Hustle

Ahoy TAPA readers!

My name is Kate Lupo and I want to talk to you today about a very important word here in Hollywood.

Hustle.

That’s right: pure, sparkling, brilliant HUSTLE.

I got off the phone today with the head of HR at one of the top management companies in the industry and we discussed how most job candidates these days lack this important character trait.

But it’s the #1 thing recruiters (like me) are looking for.

I’m an entry-level Hollywood career coach and I specialize in training the next generation of intelligent, compassionate, and diverse Hollywood leaders. I’m proud to have trained thousands of candidates across the country, and even prouder of my clients who have gotten hired at top companies.

The difference between the candidates who succeed and those who don’t?

You guessed it: Hustle. When I hear your voice on the phone I can tell almost immediately if you have it.

I immediately pay attention to you if you tell me:

  • You live and breathe entertainment and follow the trades (Deadline, Hollywood Reporter, Variety) religiously every day
  • You’ve wanted to work in entertainment for years
  • You’ve already made strides in your networking and have calls and meetings set up with alumni from your school, friends, and family who can help you get in the door
  • You know exactly who you want to be and have a clear idea of how you want to make a positive contribution to the industry
  • You have read The Mailroom by David Rensin (the entry-level Bible of Hollywood)
  • You say the words “I’m ready for the challenge” or “I know how to work in a fast-paced environment”

I could go on for 5 more pages!

You’re on this TAPA newsletter (big shout out to TAPA for providing this amazing resource!) because you want to learn more. You may want to improve yourself in your current position, but most likely, you are actively looking for a new job. And many of you might be frustrated in your job hunt. You’re asking yourselves: WHY? Why am I not getting called in for interviews?

You may be lacking… you guessed it… Hustle.

So today I want to challenge you all to look inward and examine your own inner sense of hustle. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you reading the trades daily?
  • Are you organizing 2-3 networking meetings or phone calls each week?
  • Are you religiously looking on LinkedIn for new connections?
  • Do you have a clear idea of what your ultimate career goal is?
  • Do you read books about your role models in the industry?

If you answered YES to all these questions, then you are a hustler, baby! Woot!

If you found yourself saying more no’s than yes’s, then it’s time to revamp your job hunt. The good news is that you don’t have to be in this alone. You have The Hustle in you, you just need a push in the right direction.

Enter me…

I’m currently accepting applications for my signature Entry-Level Hollywood Training Program, which is a 1-month intensive program designed to equip the nation’s top college students and recent grads with the skills and job hunt techniques needed to land highly competitive jobs in the business side of the industry.

In this program, you will work with me 1-on-1 to get crystal clear on your goals, and create a realistic job hunt plan and timeline for your success.

We will create your own personalized job hunt database, revamp your resume, and I will help you ACE all of your upcoming interviews. (Interview prep is my favorite thing to teach and also the most life-changing!)

I will also teach you essential Hollywood Assistant skills, including phone skills.

I am the only person in the country who formally teaches Hollywood Assistant phone skills, which are essential to your entry-level success.

So my questions for you:

  • Are you ready to take your job hunt to the next level?
  • Are you serious about landing an entry-level job in Hollywood?
  • Are your parents supportive of your job hunt efforts – emotionally & financially?
  • Are you ready for the challenge?
  • Are you ready to have a competitive advantage over other entry-level Hollywood candidates?

If you answered YES to all these questions, then you’re the exact person I want to work with, and I can’t wait to meet you. Take a look at my Entry-Level Hollywood Training Program page here and I welcome you to apply today.

Registration closes next Tuesday, January 31st and I only have 3 spots left – and I hope one of them will be you!

I want you to be my next success story!

Apply now.

You rock!

Kate

Reimbursement for Uber

Frank writes in about getting reimbursed for riding Uber:

I chanced into a PA job with a very nice producer this past week. I had seen a “notice of filming” sign they post around LA, left a message on the number saying I’m an actor and am familiar with film sets if they need to hire any helping hands on set, and lo and behold, she texted back and I found myself being her PA on a modeling shoot.

I don’t have a car so I used Uber, and I made quite a few trips, spending about $100 total. My salary was $600 for 4 days. She knows I Ubered, but we never talked about compensation for travel or Ubering, and now she’s asking med to email her an invoice and W9, and said she’ll contact me again in January when they resume filming.

Should I ask for Uber compensation? Would that be appropriate?

First of all, always be careful when spending your own money on a shoot. Even on a big production, you may wind up getting screwed out of reimbursement. Prepare yourself for never seeing that money ever again.

Also, I’m genuinely shocked they let you get away without using your own vehicle. This sounds like it has the makings of a new iteration of The Bus Story. Still, if your boss was okay with you Ubering around town, that’s his business.

I’m assuming she didn’t expressly state that she’s paying for it, or Frank wouldn’t be writing to me. Therefore, I’d proceed with caution. If she doesn’t want to pay for it, even asking could cost you a job. You really have to think about whether the cost of the Uber is worth the risk of losing a gig.

On the other hand, $100 is a good amount of money, when you only make $10 an hour. If you think it won’t get rejected, itemize each Uber ride that you made for work. This does not include trips to and from work. You’re on the hook for those, just like you would be for your own car. Only request reimbursement for the trips made during work hours.

Also, see if you can figure out a way to export your Uber receipts to a file that you can attach. You don’t get reimbursed for stuff without a receipt, generally.

Tales from Lock Up

The other day, I tweeted out the above image, from Movie Set Memes, about lock up. I got some interesting responses:

Note the key difference between j.’s and Anthony’s tweets: there were police officers on j.’s set. This is incredibly important.

Cars

You should never, ever, ever try to block traffic without a police officer.1 It doesn’t matter if your film has a permit to film on the street, or if you’re just stealing a shot, trying to redirect or hold cars is super illegal. (Of course, you shouldn’t be shooting on the street without a permit anyway, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

It’s also incredibly dangerous. You should never be in a public road that hasn’t been blocked by police. Drivers aren’t looking for a lonely PA standing in the middle of the lane, which makes it easy to not notice you until it’s too late.

On a professional shoot, the locations department will have figured out the lock up weeks ahead of time. They’ll get the permits, hire the officers, all that stuff. The cops’ main job is to direct vehicle traffic.

Pedestrians

You, the common set PA, may still be called upon to direct pedestrians. And there will be pedestrians. Even in an industry town like Los Angeles, people love to gather and gawk at the shoot, hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. You probably can’t prevent them from taking pictures, but you can politely tell them not to walk onto set. (Again, always assuming you have a permit that allows you to keep people out of a public space.)

Be sure to tell them you’re “filming,” not “shooting.” That’s a misunderstanding that could lead to a 911 call.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Usually, they’re off-duty or retired officers, but they’re still acting in an official capacity when the studio pays for their services.

Confirm Your Schedule

The turning of the calendar got me thinking about dates, and scheduling. This is always a major headache in Hollywood, because you’re working with a lot of busy, important people who want to prove they’re important by pretending to be busy.

As an assistant or a PA, scheduling a meeting can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to work around multiple schedules. (It can be even worse when you’re a PA dealing with an idiot assistant.)

Worst Producer Ever

Impractical shoes

Ready to work!

I’m reminded of a truly terrible producer I worked with last year. It was a short film, which is something you shouldn’t be able to screw up, but she somehow found a way at every turn. Things like not giving actors call times or not securing film permits. She actually showed up in open-toed, high heels to a location in the woods. That’s someone who is not planning on doing any work on set.

Anyway, I had scheduled a time to discuss the latest cut, about a week in advance. It was a date and time she had suggested. It was also expected to be our locked cut, so I would finally have this idiot out of me hair.

The appointed time came and went, and… she never showed up. The editor and I waited ten minutes… twenty… Finally, after a half hour, I texted her to see if she was okay.

She replied, “I never confirmed.”

Again, I had asked her what time worked. I emailed everyone the schedule she wanted. But… she never actually replied to say yes, she would arrive at the time she told me she wanted to meet.

Lesson Learned

Okay, so, she is a terrible person. But, she is neither the first nor that last terrible person I’ve had to work with/for. And luckily, this all happened on a rinky-dink short film I directed.

On a real show, I now make sure that 100% of the meeting participants respond to my scheduling requests. In writing, too; I want to be able to show my boss an email or text that confirms the person in question knew the time.

There’s a handy little app called Boomerang for Gmail1 that I like to use. One of its core functions is to remind you of emails that haven’t been responded to. Whenever I send out a scheduling email, I set it to remind me in two days. If I get confirmations, great! If not, I send a second email asking for confirmation.

Calendaring

Some people like to use group calendars, like Google or Outlook. The problem with these is, not everyone uses Google or Outlook. As a PA, you’re not really in a position to drag everyone into the 21st century with modern, electronic calendars. Some people are just going to stick with their pocket diaries, no matter what you do.

Plus, there’s the issue of time zones. I’ve had this happen more than once– someone from the East Coast is shooting in LA. You send them a calendar invite, and for some reason, the time is transposed to EST. Then they show up three hours late, and complain that your invitation said 6:00pm instead of 3:00.

Best to avoid this issue altogether with a straightforward, unambiguous email.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Not a paid endorsement; I just genuinely like the app.

Two Sides to Hollywood

someone contacts me about my resume service, the first thing I ask is, “Do you want to be a PA, or an assistant?” Because, you see, there are two sides to Hollywood: the business side, and the production side.

Here, I’m using “production” in the broadest sense, encompassing every department from art to editorial. These are the people who actually make the film.1

The business side is populated with people we in production call “suits.” Agents, managers, executives, distributors, people like that. These are the folks who make top-level decisions, like what movies get made and what shows go on the air. They make business deals, negotiating talent fees and distribution rights.1

The two sides interact at some points. Development executives work with writers and directors; financiers and studio execs oversee producers. But beyond that, the connections between these two worlds is limited. Most suits can’t tell a grip from an electrician, and most G&E guys don’t know the difference between the various types of accountants.

Their lives are drastically different. The business side is very much like a traditional job. You go to work at the same time every day, at the same place every day, probably wearing the eponymous suit. In production, your days tend to be longer; you never know when you’re starting or where you’ll be shooting more than a few days in advance (at best); and your job lasts only as long as the shoot. Once the film is complete,3 you’re out of a job and off looking for a new one.

Freelancing is tough. It’s not for everyone. I can definitely see the appeal of the business side– having full-time employment with benefits over the Christmas break would be nice. Personally, I really enjoy the unpredictability and excitement of set. Of course, I may not always feel that way.

If production is starting to sound daunting, and maybe you want to get into the business side of things, I recommend checking out Hired in Hollywood. It’s a free online training session for people who want to work on that side of the fence. The next session, which focuses on the January hiring rush, is tonight, so sign up now.

[[2]]You’ll learn more about these people on KCRW’s aptly named show, The Business.[[2]]

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. We interview these types of people on Crew Call every week.
  2. someone contacts me about my resume service, the first thing I ask is, “Do you want to be a PA, or an assistant?” Because, you see, there are two sides to Hollywood: the business side, and the production side.

    Here, I’m using “production” in the broadest sense, encompassing every department from art to editorial. These are the people who actually make the film.1

    The business side is populated with people we in production call “suits.” Agents, managers, executives, distributors, people like that. These are the folks who make top-level decisions, like what movies get made and what shows go on the air. They make business deals, negotiating talent fees and distribution rights.1

    The two sides interact at some points. Development executives work with writers and directors; financiers and studio execs oversee producers. But beyond that, the connections between these two worlds is limited. Most suits can’t tell a grip from an electrician, and most G&E guys don’t know the difference between the various types of accountants.

    Their lives are drastically different. The business side is very much like a traditional job. You go to work at the same time every day, at the same place every day, probably wearing the eponymous suit. In production, your days tend to be longer; you never know when you’re starting or where you’ll be shooting more than a few days in advance (at best); and your job lasts only as long as the shoot. Once the film is complete,{{3}} you’re out of a job and off looking for a new one.

    Freelancing is tough. It’s not for everyone. I can definitely see the appeal of the business side– having full-time employment with benefits over the Christmas break would be nice. Personally, I really enjoy the unpredictability and excitement of set. Of course, I may not always feel that way.

    If production is starting to sound daunting, and maybe you want to get into the business side of things, I recommend checking out Hired in Hollywood. It’s a free online training session for people who want to work on that side of the fence. The next session, which focuses on the January hiring rush, is tonight, so sign up now.

    [[2]]You’ll learn more about these people on KCRW’s aptly named show, The Business.[[2]]

    [[3]]Your part of the production, at least. Editors naturally work for months longer than, say, cinematographers.

  3. Your part of the production, at least. Editors naturally work for months longer than, say, cinematographers.