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Your Hollywood Career File Drawer #3
Ref 116. Dear Linda,
I am a sophomore in college and I am a film major. I want to be
a film director and always wanted to be one since I was eight years
old. The only problem is that I don't live in LA and I really want
to work in Hollywood. What can I do to get started? Thank you very
much for your time.
Ref 117. Ms. Buzzell:
I'm currently a junior in high school, and I'm working hard on my college search. My dream is to be a screenwriter/producer. I'm not interested in acting, however. What schools will give me an inside edge or best prepare me for a Hollywood career? What else do I need to do between now and my graduation from college to make it? What college major(s) will best prepare me for a screenwriting/producing career? Thanks for your time!
Ref 118. Dear Linda,
I am a junior in college working on my film degree. I have a
strong interest in cinematography. I am planning to go to LA this
summer and I was hoping you give give me some advice on how to obtain
a position which would help me learn more about cinematography.
Ref 119. Dear Linda,
What happened to your previous responses to the folks who were "REF #60s?" I wrote to you regarding advice in the field of Voiceovers. I am a female who can do a wide array of voices, with a goal of working in cartoons, CD Roms, etc. My question is this: Do you believe I need to market myself as a "regular" actress who "does voices" (as I've been told), or is it possible to work as a "voice actress" behind the scenes? I'm not exactly The Elephant Man, but I don't have any real desire to be on the screen. I believe my true talent is my voice.
Any insight would be appreciated.
Ref 120. Linda,
I am a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Filmmaking is
my ultimate goal. I have tons of experience in video, I wrote a screen-
play in one night and now we're producing it as our major production for
class, I've done some fashion photography and I have my own mixer for
playing around with and dj'ing, and I also feel that I can "reach out
to people" and that my work and the way I think and act is VERY mainstream.
I am also in a leader in our leading (business) organization on campus
(AIESEC). My desire is to get accepted to USC-CNTV for grad school. My
question is," do you know of any film school that requires maybe less
than a 3.0 to get in? I am not nearly as concerned about my actual
production work than as my grades (I have only a 2.5), but I'm just
worried that I might not make the requirement. I know anyone
could just say focus more on your work or work harder in your other
classes; but for me, I really don't care about the other classes enough
to even study anymore. Do you have any advice concerning film schools,
etc. (I haven't looked into admission requirements yet)?
Darren W. Freeberg
Ref 121. LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLIES:
RESPONSE TO REF 113: Chapter 21 of my book "How To Make It in Hollywood" deals with the difficulties faced by minorities in Hollywood. Things are certainly tough, but are slowly getting better as more and more people both in front of and behind the camera break through to new opportunities. If you've got the
talent, don't let anyone else's prejudices stand in your way! Good luck.
RESPONSE TO REF 114: Dear Jacques, Why not have your thriller translated into English and try selling it both to publishers in the U.S. and also circulate it in manuscript form to the studios and production companies, which are buying a lot of books these days to turn into movies? Bonne chance!
RESPONSE TO REF 116: Dear Justin, After you've read my book "How to Make It in Hollywood," focus your energies on making a dynamite showcase film that demonstrates your originality and talent. Get your professors' help in entering it into festivals. Maybe you'll be the "flavor of the month" at this year's Sundance Festival, which would be one of the fastest ways to get started. You may also want to pay special attention to the chapter of my book on entry level jobs and the section on how to decide whether or when to move to LA. Go for it!
RESPONSE TO REF 117: The career tracks for producing and screenwriting are different, so let me deal with them one at a time. PRODUCING: Before you choose a strategy for producing, it's important to decide if you're aiming for creative producing or line producing or a combination of both. Creative producers acquire literary properties, sometimes attach elements to them, including stars and/or director, and then spend a lot of time selling the "package" to money sources such as studios, distributors, TV networks or groups of investors. Line producers supervise the nuts and bolts production of the film or TV project once the money is attached. Line producing is a logistical/financial craft. The line producer makes sure the project comes in on time, on budget. For creative producer, the entry level positions might be story analyst, development assistant, assistant to a producer, or agent trainee. If you're aiming for line producing, production assistant, production secretary or runner jobs might offer a good start. See p 222 of my book "How to Make It in Hollywood" for more info on how to get entry level jobs, temp jobs and internships. Also check out the Entertainment Employment Journal at (818) 901-6330 which publishes an internship issue. SCREENWRITING: The only training needed to be a writer is writing itself. But a good background in English and Creative Writing at a good college would be nice too. Focus on reading a lot of great screenplays, and writing your own. The nice thing about writing is that you can write wherever you are. COLLEGES: Once you have a good general undergrad degree in whatever interests you (preferably not film and TV), try to get into one of the top film schools in LA or New York like USC, UCLA, NYU. But be aware that lots of successful people in both producing and writing, don't have film school degrees at all. They just have talent and they know "how to make it in Hollywood!" Go for it!
RESPONSE TO REF 118: Dear Alexander, You may want to check out the Entertainment Employment Journal at (818) 901-6330 which publishes an internship issue. Also write directly to companies listed in the Hollywood Creative Directory (Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop in Hollywood carries it) and to the Cinematographers Guild. Good luck.
RESPONSE TO REF 119: Dear Caroline, If you don't want to do the "regular actress" thing, focus on your voice work. Get into a class with a good teacher with Hollywood connections and ask for help in marketing your talents. Good luck.
RESPONSE TO RONALD MCKEMLY (REF 64): Cut a short, hot demo tape from your client's fitness program and get it to agents and producers of national cable shows. You didn't mention where you live - are you close to Hollywood? Sorry the material didn't get thru - I'll try to send it again in plain text.
Ref 123. Ms. Buzzell-Thanks for all your help (Ref. 117) Hopefully I can give my search some direction now. Thanks again!
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