On Hollywood Aspirations #1


    On February 16th, 2012, I took my mother, professional storyteller and humorist Eileen Isenberg, to see a taping of Bill Maher.  While waiting for the show to begin my mother and I engaged in a delightful conversation with one of the red-coated ombudsmen of the show who during the course of our discourse shared that he was 6 months new in town and revealed his aspirations to be a writer and producer.  I told him to check out my writing if he was inclined and my mother and I along with friend, producer John Woldenberg, soon headed in the doors to see my mother’s favorite political comedian in action.  March 18th, 2012, the young red-coated ombudsmen contacts me via email, having looked me up on the internet, saying he’s impressed with my work (definitely flattering) and asks for career advice.  Now, I just saw this 60 Minutes segment on “face blindness” and I think I may recognize this young man again if I see him.  Tall, dark hair.  I think he had glasses on but I’m not sure.  Definitely remember the red coat.  Regardless, I DO remember having pleasant upbeat feelings about the encounter.  And I do remember encouraging him to contact me.  I was in a particularly effervescent mood that day.  So, he contacts me about how best to proceed with his aspirations to be a writer and producer and I reply.  But just before I hit send I stop myself–remembering the messages in “Rework” (opportunities of by-products), so I decide to take the by-product of my reply email and share it in this post on how one becomes a writer/producer.  For the purposes of anonymity, I’ll call him Red Coat.  Part One:

    Hi Red Coat,

    I’m traveling this week on a book tour but am happy to offer some advice to you.  Two schools of thought – if you want to write – then “brand” yourself as a writer NOW.  You can become a producer later…  If you want to produce, then start producing NOW– find stories, find scripts, or use your own, and start making them right NOW.  Learn as you go.  Start making your content.* If you want to be a studio / network executive (which is a desk-producer, and are really good with story, then get an entry level job at a studio, network, or substantive production company.  Personally, I think the movie and TV industries are in major transitions from accelerated technology and piracy issues and I would advise getting into the new frontiers of entertainment via digital entertainment and branded entertainment.  Also, this is a very tough industry—it’s full of ups and downs, there’s never stability unless you generate multi-millions from a combination of talent, luck, and good representation (agent or  manager, and lawyer) and even then, you need to be smart and invest whatever you make wisely.  Personally, again, my opinion, save whatever you make and invest in income property as a steady stream of income to support yourself while building your career and throughout your whole life.  Back to writing—if you want to write you have to be very disciplined and really write.  Many people call themselves writers but they don’t actually sit down and do the work.  There’s that famous story of Larry Gelbart (MASH, TOOTSIE) —(at least that’s the way it was told to me) when asked to speak to a roomful of writers and he gets on stage and says, “You’re all writers.  So what are you doing here?  You should be home writing.”  I believe he left the stage after that. So sit down and write, write, write.  You also need to figure out what you want to write—pick a genre and perfect it and stick with it.   Part Two:  The question of content*:  to be continued…  Meanwhile, read REWORK as referenced above and read my first novel which takes place in the film industry called “My Life Uncovered.”  (make sure to get the second edition of MLU–will explain in subsequent posts).  Hope this helps, Lynn

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