On the show this week, I interview Angel Hunter, an administrative assistant at 20th Century Fox, or how she describes it, “a very big well-funded post house.” I am super stoked to feature Angel on The Elements of Cinema Podcast because she offers a glimpse into the corporate side of the business, which is quite often overlooked by the creative types.
One of the things that Angel and I discuss is how the term “corporate” is often a bad word when filmmakers toss it around. Well, as the Devil’s Advocate I gotta say, if it’s not obvious to you, big studios and media giants still run the business. I understand if you are jaded of super hero movies or the formula-perfect romcoms that studios are accidentally guilty of intentionally mass producing. But, let’s give credit where credit is due and remind ourselves that we are privileged to work in a town where the entertainment business is so prosperous that it pays the salary of tens of thousands of people.
Sure, we all want to make movies and write screenplays, but rent and groceries are part of living, and stability goes a long way. If the corporations were not so good at self-preservation (and making the mainstream flicks the audience-at-large craves), droves of people would have to find employment in a different trade. And that would be the real shame!
Click here to listen:
Things we discuss in this episode:
- Advantages of a corporate job
- Why a business sense and understanding finances are beneficial to filmmakers
- “A good reputation is better than silver and gold.”
- Contrary to popular belief, there are real nice people in the business
- “There are no C’s.”
- Reasons to go to film school (speaking of which, I first mentioned Angel in this article on the pros and cons of film school).
- How Tom Blomquist (our professor at CSULB) helped Angel land her job
- Thoughts on film school and a film degree
- The symbiotic relationship between art and business.
- “I don’t want it good, I want it on Tuesday.”
- How you can join the corporate track
- Why you should treat Talent Acquisition like gold
And because I told Angel I’d have this in big bold letters, here it is:
“Without Money Nothing Gets Done; Study the Money in Film!”
In addition to our discussion about the relationship between art and money, one of the show’s highlights was about integrity, and why you should work hard to leave an impression.
When I discussed film school in the article Is Film School a Good Idea?, I mentioned that one of the advantages of film school is that you can meet people who have enough influence and connections to get you hired. Angel’s journey is evidence that it happens. Of course, you have to be at the right place at the right time (or maybe just enroll in the right class and meet the right professor). But the lesson here is to always give your very best, which Angel successfully did.
Read: The book Angel recommended was the The Hollywood Assistants Handbook: 86 Rules for Aspiring Power Players by Peter Nowalk & Hillary Stamm. Though I’m yet to get a copy, I believe it may just be the golden how-to manuscript for those interested in entry-level assistant positions.
Wisdom: Angel’s advice was to “always leave an impression and make it a good one,” which in itself works as a maxim. But for the sake of impact, I much prefer when Angel phrased it as a subtle warning: “You are always making an impression,” which is so true. Whether you are always present or you blend in the background, people are noting your behavior and efficiency. Act accordingly.
Habits: Smile and keep calm!
Next week I release the interview I did with casting director Bonnie Gillespie, a four-time author with some amazing insights about the industry as a whole and many specifics for performers. Her book, Self-Management for Actors, has appeared in several lists as one of the best acting books ever. Stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe!