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Expert Advice: Matthew LoGuercio, Part 2

Part 2 of Matthew LoGuercio’s responses to my expert advice survey.

TG: What advice would you offer to someone just starting out in (or attempting to break into) the business?

Matthew LoGuercio: Here is my quote and mantra: “You only miss out on 100% of the conversations you don’t have.” See examples below:

I was riding my bike one day and came upon 2 woman who were lost on a trail. After redirecting them I started a conversation. They worked out of a recording studio in NYC and needed someone to produce video for them. That conversation introduced me to several new contacts and production jobs.

I was performing in a comic opera and my partner in a scene and I talked about the business. She told me I was funny and that she produced commercials and would get me an audition. Two days later I was cast in a National commercial. Subsequently we produced several commercials together and still have a working relationship 12 years later.

You never know whom you are going to meet and where your next project will come from. Networking is the key to success. Also at first do not be afraid to ask and take lousy jobs, such as PA or background work, but use these opportunities to watch the people doing the job(s) you want.

Do we really need film school? That is a personal choice. I grew up around cameras and had a film buff for a dad, but I am self-taught and you can read my book and full story on how I did it. In 2004 I was teaching a class at NYU about the business of film. The students wanted to know where their main competition came from. Was it USC or UCLA? I said neither and that it was 11 year olds. (My Mac consultant told me a story on how he sold an 11 year old Apple’s professional editing software, Final Cut Pro, after the boy told him he had been editing for 2 years with iMovie and was ready to move up.)

Robert McKee wrote a screenwriting book called, “Story”; in that book he describes what the business of film is all about; telling stories! So now 11 year olds have access to editing programs and cameras they can tell their stories without spending 200,000 on film school. In 2003 there was a 13 year old whose film was broadcast on the Independent Film channel.

There are three types of job settings in the business, Corporate, Freelance and Entrepreneur. Even though it is the entertainment business, working at Disney as a corporate employee is the same as working at IBM. There is a ladder of success and a need to navigate up it in order to succeed How you do that is either by the right education, the right skill or having an uncle in the business.

As a freelance employee you develop a skill set that is either unique or so good that you are a better hire than anyone else and you consistently get work. If you freelance and are a member of a Union then the ancillary things like benefits will fall into place. Freelancing outside the union atmosphere will require you to get your own health plan and retirement plan. Remember you are never too young to think about saving for retirement.

As for the Entrepreneurs, that is me, it’s all about creating relationships and doing better work than your competition. I pride myself on being efficient, effective and economical; in the new digital era these have become important traits as companies are looking to save money.

As for job searches, the Internet is a wide-open field. I found two commercial jobs on Craigslist this year. There are many other sites like mandy.com that list jobs. The NYC mayors office of film has a job listing as well.

Next, Part 3.

Posted in Career Advice, Hollywood.

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