The Q&A with Breaking Bad production manager Stewart Lyons was highly entertaining and educational. Having only seen Lyons previously in a video about Scenechronize, his discussion was a breath of fresh air and really showcased his engaging personality.
Lyons answered a myriad of questions about what it takes to break into the film industry and what to expect once you are there. Sometimes advice from any industry professional sounds like a broken record. We hear the tales of horror, masochism via long hours on set, lack of creative freedom, and the arduous task of gaining credibility in a world ruled by the dollar. In the end, we wonder why we are interested in a film career in the first place. However, Lyons’ passion for his field overshadowed the dubious warnings and left the audience with some thoughtful advice.
I have decided that synthesizing some of this information might be better than blathering on about it all. So, if you missed it, here you go.
Find all of the local casting agencies and do anything you can to establish a relationship with them, “short of stalking them.” Check listings in New Mexico like NMFilm.
If you are a bad actor you may become a decent one with lots of practice. However, “You don’t go from being a terrible actor to a great one.” It just does not work like that.
Stop trying to find a ‘showrunner’ (someone to produce your creative ideas) to make your dreams come true. They usually have their own creative visions and are working on their own scripts and projects. Do it yourself.
“What do you have to offer” that no one else does? Why should a TV studio give you three million dollars to try your script, or a film studio give you twelve million? Really analyze “what’s the cake you’re offering.”
Once you are done writing your script, set it down for a little while and then rewrite it a few more times.
Directors and producers:
Build a network and improve your credibility. You need to find people who are established and want to help on your projects. No one wants to give money to someone who has not proved themselves on the field of battle. Keep “adding elements” until you create sellable packages or the aforementioned ‘cake.’
Keep creating and producing. Work on as much as you can to become great at what you do.
Other words of wisdom:
“Be the solution to someone else’s problem.” Do what is needed in any production to make it a success. This will make you someone that people might want to have around on set.
“Stop asking permission and just get in.” In other words, just do it and stop waiting. You will need the practice.
If you are looking for a job with steady hours and pay, do not go into this business. Also, if family and love life are really important to you, this might not be the right choice for you.
If you really want to make it a career, you are probably gonna need to move to L.A. or New York. Although there is some work in New Mexico, it really does not compare.