LIFE LESSONS PART 2
WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU IN FILM SCHOOL – part 2 / 4
If you are just joining in – Catch up and read PART 1.
Ok, so lets recap.
Dropped out of college – went to film school…
Graduated film school – moved to Los Angeles destined for greatness.
Did some short films… They kind of sucked. Did some music videos – they were pretty terrible as well…
Within a year of moving to Los Angeles I was broke. I got fired from every job I had… I drained my parents’ bank account… Took a job at J Crew.
Got an ultimatum from my parents… Got angry – got motivated… Sent some singing telegrams to some people…
Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?
Getting a job in Hollywood is easy. Getting a job YOU WANT in Hollywood is not.
Los Angeles is a tourist hot spot. There are restaurants on every corner of every street, coffee shops out numbering restaurants, malls and clothing stores outnumbering coffee shops. ALL of them hiring…
The irony is – the majority of the work force employed there are industry people waiting for their‘big break’.
Trust me when I say there is a reason why your wait staff or baristas are HOT… There is a better than good chance that they are actors or actresses.
The guy who is bagging your groceries: there is a better than good chance he is a screenwriter by night…
The guy who is folding the clothes at J Crew will most likely go on to direct a couple of horror movies…
WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD.
While this seems to be the way the world works, there is a fundamental problem: ‘settling’.
While I hated working at J CREW, I settled for working at J Crew. I made a nice wage, had decent hours, became good friends with my fellow co-workers.
I became a creature of habit.
I had moved to LA to create – and the only thing I was creating was a BALL OF RAGE building inside me…
Quitting J CREW was one of the best things I did.
The biggest advice I can give you my fellow readers is KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO – AND DO NOT ACCEPT, OR SETTLE FOR ANY JOB NOT HELPING YOU REACH YOUR GOAL.
So you can’t get a job? No one is calling you back, responding to your resume…
CHANGE YOUR FUCKING APPROACH.
I wanted to be a director. A writer. And here I was faxing out my resume like 10,000 knuckleheads. I was a piece of paper amongst a printing press.
I had to stand out. Thus the pizza box, the singing telegram, and various other stupid stunts I pulled off in hopes of being noticed…
But even with my insanity in full gear – THAT was not enough.
FACT – Resumes don’t really mean SHIT! I spent countless hours, days, weeks, maybe months, tweaking my resume to be perfect!!! And NO ONE was reading it. No one really cared… It’s not about what school I went to, what computer programs I knew, or how much experience I had.
Here I was doing insane stunts to get my resume read. No one commented on the resume; they commented on the stunt.
So I threw away my resume, stopped adding, tweaking, or perfecting it.
I finished my script – THE DESPERATE. I was pretty happy with it. And while I got my foot in the door at a couple of great INDUSTRY jobs I wasn’t getting traction on my ART…
Yes, I got PA jobs. Yes, I got assistant jobs with big name producers. But I could not comprehend having to pay my dues for the next five years driving BIG SHOT producers around…
I had a script – but couldn’t get anyone to read it.
I had no manager, I had no agent, I had no lawyer.
So I did what any sensible thinking person would do… I LIEEEEEDDDDDDD, I CHEATED, I CREATED A WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE.
Let me explain.
The big catch 22 in the industry is this. No one will read your shit without proper representatives. You can’t get good representatives without a produced work, or a great reel.
At this time, I was an assistant at a pretty big talent firm. Sitting on the desk of a pretty big directors agent. I learned a lot. More importantly, I learned how to navigate around the bullshit.
I partnered up with another assistant – we schemed a near perfect plan!!!!
We created a fake talent management company – got a PO BOX. Made business cards, and set up a voicemail, and changed the title page of THE DESPERATE to say written by JAMES LUTHER. Not Darren Bousman.
I used my power at the agency I worked at to say I just read this AMAZING screenplay by this unknown writer. When the agents asked who submitted it – I would give them the name of our FAKE management company.
I called other assistants at other agencies and gushed about this new script I just read called “THE DESPERATE”.
As an assistant – you want to be on the pulse of what is HOT, and what is NOT.
I used friends strategically placed in various aspects of the biz to help me build hype on this screenplay.
WIthin a couple of days the phone calls started coming in. People wanted to read THE DESPERATE!
Shady… I know, I know… But also CREATIVE!!!!!
Suddenly I had TRACTION!!!
I was out there fishing, and I started getting a couple of bites.
People would call the number we set up… It ALWAYS went to voice mail so we wouldn’t mess up our stories, or have to explain things.
We would only answer by email – never return calls…
We started sending the THE DESPERATE out under UTOPIAN PICTURES AND MANAGEMENT, our made up company.
Then it happened. Coverage started coming in from various industry places, and it was good… really good!
It was through this voyage that I was able to find a lawyer. My first REAL rep…
I had circumvented the catch 22.
With my lawyer in place… I dissolved the fake management company, changed the title page back to say written by Darren Lynn Bousman – and started off into the REAL hard stuff… Convincing anyone that a guy with no real experience, should direct this feature film…
Stay tuned, and check back for part 3.