James Tang has been a host at a restaurant and worked at a pop-up food stall. He was previously an assistant to a talent manager. He’s done algorithm training for tech companies and audio transcription. He’s even had a job as a warehouse assistant for a children’s science education company. Most recently, he’s been streaming on Twitch and collecting tips and other micro-donations from his growing fanbase.
He’s a working actor in Hollywood.
The stereotype in L.A. is that every server in a restaurant has a headshot or a screenplay. Pre-pandemic, the service industry typically attracted people in entertainment because of the flexibility. But working in a restaurant isn’t your only option if you’re starting out in Hollywood and looking for a day job.
Tang has been in Los Angeles for about seven years. His highest-profile credits include small roles on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and he’s a love interest in the web series “Love in 2020.” He has an agent, he signed with a new manager in December, and now that the pandemic has made self-taped auditions just as acceptable as in-person ones, he’s getting more opportunities than ever. But even as someone who had patches of parental support when he was younger, he was barely scraping by before the pandemic, and he applied for unemployment benefits.
“It’s so easy to get stars in your eyes,” he said. “That’s why people come to Hollywood to try to make it. There’s that myth that you could get discovered at the bakery or something by a random person, but honestly, it doesn’t really happen like that.”
Actors often start out as day performers with small roles called co-stars, he explained, which, according to SAG-AFTRA, pay about $1,000 a day. If you’re lucky, that role might be a scene that takes four days to shoot. If you’re extra lucky, you might book four of those in one year. That would add up to about $16,000.
Do you have big Hollywood dreams? This article is part of a series on starting and building entertainment industry careers. Read on.
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“Knowing those numbers now, in order to be an actor, you have to also not be an actor to be able to survive,” he said. “To pay for classes, network, go to events, get headshots, set up a website, all these little marketing things.”
Those who are successful in Hollywood will often say it’s hard to give concrete advice because there isn’t a singular path to success. It’s a gig economy. The rules are loose and ever-changing. Someone who was your intern could be your boss in five years.
But for many, it takes years to get yourself to a place where you are making money from your creative work. If you don’t come from wealth, how do you survive in the meantime?
We Can Teach You That
How to build a career in Hollywood
Join Times reporters Anousha Sakoui and Wendy Lee, as well as Bree Frank, vice president of physical production for unscripted TV at Hello Sunshine, and Phillip Sun, the president and co-founder of the management company M88, for a virtual webinar on careers in the entertainment industry. We’ll discuss the state of Hollywood jobs, how aspiring entertainers can get a foot in the door, and take your questions.
When: Tuesday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m. Pacific time
Cost: $10 for Times subscribers; $20 for non-subscribers
Tickets: Sign up on Eventbrite
What’s on your mind? Please let us know in advance of Aug. 10 about your interests and most pressing questions about working in Hollywood. Share your questions here.
“The job has to be easy and something you can drop at any moment when someone calls you at 8 p.m. the night before and asks if you can come work at 4 a.m. the next day,” said Trang Ada Trinh, a makeup artist who started as a production assistant.
In the restaurant industry, you can easily swap shifts last minute. You can work nights, keeping your days open for auditions or gigs.
Stephen Colbert, Constance Wu, Kristen Wiig and numerous others worked as waiters for years.
The rideshare industry — Lyft and Uber — has also become a common side job for those hustling in Hollywood. According to data Lyft collected in 2014, 70% of their drivers work or aspire to work in entertainment industry.
It’s also helpful that there are minimal requirements to start driving and you can easily control your schedule. You earn more money if you drive during busier hours. And if you don’t have a car, delivering food through Uber Eats by bicycle or scooter is also an option.
Trinh, who moved to Los Angeles from Boston only knowing one other person in the industry, first worked at a nail salon.
“There were dozens of us [who could cover each other’s shifts], and they understood how the film industry worked,” she said.
She eventually decided she wanted to work in makeup, which required going to beauty school and working as a production assistant on the weekend. She lived out of her car for three months to save up for a down payment for a new place.
“People are like, ‘I can’t believe you lived out of your car,’ but so many people do that, it’s almost normal,” she said. “L.A. is expensive.”
After over a decade in the industry, she’s headed makeup departments for digital media companies and now works on Netflix shows.
But she’s also found ways to generate extra income. She created a men’s grooming line, Guise Etiquette, after she found her clients liked the organic products she was mixing in her bedroom. She opened and later sold a nail salon specializing in crystal-infused beauty services. Now, she’s back in school to become a health and wellness coach.
“The thing that I love and hate about the industry is that you never know when you’re going to work,” she said. “So whatever you can make on the side is helpful. We’re like little squirrels gathering acorns.”
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Some newcomers dive head-first into the entertainment industry, while finding side jobs to pay the bills. Others start with a stable day job, and entertainment is their side hustle until they can build enough momentum to transition into entertainment full-time.
Sarah Cooper, who gained fame with her viral Donald Trump lip syncs on TikTok and released her Netflix special, “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine” last year, worked at Google. Ava DuVernay was working at her entertainment PR agency while developing her first independent films.
Kendall Kyndall, the host of ALLBLK’s “Social Society” and an actor on BET’s “Games People Play,” has one of those Hollywood success stories that sounds dreamlike on paper.
He was working in human resources in Michigan when he started posting comedic, 15-second “Love and Hip Hop” videos to Instagram each week.
At first, he had hundreds of followers, then thousands. After a year, he had a million. Soon, he landed hosting gigs for BET, VH1 and TNT.
One day, his boss pulled him into her office, and he thought he was about to get fired. But she had seen him on the BET Awards and could tell that he wasn’t meant to stay in HR. She wanted to work out a smooth transition for his inevitable departure.
A lot of people back home were saying you need to go to L.A., you need to quit your job. And yes, I did quit my job, but I made a plan.
“A lot of people back home were saying you need to go to L.A., you need to quit your job,” he said. “And yes, I did quit my job, but I made a plan. I always say: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
He was nervous about losing a steady income and benefits, but by the time he moved, he had savings, hosting gigs and brand deals that would support him for at least a year and a half as he went to acting school and auditioned.
“I was still budgeting as if I didn’t have any money,” he said. “Any money I got from these events or networks, I was saving it. Because I knew how I wanted to live in L.A. and how much it’d cost.”
He often hears people say that they just packed up everything and moved to L.A. But he doesn’t recommend that.
“It took too much for me to get out here, and I didn’t want to have to say I failed,” he said. “So set yourself up first, and then go for it.”
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Ben Lopez, a filmmaker and the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, sees a lot of people working in Hollywood in jobs that are adjacent to what they actually want to do.
He calls it the “Good Will Hunting” strategy, where you hope that if you work as a janitor at Harvard, and you’re in proximity to the movers and shakers, your talent will get discovered.
And that does happen. Antwone Fisher was a security guard at Sony before Denzel Washington directed his autobiographical script. Ozzie Areu started as a security guard at Warner Bros. and eventually became personal assistant to Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres. Then he worked for Tyler Perry, who encouraged him to open Areu Studios, now one of the nation’s largest Latino-owned-and-operated film studios.
But Lopez, who works with up-and-comers, tells young people not to leave it up to chance. He tells them to be strategic and do their research.
If you want to be a creative executive, who are the people you want to work for — or be like — in the future? Don’t just know who Ryan Murphy is, but know who is part of the team that works with him. What are the companies that have the resources to get their projects made?
“People apply everywhere hoping they’ll get in somewhere, but make it targeted so you’re not wasting years and years looking for that right job and opportunity,” Lopez said.
If you want to be a producer, for example, instead of being at a major Hollywood studio doing an accounting job that’s not getting you on the right track, it might make more sense to find a media job at a tech company or an athlete’s production company where you’re gaining the right skills for the job you want.
Whatever you choose, keep your eye on the dream, he said. Sometimes when people get too successful in day jobs that offer comfort, money and security, it’s harder to quit, Lopez said.
“My dad, who’s a serial entrepreneur, is always like, ‘Why don’t you try doing this as a business so that you can make a lot of money, and then you don’t even have to make the movies, you can just hire people to make them?’” said Tang. “And I’m like, ‘No, I actually want to make the movies. I want the artistic side.’”
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When the pandemic struck — and auditions, service-industry work and social gatherings disappeared — Tang spent a lot of time playing video games with his fellow actor friends.
They decided to start streaming and research how to monetize on Twitch. They soon learned it wasn’t quite as easy as getting paid for playing video games. On Twitch, for example, you have to hit certain audience benchmarks before you can apply to be a partner, which comes with storage, financial support and ability for fans to subscribe. You can also make money from ads, sponsorships or donations from subscribers — though half the cut goes to Twitch. There are tip jars and “bits,” virtual goods that fans can buy to cheer you on.
Tang has been streaming for several hours a day, with the understanding that those who make money on Twitch do this full-time, and that it can take years of consistent output before you start seeing meaningful financial rewards.
This isn’t a backup plan, but a way to have a day job that might connect to your bigger ambitions.
“It’s hard, and it definitely takes time to build a community,” said Kerri Pollard, the chief revenue officer of Patreon. “But it’s also not a flash in the pan either.”
Patreon is a membership service that helps creators get paid directly from their fans, or patrons.
“It’s not one piece of content, one song going viral, it’s a group of people loving what you do and wanting to have that intimate connection, exclusive experience or access,” she said. “It’s about finding your most loyal fans, and those are the ones that stand the test of time.”
Kyndall said many people are concerned with the number of followers they have, but it’s more important to interact with your fans.
“I did not have 1 million followers when I started getting brand deals,” he said. “I had like 300,000 followers, but the engagement was so high.”
Pollard said it also takes time to find your product and market fit. That means that you build a specific product and try to fit within a target market repeatably and predictably. You really need to understand: Who are you making content for? What is resonating? How do you take that kernel, build it and monetize it, so you can continue working as a creative?
Once Kyndall had built a loyal following, he learned to be particular with the brands he chose to work with. Hair product collaborations made sense because he talked about hair all the time in his “Love and Hip Hop” videos. Now he has a “Bestfran” sneaker with Legacy Lapels, inspired by the term he calls his followers.
“Think about it not just as something to pay the bills while you’re trying to break in, but as, ‘I’m going to start building this community,’” said Pollard. “‘If I make it big in entertainment, it’ll continue to grow and thrive with me.’”
Patreon’s most high-profile success story is likely Issa Rae, who monetized on Patreon for her web series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” before she created “Insecure” on HBO. Now, her HOORAE Patreon page is dedicated to supporting other Black creators and funding their projects.
Have big Hollywood dreams? Read the L.A. Times guide to entertainment industry careers
Careers in the entertainment industry can be mysterious for those just starting out, and even for those working in the business. The Los Angeles Times brings you explainers and advice for starting and building your career in Hollywood.
Other examples include actress ThatChickAngel, who has an active Patreon community for her family-related content; Keith Knight, who started by creating weekly comic strips but last year released his comedy “Woke” for Hulu; and the Try Guys, who were able to start an independent media company with the help of their fans from their successful Buzzfeed series.
“Whether you’re at the beginning of your entertainment career or the middle of it, that’s the future,” said Pollard. “To be able to build your community directly on your own terms.”
For a long time, Tang said he felt internal conflict about the other jobs he was doing to make money. He’d think, “But I’m an actor. I should be doing acting work.”
But now he calls his identity struggle a “weird, stubborn idealistic pride.”
“It’s basically like starting a small business,” he said. “I think people don’t necessarily realize that, and sometimes people refuse to acknowledge it even while being out here, because they’re trying to keep it purely about the art.”
Read more of The Times’ guide to working in Hollywood.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Ada Tseng is an assistant editor on the Utility Journalism team at the Los Angeles Times. The team publishes stories and information that help people solve problems, answer questions and make big decisions about life in and around Los Angeles. She previously led coverage of Orange County as TimesOC’s entertainment editor, and she co-hosts the Asian American pop culture history podcast “Saturday School.”
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How To Thrive Amid Digital Disruption – Forbes
Business achievement concept with happy businesswoman relaxing in office or hotel room, resting and … [+]
Four articles in the January/February 2022 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) argued that “many people” are wrong in thinking that “old-economy companies” are “doomed to suffer a slow demise.” The articles had a point in that most “old-economy companies” have found ways to survive, “in some shape or form”, and have not yet died from digital disruption. But if we look at the bigger picture of what it takes to thrive, not just survive, the challenge for most firms still lies ahead. In part 1 of this article, I summarized the four HBR articles. Here (Part 2) I present a framework to thrive amid digital disruption.
To begin, let’s define “digital disruption”. Digital disruption is not a disease afflicting “old-economy companies.”
“Digital disruption” is nothing less than a symptom of the birth of a new economic age, with a transition akin to that the agricultural age to the industrial era. The new age flows from the combination of exponential new technologies and new management principles, which in turn lead to massive new value creation. “Digital disruption” can be defined as a failure to take advantage of this opportunity: see Figure 1 below.
“Digital technologies” include at least 18 major technologies that together have the potential to reinvent almost everything we do for the better: see Figure 2 below. Anything that is slow, inconvenient, difficult, expensive, unpleasant or impersonal can in principle be transformed by these technologies into something that is cheaper, easier, more convenient, speedier, more agreeable, and more relevant to the user’s need,
As a result, firms that have mastered the new technologies and the elated management principles have already transformed parts of our lives, including how we work, how we communicate, how we shop, how we play, how we read, how we entertain ourselves, in short, how we live. In our actions, as consumers we have spoken. Firms have shown that it makes more money. There is no going back. This is the future.
Most firms have only scratched the surface of the potential of the new technologies. That’s in part because the technologies are often unfamiliar to executives at all levels, particularly the top, and in part because organizations have not made the transition to the new management principles.
The management principles of the prior era—the industrial era—involved mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, and mass entertainment. These things combined with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, to produce the management system known as bureaucracy. Bureaucracy created huge benefits for humanity over several centuries, But bureaucracy isn’t fast, or agile, enough exploit the new digital technologies. Moreover, by treating human beings as cogs in a machine, bureaucracy dehumanized the workforce.
The management principles for the digital age are shown in Figure 3 below and include the following. Instead of starting from what the firm can produce that might be sold to customers, firms work backwards from customers’ needs and then figure out how to meet them in a sustainable way. Instead of leadership located mainly at the top, leadership, and an obsession with profitably creating fresh value for customers, is nurtured throughout the firm. Instead of tight control of individuals reporting to bosses, staff throughout the organization create value by working in teams with short cycles, drawing on their own capacities and imagination. Instead of steep hierarchies of authority, firms need to operate in interactive networks of competence, where ideas can come from anywhere, even from outside the firm. For most firms, these are deep changes.
Firms that have mastered the new management principles and the new technologies can move more quickly, interact more understandingly, operate more efficiently, mobilize more resources, attract more talent and use it more effectively, win over customers more readily, enjoy more elevated market capitalizations, and compete more overwhelmingly than firms being run on industrial-era principles.
Thus it’s not just individual firms that are being toppled. This is something more fundamental: the central management tenets of the industrial era are being upended. A new spirit of individual creativity and innovation is being generated.
The transition from industrial-era, to digital-age, management is occurring at different speeds in different sectors. As with any exponential transition, change tends to happen gradually and then suddenly. Stasis can hide imminent shocks.
Conversely, when one or more of these principles is not fully embraced, or is set aside, even an advanced digital-age firm may revert to industrial-era levels of performance. Both technology and management are needed: digitization without different management typically makes little difference.
The most-used label for the new era is “the Digital Age”, although the label can mistakenly be taken to imply that the digital era is only about new technology. Figure 4 lists 13 alternative labels.
Each of these alternative labels deals with one facet of the new age. “Digital age” has three key advantages. It correctly suggests that the new age affects everyone. Second, it is already the most commonly used label, and third: most firms want it: they are trying to implement digital transformations.
Yet not everything about the new age is positive. As with any basic change, the new age harms those not willing or able to embrace it or master its implications. Some large firms have abused their market power and committed other missteps.
Society is still groping for a balanced picture of the costs and benefits. A framework is needed to provide a coherent picture for a balanced assessment. While fresh digital-era regulations are obviously needed, along with clear rules for digital commerce, and redress of any missteps already taken, it would be economic and political suicide for regulators to kneecap the digital winners. If the digital winners are smart, they will take steps to regulate themselves.
In an age of rapid innovation, if firms don’t embrace the principles and technologies of the digital age, some other firm will do it for them and in due course put them out of business. As a sign of this harsh reality, breakups of the old industrial behemoths are becoming increasingly frequent: GE, J&J, IBM, and Toshiba are just the most recent examples. They are surviving, but not thriving.
For large firms, the transition will require deep change and will take time. It means setting aside entrenched systems, approaches, practices, values and attitudes that served firms well in the industrial-era. It means senior executives understanding, internalizing, and communicating unfamiliar ways of operating. It means adapting the technology and the management to the context of each individual firm. Copy-and-paste directives don’t work. Consultants can help, but ultimately the top leadership itself has to live, breathe, and exemplify the new mode of operating.
All firms must acquire the new capabilities if they are to thrive, not just survive. If they understand what is involved, there is no reason why they can’t succeed. The pain that they feel in making the transition is not the pain of dying. It is the pain of being born.
And read also, in addition to Part 1 of this article:
How Management Mediocrity Is Celebrated As Success
Why Digital Transformations Are Failing
Figure 1 Defining Digital Disruption
Figure 2: Technologies of the digital age
Figure 3 The promise of the digital age
Figure 4: Digital Age management principles
Stardew Valley: Top Crops to Sell and Make Money – Attack of the Fanboy
Ever wanted to know all the ins and outs of crops within Stardew Valley? Well lucky for you because that’s what I’ve been researching for the past two hours. We’re going to look at Stardew’s Top Crops for generating revenue.
The Red Cabbage is only available from year two and onwards apart from at The Traveling Cart though they sell them at almost double the usual buying price. you can get them from Pierre’s Shop for about 100g. They grow in the season of Summer and take 9 days. The Sell-on price for the Red Cabbage is about 260 – 5220g. So for example:
Making you a profit of 4200g
The sell-on value of the crop will of course depend on the time of year and where you sell it.
Available in just about any shop – though you can buy them the cheapest out of Pierre’s shop or the Travelling Cart (Though prices do fluctuate at the Traveling Cart) – these bad boys will cost you about 240g The selling value of the Crop is about 70 – 150g and take 7 days to grow but they will regrow once you harvest them without having to plant new seeds this will happen through the autumn (Fall) Season. So for example:
Making you a profit of 1920g
Another one in the Autumn collection is the Pumpkin. You can buy the Pumpkin cheapest at Pierre’s Shop again and The Night Market (On Winter 17) for about 100g. but it can reign in profits of about 320 – 640g and will take 13 days to grow. This is an Autumn crop So for Example:
Making you a profit of 10,800g
The Sweet Gem Berry can only be bought at the Traveling Cart for 1000g. The berry grows in Autumn and takes 24 days. But the value of the crop can be in the region of 3000 – 6000g. So for example:
Making you a profit of 42000g
The Ancient Fruit is possibly the most valuable crop in Stardew Valley It grows all year round and cost anywhere between 100*1000g at the Traveling Cart. The Ancient Fruit can have a sell-on value of 550 – 1100G. It takes 28 days for the crop to grow but then reproduces every 7 days. I haven’t pieced together statistics for this crop as the values fluctuate but this is definitely one of the crops you’ll be wanting to invest in for your farm.
Well that’s it we hope this helps you out within your Stardew Empire and makes you sweet, sweet cash.
– This article was updated on January 17th, 2022
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