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How to Contact Hollywood Executives 

by Bruce Edwin

One of the most important things we need to know in life in addition to “how to sell,” is “how to network.” In this article, I am not going to cover either of those topics, which will be covered in our upcoming seminars, but what I am going to cover is something equally vital to know as a producer, writer, actor, model, or anyone else in Hollywood looking to contact an agent, manager, studio, production company, producer, or financier. And that is; “How to contact a production company, studio, agency, or management company in the right manner.

If everyone knew how to write, network, and close a sale, then the majority of the people in the world would be wealthy, or at least would never have to worry about being poor. Unfortunately, these skills are mastered by only a small number of persons, and all mastered together—by even fewer still.

1, Research

Know your target prospect. One of the first biggest mistakes I see writers, producers, musicians, bands, models, actors and more in Hollywood make is seeing them waste their valuable energy and time by going to the effort of trying to pitch themselves in an email, but not doing their research and using the person’s name. Would you cold call someone without using the name of the person you are trying to sell? Or would you go into a meeting with someone you are pitching without using their name? Of course not. So why would you send an introductory email or text message to someone you want to do business with, without using the same courtesy? Whenever I get a mass email pitch, or a pitch without my name used, it goes straight into the trash. In addition to the persons name, the company name is equally vital. And you have to spell it all correctly. If for example you are pitching a producer at Warner Bros., and you state in the heading line “Warner Brother,” you can guess that you might not get too far.

In addition to the basics of knowing your target prospects basic information of name and company name, you need to spend anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes or even up to an hour or more researching vital things about your prospect. I have a rule that the amount of time I invest into researching my target is contingent upon the amount of money I predict we can make each other. Notice that I said make each other. This brings me to another vital point I will address later. During your research, you want to know your prospects strengths, weaknesses, attributes, and what makes them unique. You want to see what you both have in common, and also what you may both differ on, so as not to let that become a point of contention during pitching or later negotiations.

2, Provide Value

After you do your research, you need to discover where and how you can bring value to them immediately. This is the second major mistake most people make when pitching. This is also the quite common mistake of so many actors, models, bands, and singers. They think only in terms of “what’s in it for me?” I once had an aspiring model and actress walk into my office for her scheduled appointment with a t-shirt on that read “What Can You Do For Me?” In big bold black block letters. I laughed when I saw it. She then asked me the same question, and I later told her “nothing.”  I would probably be more polite about it these days, but that’s another story.

Similarly, when you approach a company in person, on the phone, by text, or email with the attitude of “this is what I want, now—what can you do for me,” you are not going to help your self or impress anyone. You need to be direct—yes, but you also need to be more diplomatic. Find out first what YOU can do for THEM. Deliver value immediately, and don’t assume that your great masterpiece of a script is going to be that value that they want that you are going to deliver them. Sure, maybe it is, but you need to imagine that they are like that world famous supermodel every guy hits on from a million different angles every day, and you are just the next schmuck who thinks you are going to sweep her off her feet. You need a better angle.

During your research is where you can determine what type of value you might be able to provide. A website alone can tell you a lot about a prospect. If for example their website or their public ad copy is filled with improper English (in the U.S.) or misspelled words, this is a reflection on their professionalism or lack thereof. Their photography they present to the world is also an indicator of their aesthetic sophistication or lack thereof. Perhaps you may discover a weakness on the prospects website where a video is missing they didn’t catch, and you bring it to their attention. This can be a powerful way to bridge communication and get your foot in the door so to speak, by offering help.

Maybe you read that they hate the same politician you do, and you know how to help defeat them in their next election campaign, or maybe you love the same charitable cause. Bring it up. Maybe you read they just bought a new car, and you happen to own the same model, or your friend works at the car company, and you can give them a sneak peek at the new model coming out that no one else has access to. Be creative. Find commonalities that can make them interested in you. In communication in Hollywood, you need to not only be interesting and get attention, but you need to be interested in others, and show them attention. So that’s really the first step.

You want to also specifically ask if there is anything you can do for them, and if you can and it’s ethical and fair, do it if you agree to. An example might be giving them a free ticket to that sold out concert of that singer they love at the concert venue you or your friend works at.

A model gave me a tie once for Christmas. Although it was a top name brand and expensive, I thought that it was one of the ugliest ties I had ever seen, and I never worn it once, yet I was happy at her thoughtfulness. When casting directors would ask me who some of my best clients were that were dependable and easy to work with and who deserved a special part, she was one of the names I always gave when her look fit.

3, Ask—Don’t Tell!

No this isn’t a political statement for the military, it concerns solicitation. Most any company, producer, agent, or manager who can do anything major for you will generally state that they do not accept unsolicited materials. What that means is, do NOT send them scripts, synopsis,’ treatments, taglines, loglines, your budget, top sheet, music, song, artwork, modeling portfolio, or whatever it is you are seeking to pitch. You have to ASK FIRST if you can send it. Then, if and only if you get the OK to send it, do you then send it. Our companies do not accept unsolicited materials, yet we routinely get many unsolicited materials in each week. This is not only aggravating, its potentially a legal liability for a company, especially if the person sending them materials is crazy or likes to sue. So be respectful and do NOT send materials unless you are first given permission to do so.

4, Be Humble

Another major reason people fail in Hollywood is due to their massive arrogance. There is a fine line between having great chutzpa and being a wise guy. If you’ve watched enough classic Hollywood cinema, you know that a wise guy thinks he or she knows it all and is doing the world a favor just to be in their presence. Maybe one day you will be, but remember, no star is too big to fail—especially these days. And no hot up and coming Hollywood player is too talented to ruin their own career by being too big of a jerk.

5, Don’t Flake

Everyone has been flaky at some point. I have a few times, and I can remember each occasion I did, and it still bothers me. But 99% of the time, I have kept my word. If you say you are going to do something, do it. That means, if you tell the person you are contacting that you will call them Monday to follow up, do it. Or if you tell them you will send something by a certain day, do it. There is a great book called “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz that I highly recommend you read, concerning this topic, and about integrity and life in general.

6, Handle Rejection Well

Another reason many fail in Hollywood, is that their ego is so strongly associated with their identification of who they are, that if they are told no, they feel personally attacked, dehumanized, and worthless. In that situation, many such persons will even seek revenge on the person who told them no. Once in a while, I would evaluate certain actors that I wanted to sign by rejecting them. I knew that if they would handle my rejection with grace and ease, that they would most likely handle the rejection well of casting directors and could manage the pressures of the business fairly well. I didn’t often apply this test, but when I did, it quickly proved my suspicion that the person would go from fake charm to scary maniac with just a few words. These days, I have a friendlier way to determine a person’s character and sanity level without any stress test, but we’ll save that for another time.

The point here is you must handle rejection well and not take anything personally. Of course, it may be personal, but so what? There are enough people on the planet to make you rich and famous. You only need one. Why waste your time getting depressed or angry at one person? Maybe they had a difficult day and just got in a fight with a family member. Maybe you remind them of their ex who broke their heart. Maybe they think you are too beautiful, and they don’t want to fall in love. Who knows? Who cares!

I got brutally rejected by a client I thought for sure I was going to sign for a sales deal once. I was so upset! We both hung up, and then five minutes later after I cooled down, I called him back and closed him for a total of around thirty thousand dollars.

So, if you get rejected by email, phone, text, in person, or whatever, pay it no attention. Just consider it a step in the sales / pitching process and realize you are just getting to know each other. If everyone got everything they wanted the first time they asked for it, there would be more millionaires than poor people. Rejection means NOTHING if you want something GOOD enough. If someone rejects you or your deal, thank them.

I’ve called people months, weeks, even days later after they rejected me and made closes. “Didn’t I just tell you ‘no’ the other day?! One guy asked me once. “You probably did! Yes, I think you’re right!” I replied. People tell me that all the time!” He laughed. I ended up closing him.

I was unemployed once before I became self-employed and desperately wanted a job. But I didn’t want just any job, I wanted a job that I knew I was specifically qualified for that paid far more than any other position of its type with a certain company in a certain luxury high rise building in Chicago. I interviewed with the company and was so frustrated I didn’t hear back. I must have called them literally about one hundred times, leaving countless messages. I had their phone number memorized I called them so much.  Finally, the owner called me and asked what had happened to me. “You didn’t leave me a message the other day!” He stated. I got used to hearing from you! I was afraid something happened!”  He told me I was the most persistent person he had ever met and felt like he HAD to give me the job.  He then hired me as marketing manager which led me to launching my model and talent management company out of the same offices.

Never get offended by rejection. Rejection is your friend. Rejection is merely a stepping-stone to success. Thank the person for their time. Ask them if there is something else they are looking for. Ask them if there is anything with which you can help. Ask them what would make them say yes.  Ask them if they would consider giving you a referral to someone who may say yes. Offer them a finder’s fee. Be creative.

7, Stay Connected

Another huge mistake people in Hollywood make often is that after they pitch someone and get rejected, they will never contact that prospect again. Aside from just trying to pitch them again or close a deal, you have to just stay connected to them any way you can. This means, you have, show, and maintain genuine interest in the life and career of your connection. Send them regular and random messages, asking how they are, if they need anything, or congratulating them on that great news you just read about them in the trades or whatever. I know that most people are not doing this, because firstly, they don’t do it with our company, and secondly, when I do these actions with other companies, they are often shocked and happily surprised that I thought of them. “Doesn’t everyone do this?” I asked a top CEO once. “No! They don’t!” They told me. Wow!  Show interest. Show concern. Show that you care. Work your network!

8, Be Nice

This is another one of the most important things of all. Be nice. Sure, you don’t have to be. But if it comes down to a company funding a deal from the person who is kind, versus a similar deal from a person who is a jerk or really has no manners, who do you think they will go for? That line about “nice guys finish last” is a lie. Especially these days.

The world has enough cruelty, pain and suffering in it. Be happy in your work, have good vibes, spread good energy, and share the love. Make the world, and Hollywood a better place for you being in it.

This certainly isn’t everything you need to know to effectively network or succeed, but it certainly is a good start.  Learning the tools of success and life improvement should be a life-long endeavor. Always be learning. Always be growing. Always be networking. And of course—ALWAYS BE CLOSING!

Bruce Edwin is CEO of Starpower Management, Bruce Edwin Productions, and Hollywood Sentinel Public Relations. He does not accept unsolicited materials. Visit: www.BruceEdwin.com 

This content is © 2021, Hollywood Sentinel / Bruce Edwin, all world rights reserved.

Adele is Back—Better Than Ever

Adele, Photo credit: Simon Emmett, used with kind courtesy.

Global superstar Adele returns with the release of her brand new single and video “Easy On Me.”  “Easy On Me” precedes the November 19th release of Adele’s newest album titled “30,” on Columbia Records. Earlier this week Adele shared the news of her new album release date and inspiration with a personal note to her fans letting them know she was “finally ready to put this album out.” The video for “Easy On Me,” shot last month in Quebec, finds Adele once again collaborating with Cannes Grand Prix winning director Xavier Dolan (Mommy, It’s Only The End Of The World). “I was honestly hoping for this to happen,” noted Dolan. “For me, there’s nothing stronger than artists reconnecting after years apart. I’ve changed.  Adele’s changed.  And this is an opportunity to celebrate how we’ve both evolved, and how we’ve also both remained faithful to our dearest themes. It’s all the same, but different.” The video begins in the same house the pair used to shoot the video for Adele’s 2015 smash single “Hello.” Listen to “Easy On Me” here and check out the video here.

30 is the first new music from Adele since the release of her third studio album 25 in November 2015. The album is produced with former collaborators Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, Shellback and Tobias Jesso Jr as well as new collaborators Inflo and Ludwig Göransson. 30 is available for preorder at all physical and digital retailers globally. In addition, exclusive configurations will be available at select retailers nationwide including a Target deluxe CD featuring three bonus tracks and a Walmart clear exclusive double vinyl. An Amazon white exclusive double vinyl will be available globally. 30 and lead single “Easy On Me” will also be offered on cassette, exclusive to Adele’s D2C store while supplies last. The album will be available on all digital platforms. Pre-order 30 here.

Content and image used with kind courtesy.

2021, Hollywood Sentinel

Life IS Getting Better!

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff and Florence Pugh as Yelena in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2020. Photo Credit: Jay Maidment. All Rights Reserved.

In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff — aka Black Widow — confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Black Widow — the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.

See movies including “Black Widow” in the theatres (instead of at home) when you can!

Why Are You Here? 

It’s been a tough nearly two years for most all of us. But realize, things are getting better. Life IS getting better! As 2021 winds down, now is an important time to reflect back on what matters most to you, and to achieve your top most goals.

One of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves and even more importantly, to accurately answer, is “Why are we here?” If you work for someone else at a job, can you imagine going to work and not knowing what you are there for? Or if you are in business for yourself, can you imagine not knowing why you are in business? Surely that would be insanity, right? And yet arguably millions of people do not know the even more important question that entails the entirety of their life, “Why are you here in your physical body, and on this Earth?” Surely we are here for a reason!

I believe that that reason we are here on this Earth is individual to each person, which is to use the greatest gifts each of us were given in this lifetime. To one person it may to be a doctor. To another, an artist, and to yet another—an athlete. What is your gift? Your greatest talent? Have you harnessed it, trained, and made yourself the best you that you can be? If you have not, you owe it to yourself to start doing that now.

The second reason I feel we are here on this Earth, is a universal purpose, which is to develop good character. Another way of saying this would be that we are here to evolve spiritually, by rejecting evil, and doing good.

Doing good to others stars with doing good to ourselves first. That means having self-respect, and self-love. To be worthy of self-love and self-respect, we have to live respectable lives, which means we have integrity with our word to ourselves and to each other.  To be worthy of self-love and self-respect means that our values and ideals are in alignment with how we speak and how we act. In order to treat others how we ourselves would like to be treated, we also have to demand that others treat us with respect, and not tolerate abuse. And to stop abuse from others, we have to first stop abusing ourselves. That means that how we think about ourselves is not negative, that our “self-talk” is constructive, not damaging and degrading to our self-esteem.

After you have a proper value and vision of yourself within society, make it your habit to live in integrity with your word.  Ask yourself why you are here, what is your highest calling, and then manifest that purpose.  Help others when you can. Constantly increase your value not only in the marketplace, but also your value spiritually and socially.

1, Treat yourself as you want others to treat you

2, Treat others as they want to be treated

3, Live in integrity. Be true to yourself and others

4, Ask yourself and most importantly answer, Why Are You Here?

5, Manifest Your Life Purpose

6, After you have Achieved Abundance,  Give Back, and teach others how to do the same.

Let us know what you want to hear, read and see in our next issue. Explore all of our pages via the table of contents tab, and check back often as we will soon be rolling out new content on a weekly basis.

(c) 2021, Hollywood Sentinel