Hollywood Connect FAQs

General

The Greenhouse’s Hollywood Connect program exists to help people arrive, survive, and thrive in the entertainment industry. It is particularly for people who are either considering a move to the Los Angeles entertainment industry or who are in their first 1-2 years in the industry.

Our goal is to help those creative professionals grow emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, creatively, and professionally.

You can get in touch with us by email at info@hollywoodconnect.com or by mail at The Greenhouse, Attn: Hollywood Connect, P.O. Box 3832, Valley Village CA 91617.

We especially love fan mail. And care packages with homemade cookies.

Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we are not able to accept any unsolicited material. It’s our policy that we either return or discard without reading any such material we receive. If you are interested in submitting your material to us, please do so only via your agent, manager, or talent representative.
Actually, you don’t! The way the entertainment industry is currently set up, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in the industry wherever you find yourself right now! With that said, in many ways, Los Angeles is the main center for a lot of the entertainment arts, including film, television, music, video games, new media, and many others. Although movies and television are shot around the world, most films and television shows are produced here in Hollywood. There is also a wider range of interests, careers, and levels within Hollywood which means that you have more room to grow and expand within your career here.

Arrive, Survive & Thrive

It would be tempting to think that the moment you step off the plane or bus you’ll be inundated with entertainment opportunities and that you’ll never have to watch your bank account run dry. Okay, it happens to people occasionally, but that’s rare, very rare. Like everything when it comes to moving to Hollywood, we recommend approaching your finances like you won’t be the exception to the rule.

The moment you get your boots on the ground here in L.A., you’re going to encounter a lot of costs that you didn’t necessarily anticipate: a hefty deposit on an apartment, fees for registering your car, gas that is $1 more expensive than anywhere else in the country, new headshots, and all sorts of other necessities. There are ways you can keep your expenses down, but generally, the cost of living is much higher in L.A. than anywhere else. So take the time to save up some money before you get here.

There are a lot of opinions about how much you should have in the coffers, and it will have something to do with the standard of living you’re used to, but we recommend saving at least $5000 before you make the move. And a little more than that ain’t gonna hurt.

Finding your housing should be the first thing you do when you get to Los Angeles. There is a tremendous amount of competition for affordable housing, and so it is likely it will take you some time find a place.
We’re certain you are very talented person, and with talent comes opportunities! But even when those opportunities come a-knocking, it still can take time for you to move your way up in Hollywood, and until that big break happens, you’re going to need a way to pay the bills! So typically, we recommend that you get a job that will make you some money at the same time you are pursuing your entertainment industry goals.

So what kind of job should you get? A lot of this depends on what your industry goals are. For actors who need a more flexible schedule to allow for unexpected auditions, a non-industry job that has that sort of flexibility will be important. However, for other types of creative professionals (such as producers and agents), it is better to get work in the industry itself to build up experience and relational networks in those areas of interest.

Some people worry that if they put a non-industry job on their resume they willed be looked at funny when they finally land that incredible interview for the entertainment job. Typically, that’s not the case. Employers know that it takes time to find that right position, so they aren’t going to look down on you if you have a good non-industry job listed. Besides, it shows good work ethic, builds up professional references, and every once in a while, lets you buy those way-overpriced coffees you like so darn much.

You’ll hear all sorts of opinions on this topic and lots of stories about successful Hollywood folks who did not get a college degree. But usually, having a college education is going to help you meet your entertainment industry goals. Having a college degree will not guarantee you a job, but most of the time, it will be a big plus. And in some types of entertainment jobs, you have to have the right degree. For example, you can’t be an entertainment attorney without graduating from law school.

But no matter what your discipline is, a good education is going to give you a strong foundation to build your career. The most important thing to know in terms of your education is that you must never stop learning, and you should encourage yourself to keep educating yourself with challenging new skills. Some of the most successful filmmakers still consider themselves “students of film” and even go back to college to get extra degrees.

So go get that college degree. Ninety-nine times out of 100, entertainment people are glad they did.

Okay, that’s not a question, but we know you’re in shock and this ain’t Jeopardy, so we’ll let that one slide.

Los Angeles is one of those few places where apartments tend not to come with refrigerators, so you’re most likely going to need to go get one.

So where do you go to get a fridge and all the other stuff you need for your new living space? Of course, you can always buy new, but we recommend starting at thrift stores for some pretty good deals. Salvation Army stores often have 50% off days, typically on Fridays and Saturdays, and you can find a fridge in the $80-$100 range. Also check out Craigslist and other classified ad sites.

The most difficult parts of growing a career in the entertainment industry are often loneliness and discouragement. Maintaining a trusted circle of friends who will encourage you and always tell you the truth is extremely important. Also, you’ll want to get plugged into your church or place of worship and creative organizations. (May we suggest The Greenhouse?) There are lots of organizations and opportunities for community out there, so find one that fits you the best! Definitely check out the Hollywood Connect Resources to find some good options. Whatever you do, do go at it alone!
We sometimes hear individuals say, “I’ll give it one year, and if I haven’t made it by then, I’ll go home.”

To those people, we reply, “Save yourself the heartache and find another career.” Developing an entertainment career takes a long time. This is a bit of a generalization, but we tell people that it will take at least 5 years to get an acting career off the ground. For writers, it’s even longer – as long as 10 years. So if you’re not willing to come for the long haul, it’s best that you choose a different path.

But keep in mind: you need to do what is best and healthiest for you, and that may be moving on. While we urge people to work hard in their careers, we also recognize the need to maintain a healthy life and healthy relationships. If leaving is something you’re considering, get in touch with us at info@hollywoodconnect.com. We’ll help you work through the process of seeing whether you should stay or need to go back home or if there are other options available to you.

If it is time to move on to the next thing, do not think of that as failure! The greatest success you can have is to follow your true calling!

Actors

We get this question a lot! Unfortunately, we’re not able to find or provide an agent for you.

There are a number of ways for finding an agent, including the agency books that you can purchase at industry bookstores like Samuel French Bookstore. These books are updated monthly, which will give you all the info you need to target those agents who are looking specifically for your “type.” And you’ll find that having a referral from another trusted actor is going to help in getting an agent.

There is a difference between the two. According to California state law, only a licensed agent is permitted to get you work as an actor. However, managers are also good for developing contacts, working with marketing and publicity, and overall planning of your acting career. And remember, an agent will require 10% of your gross profits from any acting jobs s/he obtains for you, and a manager will require 15% of your gross profits for any jobs that you get.

You do not necessarily need to have both, although many actors have both. There are differing opinions as to which one is more important, however. The more important thing is to find representation that is getting the job done for you. Do your homework on potential agents and managers – find ones who are ethical, connected, and willing to work with your specific goals. It is okay to say “no” to those reps who aren’t.

There can be a number of reasons to say “no” to an acting job. You may not be comfortable with nudity, language, violence, other content, or even just the overall type of project with which you’ve been presented. It is okay to say a firm and polite “no” when you are presented with something you’re not comfortable with. In fact, it is the true professional who is strong enough to say “no” when he or she does not want to take a particular job.

Now, you may end up feeling pressure to take that job – pressure from others and/or from yourself. You may have to part company with your agent or manager. You may even be told that outrageous lie, “You’ll never work in this town again.” Don’t believe it. If you’re talented, you will find another agent and/or manager, and you will have opportunities to work in Hollywood again. In fact, you might even have more opportunities because you said “no.” We know all sorts of stories of people who said “no” to projects for various reasons – even saying it to the biggest names in Hollywood – and those people went on to the highest levels of success, even becoming A-list talent.

The truth is that the most powerful word you can say is “no,” and if you say it for the right reasons, you’ll actually have more respect. Sure, you might have to burn a bridge or two in the process, but if you’re good, that won’t stop you.

So say “no” for the right reasons, sleep with a clear conscience at night, and know that your career is in safe hands – yours, not someone else who isn’t truly looking out for you and your true goals.

Writers

We get this question a lot! Unfortunately, we’re not able to find or provide an agent for you.

There are a number of ways for finding an agent, including the agency books that you can purchase at industry bookstores like Samuel French Bookstore. These books are updated monthly, which will give you all the info you need to target those agents who are looking specifically for your type of writing. And you’ll find that having a referral from another trusted writer is going to help in getting an agent.

There is a difference between the two. According to California state law, only a licensed agent is permitted to get you work as a writer. However, managers are also good for developing contacts, working with marketing and publicity, and overall planning of your writing career. And remember, an agent will require 10% of your gross profits from any writing jobs s/he obtains for you, and a manager will require 15% of your gross profits for any jobs that you get.

You do not necessarily need to have both, although many writers have both. There are differing opinions as to which one is more important, however. The more important thing is to find representation that is getting the job done for you. Do your homework on potential agents and managers – find ones who are ethical, connected, and willing to work with your specific goals. It is okay to say “no” to those reps who aren’t.

Ooh, sorry, you can’t. There is no way to copyright an idea.

But you can take steps to protect your script, treatment, or other materials. Check with the U.S. Copyright Office to get some info and an application (there is a small fee to file the application, but it’s worth it). Also consider filing your material with the Writers Guild of America, which provides additional protection and the ability to arbitrate any conflicts.

Well, that can happen, although it doesn’t happen as often as you might think. There are federal copyright laws that have been put in place in order to protect your work. While ideas cannot be exclusively owned, the way the idea is expressed can. Always register your script with the U.S. Copyright Office and/or the Writers Guild of America. We recommend registering at both. There are easy applications and low application fees.

Consult a licensed entertainment attorney if you have concerns.