money you can bring to the table. Without those two things, I would say the next most valuable tool to get you going is being an AMAZING screenwriter. Hollywood is packed with talented people all waiting for their shot, so you have to be truly exceptional to get noticed.

Regarding talent agencies, that is not a bad plan, but you have to understand it's an extremely long path for low pay. Lots of people jump from being an assistant at a talent agency to working for a production company, often as an assistant. It's actually quite difficult to get a mailroom job at a big agency (at least it used to be) because those jobs are for the agents in training. It can also be very difficult to get a position as an assistant to an agent. If you don't have connections, ask around and find out which temp agencies specialize in staffing places like CAA and WM/E. I knew a number of people who landed positions that way. I hope you have a high tolerance for abuse and pedantic bullshit.

Given your goal, as Odoreater mentioned, the best route is to go make a pile of money in some other field and buy your way in later. With the right amount of money and tolerance for risk, you can open just about any door in Hollywood.

Best of luck.
post #12 of 14
For the past year or so I've been working as an extra in various movies and tv shows, and I've chatted up PAs on some of the projects. Most would probably recommend contacting various production companies, expressing your interest, and offering to intern (I'm guessing unpaid). That's what all the PAs I've talked to did, but they went to school specifically to become film producers, so the path is really no different than any other field.
post #13 of 14
I know a NY guy who moved to LA in the pursuit of getting in to the Hollywood production scene. His approach was to get jobs as doormen at "hot" LA night clubs and try to make contacts with the a-list folk. Somehow, this average 5 ft 8 jewish guy was able to land a few choice doormen gigs. While he wasn't able to get in to the film industry, he did get his his realestate liscense and with the connections he made in the club scene, he has been very successful selling homes to hollywood folk.

Not that this answers your question..
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexthedestroyer View Post

I know a NY guy who moved to LA in the pursuit of getting in to the Hollywood production scene. His approach was to get jobs as doormen at "hot" LA night clubs and try to make contacts with the a-list folk. Somehow, this average 5 ft 8 jewish guy was able to land a few choice doormen gigs. While he wasn't able to get in to the film industry, he did get his his realestate liscense and with the connections he made in the club scene, he has been very successful selling homes to hollywood folk.
Not that this answers your question..

 

there are a lot of people in hollywood that get into the scene this way. jeremy renner comes to mind. 

anyway, the real way to become a producer is to do exactly that, produce. whether you'll be sought after, known or make any money is something that can only happen over time. 

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