How to get work as a PA

So you want to work in Hollywood, huh?

Join the club. This crowd ain't easy. There's a reason your parents tried to talk you out of it. But hey, look on the bright side. Kim Kardashian became a huge star for no reason. Angelina Jolie got to direct her own feature. You, too, can ride the train to Tinseltown, have lunch with James Cameron...

(sound of broken glass)

My sarcasm aside, working in Hollywood is a real thing. I moved to LA after college several years ago. Nearly my entire film school class moved there too (from New York, no less.) Eventually, we all got jobs working in film or television... [Read more]

How to Produce and not be an Asshole…

‘Across America, assholes abound’

Wm.C. Roman 1971

‘Especially in show business…’ 

John L., 2015

Recently, I heard a fellow DGA brother tell film students a great insight into our business.  When he was a young 2nd Assistant Director he was talking with his 1st AD about another AD they would hire for the production staff. The 1st made it clear who they should hire—but noted– they are not the best person available for the job, they are the best person for the job who can work well with us. [Read more]

7 Strategies to Guide You Through the World of TV Writing

Writers for TV spend most of their early careers working a lot by themselves in an empty room supervising no one. As soon as they gain success in TV, they are immediately expected to supervise and Produce. Hard to get the time to train for it, but when you do get the chance here are 7 strategies to guide you through the world of TV writing. 

1. Write for your world, but be prepared to accept what you find on location. A sense of place rarely trumps a good rebate. Use what can be shot. It will always look better. [Read more]

You are Prepping a Story, not a Budget…

The only way to capture the modern audience is to mount TV shows that have detail, texture and tone to engage them, keep them entertained and most importantly—make them want to come back to watch next week. Good scripts given a proper staging, letting actors look their best—these things make a difference in the way the audiences perceive the quality of the show and their desire to continue watching.

I’ve had the great good fortune to produce for Dick Wolf for many years on numerous projects. Luckily, I had worked in the industry for almost 20 years before I met Dick, so I had already made my rookie producer mistakes, like pushing the Director of Photography to make daylight on way too... [Read more]

Make Me a Church & Burn It, Please…

During my years in NY producing Law & Order Criminal Intent, I had many a hairy and stressful episode, but a few do stand out.  You should always be wary of episode titles, like ‘On Fire’…

Criminal Intent was basically Sherlock Holmes of the NYPD. Our lead actor played a very strange, very smart and very entertaining detective who always (almost) got his man. The structure of the show moved to an extensive final, climactic scene; we always called it the ‘aria’ –a last scene that ran 7-10 pages with our hero and the suspects leading to the reveal of the killer. The brilliant Rene’ Balcer, L&OCI’s original Showrunner, always created a structure that used one main set, or world we would inhabit, and that would be the same place we would stage the aria. [Read more]