Do you have a hard time asking for help?

Do you have a hard time asking for help?
By Shawn Tolleson


So, you have a friend who works at an agency.  You’d love their advice.  Or, you’d love for them to look at your materials and give you feedback or pass them to the right person.  But, you just don’t ask.

 Your family member is an executive, a casting director, or a producer.  They are working on a project that you think would be perfect for you.  But, you just assume that they know your work and will approach you if they are interested.  You feel uncomfortable asking for help, so you don’t say anything at all.

 If these describe you, you’re not alone!

 Consider for a moment the definition of help.  Help: to make it easier for someone to do something by offering aid.

 Now, let’s look at the definition of helpless.  Helpless: Unable to help oneself; powerless or incompetent.

 It’s not that we have an inherent problem asking for help.  It’s that we make asking for help mean that we are helpless.  And if being helpless means we are powerless or incompetent, is it any wonder that we don’t want to ask for help?!

 I propose that we reframe the conversation entirely because the help/helpless path is a rabbit hole if there ever were one.


How To Work A Film Festival…

"How To Work A Film Festival…"
By Shawn Tolleson


If you’re in this business, you probably love movies.  And if you love movies, then you’ve probably been to a film festival.

Now, what if you want to combine your love of movies with a great networking opportunity?  You want to work on some of these great movies you see playing!

Well, there’s a way to “do” and not “do” a film festival, I’ve found.  These tips and strategies are learned from the two seasons I spent working at the LA Independent Film Festival, and from attending countless film festivals as a filmmaker showing a film and as a film-lover enjoying the films and networking.


Here are my 10 tips for making the most of a film festival…

1) Go. Really go. Buy a pass and get yourself to the festival as much as possible.  Get the pass that gives you both tickets to 5-15 films and access to the filmmaker lounge or networking lounge or whatever they call it.  “It” being the limited access location where you can hang out between films and where you’ll find filmmakers and other likeminded people.

2) Select your films with an eye to the people you want to meet, but different films will generate different types of attendance.

There are generally 3 different categories of films.  By “categories” I don’t mean genres, I mean where the films are in the life of their releases.  For networking purposes, you need to pay attention know the types of films.  They are premieres, competition, and everything else.

Premieres and Competition:  Films that are premieres and in competition will be more likely to have the filmmakers present.  No filmmaker in their right mind will miss the world premiere of their film.  A world premiere will also likely generate the attendance of the actors and crew, so you’ll have a house full of people who worked on the film and a really fun and generous crowd.


Life as Screen Play

"Life as Screen Play"
By Patrick A. Horton / The Story Coach

patrick-hortonWe are each and every one of us storytellers of one kind or another in our own right, and increasingly story generators, consumers, and actors in ever so many unfolding plays – both in the media and on the stage of life. This is true whether in we are exploring and giving voice to experiences, desires, and insights already known or in finding our way through others recently encountered or newly imagined.

The historic and eternal reality is the life in our stories and the story of our lives have always been inextricably intertwined – albeit in ways often poorly understood or imperfectly defined.

The ever more pressing challenge is not only understanding and making better use of the ways each of these can inform and give form to one another in a world and industry increasingly defined by continuous change, but how to do so with purpose, persistence, and success in how we also choose and then proactively create and manifest the story of our lives. The more immediate question for you the reader is how you are and how you could be choosing and proactively creating the story of yours.

Much of this is covered in the book “Mastering The Power Of Story” nearing completion and seminars of the same name. However, there is much that can be put to immediate use already laid out in practical and experiential terms in the two books published by Jen Grisanti whom I have referenced in prior blogs.

The first book, “Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story” Jen addressed one side of the coin, i.e. finding the life in your stories by tapping your own deepest and most resonant truths to inform the work for its potential impact and power. It is an important book on its own because it not only conveys that you must tap and honor your own truth and what you care most about, but because it helps in getting there.


Your Map of Relationships and Hitlist: what they are and why you need them

"Your Map of Relationships and Hitlist: what they are and why you need them"
By Shawn Tolleson


You’ve all heard the phrase “in Hollywood, it’s who you know.”  It’s said so much that it’s almost lost meaning, right?

Well, what it means is that the quality of your relationships, as well as the type of relationships you have, has a great deal of influence on your success.  

So, how do you put this to work for you?
To start, first you need to know who you know.  I like to call this your Map of Relationships.  It’s great to make a list, or better yet put something on the wall, showing who you know and what they do.  Having categories like producers, directors, casting directors, production managers, actors, etc. can be very instructive.
When you do this you can see who you actually know.  If you’re an actor and you know mostly other actors and one or two casting directors, this can be a problem.  Directors and producers are the people who will hire you, so you need to know more of them!

Often people say “I don’t know anybody” without having done this work.  You might not know very many people, but you do need to know specifically who you do know so that you can build on those relationships.  Most of the time, when my clients do this work they are stunned to see how many people they actually know.


Navigating a Changing Media and Changing World – PART THREE

"Navigating a Changing Media and Changing World- Part Three"
By Patrick A. Horton, PhD


Welcome to the third and final piece on navigating a changing media industry and a changing world.

We began in part one by observing the degrees and speed with which the media industry and worlds it serves are changing, along with some initial thoughts on the power and necessity of finding your own compass and voice in finding your way through and succeeding in this changing landscape.

We moved on in part two with brief but specific considerations of the first four of the Seven C’s of success (Confidence, Commitment, Contribution, and Craft) and some of their implications for suiting up and showing up as unstoppable, irresistible, and competent in the eyes of those you seek to work with, have guide you, and hire you.

We will add a similar consideration of the final three of the Seven C’s here (Courage, Community, and Collaboration), and wrap up with a few final thoughts on the cumulative power of everything thus far in helping you find your most fulfilling success and, relatedly, in making a difference that makes a difference.

What is a difference that makes a difference? In the big picture, it is leaving this world (and this industry) a little changed by and perhaps a little better for your having been a part of it and having moved through. On a more personal level, it is whatever best fulfills whatever brought you to the table to begin with and gives satisfaction and some kind of completion regardless of the twists and turns along the way.


Navigating a Changing Media and Changing World – PART TWO

"Navigating a Changing Media and Changing World- Part Two"
By Patrick A. Horton, PhD


We began part one of what is now a two-part series with the observation that to say that the media industry and worlds it serves are changing rapidly is a growing understatement.

With that in mind, we noted in part one that at any given time, you are challenged to deal with the industry simultaneously as it is, as it is becoming, and as it could be – which by any standard can be bewildering even for most accomplished of successful pros no matter what role you seek to play in it.

Most importantly, we noted that it is by divining and defining your own voice and compass that you will find your greatest fulfillment, satisfaction, and success – something that seems counter intuitive for many.

In this second installment, we will take a peek at what makes the latter true and offer several keys as to how to tap, assert, and exercise that power – once again, no matter what role you seek to play in it.

It largely comes down to becoming unstoppable, irresistible, and at least potentially competent in the eyes of those you seek to work with, hire you, and/or guide you - which itself comes down to mastering at least four of the seven C’s of success: Confidence, Commitment, Contribution, and Craft.

If you are among those who work with, hire, or guide others, you need to be able to recognize and nurture the same four C’s in those you seek to assist and rely upon.

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