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The Director's Chair Issue #94 – Jan. 19, 2009 (How I Got That First Job in TV)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

January 19, 2009                  Scene 10 – Take 1

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


Dear Friend,

You are receiving The Director’s Chair because you (or
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PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
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Day 1 of “The Art & Craft of the Director Audio Seminar”

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine. Here is
the link to download the first 28 pages of my 201 page pdf
ebook, “The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”


1. Introduction
2. Unusuals.net 6 Week Membership Site Trial
3. Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Survey
4. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
5. Help Answer a Subscriber’s Questions
6. Is Your Passion to Direct Movies?
7. Are you on Twitter?
8. FEATURE ARTICLE – How I Got That First Job in TV
9. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
10. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum
11. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
12. Subscriber Links of Interest
13. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events
14. Filmmaking Workshops
15. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
16. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
17. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #94 of The Director’s Chair (Jan. 19/09)
(This is the first issue for the year 2009.)


Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China,
Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican
Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland,
France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland,
India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico,
Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal,
Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi
Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore,
South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland,
Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago,
Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United
Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam,
Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) FEATURE ARTICLE – the feature article this month is “How
I Got That First Job in Television” by Devon DeLapp.

“How did a complete stranger to the entertainment industry
(me) land a job in TV? The short answer is I called the
production office of every show shooting the Greater LA, and
asked about their “staffing needs”. A few were hiring, some
interviewed me, and one hired. But, of course, there’s more
to it than that. It was mostly a robotic task that took more
effort than ingenuity. However, there are a few things to
know. (See below to read entire article.)

3) FACEBOOK – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.
Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com

Once you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and
the page should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to
join the discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on
the Walls. If you are already a member of Facebook, here is
the direct link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you
of certain filmmaking workshops or film products that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you
are under no obligation to purchase anything. I only offer
this information as a service to subscribers of this free

5) SHARE THIS EZINE – Share this Ezine by email and forward
it to your friends and associates.

6) SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS – Send any comments, suggestions,
questions or advice to: mailto:comments@actioncutprint.com

7) REPRINT THIS EZINE – This Ezine may be reprinted with
permission. Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com



Peter D. Marshall


I just want to say thank you again to all those subscribers
who participated in my Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling
Survey last week.

The answers I received from you have given me the tools to
begin creating information materials that will show
independent filmmakers how to correctly break down a script
and design an accurate film schedule.


Here is a great offer from Nayer Paknia of UNUSUALS.net

UNUSUALS is the only social network designed with the
commercial film professional in mind, including grips,
producers, actors, directors, casting, etc. UNUSUALS allows
you to share your reels, connect on projects, discover and
be discovered via the Monster Search Engine.

Oh, and one more thing, UNUSUALS is offering you and your
readers a 6 week full ADVANCED Membership – at no cost.
During these 6 weeks, your users would be able to use ALL
UNUSUALS special services, including unlimited numbers of
films on their showreels and full world wide searches, all
for free.

Once the 6 weeks expires and they’ve had plenty of time to
get to know what UNUSUALS offers, they can decide what
membership is right for them; From a free BASIC membership,
to continuing their ADVANCED membership.

4. BLOG – Film Directing Tips

Thanks to subscribers like yourself, my filmmaking blog,
http://filmdirectingtips.com has been on the first page of
Google for several months using the keywords, “film

Please take some time to look through the many blog postings
on the site and make some comments on the posts – your
feedback is important to me because they will help me decide
on the content I will add to this blog.

RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php
FEEDBURNER – http://feeds.feedburner.com/FilmDirectingTipsAndResources

Here are some of the latest blog entries I have made:

– iTunes Offering Free Download to 10 Sundance Short Films
Until January 25
– No Budget Film School: designed to help the No-Budget
– How the Internet revamped my filmmaking career – Anne
– Indian Cinema – the bridge between the West and the East
is gradually becoming smaller.
– 100 Best Blogs for Film and Theater Students.


Every so often, I ask subscribers of this ezine to help
another filmmaker by answering their film production
questions. Please look at the question below, and if you can
answer any of them, just reply to this email with your
answers and I will pass them on to Eric.

Eric Samuelson is a subscriber to this ezine and he recently
formed a production company with his son. They would like
some direction on where they can be educated in the
practical elements of the film production business.

They’re not trying to make an indie film or a Hollywood
production (yet!).  For now, they are producing corporate
marketing videos and documentaries.

Here is a list of questions from Eric:

1. PILOT — I am just fascinated to know the process for
finding the support and the money to back an original idea.
For instance, I have an idea for a TV series which could put
the historical strengths of central Virginia area to great
use (John Adams was shot here).   As a brand new producer,
if I raised $100,000 for a pilot where do I take it?  Would
an established group back a pilot from an unknown production

2. DISTRIBUTION — I have a documentary in mind that would
appeal to a spiritual/religious audience.  Ken Burns does
Pocohantas —  but aimed at churches.  What distribution
concepts do I need to have in mind before I even begin
designing the project?

3. JOINT VENTURE – I am meeting a number of authorities who
write books and do seminars.  They have no money, but they
have terrific messages and a niche audience, some of them in
30 countries.  I am proposing to shoot and post-produce for
no charge, but to figure the cost of production (say $6,000)
plus some profit for risk (say $3,000), and amortize that
amount by taking a percent of DVD sales and internet
subscriptions.  Does 70% seem appropriate until our $9,000
is earned back?  Is there a better model for a Joint Venture
like this?

4. INTERNET DISTRIBUTION – what are you seeing for the
future in this medium?  I think subscriptions for unlimited
viewing of private works is a possibility, but I’m eager to
hear your thoughts.

5. E-BOOKS —  I have an idea about taking E-books to the
next level.  Do you know any other groups that are building
them like you did?

6. MOVIES – I just cannot comprehend how some films are able
to attract financing.  Can you steer me to a step-by-step
guide to that process?

7. Estimating the costs associated with a production of
reasonable size.

8. Proper amounts to include in a budget for using our own

9. Appropriate payment to a scriptwriter for a commercial, or
a 6-minute corporate DVD (and what to expect in return)

10. Any typical and useful business forms for tracking.

11. Software that may be useful from an operational standpoint.

12. The appropriate balance of using legal agreements
(location, use of likeness) vs. what is legal overkill.


“I’m really enjoying the audio seminar. I think its great and
will be a valuable resource for years to come. I have all
the audio clips on my phone and can’t stop listening. Thanks
again for sharing your wealth of knowledge.”
Tasha W. Ottawa, Canada

Do You Want to Become a Successful, Working Film and
Television Director?

“The Art and Craft of the Director” is a 10-Day multimedia
online course packed with over 35 years of professional
filmmaking tips and techniques that will give you proven
tools to fast track your way to becoming a successful film
and television director.

This 10-Day audio course will help demystify the filmmaking
process and increase your confidence to be a successful,
working film and television director – guaranteed!

The online course is 162 page pdf eBook contains links to 26
audio files you can download onto your computer, 23
downloadable PDF reports, 28 links to videos you can watch
and is supported by over 500 separate website reference
links. http://snipurl.com/6tg0s

I am very proud of this film directing course and I
guarantee that anyone who listens to the audio files and
reads all the support material will discover many of the
tools a working film director needs to survive today.

All the information about the 10 Day “The Art and Craft of
the Director Audio Seminar,” including the content list,
audio files, support materials, free bonuses and how to
order, is available now. Just click on the link below.

“I bought your amazing course this week and am working
through Day 1. The course is AMAZING and extremely useful
and I’ve recommended it to a friend and all over the
internet!” Daniel Avery, Johnstown, Colorado, USA.


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging
service that allows users to send and read other users’
updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based
posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Twitter is one of the best and quickest ways for friends,
family or people with common interests to stay in touch.

It’s also becoming one of the best ways to promote yourself
and your films on the Internet!

My partner, Trilby Jeeves, wrote an article called “What the
Tweet?!?? A Rookie’s Guide to Twitter” for The Art of the
Business blog that gives you some insight on how to use
Twitter from a creative person’s point of view. You can
check out her article at: http://snipurl.com/6tege

If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each other. You
can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker. You can
also follow Trilby at http://twitter.com/tjbuffoonery

8. FEATURE ARTICLE – How I Got That First Job In TV

“How I Got That First Job in Television” by Devon DeLapp.

How did a complete stranger to the entertainment industry
(me) land a job in TV? The short answer is I called the
production office of every show shooting the Greater LA, and
asked about their “staffing needs”. A few were hiring, some
interviewed me, and one hired.

But, of course, there’s more to it than that. It was mostly
a robotic task that took more effort than ingenuity.
However, there are a few things to know. First, most of the
jobs are seasonal:

Pilots hire in mid-January to late-February.

Dramas hire late-May to late-June.

Comedies hire late-June to mid-July.

Any other time of the year, the job hunt becomes more
difficult, though positions do pop up (usually people being
replaced, or for mid-season shows, or smaller network shows
(like HBO, USA, etc.) who follow different schedules). But,
really, all you need to do is call the show and ask if
they’re hiring. That cold call is what will introduce you to
them, and is the first step towards landing a job.

How do you find the numbers of the production office of all
those shows (I counted 96 in Los Angeles along this past
season)? A few web sites list which projects are going into
production, but my favorite is TheFutonCritic.com. They list
the projects in development and production. Specifically,
we’re looking for the ones that have been approved for a
pilot (as opposed to just being scripts) or are in current
production. Futon Critic should list for each show the
production company (who makes the show) and the network
(who’s paying for and possibly airing it). A newcomer may
have the best luck with a pilot because:

1. A whole new crew is being brought in, presenting more
opportunities, as opposed to an established show where many
crew members are returning.

2. This is just my opinion, but I think because it is a
smaller commitment of time (again, as opposed to a full
season, established show), the people in charge are slightly
less particular about who they hire.

Next step, once you know the projects out there, you can get
the number for their production office by calling the
production company, OR calling the studio lots they are
being made on. For example, CLOSE TO HOME is a Warner Bros
produced show, but it is shot on the Sony lot in Culver
City. I found their number by calling the Sony lot operator
(310-202-1234), and asking for the number to the CLOSE TO
HOME production office. I also could have called the Warner
mainline (818-954-6000), and possibly received the same
info. Or, because it’s a Bruckheimer show, you would call
his office, and they’d tell you the number. All those
mainlines and lot phone numbers are in the yellow pages.

Once you have the production office number, you start

And calling.

And calling.

I never counted the exact number of calls I placed before
landing a position, but I spent four to five hours each day,
for several weeks, just c dialing these shows. I would call
each show once every week or two. Once I had someone on the
line, I’d essentially run through this following script:

“Hi, this is Devon DeLapp. I’m a production assistant. I was
wondering if your show was still staffing.”

YES IT IS: “Great, could I fax in my resume? Who’s attention
should I send that to?”

UP/SUCK: “Would it be alright if I still faxed in my resume?
Who’s attention should I send that to?”

Be unflinchingly polite and always thank who you speak with
for their time. FYI, it is generally the Production
Coordinator who hires the PAs, although sometimes it can be
the Assistant Production Office Coordinator (APOC), or if
the show is still getting setup and a POC or APOC have not
been hired yet, it may an Associate Producer or someone like

For your resume, just include any relevant experience. The
keyword job titles that people look for are “Production” and
“Assistant” — list anything with that in the title. Did a
few student films? It’s okay to list them. People realize
that as a PA, you’re probably new to the industry and
they’re not expecting a huge amount of experience. Just
present yourself as best you can. Always be sure to spell
check everything. References can help a lot, particularly if
they’re from someone in the industry.

And keep calling. Follow-up. Rinse, repeat, you get the
idea. Write down everything. Ask for people by name whenever
you can. It became such an enormous hassle to track all the
numbers and names, I put together a tool called Job Hunter
to help me track it.

Anyway, eventually, hopefully, if you’re friendly and
professional sounding enough, someone in need will ask you
to come in for an interview. Here’s what I learned about
interviewing for PA jobs:

Appear willing to do anything.

That seems to be the top order. I mean, good hygiene and a
winning smile are all important, but really what the boss
wants is someone who will do the work well, without a
hassle, and help them look good.

I think a reasonable ratio would be four to eight interviews
before being offered a position. Any more than that, and I
would suggest taking a close look at how you’re presenting

And that’s really the basics. There’s tons of little things,
of course, but you’ll pick them up along the way.

I hope this helps. If anyone is able to put these
suggestions to use, I would love to hear about it.

Devon DeLapp is an aspiring screenwriter and producer. He
has a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design
which took a lot of work but he’ll be hard pressed to find a
good use for it now. Though technically born in Los Angeles,
his earliest formative memories were in the suburbs of
Sacramento. Puberty followed in Spokane, college in Seattle,
and then, like the salmon to its spawning ground, he now
lives in the colorful LA borough of Mid City. Unlike the
salmon, his girlfriend has expressed reservations about
spawning at this point in their relationship.

9. Do You Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

10. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum

The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum.

Ask film directing questions, submit your website for
review, post film and television directing links, share film
making tips and special events or just keep in touch with
other filmmakers from “The Director’s Chair.”

This forum is for subscribers of “The Director’s Chair”
only, so you will have to register in order to post
questions, give answers or add links. All you can do without
registering is read the posts.

Please visit this new forum now, sign up and take a look
around. http://snipurl.com/6xw2f


Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.

1) Joey Daoud – I’ve been a long time subscriber to your newsletter. I’m
a student at Florida State University Film School, about to
graduate. I’ve been writing about the experience at Coffee
and Celluloid (http://coffeeandcelluloid.com)

Even though I’m about to graduate, I’m producing a short
film and am writing about the whole process. The anchor post
for this series is at:

2) Luis Carlos Romero-Davis – I just finished directing a
feature documentary with the title of 389 Miles “Living the
Border.” I have also included the official webpage for the
documentary, the YouTube trailer and the company webpage.

389 Miles: “Living the Border” is a human journey, a story
documented by director Luis Carlos Romero-Davis who grew up
in the shadow of the Mexico-Arizona border. It presents the
raw, daily life of human beings compromised economically,
and the potential rewards for those who exploit them. There
is no purely good side or bad, only the steel wall or a
strand of rusty barbed wire and the complex web of human
emotions and issues forged by them—survival, human
trafficking, rape, corruption, evil and grace in many

Official webpage

389 Miles “Living the Border” YouTube trailer

Fence Productions webpage


“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
your self-promotion on this page, just send an email to:

Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
length and formatting.

13. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events

1) Elastic Lab – We have an ongoing assortment of film
projects designed for crowdsourcing, where we hire multiple
filmmakers to contribute raw footage and then edit the
combined footage into final, widely-distributed videos for
clients like Vehix. You can see some of our latest projects
on our website: http://www.elasticlab.com

Every assignment includes an experimental component where
you get paid to try something new – whether that be a new
technique or an unusual subject/location. We do require that
all our professional filmmakers have 3CCD (or equivalent)
cameras, and that our student/amateur filmmakers have access
to high-quality prosumer or consumer digital video cameras
(no still cameras, cell phones, web cams, or Flips).

It’s absolutely free to join (no strings!) and you’ll be
invited to a paying project within a few days of signing up.
Our signup form is at http://www.elasticlab.com

2) Netflix and Film Independent have just announced jointly
they want to discover the next great independent filmmaker.
The Netflix FIND Your Voice Film Competition will award one
aspiring filmmaker the “means, guidance and resources” to
make a full-length, narrative film, plus a $150K cash
production grant funded by Netflix. Film Independent will
provide “advisement and mentorship” to the winning filmmaker
throughout the production of the film and will also screen
the winner’s movie at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The
winner will own all rights to his or her film, which will be
given distribution online at Netflix.

As part of the grand prize, the winner will also receive a
four-week camera package donated by Panavision, 25,000 feet
of Kodak Color Negative Film or 10,000 feet of Kodak Color
Intermediate Film donated by Eastman Kodak Company, up to
$75,000 in dailies and prints donated by Deluxe
Entertainment Services Group, and a digital intermediate
package with a maximum value of $150,000 provided by EFILM

First-time filmmakers who have not yet created and publicly
screened a full-length narrative feature film of 70 minutes
or more are eligible. There is no fee to apply to the
competition, but a maximum of only 2,000 submissions will be
accepted. Full eligibility requirements, evaluation criteria
and an entry application can be found online at:

3) Take Your Screenwriting to the Next Level with MovieMaker
Magazine. For a limited time, you’re invited to take
advantage of a very special offer: One year of MovieMaker
Magazine at the unheard of price of just $9.95* (that’s less
than $2.00 per issue—75% off the newsstand rate.) Sign up
today at https://www.moviemaker.com/subscribe/spimp.

14. FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
35 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.


To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


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Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved


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