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Issue #167 – September 13, 2015 (How to Work & Survive in the “Business”)

Issue #167 – September 13, 2015
(How to Work & Survive in the “Business”)

I’ve been working in the film and TV industry for over 40 years and during that time I’ve had many young filmmakers ask me the same four questions:

1. How do I get people to notice my “obvious talents”?
2. How do I become a Writer, Director or Producer?
3. What are the tricks of getting work and surviving in this business?
4. How do I become successful?

Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t have the answers either – because there is no one right answer – no special secret! We all need to find our own way in.


BUT…To help guide you along the right path, I’ve come up with 20 factors and tips that I believe you need to have, learn or nurture to help you work and survive in the film and television business today:

1) You need film set experience (Make short films; go to film school; work for free)

2) You need to make your own Luck (Being at the right place at the right time)

3) You need to make (and nurture) Connections (Who you know)

4) You must have Determination (Believe in yourself)

5) You have to tap into your Creativity (We’re all born with a special gift. What’s yours?)

6) You need to learn how to run a successful business

7) You need to understand how to market and promote yourself

8) You need to understand the “unspoken rules” of the film world (Industry politics)

9) You have to protect your own artistic vision from anyone who does not support your vision or your art

10) You must be able to LISTEN for the TRUTH

11) You must be honest with yourself

12) You need to know as much as you can about EVERYONE ELSE’S JOB!

13) You need to have a KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR CRAFT!

14) You need to listen to people who know more than you do

15) You need to always ask questions

16) As a Director, you have a lot of power – don’t abuse it

17) You have to EARN respect – not demand it

18) You need to have an EGO because ego is important for your survival. But misplaced ego (what I call self-importance) is what makes this business hard sometimes

19) You need to have a sense of humor! (Learn to laugh at yourself)

20) But most of all, you have to have PASSION! (Because some days that may be the only thing that will keep you going)

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