Lets be clear about a few things…..
Hollywood happens 7 days a week - and pretty much year round….
your summer vacation is not the same as hollywoods summer vacation
it’s never really 100% dead out there (it gets slow sometimes…..but it never really dies)
it’s slow is something we tell actors to make them feel better…..what we mean is it may be slow for you…don’t assume it’s slow for us or anyone else. (yeah…. a lot of folks are not going to like me for saying that)
Ok…now that this is out of the way….lets talk about a year in Hollywood. (parents….are you paying attention….)
January: End of April - this is what is commonly referred to as Pilot season. (that holy time of year that all the major networks film the potential shows for the next TV season and where millions of actors wrongfully put all their eggs in one basket) Let me break that down for you…..if you have never had a pilot or a series or a lot of credits….don’t let pilot season be the bane of your existence. There are lists….and you are probably not on the list….(if you are asking yourself right now if you are on one….then…..well…..) what do these list consist of…..someone who has done a lot of pilots and they maybe have not been picked up….someone who was on a show and that show is no longer on the air…(do you know how many “free” actors there were this year alone with a lot of shows ending last year!) right around March the pilots start to open up to “newcomers” and you have a better shot at getting in….but don’t hold your breath and don’t let it ruin your life.
January - End of April is also still episodic season. You know….when they shoot the show that are still on. Yeah…that doesn’t stop. So there are still a lot of opportunity.
Mid May: The Upfronts happen…..sorta. Again. This is starting to shift as TV season really has become a year round thing. But for the big 4 networks this is when they decide what the rest of the world will be watching in the upcoming TV season. (or at least they hope we are watching.....)
May - End of June - waaaaay back in the old days this was TV hiatus. The time when people did films….and got to use folks from television shows. Times they are a changing. Now….don’t get me wrong….i generally tell people if you need to take a break do it in June. it is relatively slower…..but it doesn’t really stop. Not for years now. This is when pilots get recast. This is when cable tv is shooting. This is when movies are still being done.
July - mid December: Ok….so…..right after the 4th of July we start to see the trickle (some of the shows have in fact gotten a bit of a head start. But for the most part that second week of July is when we really do start to see everything back up. Our summer vacation is over….And for you parents who seem to want to believe that hollywood follows the school year and your kids are available after summer (like in Sept.) then you have missed the first month and a half of episodic season. During these months there are of course slower times….. Thanksgiving slows a bit. Then we have a surge the first couple of weeks in December. Then things die down again for the holidays…….BUT - it does NOT completely stop. I had someone book their first pilot during the “Christmas break” - most companies close for 2 weeks at the end of the year….but trust me when i tell you that even though we may not be sitting in our offices - we are still on call. Actually with email, cell phone and iPad…..you may have no idea where we are actually sitting…..and it doesn’t matter……business is business.
The point here is that hollywood doesn’t ever really stop. Should that drive you insane….. NO….. learn how to put yourself on tape. Learn how to be flexible. Don’t stop your life to fit around hollywood….. it’s not going anywhere. There will always be an opportunity. The most important thing you can do is find a team that will work with you on all of this. Communicate with them so they know what’s going on with you and where you are. And if you are coming into the states from out of the country…..keep your expectations in check. Thinking you are coming in for pilot season and then have nothing happen can feel like you are a failure. Make the whole year work for you. Any time you are here make it about networking. Take classes. Do workshops. (But more on all that later!…)
The most important thing you can learn from all of this is have fun, relax and communicate, communicate, communicate!