Category Archives: Anecdotes

JOB GRIT – it’s its own job.

It will take determination and  gumption to get that job.  Read and learn:

For Job Seekers, the Black Hole Persists

By LAUREN WEBER

WSJ
Jun 22, 2015 10:14 am ET

Most of today’s online job applications still enter a black hole.

Frank N. Stein had a stellar resume—he was an Ivy League graduate, with stints as a corporate recruiter at Johnson & Johnson and Russell Reynolds, and his CV was loaded with the keywords needed to float to the top of today’s automated job- applicant software.

He was also not a real person, a fact noted at the bottom of his one-page resume.

Even so, recruiters at only two of the 100 companies where he applied for jobs read far enough to discover that Stein was a fiction designed to “mystery shop” the job-seeker experience. The ruse was created by recruiting consulting firm CareerXroads, according to a report released Monday.

What does that tell Mark Mehler, a founder of CareerXroads?

“Recruiters read the first three paragraphs of a resume,” he said. “That’s all the job seeker is going to get.” And that only counts those whose resumes pass through the automated keyword screening that winnows a set of applications from hundreds to a few dozen.

Every year, Kendall Park, N.J.-based CareerXroads submits a fake resume through the career websites of the companies on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, to assess the recruiting practices of some of the most well- respected employers in the country, including Google Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Deloitte LLP.

The results are generally dismal, as they were again this year. Job seekers’ main complaint—that they shoot their applications into a black hole—was confirmed.

Out of the 100 companies, 64 never sent Stein any notification that he was not being considered for the job for which he had applied. Months after submitting his resume, he “was left hanging in the breeze,” said Mehler. Overwhelmingly in job seeker surveys, candidates tell CareerXroads “they just want to know, ‘am I in or out?’ They don’t want to keep chasing and wondering.”

Six of the employers followed up with Stein wanting to schedule interviews, two uncovered the ruse, and 28 eventually notified him that the position had been filled, or at least that he wasn’t in the running.

Worst of all, 28 is the highest number of companies extending that courtesy in the twelve years CareerXroads has conducted the Mystery Job Seeker survey.

There’s no excuse for those oversights, Mehler said, given that those communications can be automated easily in today’s applicant tracking systems, the software that stores job applications.

Most systems have the capacity to do this, but major corporations don’t use those features because they’re scared that opening the lines of communication will lead to lawsuits, too many phone calls to recruiters, and too many questions they can’t answer, he said.

There were bits of good news from Frank N. Stein’s experience. Nearly all employers now send an email acknowledging receipt of a job application. In addition, career websites are easier to navigate than in previous years, and employers have gotten better at streamlining the application so that it takes less time to complete – in most cases, 10 minutes or less.

Another pleasant surprise, according to Mehler: Stein had been unemployed by choice for a year (he had rejected six job offers as poor fits for him, then took a 6-month sabbatical to bicycle across the country), and still received interest from six of the 98 employers who thought he was a real person. “That’s huge,” said Mehler. “It shows that if you write a good resume and have great experience behind you, you can still find a job.”

Advice So Bad It’s Good…

As I have often said when offering “advice,” take it with a grain of salt.  

Heck, my wife, bless her heart, has a “do the opposite of what he says” policy that she finds works very well for her (and our marriage).

But seriously, we all get advice, solicited or not, almost everyday of our lives – especially in the age of social nakedness where all we do is up for an opinion to be shared, commented on, or ignored – which is a kind of advice.

Curious, I googled “best advice I ever got” – and as soon as I started to  poke around the top hits, shrugged, muttered aloud “they know this stuff” and googled “worst advice I ever got” and found this below article.

I am going to expect that you (and I) will never look at “bad advice” the same way again…

8 successful entrepreneurs share the worst advice they ever received (Business Insider 3/27/16)

by RICHARD FELONI

Bad advice is easy to ignore. But sometimes the worst advice can stick with you, as a reminder of what matters most to your personal and professional fulfillment.

Entrepreneurs by definition have to go against the grain, and so conventional, albeit terrible, advice can be used as a motivational tool.

We’ve collected the worst advice successful entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran ever received.

Here’s what it taught them.

1) “Shark Tank” star and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is firmly against the idea of following your passion.  Cuban has said repeatedly that the worst advice he’s ever received or heard others receive is “Follow your passion.”

“What a bunch of BS,” he wrote in a blog post from 2012. Everyone has multiple passions, Cuban says, but those don’t lead to career success. What does, however, is finding something to work hard at.

By “following your effort” instead of your passion, you can develop a skill and learn to appreciate it. Your passion for growing tomatoes in your garden can remain a hobby. Continue reading Advice So Bad It’s Good…

So, you can be the new Coen Brothers…

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Andric L. Queen-Booker, Class of 2012 – a wonderfully talented and smart young man – and he mentioned that he enjoyed the HBO series, Togetherness, and was a big fan of the Duplass brothers.  As am I.  And my wife.  This is a win-win as it means she enjoys watching a show I enjoying watching, and when you’re in your 4th decade together, and TV wasteland time is limited, that’s a HUGE deal.

When I asked Andric why he liked the brothers, and Togetherness, he said: “It’s real. Truthful.”

So it is.  HBO worth paying for.

Imagine my surprise when the LA Weekly (a paper like the New Times for all my AZ friends) published today – did a wonderful story on the Duplass brothers that is perfectly timed to share with you.

Read this.

I did, twice.  And their story has ME pumped to do more, my way, now.

Go out there and be the STORYTELLER (actor, producer, director, writer, executive, agent, human being) that you want to be!

How the Duplass Brothers Changed Hollywood by Refusing to Change at All

MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2016 AT 6:30 A.M.

by Gwynedd Stuart

It’s an irresistibly warm weekday in late January, and Jay and Mark Duplass are in their office at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood preparing to write the third season of their HBO series, Togetherness. I note the timing because it happens to be Sundance week, and they’re here rather than there (I note the weather because, goddamn, we’re lucky) — and it’s the rare year they don’t have a pony to show. Last year, Sean S. Baker’s iPhone-filmed, Hollywood-set dramedy Tangerine, which the Duplasses executive produced, was one of the festival’s most talked-about films. They also executive produced Melissa Rauch’s The Bronze, another 2015 Sundance selection.

And all of 11 years ago, their first full-length feature, the low-budget relationship drama–slash–road-trip comedy The Puffy Chair, was among the festival’s breakout hits, winning the Audience Choice Award and making their mutual inclusion in conversations about young filmmakers-to-watch almost instantaneous. They were among a handful of auteurs whose work was being lumped together to constitute what was called the “mumblecore” movement. Major record labels were fixating on all things indie rock, and major film studios were fixating on quiet, quirky dramas being made for $15,000 rather than $15 million.

After the 2005 fest, Mark and his now-wife, director-actress Katie Aselton, packed up and moved from New York to L.A.; Jay headed West that December. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s safe to say these were good decisions. Continue reading So, you can be the new Coen Brothers…

SO BAD IT’S GOOD – TV’s Money Game

“Breaking Bad” is a series I suspect we all watched.  As such I found this article to be an excellent one offering a good hard look at the numbers, the hows, the whys and the wherefores of a TV Series, and how a “HIT” can change the lives of everyone, especially the network and studio, “lucky” enough to “own” it.

If you only read one thing I post on TV, this would be a top choice.

HB

The Economics of a Hit TV Show

Photo Credit:  Lewis Jacobs / AMC

Ten million Americans can recall where they were the night of September 29th, 2013. They were watching the series finale of Breaking Bad. And they were watching it on AMC, a cable channel that once cut its teeth airing reruns of black-and-white movies.

The suits at the network were prepared. Like Walter White, the show’s ruthlessly efficient meth dealer, they knew they had a quality product on their hands. And they charged their customers accordingly. AMC extended the runtime of the last two episodes from 44 to 54 minutes – 75 minutes apiece with commercials – and raised its advertising rates to as much as $400,000 per 30-second spot. The 21 minutes of commercial airtime in “Felina,” the show’s final episode, may have earned the network $7-8 million in advertising revenue.

But keeping Breaking Bad on the air was a big investment. Shooting the show cost about $3 million per episode in 2010, and $3.5 million per episode in its final season. The show’s last 16 episodes cost approximately $56 million to produce.

And finding a hit like Breaking Bad – or even finding a viable show to put on the air in the first place – often costs networks hundreds of millions of dollars each year in development costs and pricey, failed pilot projects.

Things could get even more expensive. Breaking Bad uberfan Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks, reportedly offered to pay $25 million per episode to produce three more episodes. That’s a total of $75 million, at an average of $568,000 per minuteof final air length. Continue reading SO BAD IT’S GOOD – TV’s Money Game

Production Assistants – The Backbone of the Industry.

PAs come in many flavors: Set PA, Truck PA, Locations PA, Office PA, or just plain PA or, back in my day, the Gopher.

Best and worst job I ever held, often on the same day, when I started out in LA after leaving ASU. A job where you are able to shine, or not, with every task you are assigned, or better yet, take on because it needed doing before being assigned (as long as the policies and politics of the gig allow for self-starters).

This is a job YOU can get. Really. It is there if you want it, in some form or fashion, depending on your strengths and area of interests, today.

And thankfully, there are numerous places to find out about and get into this critical part of the Industry, at such sites as Indeed (and Entertainment Careers and Monster other sites like it that combine many jobs available) where I found this gig moments ago:

DreamWorks – Glendale, CA. ‪Provides overall general ‪Production Assistance to the Prod Coord, TV, Prod Sup, TV and/or ‪Production Manager, TV and crew…

Or this job at HBO for someone with a bit more experience who is looking for an Executive Assistant reporting to Vice President, HBO Films.

And then their are websites offering places to network, discuss and complain about PA work, too, sites like Anonymous Production Assistant Blog that I would have loved to have available when I was first starting out.

And you have all this and more to get your career started.

Sites you need to be checking out now. Daily. Part of your routine.

 Yes, you likely already know this and may already be doing this.  

And in addition to networking (a future post to come) you have no reason NOT to use these tools, apply often for jobs of interest, and to read stories like…

CLIMBING THE HOLLYWOOD LADDER, ONE COFFEE OR SCRIPT DELIVERY AT A TIME

Just before midnight, as 25-year-old JP Erickson was getting ready to go to bed, his phone buzzed. “Are you available tomorrow at 5:30 a.m.?” The text was from the production coordinator of a low-budget movie offering a day’s work as an unpaid production assistant. First thought: Unpaid and early — still worth going?

Then he looked up the address: A 45-minute drive from my apartment. Not too far. Not close, either. But as a production assistant, commonly known as a PA, Erickson is used to late-night texts, early wake-up calls, low and occasionally no pay as well as the not-so-glamorous tasks of getting coffee and delivering scripts.

Still, PA gigs are resume builders and opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to network. He set his alarm. All right — five hours of sleep. Here we go. Armed with “walkies” — used to listen to conversations between most people on set — production assistants do the necessary but oftentimes overlooked grunt work on TV and film sets. “We’re kind of like the ghosts of the industry,” Erickson said. Production assistants, a step up from film crew interns or extras, are responsible for providing support in almost all areas of production.

The hours are long (12-hour days are the norm), the wages are low (either an hourly minimum-wage rate or daily rate that can be as little as $100, depending on the project) or sometimes nonexistent, the tasks are trivial, and there’s little job security because many PAs are hired as “day pay” freelancers. Continue reading Production Assistants – The Backbone of the Industry.