Here it is, newly available on Amazon for Kindle.
Here’s an excerpt:
“In my film career, I have worked in the production office, a tiny bit of Wardrobe, and in the Art Department, doing everything from On-set Dresser to Set Decorator, Art Director and Production Designer. I’ve been in the office to watch and listen as the Line Producer made hiring decisions, and I’ve interviewed and hired people myself for my department, both paid staff and interns.
The truth is that there will always be more people coming into the entertainment industry. It is a place for people with big dreams, but also a place where people’s dreams are crushed. You must truly love what you do to stay persistent on what can be a very long road.
Many newcomers are just like I was 22 years ago – people with a strong belief in their own creativity, with skills but few credits, and having taken bad advice to heart about their career path.
The good advice I got was “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That’s a rather muddy way of describing networking. However, expressed like that it implies that you have to “know” the top people – which is not correct. The absolute majority of your job leads will come from colleagues and peers. “Network as much as you can” is excellent advice.
But the bad advice that I heard, and read in several sources, was that I should position myself as what I wanted to be, in my case a Production Designer, do that department head job as soon as possible, and that the projects would get bigger.
Naively, I did just that, quickly moving from on-set dresser to set decorator and then into production design on low budget films. But the projects, didn’t get bigger. That was because that’s not how the business works.
I now know that most people stay within their own networks, and my network was of people all working at a certain budget level. Actually, most people’s networks are at a certain budget level. No matter how large of a fish you are in your small pond, if you are still in a small pond, it is tough to jump out into the big one.
The truth is that you tend to stay at the budget level where you started – the budget level indicated by your credits.
So how do you get started?
Here’s what I know for sure: The overwhelmingly clear majority of your jobs in production will come from personal referrals.
Network, network, network.
A personal referral from someone the hirer trusts can overcome a poorly formatted resume, a badly written cover letter, a lack of experience, or even a history of mediocrity. It’s a case of the devil-you-know. People would rather hire someone they or their colleagues know, even if that person has a few annoying quirks, than a complete stranger, who might be a disaster.
You will also hear about productions crewing up and production companies hiring from your colleagues and friends, way before the gigs appear in listings. These are the most valuable job leads, before the office gets inundated with resumes.
Network, network, network.”