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Your Hollywood Career File Drawer #6

Ref 223. Linda,
I am a actor living in Vancouver, Canada. I have done small principal
roles in feature films for most of the top studios and principal roles
on primetime series and MOW's. The problem I am having deals with working
in the United States. I find that most the guest spots and leads are being
cast with a seperate Casting Director out of LA. I don't have my visa
for work in the US, so is it even worth my while to go down there and
approach an agency to represent me?

Ref 224. Linda: how do I go about getting a job at a major studio, production company, agency, etc. I'm currently in the music business as a marketing & sales coordinator (2 yrs) and have 5 yrs experience as an event coordinator for the Florida Citrus Sports Assn. I'm not even sure how to start. Do I just send the ole resume to
the personnel departments or do you really have to know someone? I have NO aspirations to be an actor, director, producer or screenwriter. I am strictly a BEHIND the SCENES type of person. HELP!!!

Ref 225.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 209, JACOB: Congrats! You must be doing something right! But I need more info to advise you. First, do you have an agent? Second, are you continuing to write mind-blowing plays and getting them up in New York? (Hollywood loves genius playwrights). Third, who is the producer? Is s/he connected to a studio or big production company or an independent? When you sell screenplays usually they should travel the "trickle-down" route -- from top A-list players downwards, unless you have a good strategic reason to do otherwise.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 110, DYLAN NAPOLEON: Enjoy! REF 218: Thanks for the plug!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 213, JEFF GALYAN: Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. How did the auditions for the Taper go? Did you come up with some chutzpah tactics?

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 215, STUDIO TEACHER WELFARE WORKER: Thanks for the correction. I'm always looking to improve the book's resources. All info is welcome.

LINDA BUZZELLS REPLY TO REF 216, FRUSTRATED IN TORONTO CANADA: Jeesh, I was born in Montreal... you can trust me to know where Toronto is, I promise you! Re. your demo tape: don't try to be an ad writer if you're not. Network til you discover someone who is who can write something for you. Or do a close approximation of a commercial currently in use, minus the proprietary stuff that could inspire them to sue you... Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 218, HOLLIS: Hope you've got a copy of my book "How to Make It in Hollywood" 2nd edition (HarperCollins). Check out the chapter on focus and decide what area or areas you're targeting: producing, directing, writing, development exec, agent, showbiz lawyer? Once you have some idea, write me back, because the career paths into each area are distinct. Also check out the section on the pros and cons of film school. Also see Ref 219, from Dylan Napoleon. Talk about ToughLove... Dylan's advice, by the way, might not apply to you if you're not interested in directing. And, no, Dylan isn't on my payroll!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 223, ACTOR FROM VANCOUVER. This is getting to be a Canadian convocation here! (see ref. 216) Well, we Canucks have to stick together. Why not get your Green Card? That way you can work both in Canada and the U.S. Also check with your guild and with SAG for all details on what makes you eligible to work in the U.S. It sounds like you have good credits and know people from both sides of the border, so capitalize on it! Once you're eligible to work in the U.S., by all means make a trip to LA to schmooze your way around town. You might even want to book a career counseling session (on the phone or in person) with me so we can plan some strategic moves... Call my office at 310/553-9660. Good luck.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 224, BEHIND THE SCENES: First step: buy my book "How to Make It in Hollywood" 2nd edition (HarperCollins) at your local book store or from my office (310) 553-9660. I promise you, the answers are all in there... If you still have questions after reading it, write me again or give me a call and we'll set up a phone consultation.

Ref 226. Ms. Buzzell,

As of late, I've been writing some scripts, whose quality I, and the people
I've shown them to, consider really, really good. Unfortunately, I live in
Europe, and as much as I'd like to move to LA, it's pretty much impossible
for me to do it as of now. Should I try to contact agents thru mail, phone,
etc, or am I pretty much trying something along the lines of "impossible
mission", and would be better off forgetting it?
PS - I've been trying to find your book, but I couldn't
find it here in London. Is there any address for mail order
I could try?

Ref 227. Dear Linda...I have a 9 yr old who pretends to be an actor in front
of the mirror or anywhere she is. How can I help her realize her dream?

Ref 228. To Linda and Hollis,

I enjoyed the reply to my comments. I didn't mean to sound harsh, I just believe that the only one that can really look out for you is yourself. After reading Lindas' book, a fire was lit under me. I am now doing everything I can(albeit slowly) to develop my skills so that I will have something to show someone when the need or the opportunity arises. I live in Houston, Texas and there are many productions in and around my area. If you want to act, get with somw friends who have cameras and get yourself on tape. If directing is your thing, try Future Filmmaking at Used Car Prices by Rick Schmitt. There are many sources that can help you decide on a career track. Try a Barnes and Noble Bookstore if there are any in your area. Linda, like you said, Tough Love. I think this is a good thing because it allows you to be creative. Chutzpah is a very big part of this. You helped me see that. I hope to meet you in person and thank you for all your help. And Hollis, I know that this can be a tough road. You need support from everywhere. If you need any, E-mail me and I hope I can give you a boost.

Happy Entertaining.
Dylan Napoleon

Ref 229. How could I get a list of agents for screenplay writing and acting.
My e-mail mjgaegjtkjrk@worldnet.att.net

Ref 230. Jacob,

Try reading Directing your Directing Career, and Directing your
Acting Career by K Callan. They are both excellent resources with a very extensive agent list.

Dylan Napoleon

Ref 231. WOW! This is GREAT! Linda I bought your book about a year and a half
ago - I probably read it in a day or two! I have an insatiable
curiosity and had 1,000s of questions for you! I have been planning,
since I read your book, to move and the beginning of my dreams are
about to be realized - I plan to arrive the first week of Sept. '96. I
was wondering if I could talk with you - in person? Meanwhile, I can
give you an idea of my frame-of-mind. Being a woman interested in a
film career I am aware of the difficulties which lie ahead. I know
you stress the importance of "KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT". I know
that I want to do work similar to Streisand! Sing, Act, Direct,
Produce, Write, Etc. Am I expecting too much? Is it to my benefit
to work my way up the ladder as a PA, I've applied to the DGA Training
Program, etc. and then transfer to performing? Or should I stay in
front of the audience and work my way behind the camera? I have MANY
more - but I would prefer to wait and talk in person. I look foreward
to a response.

Shonna P.S. E-mail (if you can) rcpro@windsor.igs.net
(Windsor - boyfriend is Canadian - I'm visiting.)

Ref 232. dear linda,
I am 25 with a degree in bcst/journalism. My prior goals upon finishing college were to become
a newscaster. My present goals are to become a tv show host, such as Entertainment Tonight,
and or Extra. I am currently represented in L.A. for commercial/ film and need to find
an agent whom specializes in representation of such talent. Could you reply with some info? Thanks

Ref 233. Dear Linda,
Would you say that attending a well known film school such as USC,
would ease one's entry to the industry?



Ref 234. I need info on how to establish a correct format for a screenplay
idea and who or what to contact once the initial screenplay is
Any help would be greatly appreciated

Ref 235. Dear Linda:

I'm in a quandary--I've written spec scripts for a number of highly popular TV shows, and there's no visible way to get them to producers who refuse to accept unsolicited material. I am further hampered by not having an agent or manager (I am currently struggling to find one), and my few Hollywood contacts are tenuous (though one is a working screenwriter who likes my writing and would probably send a letter of referral, but right now is not a good time). I've heard of clever schemes to get scripts read by others (sneaking into actors rooms, faxing kooky messages) that require a lot of inside information. If I had such information, I would probably exploit it. But I've scoped the Internet, my primary resource, for some way to contact the producer/stars of the shows in question only to get the "official address": an address which sends back unsolicited scripts unread. Short of tracking down the people I feel need to read my scripts and sneaking my way in (not a good idea, as I can neither afford to go globe-trotting nor am I the stalker type), how else can I get in touch with them? As I said before, my primary resource is the Net, but I haven't come across any web-sites that can help me in this regard.
I wouldn't want to send my work to these people if I didn't think it had potential, or at least met the shows' criteria. And if the producer or star rejects it I can live with it, as long as they read it. Any suggestions?

Ref 236. Hi Linda: I would like your advice on the best way to break into the
entertainment industry. My name is Jennifer and I live Ottawa, Canada.
I am presently working as hard as I can to build my experience in
what I know is a very tough industry to get into. I have no formal
education in broadcasting or film. I have been working as a volunteer
in community television since February 96. I have tried a little of
everything (camera, character generating, writing, booking guests,
researching and finally reporting). I am now working on researching
and reporting my own 5 minute segments for a news show. I enjoy being
in front of the camera and being creative!!! I know for sure that I dont
want to do strictly technical work. I am also taking some workshops in
screenwriting, film and video production. I enjoy acting although I guess
I can improve there also. I am just wondering what is the best way to get
an entry level in the business i.e production assistant or actor with a very small
role. Am I doing the right thing... Do you have any suggestions?

I would really appreciate some guidance... By the way my stepdad is
a DOP, my brother graduated from college in Broadcasting and won a
Reel Award and my aunt and uncle work in production and editing
for YTV so you could say that the business runs in the family...

Ref 237. Francisco Franco from Brazil. Hello Linda. I hope to sell "The
Kleptomaniac - The man who want to see God" or "The Arc".
Can you help me?
email: renatpagnano@netsite.com.br

Ref 238. How do I find horror movie producers? Thanks jaques@capecod.net


Ref 240. Linda, I am an American born actress of Asian/Indian descent. I see
a large untapped viewing audiences in the Indian community both in the
states and in India. I am a unique mix on cultures that may make me
too unique..any advise on how to start?

Ref 241. Dear Linda, I'm an aspiring screenwriter and recent film major graduate.
I'm currently working on rewrites for a feature length script, but need
a job to pay the bills. I've worked as a personal assistant, but am ready
to move up in the world. I can't seem to come up with a position that would
both pay well, enable me to network to some degree, and still have time left
to write.... which is my ultimate goal of course. Any ideas would be greatly
appreciated, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Ref 242. Linda,

My partner and I are writing a spec for the X-files. I know that unsolicited manuscripts are promptly returned unopened. But, we have a publicity stunt in mind to garner attention to ourselves. It could be the most outrageous example of Chutzpuh yet. I would like to know what you think. Should we do the stunt then send the spec, or are we just wasting our time?

Dylan Napoleon

Ref 244. Just wondering... what are the chances of an Asian American writer breaking into sitcom writing for big shows such as Wings, Friends, Party of Five. I'm talented and have a Ivy degree but I sometimes feel people in the industry doesn't take me seriously because of my nationality. Do you think I'm crazy? also, what are the kinds of full time positions I can seek in the entertainment business where my experience is mainly in writing and directing. Will my Ivy degree help me in this business as a writer? As an employee in a production co? I have all the skills but people seem to brush me off merely as an "out of work screenwriter." Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ref 247. Dear Linda,
I'm 14 and I have been wanting to become an actress since I was 7.Then I thought that it was just a dream and phase that all kids go though.But now I'm getting really, really, serious about this.I'm haveing a hard time finding someone to help me get in to this buisness.Can you give me names and phone numbers of anyone who will take me in and see how good my talent is?I have gone to the extreem of writeing the Rolonda show for their help like an hour ago.I have no idea where to look anymore. I don't know where I should start or who to look for.I have been really seriouse about this since I was about 12.I am very taleneted, I am willing to work harder than ever. I like to have peoples attention on me.I can sing.I can take a script and make what is written sound real, not fake! I feel like I have looked everywhere and there is no where else to look. Please help me.I'll start from the bottom.I'll do the really hard stuff and start at the top.PLease I am in desperate need of your help. E- mail me at
garycomp@dfn.com. I'll take all the advice you give me and I want you to know that your knowledge here is greatly appritiated.

Ref 248. Dear Linda,
I am currently a project manager for the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) in California and seriously considering
a career change to the entertainment industry. I have been successfully
managing multimillion dollar projects and would like to find a career
in "the business" (producer?) where I could apply my managerial and
technical skills. I have a BS in Aerospace Engineering (1990) and
an MS in Systems Engineering (1993) from USC. I would appreciate any
suggestions or advice. Thanks. James Yamanaka
email:jimmy@ptw.com phone: 805.258.3203 (day) or 805.722.2059 (eve)

Ref 249.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 226, LUIS: London is a great place to get your scripts plugged in. If your scripts are "hollywood/commercial", find a local literary agent who has an L.A. connection or affiliation. If your films have a more European sensibility, find a London agent who can set up your films in Europe. Also, you can order my book from the Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop in either New York City or Los Angeles. They have a mail order catalog. Or call my office at 310/553-9660 and we'll send you a brochure and order form.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 230, JACOB: In addition to the book's Dylan recommends (Thanks, Dylan!), try the Agents/Managers list from the Hollywood Creative Directory, also available thru Samuel French (see reply to Luis above).

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 231, SHONNA: Call me at 310/553-9660 so we can set up an individual career consultation once you arrive in L.A. I'd also be happy to send you a brochure that describes the individual work I do with my clients. Look forward to chatting with you about your career plans.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 233, SAM: The short answer: Yes! Also see the section of my book "How to Make It in Hollywood" on the pros and cons of film school.

LINDA BUZZLL'S REPLY TO REF 234, SCREENWRITER: Get the mail order catalog from Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop in NY or LA and order some of the books on screenplay writing. Also subscribe to "script" magazine and see the Writers Resources section of the Resources appendix at the back of my book. You'll get all the guidance you need. Also read some scripts and you'll see what they're supposed to look/read like. Good luck!

Ref 250. Dear Linda:

I have a treatment for a childrens educational show that I developed. Since I don't have an agent, I want to submit my treatment
to legitiamte production companies (I have the hoolywood creative directory already). Do I send it in blindly or do I make an apointment to pitch my idea.


Rose jones


Ref 251. 8/13/96

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 232, NICKY: If you haven't already done so, go to Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop either in LA or the San Fernando Valley and see if any of the agent directories list agents who specialize in TV hosts. Also take a course in on-camera presenting at UCLA Extension and ask the instructor for referrals to specialized agents. Another thing to do: call the big agencies and ask the receptionist who at that agency specializes in this area. Lastly, see if your current commercial/theatrical agent has someone in her or his agency who covers this, or someone they refer to. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 235, TV SPEC SCRIPT WRITER: As you probably know, producers of TV shows rarely look at spec scripts written for that show. These scripts are used by writers as samples and are usually sent to producers of similar shows to show off your talent. Why not join the Scriptwriters Network at (213) 848-9477 for support by fellow screenwriters and, hopefully, referrals to agents who can help you break through this impasse. The Net is great, but there is no substitute for meeting people in person. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 236, JENNIFER: You're doing great! Get on camera and build up your reel. And get a copy of my book ÏHow to Make It in HollywoodÓ (HarperCollins) for additional advice on how to build up your career. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 237, FRANCISCO FRANCO FROM BRAZIL: Since I'm not an agent or manager, I can't sell your script for you, but my book will give you some guidance about how to break into the Hollywood market. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 238, JACQUES: Buy a copy of the Hollywood Creative Directory from the Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop in LA or New York City. This is a current list of Hollywood producers and their phones and addresses, and each listing mentions a few credits, so you should be able to figure out who the horror movie specialists are. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 239, MICHAEL O'CONNOR: First step: read my book ÏHow to Make It in Hollywood.Ó Next step: if you don't live in LA or New York, contact your local film commission, and hook in with local producers and productions at whatever level you can, even if you have to start as a Ïgofer.Ó Once you know a few people, get introductions to the folks in construction and shmooze, shmooze, shmooze! If you live in LA, it should be easier to meet someone in the industry who works in production. Good luck!

Ref 252. Hello Ms. Buzzell. I enjoyed reading your first book. It was just as I was starting my tech.career.It helpped me have the confidenc not to PA (no offence to the many PROFESSIONAl and inspiering people who are PAs) but to start right after my path. I started in the lighting dept. and now I am moving to the camera dept. My main goal is to DP or if I do not feel I enjoy it or do the art justice, continue to 1st AC. My question is this I live in Fl. and I always seem to be balanced on the edge of taking off or not(I'm not really stalled) I'd like to head out west for a bit or even just travel around doing film work. I'm just unsure how to get in with DPs, other ACs and production companies to acheive this. Also since I am here in Fl. alot of people feel that "WE" do not really know what "WE" are doing over here. I know I'm going to the "ocean" from a "lake" and I'll have to load,ect... but I'm having trouble getting started(WHERE to START) and over coming the notion of there is only "HOLLYWOOD". Thanks for your time and both books.
"CHING" Charles G. Oettel ching@magicnet.net

Ref 253. 8/14/96

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 227, KITTY: Contact the Hollywood Screen Parents Association at 818/955-6510 for further info on how a young actor can safely pursue a career. Also read ÏGlam Scam,Ó by Eric Joseph, published by Lone Eagle Press in 1994. It covers the most common scams that young actors and others run into. This book could save you a lot of heartache and money. Hollywood is a snake pit for young actors, so it's important to protect your daughter. Her best bet really would be to start where you are (assuming you're not in the LA or NY area), in school plays, community theatre or local TV, and get to know the top local acting people, teachers, producers etc. She can learn the basic craft of performing. If the local pros think she's really talented and ready for Hollywood, they'll be able to refer you to legitimate people in LA when you're ready. And write me back if you have more questions! Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 240, ASIAN/INDIAN ACTRESS: If you're planning on working in Hollywood, read the chapter of my book ÏHow to Make It in HollywoodÓ on Ïbeing different.Ó More and more people are now open to Ïcreative castingÓ and the Screen Actors Guild is behind it too. If you're a SAG member, get involved with SAG's committee that encourages minority casting and just get out there and be fabulous. And remember, there's no such thing as Ïtoo unique.Ó Are you in the LA area? Please write back.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 241, SCREENWRITER/PERSONAL ASSISTANT: Read the section of my book on ÏB-jobs.Ó And if you'd like to sit down with me so we can come up with a better Ïwriter's jobÓ for you, call my office at 310/553-9660 for an individual career consultation. B-jobs are very individual, and depend on each person's unique skills/experience mix.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 242, DYLAN NAPOLEON: It depends on what the stunt is. If it's fun, entertaining, maybe. But if it might freak out some of the security minded Hollywood folks, you could end up like an ÏX-filesÓ character, with the security people on your tail! So be careful! You might be better advised to network your way into a relationship with an agent who can guide you through the maze. Also, as you know, producers of TV shows rarely look at spec scripts written for that show. These scripts are used by writers as samples and are usually sent to producers of similar shows to show off your talent. Why not join the Scriptwriters Network at (213) 848-9477 for support by fellow screenwriters and, hopefully, referrals to agents who can help? Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 244, LEE12: As I suggested to Ref 240 above, first read the ÏWhat If I'm Different?Ó chapter of my book ÏHow to Make It in Hollywood.Ó Then, don't let anything stop you. Your Ivy League degree is a definite plus both in writing and getting a job. Network with other Hollywood grads of your school. Also read the ÏB-jobÓ section of my book and choose a the appropriate Ïwriter's jobÓ that doesnt hamper your ability to write. See my reply to Ref. 241 above. Good luck!

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 247, 14 YEAR OLD ACTRESS: Ask your parents to contact the Hollywood Screen Parents Association at 818/955-6510 for further info on how a young actor can safely pursue a career. Also read ÏGlam Scam,Ó by Eric Joseph, published by Lone Eagle Press in 1994. It covers the most common scams that young actors and others run into. This book could save you a lot of heartache and money -- and maybe even your life! Hollywood is a snake pit for young actors, so don't just come out by yourself or even send tapes without some help. A so-called producer or agent could be not legitimate. Unfortunately young actresses (and actors) get hustled all the time. Your best bet really is to start where you are, even in ÏcornyÓ school plays, community theatre or local TV, and get to know the top acting people, teachers, producers etc. in your area. Learn the basic craft of performing. If they think you're really talented and ready for Hollywood, they'll be able to refer you to legitimate people in LA when you're ready. And write me back if you have more questions! Good luck.

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 250, ROSE JONES: Make a list of all the potential buyers for your project, and network your way into relationships at each of them. You might want to join the International Documentary Association in LA at (310) 284-8422 and there's also an organization for educational filmmakers in New York City. If you have trouble tracking it down, ask a reference librarian to check the directories of national associations. Meeting people who already sell to these buyers will be a big help, especially if they're willing to say ÏOh, call so and so, Ive worked with her and she's great.Ó That way you'll get a meeting so you can do a live pitch, which is much more effective. Good luck!

Ref 254. If you have a script for a screenplay, how do you go about getting prominent people (industry people) to view it?

Ref 255. LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 254, SCREENWRITER: Big question! Books have been written to answer it (see the Writers Resources section of my book "How to Make It in Hollywood" for a few examples of good ones. Also see my answer to Ref 234 and other screenwriters above. Good luck!

Ref 256. I live in LA. I've written six screenplays. I've met so many people who have written eight or less screenplays and given up totally on writing and selling scripts. At what point do you advise people to quit and find something else that they are good at and that they
may make a living at? I also know a writer who kept at it for fifteen years and then sold one. I've gotten so many mixed messages that I don't know if I am investing my years, money, & energy into a lottery type career and how do I know that my scripts aren't horrible?

Ref 257.
LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 256, LONG-SUFFERING SCREENWRITER: This is a really tough question: when is enough enough? I know I don't have to tell you that the odds are long indeed of selling a screenplay and longer still to achieving a lifelong (or even decade-long) career as a working screenwriter. And the older you get, the tougher it gets, unfortunately, given the ageism that's rampant in the biz. Maybe you can give me more info about your situation: are you shooting for TV or features or both? What are the six screenplays you've written: TV episodics or spec features? And if they're features, what genres? It's easier to sell action or thriller material in general than drama or comedy, which sometimes doesn't do so well internationally, or at least that's what many low-budget film distributors believe. And do you have a "B-job" or second profession that supports you nicely as you continue to write scripts, so you're not entirely dependent on whether or not you win this Hollywood lottery? Please write again. Good luck!

Ref 260. I am a 26-year old woman, living in L.A. I have never had any formal acting or training experience. Yet, I am constantly told by my friends & peers that I am a "natural," whatever that means. Here is my predicament, I am very interested in taking the gamble in the entertainment industry but do not know where to start! Who should I take classes from? When should I get headshots? When should I actually try for a speaking role? Help me, if you can! Oh, P.S. I got your book!! So far it's been great! Thanks for the inspiration!

Ref 261. 10/12/96

LINDA BUZZELL'S REPLY TO REF 259, BUDDING ACTRESS: There are many good acting teachers and coaches, which are often listed in issues of Backstage West and Dramalogue (two publications you should definitely be getting!). Why not try TV actress Kathleen Freeman's Studios at 818/761-5181, Judith Weston's Acting Studio at 310/392-2444, Lee Kilton-Smith at 213/650-8610 or well-known teachers Larry Moss and Milton Katselas. As for headshots, wait until you know how you might be cast and get a photographer who will capture the "essences" you naturally communicate and want to be known for. Your acting teacher and fellow students may recommend photographers and you can also check out the ads in the two trade publications mentioned above. But don't go to any photographer who hasn't been recommended by at least two unbiased people. Good luck!

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