IS THERE EVER A GOOD TIME TO COME TO HOLLYWOOD?
February 19th 2009
One of the young girls in the entertainment industry recently received a query from a member of her university alumni group who wanted to know if it was a good time to come to Hollywood to look for work in the production end of reality television programs. So the recipient of the query posed the question to the 1200+ assistants on an entertainment industry tracking board. The question made me realize that in nearly 30 years of living and working in Hollywood it never occurred to me to wonder whether it was a good time for me to be doing it.
So, for any of you who may be wondering if having had a door close on you in one place is a sign from God and/or the universe to give Hollywood a try, I offer the meager wisdom of what I have learned in my many years on this planet, in this town, in this industry.
It is never “a good time” to do anything.
It’s never a good time to move here.
It’s never a good time to be looking for a job.
It’s never a good time in your career to get married.
It’s really never a good time in your career to get pregnant – especially if you do it more than once.
It’s never a good time to be coming into the work force and it’s always a terrible time to be returning to it after having babies (do you sense the recurring theme in MY life???).
But here’s the thing.
We all came here.
We all got work.
Some of us met our husbands here.
Some of us got married.
Some of us had a baby – or three.
Most of us are still looking for the next job.
Nothing stopped us and we’re still here.
So, if you are prone to taking advice from a total stranger, I believe it is a MUCH better time to come out and look for a job than it was in the days before tracking boards, networking events, expos, seminars and the UTA job list. And it’s certainly a much better time to get into the entertainment industry than it was when the fellas could still get away with saying, “I hired a girl once and it didn’t work out.” (Apparently, it always works out excellently when they hire a guy or the industry would come to a crashing halt – but I digress.)
One more thing – if you are really determined to be in the entertainment industry, you’ll find your way into some job that leads to a better job that leads to many other better jobs. But if you don’t have the innate drive and persistence to make it in the industry, you’ll find out soon enough to move on to a different goal and/or a different place.
That’s the great thing about Hollywood – they always let you come here and they always let you leave.
What Do We Have To Be Thankful For?
November 25th 2008
As we approach this Thanksgiving weekend, we are faced with more challenges than any of us expected we’d face in this lifetime. The stock market has lost more than 50% of its value in a matter of months. The subprime mortgage industry has caused the banking industry to collapse and the credit default crisis is exacerbating the problem. The automotive industry is struggling to emerge from beneath the weight of jumbo SUV’s that couldn’t be viable in the age of $4/gallon gas. Unemployment is reaching record highs in many areas. Nobody is offering a bailout package to small businesses, so they are struggling to survive.
Meanwhile, if you were able to block out the news broadcasts and just watch the rest of television, you’d think that everything in America was just business as usual. Grocery stores are advertising turkeys and all the necessary side dishes. Department stores are advertising “Day after Thanksgiving” sales starting at midnight. Everybody is jumping the gun and advertising Christmas before the pilgrim décor even has a chance to exit gracefully and make way for Santa Claus (but that’s been going on since before Halloween witches and goblins made their candy grab).
So when Oprah reminds us to take out our Gratitude Journals and count our blessings, where should we begin?
I am grateful for my husband who comes home to me every night with a smile and a kiss.
I am grateful for my children who do their best to maneuver through the temptations of life in the 21st century and manage to do the right thing in most situations.
I am grateful for my friends who love me at my best and support me through the worst.
I am grateful that we have a safe, clean (albeit occasionally cluttered) home.
I am grateful that we are healthy – because I know what life is like when health is at question.
When my first son was injured by medical malpractice at birth, the doctors gave him no chance of survival and told us to “go home and we’ll call you when he dies.” I am grateful for the Writers Guild Health Fund whose insurance gave the doctors an impetus to see if they could keep him alive. I am exceptionally grateful that this son – who had no chance of survival – will drive himself to college today.
I am grateful that Universal Health Care is FINALLY a topic on the national “to do” list!
I am grateful that I have been privileged to practice the craft of writing for my profession. In the B.C. (“Before Children”) years of my career, I was a successful television writer specializing in police procedural shows like HUNTER and JAKE and the FATMAN. Early on, I realized that “truth, justice and the American way” was the underlying theme that ran through every episode I wrote. Before beginning each script, I would ask myself the same question: If I have the privilege of talking to 50 million people for one hour of their life, what am I going to ask them to think about?
Back in the day, the only way a writer could get a chance to even ask that question was if a production company and a network would agree to spend upwards of $1 million to produce an episode of television – or if a publisher would agree to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish and promote a book. Now that we live in a digital world, we have so many more opportunities to speak to the world and to each other.
For those of you who believe it is important to tell stories that have an underlying moral message, Movieguide.com and The John Templeton Foundation offer an annual opportunity to strut your spiritual stuff. If you’re not already writing screenplays, think of this as motivation to get started on one for next year’s competition.
The 4TH Annual $50,000 Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays --
Deadline is December 1, 2008!
Sponsored by The John Templeton Foundation, MOVIEGUDE® announces the 4th Annual Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays. The primary purpose of the prize is to further the influence of moral and spiritual values within the film and television industries. Set up to help inspire first-time and beginning screenwriters to produce compelling, entertaining and spiritually uplifting scripts, the winning scripts are read by top execs in addition to the monetary awards.
PRIZES: Grand Prize: $25,000. 1st Runner Up: $15,000. 2nd Runner Up: $10,000.
FINAL DEADLINE: December 1st, 2008
For complete information please visit www.kairosprize.com
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