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Career Advancement in Hollywood
By Gordon Meyer
I interviewed producer Suzanne Lyons for my article about how some producers work with guilds and unions that you can read in the current (June, 2011) issue of P3 Update. Suzanne and I actually go back almost 15 years when I was introduced to a seminar that she and fellow producer Heidi Wall taught called “Flash Forward.”
“Flash Forward” (www.flashforwardhollywood.com) was created to help people in all levels of the entertainment industry advance their careers. A typical class of 100 or more students would include people working in just about every aspect of the business, both in front of and behind the cameras. Many were just beginning their careers while others had been working pros for many years.
As if you couldn’t guess, not only did I take the course myself, I got so much out of it that I was part of the volunteer staff as a coach for several years. Some of the skills and strategies that I learned from my time there helped me create relationships with prominent producers, directors, writers and studio executives that continue to this day.
The training combines very pragmatic project management skills with career marketing strategies, including how to secure multiple mentors. Participants set a very specific 30 day goal for themselves – something that they would normally expect to take several months – and with the support of their coaches, fellow participants and often their newly found mentors, they create absolute miracles for themselves. The diverse mix of participants gave everyone a very powerful “cross pollination” benefit as participants supported each other with advice, introductions and other useful resources. What can I say? The system worked and worked wonderfully well for everyone who diligently worked the program.
As most people reading P3 Update have probably learned a long time ago, to be a successful, regularly working professional in the entertainment industry, being good at your job is often not enough. Hollywood, at just about every level and job category, is an industry built on relationships. That’s why programs like Flash Forward can be so valuable. They teach you skills that will help you create and build long term professional relationships. And Flash Forward goes a step further by teaching you how to create effective strategies to achieve just about any realistic professional goal, then integrates the relationship and project management skills. It’s a powerful combination.
After a hiatus of many years, Flash Forward is coming back this October. And yes, it’s already on my calendar. It will give me a very timely kick in the pants as I refocus my own writing and producing career. What could be better?