The TV show “Entourage” is really the world’s best, first, and most accurate iteration of real life in the film business at a very high level. In “Film School Secrets”, we encourage aspiring filmmakers to skip film school and get on real film sets right away, plus begin making your own marketable material to show to potential agents, investors, and producers.
But since most filmmakers don’t do this, they are left in a situation a lot like “Lloyd”, the character who is Ari Gold’s assistant on the show “Entourage”. Fans of the show know that after many years of abuse, Lloyd finally earned his wings and became a real life agent. But the actual experience in the film business for most recent film school grads, even from places like NYU and USC, is much more like the first 4 seasons of the show.
You may recall that Lloyd was a top graduate from a top school (I forget if it was Stanford or Harvard, but it was Ivy League). His first job out of college? Fetching coffee, running errands, and receiving verbal abuse from his overlord, the agent Ari Gold. Fans of the show enjoy all of Ari’s creative insults that he hurls. But the crazy, and kind of sad, fact remains: this what really happens in all levels of the film business. You have a lot of amped up, coked out crazy mothafukas with a ton of power, carousing with celebs and highly paid talent… and thousands of people lining up to bend over and be bitches (“assistants”) just to get a taste of the potential power, fame, and money that is flowing through these businesses like water.
What’s even sadder is that most of these people spent $100,000 and used their brains to get degrees from reputable schools.
Now, you may be thinking “I don’t want to be an agent, I want to be a director. Or a writer”. It’s all the same game, kids. If you try to jump into the Hollywood world with no reel and no game, no clue, you are likely not to even get a meeting. If you come straight out of film school your greatest achievement will be to end up getting someone else’s dry cleaning. Refer to my post on film jobs to see Kevin Smith’s take on what happens to real film school grads who want to get on set. You end up fetching coffee and doing bitch work for someone else.
The solution? Make your own product, learn how to present yourself as a product with something of value. Pay your dues, but do it smart. And kill the illusion that school buys you any real cred in the industry. Remember, even if you graduate Summa cum laude from Yale, you are still going to be on your knees scrubbing spilled Dos Equis in Hollywood. So don’t be a moron. Skip film school, get Film School Secrets, and learn how to start out the right way.