Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hollywood Job Boards: Waste of Time?

From Realitystaff.com to Entertainmentcareers.net to Showbizjobs.com, at some time in your search for work in Hollywood you've probably visited one of these sites. And when I first arrived here, I wasted lots of money on job lists and subscriptions just like the paid service on Showbizjobs.

For the six years I've been in this quirky town, I can count on one hand how many interviews I've ever received through these sites combined. That's my story, but obviously not everyone's. But as you go about your job hunt, I'd like to shed some insight on job hunting the Hollywood way.

JOB BOARDS

Job boards to me personally are damn near a waste of time. By the time you've seen a posting your competition has already applied. So do not pay for job listings. The owners and operators of these job boards can't guarantee you an interview much less a job so why are you paying them for info you can find elsewhere. It's a hustle folks and not the kind that made John Travolta famous.

However, if you must use a job board I suggest those that are meta search engines like Indeed.com that aggregate job listings from different sources including Monster, Hotjobs, and Showbizjobs, etc. Meta search engines will save you a lot of time because you only visit one site not several.

The second job listing that I've had the most success is with Craigslist. Looking for a job under the category of tv/film is like shopping in the bargain basement. There's some of everything there so you must plow through all that you don't want to get to the few listings you do. But it's worth it. There's a real person behind the ad, not a key word hungry computer scanning your resume for words like "manager" or "producer". I would also suggest Mandy Jobs at Mandy.com.

THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

The best Hollywood way of getting a job outside of nepotism and "trading favors" is still referrals. Observe the most successful freelancer and you'll notice they work with the same people over and over again, from one gig to the next. Which is how "it's all about who you know" came to be. However, I believe "it's all about who knows you." Truly, you may know plenty of people but how many of them would refer you for a job. So let people get to know you and your talents.

How do you do that? If you can afford the time and are willing to work for free, volunteer but not forever. Hollywood will chump you, so volunteer on your own terms. Think of it this way: To play the game, you must be in it. Volunteering is how I got my foot in the door even before relocating from NC. So check company websites for charity events, related seminars, or even productions. See a potential volunteer opportunity, pursue it.

I also suggest cutting out the middle man and directly contacting the company you want to work for. LinkedIn is a great tool for helping you do that instead of sending an email to an address that merely exists to stockpile resumes and is rarely checked. Send that employee you find on LinkedIn an email introducing yourself, and prompt them for a response. But if this Hollywood elite ignores you, which is typical, do some research and call them at the company. However, use common sense. Be persistent not a nuisance. If you get no further than the assistant, share with them your purpose for calling. Never sleep on the assistant. They often have the power and the influence needed to get you in the door.

Lastly, for you creative folk here's a tool. Since your applying online anyway, social media resumes at VisualCV and Gigtide.com are perfect for those jobs requiring links to reels or samples of your work. With these resumes you can include images, videos, social networks and get a free url. They can also be saved in different formats including PDF.

That's all I have for now people. Keep the faith in your job searching. If you've got a tip or insight to add, please share it. Knowledge is power.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! Great post! Most of my gigs I've gotten from friends and ppl I worked with. Who has time to go through lists?

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