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Your Hollywood Career Frequently Asked Questions
By Linda Buzzell
Hollywood's top professional career counselor, Linda Buzzell, is the author of How to Make It in Hollywood (HarperPerennial) and director of the Entertainment Industry Career Institute in Beverly Hills.
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Information about Linda Buzzell
NOTE FROM LINDA BUZZELL TO ALL THOSE INTERESTED IN BECOMING PROFESSIONAL CELEBRITY ASSISTANTS: Contact the Association of Celebrity Professional Assistants at 310/322-4495.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO ALL WHO ARE HOPING TO BE PERSONAL ASSISTANTS: Check out the section of my book on temping in Los Angeles. That's a good way to start. I have also listed a number of temp agencies which specialize in the entertainment industry. Temp jobs can often lead to permanent jobs, if employers like you and find you responsible and competent. For those of you who want to work for celebrities, it's best to first get some experience working as an assistant to other showbiz folk so you have some credibility and then you can pursue working for an actor or other well-known person if you want to. But be aware that these are tough jobs. You basically spend all your time catering to someone else (even more so than when you work for an ordinary boss). And some of these famous folks can be very demanding and difficult. I've had a number of celebrity personal assistants as career counseling clients and many of them were really suffering and wanted to change occupations so they could "have a life."
NOTE FROM LINDA BUZZELL FOR ALL YOUNG ACTORS: Check out www.backstage.com/career/ Go to "Career Chat" and then to "Kids in Showbiz: How to Get Started the Right Way." Good luck!
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO PARENTS OF YOUNG ACTORS: I'd recommend you read a book called "Glam Scam" by Eric Joseph. Amazon.com should have it. You may also want to contact The Hollywood Screen Parents Association at 818/955-6510, a national support and information source that I believe offers consultations to parents of young actors. Best of luck!
Ref 1135. Dear Linda,
My name is Jake Lyman. My one lifetime dream/goal is to become a director/screenwriter. Right now I am only 15 years old but I am preparing and working very hard to figure out what it is I need to do. I already write scripts for movies and film them myself in Boise Idaho. I have a movie company called JAZZED productions. This started out as just a fun hobby, but I got very serious about it and I need to know what to do to make it in this business. Right now I act in the movies as well. I am in theatre arts at school, but there are some people that are even younger than I who are much more well known for the same skills. What should I do to get a start in acting and eventually become a director? If you would email me back I would be so gracious. Thank you for your time.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1135: You're doing the right thing -- write and direct your own films and enter them in contests and festivals. If you win, you have a chance of getting noticed. Then you can contact agents to see if someone will represent you. Best of luck.
Ref 1042. Linda,
I was hoping you can answer just one of my quetions. I want to be a stuntman,I have ever since I was in high school. I would just like to know how I would be able to get into it, and what it takes to be a stuntman. I'm 18 so I figure I have agood good chance, because I'm starting when I'm still pretty young.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1042, ASPIRING STUNTMAN: Where do you live? You probably would have to move close to the action and get involved in extra work or on-set labor to meet some people and make connections. Also check out things here on the web -- do a search under "stuntman" or "movie stunts." Good luck!
Ref 1048. i am a 16 year old high school student in ontario,ca and i am interested in becoming an executive assistant. what means should i take in accomplishing this? should i go to film school?
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1048, ASPIRING EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: Who would you like to be an assistant to? A film or TV executive? An actor? Director? All these positions take a good education (at least a Bachelor's degree is preferred) plus secretarial and computer skills, great organizational skills, good on phones and can work long hours under pressure, deal with difficult people etc. There are lots of jobs - they don't pay that well, but they'll get you in the door of showbiz if that's your goal. Experienced professional executive assistants can make good money in showbiz after a few years, but the conditions and the personalities aren't easy! Best of luck.
Ref 1164. Hello Linda. I am a junior at Purdue University majoring in telecommuncications and minoring in sound designing. I am eagerly seeking a summer sememster internship with a film company or talent scouting agency in California this summer. How would suggest I go about finding the right one, or anyone for that matter. I would be available to start withing the second week of May. I'm pretty sharp too!
Thanks for you help.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1164, JUNIOR AT PURDUE U: Sound design is a fun craft to pursue -- is that your goal? For an internship, I'd suggest contacting the Entertainment Employment Journal on the internet and asking about their internship issue. I think they're at www.eej.com but if not do a search on their name to find them. Also, internships are often listed in the "Help Wanted" section of the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety. Good luck!
Ref 1168. Dear Lynda,
First, I wish you an happy new year from Paris (France) and lots of success. I did the music for an independant american movie recently "RIFFED" and I wonder how to get in touch with an american agent who could sell my competence in USA. Thanks in advance for your reply.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1168: You may want to contact the Society for Composers and Lyricists to see if they have a list of music agents. Or you could contact the Hollywood Creative Directory at iFilm.com and see if they list music agents in their agents directory. Bonne chance!
Ref 1169. Dear Lynda,
I need your help. For some time now, I have been working in film, and have written quite a few scripts. I have recently finished a script, and I would be glad to get in touch with a producer, who can realize it in such a way, that it accords with my conceptions.
This is hard for me, because I live in Europe, but would like to see it in American production. Your help would mean a lot to me, thanks in advance.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1169: Do you have an agent in Europe? That's probably a wise first step. Many European agents have American partners who could represent your scripts in the U.S. if they felt they were right for the U.S. market. Good luck!
Ref 1178. Dear Linda,
I know that if you pay your dues long enough as a set production assistant that you can eventually advance to just about any position you want (save for the coveted positions of writer or director, perhaps), but I was wondering if the same holds true for Producer/Director's Assistant. I have worked unpaid for over four months as an office assistant for both a producer and a director and have decided that the development track is not right for me as an aspiring filmmaker, and besides I don't enjoy being stuck in an office. Because I have put in so many unpaid hours, I may be in a position to work for this producer/director team as their assistant on the set in a possible pre-strike feature. My hope is that I will be able to observe the filmmaking process and the director's interaction with the crew, in addition to finally getting some much-needed cash. My question to you is, will experience as a producer/director's assistant offer me the same flexibility in advancement options as that of a standard P.A.? Also, I do want to work in Hollywood for the experience, but my creative aspirations lie in the independent arena. In this case, do you think such experience will be worth the considerable investment of time/effort? Thank you.
(PS: I recently heard someone call in on a public radio show, identifying herself as a career consultant who also works in the entertainment industry. She had an interesting dilemma. Was that you? Own and enjoyed your book, BTW.)
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1178, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR'S ASSISTANT: My answer depends on what your ultimate goal is. You describe yourself as an "aspiring filmmaker" -- do you want to direct, produce? If so, you're getting excellent experience as an assistant to a producer or director. Standard P.A. is good too, but it's always cool to work for folks who have the job you covet, so you can get an inside track on how it's done. If you love independent film, why not begin to make your own film and enter it in contests? Also, join the Independent Film Project/West in LA if you haven't yet done so. BTW, that wasn't me on the radio talk show. Also, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed reading my book. Best of luck!
Ref 1180. Dear Linda,
I am a film student at Brigham Young University. I'm working on a group presentation. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me. Do you know what an entry-level career would be for a screenwriter? Where do the majority of screenwriters live? I would really appreciate your feedback. Thanks!
Ref 1253. LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1180, KIMI FROM BRIGHAN YOUNG U: Most screenwriters live in LA or New York. There really is no entry level job for screenwriter -- you just start to write screenplays and hopefully some good ones. Then you figure out how to get them to people who might buy them (or you produce/direct them yourself.) However, there is a job called "writer's assistant" in TV that can be useful if you want to write episodic TV series. Good luck with your presentation.
Ref 1181. Linda,
I am currently a Producer of music videos and commercials living in Los Angeles. I've been producing steadily for five years and have done videos for many well-known platinum-selling artists, and commercials for the biggest advertisers, many featuring A-list celebrity talent. I'd like to move into features or television, as an executive with a studio or production company. Can you suggest the best approach for making this transition?
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1181, PRODUCER OF MUSIC VIDEOS AND COMMERCIALS: It sounds like you have some impressive stuff on your reel. Have you shown it to agents, producers around town? It's hard to imagine you moving directly into an executive job (what kind of exec? production? development?) when you haven't yet worked in TV or film. Maybe your best transition would be into producing film/TV first and then segueing into an executive job. Best of luck!
Ref 1194. LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO ALL WHO WRITE IN WANTING TO BE FAMOUS: I understand that if you haven't had very much attention in your life, it sounds very attractive to be "famous," but I promise you it's not what it's cracked up to be. Being an actor is very hard work and it's one of the most difficult fields on the planet to get work in. If you really want to be an actor (as opposed to being famous), learn everything you can about the craft. Get some books on how to be an actor from the Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop (do a search on the web)to read more about how to be an actor. Start with student and local theatre. But let go of the idea of being famous. It rarely happens and when it does, most celebrities agree it's as much a curse as a blessing! "Be careful what you wish for..." as they say. What you're truly searching for isn't fame, it's recognition of your worth and value as a human being and that can come from many directions in life, not just from Hollywood.
Ref 1312. Hi, Linda! I am a bulgarian girl with very big probblem.My cousin is getting very popular here in Bulgaria.He acts,sings andis one of the hosts of a very popular TV show.Now he wants that I become his menager(he doesent heve one yet), but I don't know nothing aboutthis kind of job.And I realy don'tknow how to find the necessary books and informations here in Bulgaria.Please help me!
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1312, MANAGER IN BULGARIA:contact the Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop (do an Internet search on their name and I'm sure you'll find them) and ask them for books on careers as a talent manager. Also search for the "Conference of Personal Managers," the professional association for managers. Good luck!
Ref 1314. Good Evening, Linda,
Several agencies in Hollywood are interested in representing my interests for the film/TV sub rights to my novel "God Bless Mr. Devil." Is there a best way for me to get background info on these agencies. I know nothing about any of them. Thanks so much.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1314: There are a number of books that have been written on the larger agencies like Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and the William Morris Agency. Most Hollywood people ask their friends in the industry for behind-the-scenes scoop on the agencies, especially the smaller ones. Reputation is everything in this town.
Best of luck.
Ref 1433. REF: 1431 hello, i myself have been in industry for 12 years. just
about all sectors!! independant talent scout, professional fashion stylist/make-up artist, also am manager of model/talent agency. also
industry instructor/teacher. have client who is very skilled, mega
talent, canadian showcase stopper...model/actor. wanting direction to
placing her in la, big leagues! how can i make contact...and to whom
can i make contact, to help me get her out there where she belongs!!
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 1433, MANAGER OF MODEL/TALENT AGENCY: If your agency has no Hollywood affiliation, place here with another local (Canadian?) talent agency which has relationships with U.S. agencies. Also get her onto the U.S. TV shows shooting in Canada, if that's where you're located. That will bring her to the attention of U.S. agents. Good luck!
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