I woke up the other day with the most amazing comment on the UTA joblist page. It’s short, but amazingly helpful. I’m a little mad I didn’t write it myself.
As someone who moved to LA in 2010 from another state who has:
- 1) No film or entertainment related degree (BA in Political Science)
- No family (direct or otherwise) connections to the business
- Made the move to LA without a job offer in place (but with money saved for this reason)
- Worked (in a different order) as an unpaid intern, background actor (non-union and later union),
stand-in, production assistant, agency assistant, executive/development assistant, and network
- Applied to jobs using the UTA joblist (rarely heard back)
- Posted a job to the UTA joblist
I’d like to encourage everyone on here that truly anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Without a job and low on cash? Head down to Central Casting (prepared-print the paperwork beforehand. Google is your friend. So is Fedex Office) with $25, a free day, some form of ID, patience, and a good attitude. Enlist a calling service (Again, Google is your friend). If you meticulously follow every instruction, you will be on set in weeks. If you’re an actor quietly study the principal cast. You’d rather work in Production? Show the PA’s that you’re reliable and can be counted on (wouldn’t hurt to have resumes in your backpack). Work for 6 months and you’ll start to see familiar faces across every department. You’d be amazed at how quickly a 400 person crew production on a big budget Film or TV show halts on a dime because the 2nd 2nd AD can’t find the waiter with the red bowtie for the turnaround after lunch (he or she is probably at crafty. Don’t be that person). Be that useful background actor who can help the PA’s “keep eyes” (without being creepy or obvious) on certain people who are important to any particular shot. Befriend someone (without interrupting their work flow or being obnoxious) in your department of choice. Choose an appropriate time to ask if they would accept your resume for consideration. Production is the best place to start.
Does the representation/development/business side interest you more? Get an unpaid internship at a production company (maybe 2 days a week). Learn the players in town. Become indispensable. Split time between background work and that internship until your boss feels comfortable referring you to an Agent Trainee program. If you’re persistent enough, you will get in. Agency HR people love applicants who won’t (within reason) take “No” for an answer. Those people will probably make great agents, they figure. Put in at least a year and doors previously inaccessible will begin to open.
Most importantly, be a good person in a town lacking them. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Understand that this is Hollywood and that not one person “knows it all”. The phrase “There’s no business like showbusiness” doesn’t exist because it rhymes.
A well respected and iconic entertainment multi-hyphenate once gave me the single most important industry-related piece of advice I’ve ever been given (before any of the above (1-6) happened).
“Follow your heart, believe in yourself, and go for it”