Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Unknown Perks of Temping

On the surface, Temping looks like a tough way to get discovered in Hollywood. You're treated lower than the guy who delivers Variety late three times a week (printing delays, again). In fact, you're actually lower on the totem pole (and easier to replace) than the Xerox machine. But as a wise man said once...

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And then pour in about three shots of vodka and you'll have a nice refreshing summertime drink.

So there's an upside to temping? The daily curiosity about who you're working for, whether it's at $12, $13 or $14 an hour can be fun. But there's more! Here's one of Temp X's big secrets revealed.

Temp to Network -- Over his time in this Hollywood sub-sub-culture, Temp X has worked for studio heads, programming executives, high-powered agents and senior HR staffers. These are normally the most inaccessible of the inaccessible. But when they ask what your story is, have it down to a few sentences, be engaging and don't be a shy. If someone opens the door, don't let the screen door be an impediment. Walk in. Temp X has secured interviews with TV shows, production companies and even got to pitch a couple shows as a result. Clearly none of them succeeded as I'm writing to you guys (no offense), but it's better than nothing.

Temp to Research -- It's not eavesdropping. It's not spying. It's simply the smart thing to do. If you want to write, read everything you have access to. Learn what's selling, learn what's not. This theory applies to everything, but as I don't care about directing, producing, casting, etc. you'll just have to figure this one out on your own.

Your References Help Sell You -- If you're a good temp, not only will they'll bring you back when someone has a "doctor's appointment," but they'll offer to be a reference. The higher up your reference is on the Hollywood food chain, the greater the likelihood you'll get an interview. It gives you a name to drop in your cover letter, or if you get that far, your interview. A well-known reference can go a long way toward your chances of escaping Tempdom.

Temp to Figure Out What You Want -- If you don't know what you want to do in Hollywood, you just know you want to do something, temping can be a great way to find out. Think you want to work in development? Ask your pimp for gigs there. Considering being an agent? Sell your soul, practice fibbing and then get a temp assignment there.

Sure making $400 a week before taxes blows chunks. But remember, if you're an assistant you're making the same amount. So you might as well learn something from it too. I could go over the downside to temping, but I think I do an adequate job of doing that every other day.

And that's...


Unknown said...

From one temp to another, thank you for reminding me of the silver lining. And might I add that a few other perks include free food (depending on your assignment).

Tony said...

Don't forget the free swag! Every movie I've worked on, every prodco I've worked at was teeming with free stuff that you can eBay for some extra income. Hahaha!

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