The purpose of this isn’t to tell you the class to take, the book to read, or the bar to go to. There’s no formula to break into the film industry. Do I have recommendations? Of course I do. And I’ll share them. But will any one thing I say, get you a job? Nope. Not in the least. If you gamble your last penny on an opinion of mine, consider it gone.
When I leave Los Angeles, and talk to those elusive characters who know nothing of the film industry, I like to point out that outside of this town – everyone thinks success in film requires 90% luck. Okay, I’ll be fair – they think it’s 80% luck. Getting that one opportunity to let you shine – that’s the main struggle. Finding an open door, an open mind, an open ear – THAT’S the golden nugget we’re all fighting to find.
But if you’ve spent any amount of time out here, you quickly realize – flip that around. This industry is 90% hard work, and only a dash of luck. Everyone I respect in this town, works their fucking ass off to follow their dreams. Not that you aren’t! I know you are working hard. The thing that does suck about our industry, is that I’ve met people who have worked hard their whole lives, and they’re still dreaming of the day they actually get a project they like.
I truly believe that everyone gets one shot. You get one shot, one opportunity (thank you Eminem) to seize everything you ever wanted. Meaning – I believe, that everyone gets a door opened for them, at some point in their career. However – you may not realize that door was opened. You may have been too scared to walk through that door. You may have fallen through the door. You may have walked through that door, and declared “I’m here!” and never gone anywhere after that. But that door should have been just an opening for you to take off running.
Let me explain what I mean by that. You may have been offered an opportunity to star in something, and you turned it down, because it didn’t look right. Maybe it was a theater opportunity, while you were focusing on co-star auditions. Maybe it was a short film, or a student film, when you decided you were only going to focus on network projects. Maybe it was a weird little web series, but you’d decided you were only doing drama, because your comedy didn’t always land the way you wanted it to. But those could have been launching points. You never know what is going to take off. Judge the projects you do, by the quality of the filmmakers. Not the media outlet, not image you want to present of yourself. More often than not – you’ll discovers skills you never thought you had, because you’d never had the opportunity to flex those muscles.
You may have been too scared – I think that’s self-explanatory. If you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew – work your ass off and JUST DO IT. Nike has it right – You know what needs to be done. Yes, it’ll be hard. But yes, you can do it. Just work hard.
You may have fallen through the door – meaning you haven’t been working on SHIT this whole time, you’ve just been trying to find an open door. If you haven’t been working on your skills, doing your research, and generally making yourself absolutely ready for that one big lucky strike – then when an opportunity comes along, you’ll just stumble through it. Maybe it’ll be half-assed because you don’t consider it to be a REAL opportunity, just something to bide your time. Maybe it’ll be half-assed because you haven’t put any work in before now – you just assumed you had natural, raw talent that would shine through when you get your REAL opportunity. My point is – if you don’t work hard on all your projects, and approach them with respect and diligence – not only will your work appear to be shitty (because you half-assed it), but you’ll have developed a reputation for shitty work. Off to a great start, right?
Lastly – if you get an opportunity, and it goes well, that doesn’t mean you’ve ‘made it.’ Every project, every role is a struggle to get off the ground. One good job does not mean the work is done. It means the work has only just begun.
Here’s my point – this industry requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And there’s no way around that. It also, sadly, requires a bit of Irish gold – and that’s why I started this site. There’s no step-by-step process to succeed, no particular class to take, no particular party to attend. But there are some tools I can share, to help you, so that when the door cracks opens for you (and stay strong – it will) you’ll be ready to blast through that door and start running through the maze.