Hollywood: Officially Not Deadby David Brownstein
Hollywood, like the global economy is not dead.
Or as Mark Twain said "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
What Am I Basing This On?
A few things actually: and they're subtle.
- The Actor's non-strike seems to be limping towards an "end."
- Hollywood Network, Studio and Agency layoffs and mergers seem to be limping towards an "end."
- TV Studios and Networks are going boldly forward in their business of selecting and selling new shows for the fall that they hope will create hits, advertisers and major franchises (if not reinvent comedy or drama and save the world from a 20 year curse of 24/7 Reality TV.)
The Leno Thing
One thing our industry does well is adjust to crisis quickly and adapt to new opportunities.
Take the Jay Leno 5 nights at 10:00 pm thing on NBC. Lots of freak out and then, "OK whatever, how does the new reality effect me and my career?"
Again it's always, how do I respond? What projects, alliances or career moves make sense now?
It's like a chess game. I can survey the board, have a strategy, try to figure out what move my state ranked 7-year old opponent will make next, and then make my move.
Then my niece makes her move, and I once again must survey the new reality. Readjust my strategy. Figure out if she's thinking out loud, deliberately setting a trap for me, or just being a 7-year old. (A state ranked chess-playing 7 year old, that is.)
The Unemployment Line
On one hand: there have probably never been so many unemployed people in the entertainment business. This is probably a function of how much the industry has grown in recent years as it is about layoffs. It's also about how the corporate ownership of media companies has changed the landscape of the entertainment business.
Not that it's necessarily bad, but that it's different and as always companies and the industry will expand and contract. So maybe we're in a contraction phase now. Maybe ABC is being well served by being owned by Disney: At least they're both entertainment companies.
I've read rumors about NBC being sold by GE and bought by Warner Brothers. All I know is what I read online, and have no sense of whether this will happen, or even if there's any truth to the rumor, but on the surface, far from the loop of any of the corporate boardrooms, it makes intuitive sense to me that a major entertainment company be owned by a corporate entertainment company.
At least their business interests are in sync with each other and available for possible synergy and at least they understand the personalities and creative process involved. "30 Rock" makes amusing reference to this with Alec Baldwin's "Jack Donaghy" character's title being "President of TV and Microwave Programming."
But I Digress
People are out of work.
- The film box office is still strong, the TV production cycle is adjusting and ever hopeful of creating hits even if/when/finally adjusting/decreasing budgets, rates, etc.
- The internet is still a delivery system in search of a business model.
- "Jobs" as we knew them are as they said " Nice work if you can get it."
We've always been in an industry where we were often "just happy to be working" and would often put up with conditions and behaviors that would not be tolerated in other professions or industries.
Welcome To Freelance
In a way we're all now living in a world of freelancers, entrepreneurs and wheeler-dealers, instead of just in an industry bubble of same.
So, to the rest of the world: "Welcome to Hollywood."
Welcome to the fears and joys and uncertainties of making it up every day. Of waking up, reading the trades and figuring out which of your projects you'll pitch to the lunch meeting you set up 3 weeks ago.
Of having a job today, but knowing it could either last another 2 years or be over when you get back from lunch.
And at the same time our survival and success will be predicated on our ability to get past our fears and outmoded assumptions and beliefs of how business works, or worked, and how we work together. What I'm talking about is stretching ourselves even further in reaching out to other people and seeing where the alliance and synergy may be.
Maybe it's finding a job. Maybe it's starting a project. Maybe it's bartering services for services and learning how to create an innovate "win-win."
Maybe it's collaborating with someone you once viewed as a competitor. Maybe it's dropping your pride as a freelancer and deciding to go in-house. Maybe it's dropping your fear as a staff employee and going entrepreneurial.
Personally, I'm probably considering all these new perspectives myself in my professional ventures and conversations.
It's exciting and scary and exhilarating and sometimes just plain weird. But being willing to step into new stuff has been bringing great rewards both financial and personal.
Walking My Talk
So in that spirit I've decided to embark on a new strategy myself. For years I've resisted doing group coaching groups but now, at this time in the world, in Hollywood, and in my career coach journey, it feels like a win-win for me to start something new.
So read below for what's new starting in June.
Hollywood Job hunt, Networking and Support Group
This will be a small group (15 max) of experienced Hollywood professionals who are in some form of career transition. Maybe you're in a job that's ending. Maybe you've been laid off. Maybe you've always been freelance but are considering other options.
There's a power and synergy in group meetings and support. I'll be there as a facilitator and coach to make sure everyone gets the best out of the interactions and to design the meeting and keep it moving.
You'll get a chance to get group support in your next career move, hear about new opportunities, meet other Hollywood professionals, and actually feel better about your career direction and your life.
This is not a group for people new to the industry, first time screenwriters or film-makers or fresh off the bus "Welcome to Hollywood" folks. (I may do something for you guys next, however.)
But this group is for people who've been in the business a while, know the industry landscape, have some IMDB credits, know some people and need to network, brainstorm and swap leads in a high level room to facilitate their next career move.
Entry to this group will be by telephone interview only.
What You’ll Get
Structure, Support, Contacts, Accountability, Information, Ideas, Leads. Your first meeting will be complimentary to get an experience of how it works and will help you on your career path.
Online social networking community for between session support, info sharing and industry connection.
Introductory Rate: $150/month
- Two 3-hour facilitated meetings per month.
- Includes exclusive wiki/online community for participants/community only.
Send email for more information and to receive pre-interview questionnaire.
Please join me at my schmooze/hang/networking event. It's my way of connecting my clients, friends and other interested professionals working in the creative industries, and to meet up and chill out after a long week.
Date/Time: Monday May 18th – 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
Location: The Literati Café in Brentwood.
12081 Wilshire Blvd (At Bundy) Parking available in the back. (310.231.7484)