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A Baby Boomer’s Entertainment-Industry Advice

So you want to break into Hollywood? It’s not a walled city—just walk right in! Ha ha. But, seriously, if you follow this advice, making it in the entertainment industry is as easy as paying for college. Speaking of, have you tried going down to the local college and looking at the job boards?

If you want to be a comedy writer, you’ve got to fax in jokes to “S.N.L.” and the late-night talk shows. Don’t own a fax machine? Buy one, ASAP. Best purchase you’ll ever make.

Get an entry-level P.A. job going on coffee runs and the like. When the boss orders a small black coffee, get him ten larges. He’ll remember how you went above and beyond. Just so you know, I’m using male pronouns for your hypothetical boss because that’s just how the world is, O.K.? I don’t make the rules.

I almost forgot—these days, a good education is essential. Have you thought about going to Harvard? Freshman fall, join the “Lampoon.” Meet your best friends for life there, while waiting in line for the bathroom. Just kidding! There’d never be a line for the men’s room. It’s that kind of humor the seniors will remember in a few years when they’re showrunning “Taxi.”

Don’t bother trying to get an agent. Here’s what you do: go to a nice indoor shopping mall in Florida (outside Jacksonville is great, but Pensacola works, too) with a gorgeous child who has great diction. Hang out for a few hours, and an agent will find you.

Everyone will tell you to move to L.A. or New York. What you really should do is move into an OfficeMax. Put some packing peanuts on top of a copier and—bam!—you’ve got yourself a bed that prints résumés.

But if you’re in L.A. and you see a guy with a nice car, offer to wash it. You never know who you might meet. That car could be Marty Scorsese.

Write a script that gets everyone talking. Like a spec script of “Friends” starring a new guest character you’d play who dates Rachel. Send it to Jen Aniston. It might not be right for them to produce this season, but they’ll keep you in mind and hire you to write a freelance episode of “Joey.”

Learn about the industry—take the Warner Bros. studio tour. Loudly mention “I’ve got a great take on ‘Batman’ ” to no one in particular. Mr. Warner himself could be walking by.

Remember that fax machine you bought? It also works as a telephone! Use it to cold-call Ronnie Howard and tell him how much you loved “The Princess Bride.” He didn’t make that movie, but he’ll know about it. Pitch your ideas for how it could’ve been better. He’ll be impressed by your guts and hire you on the spot.

Keep in mind that this industry can be stressful. Treat yourself to a nice dinner at Dan Tana’s, and leave copies of your résumé inside the menus.

O.K., this one’s a little unorthodox, but splurge on that plane ticket to attend your grandmother’s new boyfriend’s stepson’s wedding. And presto—what do you know? You’re leaving with a renewed faith in love and a job working for Stan Kubrick.

Don’t sign anything before you talk to a lawyer. Remind me later, and I’ll get you my guy’s info. He’s fantastic—he did all of Liz Taylor’s divorces.

If none of that works—I don’t know, make a viral YouTube video or something.


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