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Longevity in the Business

The Long Road

The Long Road

An acquaintance of mine — someone I haven’t spoken with since 1999 —  found me, out of the blue, on Facebook.  He wanted to know if it was really me, and mentioned a few keywords that would remind me of who and what.  I remembered him.  He’d hired me to consult on a TV show he was trying to sell.  I’d done a schedule and budget for him at the time, and then he’d moved on, trying to sell it.  I never heard from him again or found out whether he sold it it or not.

So he finds me, determines it’s me.  And then he asks the question I get from a lot of people who sporadically come and go in my life.  It always goes along these lines:

Him: “So, are you still a producer?”

Me: “Yes, can’t find anything else that isn’t real work… I’d never make it in a real job.”

Him: “Wow, that’s cool.”

Me: “Yes.”

And that’s about it.  They always seem surprised that I haven’t found something better to do, or that I lasted for more than a few years.  They usually have moved on to something else — usually something completely out of the business like sod manufacturing or work in a research lab or some such sort of thing, and find it interesting that I haven’t.  I guess that whole thing about life is change and change is good works for some people, but apparently not for me.  I still have a wife, I still have a child, I still have a job in the industry… well, you get the picture.

The point of all this is that one of the key tenets in this business, for me, is the idea of  persistence and tenacity in this world.  You want to sell a show or a movie?  You may need to pitch it 30 times.  You want to keep working in this business?  You need to stay the course, continue to look for that work, continue to network, continue to investigate every lead.  I’ve often thought I’d make a good homicide detective — because I never give up.  Now sometimes, things don’t work out, so, not being delusional about things, I sometimes put that idea or show on the shelf for a while — and yes, sometimes, I just dump those things into the “dead” file, but more often than not, something I’ve been hammering away for years will happen.

And that is part of what it takes to make it in this business… tenacity, persistence, resolve.  Of course, a little talent, a little luck, some incredible timing, an amazing network of people and resources, plus a loving and understanding family never hurts.

I think back to when I started as a PA for Dick Clark Productions.  Of all the guys and gals who started at the bottom there with me — maybe 3% or 5% of them are still in the business, that I know of.  Most dropped off, somewhere along the way, for a variety of reasons.  But not me.  Like I said, I wouldn’t be very good at a real job.

Posted in Career Advice, Hollywood.

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