Tips of the trade

By on April 1, 2009

by Erica Svoboda and Lauren Wolman

Movie industry veteran Eve Light Honthaner came to speak to faculty, students and the public about her successes and disappointments in the movie industry in the Grand Courtroom of the School of Law on March 27.

Honthaner gave tips and advice on what to expect when first entering the challenging world of film. She warned that the film industry is extremely volatile. Honthaner has experienced this firsthand as she has repeatedly lost jobs or been laid off just after beginning to feel settled.

Honthaner served as the production coordinator for “Titanic.” She has worked at companies such as Orion Pictures, 20th Century Fox, New Regency and Dreamworks, serving as production supervisor, production coordinator, production manager, and staff production executive. Most recently she traveled to Hawaii to work as the production coordinator on the set of “Tropic Thunder.” She is also the author of “The Complete Film Production Handbook” and “Hollywood Drive-What it Takes to Break In, and Make it in the Entertainment Industry.” Additionally, she has been teaching a course for ten years that she designed herself at the University of South California’s Summer Production Workshop.

She said that while production sometimes seems draining, teaching is like having her “batteries recharged.” Students who complete her course have said that they “feel like they are five years ahead of the competition,” Honthaner said.

Honthaner did not limit her advice to students interested in the entertainment industry, as many of her tips for success applied to a variety of career paths. She gave a list of what she felt were the 13 most important tips for starting a career.

“I thought she was great. She really helped me see what I am getting into,” freshman Allison Eschmann said. “I think that the most important part that I got out of it was how to network yourself because that’s what the film industry is about. It’s what you have to do in order to get what you want.”

One of the most useful pieces of advice Honthaner said she has ever received was on a laundromat billboard. It said, “Life will not go according to plan if you have no plan.” She said she hoped those in attendance would use the advice that she gave in order to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves.

How to succeed in the movie industry:
Have passion for what you do
Have a plan
Don’t be wishy-washy about what you want
Know how to ask for what you want
Be knowledgeable about the industry
Have a winning, can-do attitude
Have thick skin
Have skills to fall back on and have a plan B
Have a good support group
Find volunteer opportunities
Use job searches to discover new opportunities
Sell your product
Make sure you have good recommendations


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