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How To Find Just About Anyone in Hollywood

Every once in a while, I get a strange email like this:

Hello!

We have a strange research question for Anonymous Productions Assistant’s Blog!

I am helping a friend research and find pizza boxes for his Guinness Book of World Record Collection of pizza boxes. (He’s amazing – Scott Wiener – http://www.scottspizzatours.com/projects/pizzaboxes)

He’s been traveling across the globe showing his collection, and most recently hosted a film series about films that have to do with pizza. That’s when the question popped up. Who designed the great pizza boxes in movies that have specific pizza boxes in them: Mystic Pizza, Home Alone, Do the Right Thing, etc.? And is there a chance to find them?

He’s planning on opening a complete PIZZA museum in NYC within the next few years, and these boxes would have an amazing home.

Any chance you might help us reach production designers/art departments?

He is interested in pizza boxes made specifically for any film, TV, or shows of any sort.

Have a slice day,

C.C.

First of all, how did you miss Spider-Man 2?1

Anyway, not super relevant to this blog, right? Now, watch how, using only the power of imagination, I turn this into a post useful for my readers.

A pizza box is a prop (because it’s something handled by the actors), so you really don’t need to go all the way up to the production designer. The prop master will most likely be able to help you with your question.

It’s easy to find the prop master’s name on IMDb, but not everyone (especially below-the-line) lists their contact information there. So how would you find Doug Harlocker?

Most Hollywood prop masters are members of IATSE local 44, which also includes set decorators, greensmen, and special effects technicians. It’s incredibly easy to find a member you’re looking for. Just call up their local, and ask for contact information.

And here’s where it comes back to you, dear reader. As you make your way through Hollywood, you’ll probably find yourself drawn to one department or other. Maybe you dream of designing costumes, or like creating make-up effects, or maybe, like CC, you’re interested in props. But how do you get into that field?

I have no idea! Ask someone who’s already successful in that area. Look up movies and series you enjoy, check who works in that department, and find the local they’re most likely in. You’ll be able to get ahold of just about anybody in less than two phone calls.

Hell, even the DGA and WGA have directories (which will more than likely put you in touch with their agents, but still).

Once you get them on the phone, simply tell them you’re an admirer of their work, and tell them you’d like to take them out for lunch or drinks to learn more about their trade. It’s hard to turn down a free meal, especially when the other person wants to flatter you for an hour in the process.

I recommend this to anyone trying to break in. You’ll learn a lot, make connections, and probably have fun, too.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Holy shit, in that five minute clip are Aasif Mandvi, Donnell Rawlings, and Emily Deschanel! And Joel McHale is in it later! Who wasn’t in this movie?
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