Category Archives: How To Succeed In Hollywood

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.

Success In Hollywood

Success in any endeavor, including Hollywood, entails 4 things.

1, Knowing what you want

2, Knowing why you want it

3, Knowing how to get it, and

4, Knowing where you are now

This seems simple enough, but remarkably, most people don’t follow this simple formula or know it. Having seen over ten thousand models and actors in-person, and spoken with over fifty thousand by phone over the years, we have learned some things about artists goals. Most artists say they want to be an actor or model or band, singer, producer, writer, etc., but don’t know the steps involved.

Let’s break them down one by one.

1, Knowing what you want includes knowing what you do not want. What could you know you do not want? You may want to be an actor or actress. OK, what is wrong with that? The first problem is WANTING it. When you want something, you keep it far away from you. Don’t want to be something you are not. Just BE it. In other words, stop saying that you want to be a director, just direct. Shoot something—anything—even on your phone, and then start CALLING yourself a director. Be what you want to be. In present time. When you refer to yourself as that which you want to be, then you are no longer searching in future tense. You now ARE, in the present. And when you treat yourself as you want to be, then others will start to as well. And, we generally behave ourselves in the manner in which others treat us.

Now that we have the covered, what KIND of actor, director, artist, or person do you want to be? A poor one? One who no one knows outside of your close friends and family? Or a world famous one? Do you want to be famous and then die broke and poor and miserable? Winning no awards, and everyone forgets your name? Do you want to be famous for anything? Even robbing a bank? Or do you want to a top, respected, award winning star, respected and admired widely around the world, forever?

The problem with most people, including artists when it comes to reaching their goals, is that they don’t have clearly defined goals.

You MUST clearly define your goal.

And by realizing what you do NOT want, you will better focus on what you DO want. So, write out your goal. Do it NOW. What do you want? Write down your goals and review them daily, before bed, and when you wake up and throughout the day.

2, WHY do you want it?

Do you want to be a famous singer because you want to be rich? That’s the wrong reason if that is the ONLY reason. Why, is because there are far easier ways to get rich than being an entertainer. Do you want to a famous director because you love a film that changed your life and you think it looks easy and fun? This also may not be the right reason. Find the reason WHY you want what you want, and make sure that it is stronger than anything you can imagine doing. You must be hugely passionate about it.

3, Now, how do you get it?

One simple method to get what you want, is to observe the paths of others in your chosen field, and see how they got what it is YOU want. Certainly, not all people are the same and thus not all paths are the same, but you may find some similarities—some clues of direction that you too can workably follow. This means—study the successful, and also get a mentor. Get someone that will teach and guide you, and hold you accountable to your goals. It has never been easier to get free or low cost education, training, or mentorship from the biggest, richest, most famous, and most talent people in entertainment than now.

If you are seeking to prosper in any area of the arts to a higher position than you are now, and you have not signed up for Master Class, what are you waiting for? You would be kind of crazy not to in my opinion. Natalie Portman teaching acting?! Martin Scorsese, Jody Foster, and Spike Lee teaching filmmaking?! Alicia Keys and St. Vincent teaching music?! Seriously?! Master Class is a GOLD MINE of information from the top of the top. And it’s inexpensive. And no, they are NOT paying me!

4, Know where you are now.

This is important to note, because most people aspiring to be great in Hollywood do not know where they are now. They are either stuck in the past, as in past mistakes and hang ups, or they are stuck in the future, as in—they think they are a star NOW, when they are nothing of the sort. They may be good at dreaming and playing make-believe of what they want and where they want to be, but they get confused and start believing that they really ARE as great as they want to be. And then when Hollywood—meaning the agents, managers, casting directors, or others don’t agree that they are not yet ready to be a star, or not talented enough—they go ballistic and become verbally abusive, or start slandering or libeling those in the industry that don’t share their opinion of their greatness. Or they have meltdown and crawl back to wherever it is they came from, forever scarred and dejected. I’ve seen this all play out, again and again. Don’t let this be you.

Know WHERE you are now. Be brutally honest with yourself. But then—forgive yourself for whatever it is you think you did wrong. And move on to make yourself better and better day by day.

A good idea is to at times, operate just a few minutes in the future.

In other words, instead of being in your head stuck in the past or stuck in your future idea of yourself a year from now, operate with your mindset just a few minutes ahead, so that you are envisioning what you want minutes from now, just ahead of present time. In this manner, you will be generally in the here and now when it comes to your goals, but will be operating slightly ahead of the curve, so that your vision helps to manifest your present reality. With intention, and without delusion.

For example, lets say you are calling up a top manager whose phone number you just discovered, and you want to ask them to represent yourself. You have read all about them, got the name of the CEO written down, researched him or her, and are now reading to call. Instead of worrying about whether or not they will take your call or reject you, you are instead “predicting” seconds into each moment of the future, exactly what will happen. Your thoughts therefore should be something like this, “They are going to answer and take my call now. They are going to put me right through to the CEO. They are taking my call. They like me. We are getting along so well. I made them laugh. They are interested in me. They are going to look at my reel and meet me. They are signing me!” Your talk to your self should be like this ALL the time. Words and thoughts are the precursor to actions, and therefore they are POWERFUL. Use your words and your thoughts wisely! Bless yourself, don’t curse yourself! PREDICT the future you want to create, and speak of it happening in the present tense. What we think and expect is often what we create into existence.

Remember, you are your greatest enemy in Hollywood, and the greatest enemy to your success—or—your best friend and your best helper.

Are you going to be your best friend, or your best enemy? You know what you need to choose. So do it now.

I’m not talking about sports games, or only one position that is open and only decided by one person. But generally speaking, in terms of the overall goals for yourself, no one has the power to make you win or lose, to succeed or fail. Only YOU do. There are enough people on planet Earth to help you reach the highest goals you have envisioned for yourself. You do not need a million people to help you. You do not even need a thousand, or a hundred people to help you. You only need one. It’s not a matter of CAN you succeed, it is a matter of WHEN. And that when is up to you. When YOU are ready, then you will.

I hope this has helped you.

For answers to specific questions you may have, contact us here at the front of this site, or below, and your question may be answered and published here in our next or future issue, for the world to see.

Note: The offices of Bruce Edwin and his affiliated companies do NOT accept unsolicited queries for screenplays or stories.

The Office of Bruce Edwin: Tel: 310-226-7176

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

 

 

 

How to Contact an Agent, Manager or Producer

Hollywood and Music Industry veteran Bruce Edwin gives here his exclusive advice on how to contact agents, managers, and producers in our current times. He gives this advice free of charge. Those with specific questions on this or anything else can contact him below. If he replies, your question and his answer may be published here in our next issue, for the world to see.

How to Succeed In Hollywood 

Despite what some wrongly think, there are films and TV shows being made in Hollywood in 2020 and on in to the first quarter of 2021, and there actually are some agencies and management firms that are seeking talent. The smartest agencies and management companies are expanding, or diversifying into other areas during the so-called “pandemic.”

So, when you do send an email or text to a producer, or an agent or manager, HOW do you it? There are certain successful steps, and certain ways sure to fail.  These rules apply not only to the entertainment industry, but to any area of business as  well.

The best way to do marketing to and close anyone, is in person, with the second best way by video or phone.  We will cover those areas in a future issue. For now, we cover here email and text marketing, which are also vitally important.

The rules are as follows:

Hollywood Marketing 101 

1, Research the company you are contacting. Know about them, what they do, what their mission statement is if they have one, who their top clients are or top projects, and know who their CEO and staff are.

2, When contacting them, use the company name and the name of the CEO or person you are contacting at top. Do not except a reply back if you send a text or email not using their name, or if you misspell their name or the name of their company.

3, Tell them something positive that you admire about them right away, in the first sentence. Maybe you like their last film, the fact that they just donated to your favorite charity, or that they give special consideration to minorities. Commend them right away, but be sincere.

4, Next, ASK them for whatever it is you want; a meeting, an appointment by phone, to send your headshot, resume and reel, to send your synopsis or script. ASK. Never order, and certainly never ever send anything without asking their OK FIRST.

When people contact us without getting our name right, not using our name, or even worse, doing none of this AND sending a script without our consent, it immediately stays unread, gets deleted, and the person gets BLOCKED forever. Don’t make that mistake!

5,  Tell them something that you can do for them. Don’t say you will make them rich with your great talent or great script. It has to be something unique and different. One guy recently told us he works at a certain museum and could get us free tickets. Never mind that the person may be rich and doesn’t care about museum admission or can maybe get in free anway. It’s a nice gesture. Everyone likes free things and to feel as if they are being treated special as a VIP.   And everyone appreciates a kind gesture. Use your imagination. Maybe you do fitness coaching on the side and want to offer them a free class as a way of saying thank you. Create your favor, and use them.

6, Lastly, thank them. Use their name again. Close off with thanking them for their time, and be sure to include your website, your email, and your phone number WITH the area code. I can’t tell you how many actors foolishly have told us their phone number without telling us their area code. Generally no one that can help you is going to look up your area code. Include your social media addresses as well. Some people may be more comfortable on instagram or facebook or some other manner, than email or a phone call with you. Include everything. Linked In is also a good avenue for communication.

7, Include your photo so they remember. One of my clients even is now making personalized videos in this manner for each person, using their name at the beginning. This is smart.

If you don’t hear back after about 4 or 5 days, send them another message, using the same steps above, but with a few slight changes. Acknowledge that you know how busy they must be, and that you wanted to contact them again just in case they had missed the first message. Repeat everything again.

You have to be polite, but aggressive in Hollywood–especially now more than EVER.

8, If you get rejected, the worst thing to do is to get mad. When we used to sign aspiring new actors or models, we would often test how they handled rejection, before we signed them. Sadly some that we really wanted to sign, blew up, getting insanely angry and abusive. Needless to say, those people failed the test. Be kind and cordial, and keep your cool under all circumstances.

9, The second worst thing to do aside from getting angry over rejection, is to be cold, indifferent, and ignore the person rejecting you afterwards. The correct thing to do, is to thank them, follow up with them, thank them again, and actually re-pitch them again, asking what it would take to make them say YES.  Ands then do so.

10, When using a video platform or in person to pitch, get creative. Stand up if it gives you more energy. Move around, show people things if it can serve your presentation. Get creative.  Test your audio, camera, and sound and picture quality with a friend before your video call.

11, Practice your presentation and pitch on friends or family, or a trusted co-worker, and ask for their constructive criticism. Always be improving, refining, and perfecting your pitch.

12, Never take no for an answer. Never give up, and always be closing!

Wishing you the best,

–Bruce Edwin

© 2020, www.BruceEdwin.com 

Tel: 310-226-7176