LA Networking Week

  • Patsy Prince

    Actor

    Has anyone done this? Any advice or tips appreciated.

    • 4th Feb 2011
    • 4722
    • 17
  • Francis Adams

    Actor

    Having been to a casting symposium which focussed on working in the US, the general advice was that unless you have membership of an American Actors Union there is no way that any US production company will hire non-US actors.

    The panel included:Nancy Bishop CSA; Duane Clark, Director, (CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, Cape Wrath, Medium); Jeremy Conway, Agent; Pippa Harrison Spotlight, Head of Client Relations;

    Priscilla John, Casting Director, (Mamma Mia, Pirates of the Caribbean);

    Jeremy Zimmerman Casting Director. (Hellboy, The Scorpion King.)

    I'd take what they said very seriously before taking a trip across the pond.

    • 29th Mar 2010
    • 1
  • Penelope Granycome

    Actor

    I absolutely agree - please actors, do be beware of 'courses', services and trips to LA promising you an easy way to get your papers. Production companies only sponsor for individual jobs for leading actors, there is no 'umbrella' visa. Many actors are spending thousands for rejection or redundant visas.

    • 30th Mar 2010
    • 2
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    These things are a rather expensive jolly, never result in any real work for the participants and huge money spinners for the organisers!

    I looked at one as a friend of mine asked me for my opinion and of the 20 actors who had provided glowing references on the companies homepage, not one of them was either IMDb listed or came up on a Google search on any sites other than the LA Networking promotional site they were apparently so successful because of!

    I've seen rates as high as £8-10K for 4-5 days in LA with these people being introduced to wannabe casting directors, backstreet agents and amateur photographers! Don't get mugged off by these guys!

    Around every corner in this industry there's a fairground style barker trying to make a quick buck from your dreams and aspirations!

    Keep you eyes open and do you research before parting with any cash for anything!

    • 30th Mar 2010
    • 3
  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    The union status is not such a big deal for foreigners, it's not that difficult to get in.

    Before worrying about the unions, the first step is to get a visa.

    No one will employ you if you are not legal. In the best case you'll find a sponsor for your visa with the networking. Most likely it'll just be a fun week.

    If money is not an issue for you, then go for it. Everyone seems to love it. But think of it as a holiday to discover LA, not as a work opportunity.

    It is important I think to go and visit LA before you invest time, effort and money in a visa; but there are cheaper ways to do it.

    I personally think that the best way is to go and take classes with great coaches when you go there and to stay a couple of months to really get a feel for the place, instead of spending that much money for only a week.

    • 31st Mar 2010
    • 4
  • Patsy Prince

    Actor

    Thanks everyone! The week costs £1800 plus flights, food etc. And is run by Industry Hollywood. It was advertised on the CCP boards a couple of weeks ago. I was really looking at it as a way to expand my horizons - I am being sponsored for a green card already so legality shouldn't be an issue.

    • 1st Apr 2010
    • 5
  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    In this case Patsy, if you can afford it, go for it.

    Pretty much everyone loves this trip even though it is pricey (I know some of the teachers Richard uses for classes and Richard doesn't scam people, the info he will give you is genuine).

    If you're about to get the green card you may land an agent with the trip and you will discover great teachers as some classes are part of the program.

    You will have a lot of fun, but don't put your expectations too high, this is a holiday to visit LA and the perks are that you will meet some interesting people.

    • 1st Apr 2010
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi Patsy,

    Give me a call and I'll tell you all about it. I went on one of these last year. It was a very good experience. Haven't spoken to you for ages!!

    Regards

    Jane

    xx

    • 4th Apr 2010
    • 7
  • Melanie Gillespie

    Actor

    Hi Ive also just been accepted after just enquiring. Feel a little pressurised as have been informed that I would loose my place if I dont start paying straight away. Im currently doing as much homework as I can. Slightly conserned re immediate payment and secrecy as to who we will be networking with on the other side. Any feed back from those who have experience of this week would be gratefully received. Mel

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 8
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    I refer you back to my previous posting on this! Pressure to pay and little freely available info on what you are paying for a very loud warning bells in my opinion!

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 9
  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    Anything where cash upfront is required,you have to wonder once they hav the money, what's their motivation to work for you? I'd much rather see an approach where the amount you pay is somehow relates to the succes of the trip.

    Go with your gut!

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 10
  • Guy Press

    Actor

    I have to agree with Forbes and Simon on this. I have a number of mates of different nationalities working in LA and None of them even contemplated this despite the high number of UK actors seeking work in the US.

    They're working and networked themselves into jobs without organisations charging.

    I suppose if you look at it as a holiday with networking possibilities you won't be disappointed - but don't expect the earth.

    Best to all!

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 11
  • Penelope Granycome

    Actor

    There is no motivation for any UK 'visit LA' service to help you and they CANNOT get you a visa, they are taking your money to help themselves.

    The one thing to rememember is: USCIS. In order to obtain a visa you will have to be cast in a major production and have sponsorship or prove you are an alien of 'extraordinary ability' (ie Baftas etc - not kidding.)

    I have a sponsor, a US employer offering me work but it has been a year since I submitted my original application to USCIS and it is still ongoing. The bar is being raised higher and higher by the US government.

    If you have thousands to spend on a 'networking' opportunity then do go by all means do you research on the 01 and EB1 visas and be prepared for a great deal of hard work.

    Penny x

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Upfront cash, pressure to pay and keeping their options open about confirming who will be there? NO NO NO!!!!!! I've been told to steer clear of these, they really are a money spinner. Fine if you have the money to spare on a nice holiday! But career opportunities etc.. Nah.

    • 24th Jun 2010
    • 13
  • Craig Stevenson

    Actor

    Hi guys, I will write a proper response when I get back to my studio but just wanted to share my opinion and experience with you.

    I went with Richard at Industry Hollywood on their networking week in December 2010.

    I can categorically state that it is NOT a SCAM. It provides excellent value for money (and I am one cynical SOB).

    The immediate payment is to reserve your place, as they're limited, and he provides 3 different payment methods (up front, or two different installment plans).

    I'll write more when I get back but I can wholeheartedly recommend the week and the professionalism and sincerity of Richard and his team.

    All the Best

    Craig :-0)

    • 3rd Feb 2011
    • 14
  • Rebekah Daven Watson

    Actor

    I agree with Craig. I went on the trip to LA back in 2007 and it was worth every penny that I paid, I can't vouch for any of the other companies/individuals but I can vouch for Richard Burke.

    I'm just completing the horrible task of clearing my debts (it's so close now)then, through Richard, I will start the process of obtaining my O1 visa and make the move to LA.

    Two of my colleagues that I went out with back in 2007 have successfully obtained their visas and are now living in LA, one lad got his SAG elligibility in just over 7 months, it can be done, it isn't a scam but it takes a LOT of hard work to do it.

    • 3rd Feb 2011
    • 15
  • Craig Stevenson

    Actor

    OK, I'm back in the studio now.

    I want to say straight off the bat that I can only tell you my experience with "Industry Hollywood". I cannot vouch for any other company who may be offering a similar service.

    Most importantly I want to say that I have absolutely no affiliation with Industry Hollywood apart from the fact that I went on their networking week in Dec 2010. My comments are purely my own opinions and experiences gleaned from that trip. It would however be remiss of me not to admit that Richard Burke, who runs Industry Hollywood, is now a life-long friend who's care, dedication and hard work I whole heartedly respect and appreciate. He worked tirelessly on putting a great week together for us and never stopped for a minute while we were there.

    I would also point out that I have been in this business professionally for nearly 35 years so it's not as if I'm a fresh faced, starry eyed teenager going into this with rose coloured specs etc.

    Now, to try and address the various concerns that this forum has thrown up (as I see it):

    Francisa's experience at his casting symposium where the advice he received was that "unless you have membership of an American Actors Union there is no way that any US production company will hire non-US actors.". I have personally found this not to be the case. In fact, at the moment the consensus in LA is that they are "fed up" of American actors and are actively looking for Brits, Australians etc. with proper training and work ethic to head up their shows (This came from two top agents from ICM & William Morris). The majority of mainstream TV coming out of the States at the moment have British protagonists.

    I agree with Clairedodin, Union membership is the very least of their concern as membership is easily attained if you are offered a job. The Union is there to protect actors, not to keep them from working. You pay your dues, you're in! I also agree with Claire's advice on planning a trip and staying for a while to "take classes with great coaches…and to stay a couple of months to really get the feel for the place". However, you can only do this if you have the money to do it as you will not be able to work (legally) while you are there.

    ForbesKB has seen prices of "£8-10K for 4-5 days in LA". I don't doubt it for a minute that there are unscrupulous companies out there charging these exhorbitant fees. "Industry Hollywood" however charge £1,800 for a full week. This includes your 7 nights accomodation (basic but comfortable and well situated) plus transport to all the various meetings which are all over the place (Hollywood to Studio City through Beverly Hills and on to Santa Monica in our case). You do have to pay your own food on top (pennies really) and your own flights (there are bargains to be had if you book well in advance).

    It is expensive and it is a business that people are in to make money (not a charity for actors). That said, the amount of work that Richard and his team put in for that money is incredible and I honestly feel that the week provides excellent value for money.

    MelanieGillespie, who is concerned about being pressured to pay money straight away etc.

    I had the same concerns Melanie and understand exactly where you're coming from:

    I myself was very wary of parting with cash up front not knowing what to expect (any reasonably sane person would be). However, I browsed their website (www.industryhollywood.com) and found that one of their testimonials came from an actor who was the year below me at drama school. I managed to track him down through his LA agent and asked his advice. He gave a glowing report. I then contacted Richard Burke, who runs Industry Hollywood, and we had a frank and honest dialogue about the various options for payment and what was on offer for the week itself. Richard then went out of his way to meet up with me on a trip to Madrid, where I live, and took me to lunch to discuss things. Having been in the business as long as I have I wasn't sure that this would do anything for me but Richard explained the format of the week and I decided to go ahead. It is one of the best £1800 that I have ever invested in my career (apart from really good photos and a good show reel).

    Our week was non-stop meetings with casting directors, agents and managers interspersed with audition to camera classes and amazing classes with some of the industry's most respected professional coaches. It wasn't all roses though and there were a couple of meetings which didn't suit me personally (meeting a literary manager, for one) but there were writer/actors on the week too who found this invaluable experience for them, so, something for everyone I suppose.

    The "Secrecy" regarding who you are going to meet etc is nothing sinister although, and I have said this to Richard, he should be more transparent for the reasons why as it does make it look dodgy. It is in fact down to two things:

    1.At this stage (pre-production) it is impossible for working agents, casting directors and managers etc to guarantee their availability for a certain day and time in the future (especially for the next trip which is during the Pilot season where nobody stops for a second). And so, as indeed happened with us, you have people drop out or let you down at the last minute because an important job has come in or whatever…

    Richard had this covered with alternatives, which had to be hastily organised at the last minute, but this is why they can't confirm exactly who you are going to meet at this stage.

    2.This one is basic common sense, there have been some unscrupulous actors going on this networking week in the past who, upon finding out in advance who they were meeting, contacted the Agent/Manager/Casting Directors in advance to try and get a jump on the proceedings. This ended up just pissing them off and several agents etc dropped out as a result.

    The people that you will meet will be worth it (not everybody, but most of them). But you may find that there are others in the group who get more from the people that did nothing for you and vice versa.

    So, trustworthy? 100%!

    Value for money? If you have it to invest, then 100%!

    Don't break the bank to do it but, if you can afford it, it is certainly well worth it.

    Others have said that it's a great week's holiday in LA when you get to audition for agents, managers and casting directors while you're there. (We all got to do a general casting with the head of casting for MGM where he actually took the time to give us feedback - that would rarely, if ever happen at a real audition) In addition, we got taken upstairs to see the top office foyer at MGM that has glass cabinets with all the Oscars they have ever won (that was the cool, holiday part).

    Penelope said: "There is no motivation for any UK 'visit LA' service to help you and they CANNOT get you a visa, they are taking your money to help themselves."

    She is absolutely right in that they cannot get you a visa and it is paramount to remember that, without your 01 Visa you cannot work in the US, not even as a waiter.

    Industry Hollywood at no time said or implied anything different (to me anyway). However, Richard does run visa seminars, at a cost (£75, I think) all over the world to clearly explain the process in how to apply for your 01 visa in order to be able to work in the USA. In addition he will provide you with the contact details for a Visa lawyer in the US who is well versed in preparing your application. The process is lengthy and expensive (around $6,000 - lawyers fees, nothing to do with Industry Hollywood) but, to date, they are reporting a 100% success rate in attaining 1-3 year work visas (This is a claim by the lawyers and I can neither confirm nor deny its accuracy)

    I think that's it guys and I hope that I have made things clearer to you Patsy as regards this particular company. I hope that I have been able to help in at least some small way.

    If anyone wants to contact me regarding any specific questions, please feel free to do so.

    Happy & Successful careers to you all

    All the Best

    Craig :-0)

    • 4th Feb 2011
    • 16
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Well, I dreamed the other night that I asked Samantha and the SATC girls if it was worth going to LA for pilot season and they all said no so I shan't bother :-))

    • 4th Feb 2011
    • 17