Written by: Allie Feinstein
Sadly, my time in Los Angeles has come to an end. After two months, I feel more knowledgeable, independent, and goal oriented than ever before thanks to my work at the New York Film Academy and my internship at Marvel.
Officially, my favorite memory working on Thor took place the first week when I was with the art and special effects departments. It was my first look into the technology that makes these big budget effects movies come to life and the incredible people that put it all together. (Unofficially, my favorite moment was meeting Chris Hemsworth) ;)
Interning is professionally and personally valuable in many ways. It feels great to have interned in an industry I want to work in, lived in a city I want to live in, experienced it all with the peace of mind that I still have time to prepare before I jump into the workforce. I mean, I spent a good portion of my time filing and shredding paper, answering phones, and completing other office duties, but I was never bored or negative. It could be unabashed affinity of office supplies and organizing, but I was always content with my assignments. My job was to make everyone else’s jobs easier and I was happy to do that any way they needed me to. You climb the ranks by doing what is asked of you, taking initiative when appropriate, and getting along with those around you. I was just happy to be getting a taste of the movie business.
Interning is like sampling at a restaurant. Imagine if you’re not sure what you want and you get the chance to try a little bit of everything before the rest of your party shows up. By the time the waiter comes around, you are more prepared to make an informed decision and when your dish arrives you know exactly what to expect. Such is the way with a career. If you can get a taste of what’s out there, you can take time in college to figure out what excites you and what doesn’t. Not to mention make connections in your industry of choice that could greatly aid your career climb.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD
Okay, so there’s no formula for acquiring wealth and the admirations of millions. But there are some ways to play the game that can increase your odds of getting ahead. First of all, fame and fortune should not be your motivation, instead you should be your motivated by passion for your craft.
In the past two months, I have gotten to know many different people. Some are striving to become directors, some producers or actors, others corporate execs. Regardless of the goal, your best bet to make it big is to take action. If you want to become a director, you should be studying filmmaking, working on your own films, helping with others’ productions, watching tons of movies, putting together a reel, meeting other aspiring filmmakers, actors, handing out your business cards, directing people to your website (and your Twitter page, and your YouTube page, and any other social media outlet you deem necessary), studying the market…doing anything and everything to sharpen your skills and get noticed. The same principle applies to actors, producers, and corporate leaders but the ingredients in the recipe for success vary. My point: when pursuing a goal, to maximize the amount of “luck” that comes your way, you have to be exceptionally prepared for opportunities. This is by far the most important thing I learned this summer.
I met casting directors, producers, actors, studio executives, agents, and many other people that you’d love to run into on a daily basis as an aspiring ‘star’. However, for me this trip was exploratory and at every meeting and every mixer, I simply soaked in information, gradually pieced together my perception of the entertainment industry, and sorted out what side of it I wanted to be a part of. As an actress, I could meet a thousand casting directors, but without a couple of headshots, a reel of my work, a recommendation or two or an impressive education in the performing arts, and confidence in my abilities, few would give me the time of day. People flock to Hollywood from all over the world in search of fame. A small percentage got noticed in the mall for having a good “look” or stumbled upon celebrity status for some other reason. The majority of those that “make it” will tell you it was hard work and luck that got them where they are. Even those that hit the jackpot after just one try wouldn’t have made it past 15 minutes without diligence. So the key to making it in Hollywood is simply knowing what you want and going after it.
I have yet to pinpoint exactly what I want. In general, the most I could do was network and make connections that I revisit once I return to Los Angeles (and meanwhile check in via the internet every few months). The next time I’m in the capital of entertainment, I will come with a specific goal in mind and action steps to get noticed.
Thank you for coming along on my trip by reading and commenting. Best of luck on your own journey!