The pattern of writers, directors and actors looking for representation (agent, manager or lawyer) is largely failing in entertainment.
I hear it all the time “all I need is to find representation and I will be set as a writer director or actor.” Wrong, wrong, and fucking wrong! Representation will find you. Not you finding them. I know it’s the last damn thing you want to hear from a guy like me, but it’s the truth. There is, however, a workaround if you’re willing to live in Los Angeles and are open to networking at a pace where most people are just too lazy.How Can I find representation in Hollywood? You don't! That's the simple truth.' Click To Tweet
Representation will find you in ways that are pretty standard. They follow the same form, but through slightly different avenues, depending on the discipline you have picked. They are:
: Directors :
They find you through film festival submissions, YouTube and other social channels – only because they’re exposed to your work. They get exposed to your content because you’re creating it and submitting to festivals and posting on platforms that are largely ripping you off. YouTube, Facebook and Tik-Tok, whatever the platform, are all making billions of dollars off your free content and throwing you scraps, if anything at all, but they provide you with a platform for showing your work two potentially billions of people. This is how you demonstrate your skill.
: Actors :
Maybe you’ll get noticed as an actor through a showcase or some small equity performance at a small theater. You get noticed because you show up in a piece of material (live or in social media) – you show up in content. Whether it’s for free or paid, the simple truth is you have to get cast to show your skill and you get cast because you audition. Auditioning is the job of an actor. Just because you’re not getting roles doesn’t mean you’re not an actor.
Auditions happen with casting directors! By knowing the casting directors and the people who work for them you will be focused and directed as far as who you want to connect with and what casting directors you want to pursue. And this includes the associates and assistants who work in those offices. Get connected and network with them. You get connected and network with them by first knowing who they are.
The other place to focus your attention and networking is with working directors. They are difficult to find and even more difficult to get connected with, but it can pay to know who the directors are and network around their assistant and office staff.
: Writers :
Must know the development staffs at the production companies around town plus submit to festivals and competitions. If you’re a new writer you will not be able to submit material without representation. You can, however, network with the assistant or the creative executive at some of the lowest levels.
Your goal is to build a network that might eventually lead to them reading your material without actually submitting it to their employer. This takes time, it takes trust and it takes you being connected and networked with the development staffs in town. It also takes knowing who those people are, the circles they travel in and which ones are real and which ones are full of shit. Look for the production companies that have one or more shows on air in Television or movies in theatres on a regular basis (annually or more).
You’re not going to pick up the phone and call someone in development and say “hey will you read my material?” It will never happen. If you have representation that’s a different story, but if you do not, your screenplay is unsolicited material and will never even get opened. It will get tossed in the garbage or returned as unsolicited material. More than likely returned.
: Producers :
By and large producers are a waste of time for new writers, directors or actors. They don’t typically make decisions about who gets hired in creative positions. The exception are the creative producers who have overhead deals at a studio, a network or a financier. The creative jobs mostly happen at the studio or the network and when it comes to cast, it does happen with the directors input. There are some creative producers who have input on who gets what roles and who doesn’t, but they are very few and very far between.
The workaround, that most people are too lazy to participate in, is living in Los Angeles and networking everyday two or three times a day. That means coffee in the morning, go to work, lunch with a perspective networker, go back to work, drinks in the evening before going home, and hikes, movies, galleries, parties, museums, etc on Saturday and Sunday. Your job is to meet and hang out with as many development people, casting directors, casting associates and working directors as you can.
When I say go to work that means you have a job as an assistant working for an agent, a manager, a producer, a studio, a director, on production or, whatever you can do to get paid and be connected to the industry. Sitting at home, not having a job in the industry, will get you nowhere. Every single executive in Hollywood who made it to an advanced level did it as an assistant at some point in their career.
And the way you get networked is by knowing who the working participants are. You know who they are by doing the research. If you don’t know how to do the research then get in a program that will show you how identify who to connect with to build that Network.