What makes you irresistible to decision makers is not your award-winning student film or even the ivy league college you graduated from — although both are appealing assets — it’s simply having the right Hollywood attitude. What makes up this ideal frame of mind?
Passion for working in entertainment + confidence in your abilities + an enthusiastic willingness to do whatever task you’re given, regardless of how menial = right Hollywood attitude.
Hang out at an industry lunch spot long enough and you’ll hear complaints about employees (both recent college grads as well as those with a few years under their belt) and their sense of entitlement: how an assistant rolls his/her eyes whenever asked to get coffee, or how an unreliable PA always arrives late. While the assistant or PA is currently employed, they may not be for long. More importantly, when a position higher up opens at the company, they’re not going to get the opportunity to move up.
5 WAYS TO DEVELOP THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Regardless of where you currently are along the entitled/not entitled attitude spectrum, if you follow these five principles, you’ll transform yourself into an irresistible job candidate (and soon after an employee to promote from within or recommend for a better job.
- Radiate Genuine Passion Passion is unbridled enthusiasm: having energy and excitement about a subject. In this case, the subject is the entertainment industry, and you have to communicate your energy, excitement and enthusiasm at all times… especially in interviews and meetings.
- Convey Confidence It’s not necessary to be totally well adjusted and supremely confident in every aspect of your life. You just need to convey confidence in your ability to “deliver” - to do whatever task needs to be done and to do it well. At the entry level, these tasks are pretty simple, so you’ll be able to do them easily. And if that doesn’t make you feel confident…fake it.
- Love the One You’re With You need to do the job you currently have with all the energy and commitment you possess. You want to make yourself indispensable at every job you have. I promise that’s the best way to get your next, better gig.
- Say Yes Unless it’s immoral, illegal or goes against your religious beliefs, when someone offers you an opportunity, always say “yes!” It doesn’t matter if it’s not exactly what you want. It’s a chance to meet people and make a good impression and meeting people and making a good impression is how you get work in this town.
- Dazzle Them With Your Competence Develop an awe-inspiring work ethic. Do whatever it takes to get the job done — then do more.
Starting and maintaining a Hollywood career isn’t easy. But if you come in with passion, intelligence, and an eager-to-do-whatever-needs-to-be-done attitude, you’ll get hired — while everyone else complains about how impossible it is to find a job.
Good luck! And let me know how you’re doing in your quest to get a gig.
Tweet me: @CaroleKirsch
Director of WGA's Showrunner Training Program, creator & Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program, international speaker and a leading expert on entertainment career strategies, Carole Kirschner teaches creative professionals how to navigate the often mystifying landscape of show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment is a primer on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. Through her popular workshops, Carole teaches writers, producers, directors and executives the real world strategies that will help them not just succeed, but thrive.