Gen asked me to post this on the blog, about her LA workshop…
I knew for a long time that I wanted to make movies in Hollywood. That was my dream since, like many, I was blown away by Star Wars all those years ago. It was an incredibly powerful movie that has now become engrained in our everyday lives. It captured the imagination of a generation of kids who’s own kids are now going through the fun we experienced, as witnessed by this very popular Super Bowl ad that came out in commercial time in the big game. It certainly made me giggle (above, and as of writing, has hit 28 million views!).
So even though this was my dream it took me a decade to actually get there. I thought perhaps if I could make my Oscar winning film in the UK, then Hollywood would come calling. Okay, so I didn’t exactly make an Oscar winning film, but Hollywood did make some calls. I was lucky to have my moment of being whisked away by a big studio, flown business class to LAX and a string of studio meetings set up. I thought that was it. This was the big time. It didn’t work out, which is fine – shit happens right? However, what it did do was show me that my dream could actually become a reality. As soon as I was in LA and I started having those meetings, I started networking – I started absorbing the film world in Hollywood. Everywhere I went, I met other filmmakers and made new contacts: grocery shopping, waiting at the car wash, sitting in a coffee shop, walking on the beach…etc. I had meetings with lots of agents and I even got one! I started meeting producers, making those all powerful contacts – building up my all important black book (not the little one, for those whose minds are wondering where they shouldn’t…)
And here’s a case in point…even while I sit here in this Coffee Bean and write this blog, at the table next to me sits Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation! I mean you cannot escape it here. And because of this, you have far more opportunity in the world to make your dream come true. Okay, I haven’t made my Oscar winner yet, but I am working on it… I have built up so many contacts in the biz and am continuing to do so. At the same time, my rain riddled London flat and my old 50 pence meter that I had to fill every time I needed a bath, is still not far from my mind but these days its different, I’m having a life.
I have my dream family and I live in my dream house. A beautiful hidden away Topanga cabin that’s surrounded by a creek and squirrels, horses, dogs, roosters and coyotes! When I sit in my hot tub, I’m in heaven. And I’m ever so glad I made that jump. I do wish I had done it earlier in my life but I was nervous – I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t sure how I could set up meetings, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to stay there being a Brit, I wasn’t sure how I was going to meet fellow filmmakers and so on – so, I kept putting it off, until a point came in my life where I realized that if I didn’t make the move, I never would. It would never happen and my dream, would still be a dream.
I know that I’m not the only one to have such dreams which is why I’ve put together The Hollywood Field Trip (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO). I’m hoping that for those of you who were like me, that this will make it easier for you to make the jump. Your meetings are already set and as soon as you’re out here, your journey will have begun. And let me tell you, that once you’re here, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. I’m sorry to sound sales’ey but as we only have 2 spots left on this upcoming trip – it’s my duty to let you know!!! Hope to see you out here. And I promise, that if you do, you can come for a dip in the hot tub!!!
Here are ten tips for jumpstarting your career:
1. Come on The Hollywood Field Trip!
2. Network, network, network. Join organizations, go to seminars, join forums etc.
3. Attend workshops. Keep learning your craft!
4. Keep producing: If you’re a writer, keep writing! Keep coming up with new fresh ideas. If you’re a filmmaker – keep making movies whether they be shorts, scene clips, trailers, teaser reels etc.
5. Keep watching: Go to the movies or download movies and be inspired. Get that creative flow going.
6. Hang out with like minded people: This gets you in the mindset of achieving your dreams.
7. Be somewhere creative. Immerse yourself.
8. Give yourself a company name (if you haven’t already), create your own free website (Jimdo.com is a great way to do this), create business cards.
9. Start writing blogs. It reminds you where you are and what you’re aiming for.
10. Set a date: Either a deadline for a new script or the commencement of principal photography on your next movie. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things will start to fall into place.
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author