Tuesday, February 12, 2008

19 things Rose knows about the movie industry

I love good, commonsense advice, and makeup artist Rose Davis offered boatloads of it tonight at the Louisiana Produces meetup.

In Louisiana, Davis has worked on “Major Movie Star” and “Queen Sized.” She’s also working on the upcoming “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” (Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn), which starts shooting in early March.

Her husband runs a local grip company called Team Shark Productions.

Davis was asked to speak at tonight's meetup about her career and what it takes to find work in the industry. What she said was frank and refreshing.

Here are some of her tips:

  1. A movie industry job is not 9 to 5. “Do not make plans, dinner dates, nighttime engagements, because you can’t do it.”
  2. Be persistent in trying to get your resume to the right department, be it makeup, grip, wardrobe, whatever. “The more you resume gets into the production office, the better it is.” Be careful not to send it too often, though. (In other words, be persistent but don't be a pest.)
  3. Keep your eyes on the rumor mill. The Web site http://www.solomonstreetfilms.com/ has lots of tips and breaks contact down by department.
  4. To find your niche, Explore jobs in different departments. “There are so many jobs to be had. Don’t think for any reason there isn’t an opportunity for you.”
  5. Keep your commitments and treat your job like a career. Never pick up and leave a job for another opportunity. “You do not leave a movie. It is wrong.”
  6. Don’t miss work. “No headaches. No cramps. Your ovaries better be in your hand if you are going to call me and tell me you can’t come to work.” (Remark earned laughter.)
  7. If you do get sick, “have a vomit bag in the car.” (Remark earned more laughter.) You leave work only for legitimate emergencies.
  8. Get trained. Take classes and cram sessions from industry pros. “Get yourself an education in what you want to work in.”
  9. If you’re an extra, bring stuff to make you comfortable in the holding area. A pillow. Books. Computer. “Bring whatever it is that makes you happy.”
  10. Keep rain gear and warm clothes in your car. (Preferably far away from the vomit bag.)
  11. Don’t even think about bringing a camera to set.
  12. Be on time. Know your call time. “Being late is not tolerated.”
  13. If you’re a hairdresser, bring your gear to set. Know what's expected of you. “Make sure you are responsible for your own equipment.”
  14. If you have kids, have at least two sitters. “Have a childcare person and a backup childcare person.” Twelve to 14 hour workdays are common.
  15. Never show up on set without getting prior clearance. “They can’t just let everybody on set.” It’s about insurance liability.
  16. Always have your call sheet and know when you’re expected to work. “Do not leave the set without a call sheet if you are working the next day.”
  17. When you find a movie career, you are an independent contractor. Respect yourself and your worth. “You are in a position to decide what you are going to work for (pay) and what you are going to work on.”
  18. When you are learning your job, never pretend you know more than you know. Ask questions. People are depending on you to deliver during crunch time.
  19. If you can’t get a job, don’t give up. It took Davis eight weeks of “pouncing the pavement” and “knocking down doors” in L.A. to find her niche. Get yourself a local industry guide like LaFIG and start working. (Call Pam Edwards at 318.965.6688 to get a guide. They're about 40 bucks.)

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