Film producing is a business. And if you want to have a career making movies, you’ll need all the help you can get. One way to accelerate your career is by finding a film industry mentor.
With that said, I can’t overstate just how vital a mentor can be to you. Whether you’re working on your first project or your fifteenth, the guidance that a good mentor can provide will be instrumental in helping you take the following steps in your career.
Craig Spector Was My First Film Industry Mentor
Simply put, a mentor is someone who has already achieved the goals you want to accomplish for yourself. But a mentor is different than a partner because they will not have direct involvement in your projects. Instead, a mentor offers things like:
- Advice on your project or your career.
- Help understanding what pitfalls to avoid.
- Advice on how to succeed.
- An open ear to discuss issues with and get feedback.
Craig Spector is a screenwriter and New York Times best-selling author. He was also my first Hollywood mentor. I met him because he was friends with my aunt. And he was nice enough to return my calls. More importantly, he continually reinforced the importance of a strong work ethic and helped me overcome some early career obstacles.
A little while back, I interviewed Craig for an epic podcast series where he shares the ups and downs of breaking into the BIG TIME. If you haven’t listened to it, I think you’ll enjoy it:
- Ep 183: Who Is Craig Spector? [Craig Spector – Part 1]
- Ep 184: Getting The Deal [Craig Spector – Part 2]
- Ep 185: Writing In Hollywood [Craig Spector – Part 3]
- Ep 186: This Is The Big Time [Craig Spector – Part 4]
- Ep 187: You Don’t Need Permission [Craig Spector – Part 5]
While a film industry mentor may not be directly involved with your projects, having someone who has “been there and done that” can help you navigate the industry landscape.
How To Find A Mentor (Like A Boss)
Even if your aunt doesn’t know a Hollywood heavyweight, there are plenty of people involved in the industry worldwide. And meeting up with these professionals is often the first step towards finding a mentor that can help you. Here are some steps you can take to find a mentor:
- Make up a basic list of the people that you think may be great mentors.
- Take that list and write each person a letter or email. You can then follow with a phone call.
- You’ll likely talk to an assistant. Be professional. Make a reference to your letter and then request a meeting.
- Repeat the process with each person on your list.
You may land a dozen meetings, and you may land none. The key is to keep trying until you eventually land some meetings and spark a relationship. Once you have a mentor, it’s essential to show them that you’re serious. A film industry mentor is likely very busy. They’re donating their time to you, so do not take advantage. Here are some things to remember:
- Always accept responsibility for your own mistakes.
- Be willing to work hard and do whatever is needed to succeed at each project.
- Always show up early and work with enthusiasm.
Go into each relationship with professionalism and seriousness. And remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.