Monday, April 26, 2010

Applying for an Entertainment Job

Since I hire a lot of crew, I see thousands of cover letters and resumes from applicants. I thought I would share a few tips on what catches my eye and compels me to reach out to an applicant.

1) A well-thought out cover letter. Some applicants don't even send a cover letter. Or they write one sentence. I don't have time to open a resume and guess why the person is applying for the job. I want the applicant to tell me in their own words why they want and feel they are right for the position.

Also, I prefer the cover letter to be in the email and not an attachment. Again, I don't have time to open attachments. If the cover letter is well written, I make the time to open resume attachments but feel free to put the resume in the email too. Anything to make my job easier is appreciated.

2) One page resume that is clearly organized and not overly crowded with text. Less is more. If you have a lot of credits, figure out how to condense them so the employer is not overwhelmed with too much to read. 20 page resumes scare me. Focus on the highlights in your career, not the kitchen sink.

3) The cover letter is professional and not too conversational. I don't know you yet. You are not my friend. So don't try to be funny or cute or interesting. Just the facts Jack. You can be funny and charming in the interview.

4) Your credentials correlate very well to the position for which I am hiring. Be focused about the jobs to which you are applying. Don't expect a call from me if you are a cook and looking for a job that requires you know Final Cut Pro. I will only call people who specifically point out how their skills mesh with the position. If it seems like a good fit then I will reach out.

5) Be one of the first to apply. This is a tough one because you may see an ad a few days after it has posted. Don't give up. You should still apply but know that you are now probably competing with about 1000 resumes (no joke) and that I may be too tired at that point to even open your email. But you never know. Your professionally written cover letter and great credentials may just grab my attention.

6) Be local. I won't consider any out of state applicants. Sorry. I need to find crew fast and being out of state doesn't fulfill my needs, unless I am filming in your state of course!

7) Have experience. Unless it is an internship, I need you to have experience in the job for which I am hiring. Entertainment jobs are often freelance and require experience. If you don't have experience then get out there and intern.

8) Working reel. If you are a DP or editor then you must have a reel. And it should be online and not take too long to load.

Okay, I'm going to stop there. I need to head in to the office and get to work!

My parting message to applicants: Be professional and tell the employer why you are a good fit for them. Make it easy on them to hire you.

And, most importantly, be focused in your search and try to lean on colleagues and friends and family for referrals to jobs. Your chances of getting the job you really want is through those who know and support you. Networking is the best job searching tool around. Good luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Producer Resources for Finding Crew

I hire a lot of crew. Currently I am producing a documentary and we are filming at least one to three times a week. I am often trying to fill crew needs when our main crew have conflicts in their schedules.

And I make one to two narrative features per year as well.

So my crew needs never end.

Where do I find all of this crew? I prefer to find them through referrals from my colleagues. But referrals only go so far. I often have more needs for crew than referrals can cover.

And I have tried pretty much every resource out there for crew. I will rate them here.

1) Crew Lists. The best resource besides referrals are past crew lists from other projects -- and not just your own. Little known resource: State film commissions collect crew lists from film projects in their regions. Ask for copies of those crew lists. Call the producer and get the scoop on the crew you are seeking.

2) Craigslist. Yes, Craigslist is my number one Internet resource for finding crew. No fee to post when you put the job under gigs and you get immediate responses from probably the largest pool of people.

3) Mandy is a close second but I think Craigslist is a little better as more people know about Craigslist than Mandy.

4) Great resource for longer term job postings -- like finding assistants or interns. As the title suggests, this site is primarily for career jobs so I don't really use it for crew but I do use it for finding interns!

5) Pay is involved for those seeking gigs. That means less of a pool tracking the gigs. Great site but I try to avoid those that require a fee for anyone.

I know there are other sites as well but I just don't use them. By the time I make it through the above sites, I usually have hundreds of resumes to sift through...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Preston Plummer: Trevor Morgan

Who is Preston Plummer?

Preston Plummer loves physics, entropy to be exact. His life work is to study how things in this world tend to fall apart, not come together.

Struggling with a dark past, Preston has had a hard time relating to anyone as an adult -- until he meets Kate. Getting to know Kate inspires Preston to see the world in a different light.

Preston is a tough, highly intelligent young man. We found our Preston Plummer in Trevor Morgan. This summer, Trevor Morgan will become Preston Plummer in our film The Diary of Preston Plummer. Thanks for taking this journey with us Trevor!

Trevor has appeared in the films The Sixth Sense, Genius, The Patriot, Jurassic Park III, The Glass House, Mean Creek, Empire Falls, Local Color, Off the Black, and Brotherhood.

For updates on our journey to make The Diary of Preston Plummer, become a fan of the film on Facebook here: The Diary of Preston Plummer Facebook Page.

Friday, April 9, 2010

So Much to Talk About...

That's what people love to do in Hollywood. Talk. I have this project and I have that project and I have this other project. Oh wait and I have that project and this one. I have had many meetings in which we both yammer on about the multiple projects we both have going.

Now that is the life of a producer. It is non-stop project after project and it's what keeps us going.

I love to work. I love what I do. If I could talk about 50 projects at once, I would. But I realize that I need to be focused and hone in on the projects that I feel are ready to go.

As a producer, I have so many irons in the fire and potential opportunities that it can be overwhelming. But there's always that sixth sense that comes into play and tells you which ones you need to be focused on at any given time. Without that, I could see a producer spinning way too many wheels and not achieving much.

Right now, I have a film in theaters, a DVD/Book set for sale, a DVD online for sale, a DVD for sale in stores and elsewhere, a film in post seeking a festival premiere, a film (a doc this time) in production and a film in pre-production. I also have three features and two docs in development poised to kick my ass at any given moment.

That is the day in the life of an indie producer. Did I say I love it? I do.

And none of this includes the time it takes to consider new projects and network and publicize the work we are doing.

Film is a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle I love. Just last night I went to the LA premiere of a friend's film starring A-List actors. It was super fun and I am super excited for their success. Am I jealous? Heck no. (Okay well maybe a little. Fine, a lot!) But I do expect the next film to be made with me. Now those are the kinds of expectations you will find here -- whether or not they actually happen -- ha!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Not Since You Breaks Easter Weekend Record at Cine!

Just heard that our film Not Since You has had the best Easter weekend attendance Cine movie theater has ever had and that our one show was as much as all the other shows combined.

That is super cool news and so validating for us as filmmakers. In this recessionary environment, you get so used to hearing "no" and fielding rejection that it comes as a wonderful jolt to get some really good news.

We already have offers from other theaters across the United States so we see what happens! I'll keep everyone posted and hopefully the film will make it to your hometown. Thanks everyone for helping me to remain positive and hopeful as an indie filmmaker.