Making Money in Hollywood

Learn how to make a living in Hollywood, manage your money, and prepare for the ups and downs of the freelance world.

Making Money in Hollywood

Developed by Jason Tomaric, FilmSkills
ABOUT THIS LESSON

The Hollywood publicity machine has done a great job at convincing the public that everyone in the film industry is drowning in a swimming pool of money, driving luxurious sports cars, and living a high-profile lifestyle in the Hollywood Hills. While there are a few who do enjoy this life, most don’t. Hollywood is made up of working men and women, making normal wages, and trying to weather the ups and downs of a freelance lifestyle. The sometimes unpredictable nature of Hollywood makes it especially important to properly manage your money for both the good times and the bad.  So, in this module we’re going to explore how to make money in Hollywood.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
  • How to make money in the film industry
  • Working for free - the benefits and drawbacks
  • How to manage your money
  • Tips for creating alternate income streams
ABOUT THE LESSON AUTHOR
Jason Tomaric

Jason Tomaric

Director, Cinematographer Los Angeles, California
Jason J. Tomaric is an Emmy, Telly, and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer of four internationally-distributed feature films, dozens of national television commercials, music videos, and the largest film training content library in the world, published author of 8 books - used in many top universities, and creator of AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform. 
 
Jason has worked in Los Angeles and around the world in over 20 countries. His clients include Disney, NBC/Universal, National Geographic, McDonald’s, Toyota, Scion, Microsoft, and Paul Mitchell, with narrative work screened at Sundance, Slamdance, and South by Southwest film festivals as well as on Netflix and on all broadcast networks.
 
Jason has taught and/or guest lectured at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA, Columbia College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, San Francisco State, University of Notre Dame, and numerous film festivals.
 
Jason has written eight industry-defining books, all sold in bookstores, and used in film schools around the world. The American Society of Cinematographers hails Jason's books - "There are no wasted words in Tomaric's tome, which concisely summarizes each facet of the director's craft.  It's difficult to think of a step in the process that Tomaric fails to address." 
 
Jason’s DVD training series on Hollywood film production have trained filmmakers in over 40 countries, with distributors in Europe, Hong Kong, New York and Australia.
 
In 2010, Jason launched FilmSkills, which combines the world’s largest film training video library with his proprietary learning management system.  Adopted by 47 universities within the first year, FilmSkills is now the leading industry-standard training solution for motion picture and television production.
 
In 2015, Jason launched AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform that bridges the gap between academia and industry.
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS LESSON
Angela Nicholas

Angela Nicholas

Actress, Golden Globe winning "Deadwood"
Angela Nicholas knew she wanted to be an actress from the age of 5 after watching Gene Kelly perform. After high school she moved to New York to study at the Gene Frankel Theatre and New York University.
 
Ms. Nicholas is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio and has been in over 20 film productions, and over 10 television shows, including, the Golden Globe winning Deadwood.
Barbara Doyle

Barbara Doyle

Chair of Chapman University Film Department
Barbara Freedman Doyle has been active in film production and film education for more than 20 years. She began her film career at Creative Communications, in Boston, producing promotional films for non-profit clients and political campaigns, then moved to Los Angeles where she soon became the Assistant to the Senior VP of Worldwide Production at Tri-Star Pictures. During her five years at Tri-Star she was involved in the administration and organization of over forty feature films.
 
Barbara left Tri-Star to work in production on national commercial spots, music videos, network television movies, and feature films. She was Production Supervisor on television movies for the Disney Channel, NBC Productions, Hearst Entertainment, HBO, Showtime and Hallmark and worked on feature films for 20th Century Fox, Interscope, and Warner Brothers. She was Production Supervisor on the films "Two If By Sea" with Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary (Morgan Creek Productions), and "Lost and Found" with David Spade (Alcon Entertainment).
 
In 1999, Barbara became an Associate Dean at the prestigious American Film Institute. She left the AFI in 2002, and in 2003, while a Chair at Brooks Institute of Photography’s Motion Picture/Video program, she served as Line Producer on the BBC/Granada Television documentary, Martin Scorsese’s British Cinema.
 
Barbara joined the team at MPS Productions in 2003, as Line Producer of the Kaiser film project, On the Same Side. She produces and consults for the company on feature film and documentary projects, and is currently on the faculty at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. She is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities specializing in film studies, and is working on her first book, Surviving the Business and Politics of Making Your Feature Film-the Answer Book For First-Time Filmmakers.
Cindy Marty

Cindy Marty

Emmy-nominated Sound Effects Editor, "Titanic," "Die Hard," "Superbad," "Groundhog Day," and "Bridesmaids;" Winner of Golden Reel Award for Titanic

Cindy Marty has been an Sound Editor since 1985 for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Today her sound editing has be nominated for an Emmy and has won the Gold Reel award for her work on Titanic.

Ms. Marty’s pictures, include: Anchorman 2, Bridesmaids, Step Brothers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Something’s Gotta Give, Pearl Harbor, As Good As It Gets, Titanic, and Die Hard.

Cristen Carr Strubbe

Cristen Carr Strubbe

Line Producer, UPM, "Catch Me if you Can," "Charile Wilson's War," "Ali," and "The Prestige"
Through her company, Pimpernel Productions Inc, Cristen Carr Strubbe provides breakdowns, board and budgeting services for independent and studio majors alike. As a Production Manager Mrs. Carr Strubbe collaborates some of Hollywoods best directors, writers and financiers. Since 2001 she has worked along side Sam Remi, Aaron Sorkin, Christopher Nolan, Sam Mendes, Mike Nicols, Michael Mann and Steven Spielberg. Mrs. Carr Stubbe's credits include: AMERICAN BEAUTY, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, ALI, CHARLIE' WILSON'S WAR, and THE PRESTIGE.
Ed Joyce

Ed Joyce

Gaffer, National Geographic, "Fred and Vinnie," and "Smiley"
Ed Joyce is a Los Angeles-based gaffer whose credits include National Geographic
Eve Light Honthaner

Eve Light Honthaner

Production manager "Titanic", "Tropic Thunder", "Just Married", "Joy Ride", and "In Dreams"
Eve Honthaner has been working in the entertainment industry in the field of production management for many years. Curently a production manager at Dreamworks, some of her credits include: Titanic, Tropic Thunder, Just Married, Joy Ride and In Dreams. In addition to teaching at the University of Southern California's Summer Program, she’s been an instructor at The International Film & TV Workshops in Rockport, Maine and she is the founder of the Los Angeles-based networking organization Film Industry Network. She’s also the author of the industry bible, The Complete Film Production Handbook.
Frank Salvino

Frank Salvino

Post-Production Supervisor, "The Grey," "I am Sam," "Little Children," and "17 Again"
Frank Salvino graduated the University of Kentucky with a BA in Telecommunications and was the VP of feature post-production for New Line Cinema for nine years.
 
More recently he has served as the post-production supervisor for The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Little Children with Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly.
Jenn Carroll

Jenn Carroll

Script Coordinator "Breaking Bad, "Just Call Saul"
While obtaining her BA in Film and Television from Boston University, Jenn Carroll interned in Los Angeles on the soap “General Hospital” and the Adult Swim comedy, “Children’s Hospital.” After graduating she worked as an office production assistant on TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age,” which led to her becoming the script coordinator on “Breaking Bad.” Currently she works as Vince Gilligan’s assistant on the set of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”
Kathy M. McCurdy

Kathy M. McCurdy

Former San Diego Film Commissioner, "Almost Famous", "Transformers 2", "Traffic", and "Mr. Wrong"
Kathy M. McCurdy, who, as director of features at the San Diego Film Commission, worked on such films as Almost Famous, Transformers 2, Traffic, and Mr. Wrong. As a location manager, she has been credited on films such as The Price She Paid, Tainted Blood, Rubdown, and Accidental Meeting. She spent fifteen years as the San Diego Film Commissioner and continues to speak about location shooting every semester at various film schools.
Lance Fisher S.O.C.

Lance Fisher S.O.C.

Camera Operator, "House M.D.", "Blade: Trinity", "The Shield"
Lance Fisher is a camera oerator and member of the S.O.C.  His extensive credits include House M.D., Krog, The Shield, Jonas, Las Vegas, Blade: Trinity, Paycheck, Dark Angel, Level 9, Scream 3, Godzilla, Chicago Hope, and Party of Five.
Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan

Award-winning post-production trainer and a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America
Larry Jordan is a producer, director, editor, consultant and Apple-Certified trainer with over 25 years video production and post-production experience. He is currently using his award-winning skills in training editors to use Final Cut Studio. He is the Executive Producer and Host of Creative Planet's Digital Production BuZZ, as well as author of five books on Final Cut Studio, along with a monthly on-line newsletter covering Final Cut Studio; now in its sixth year of publication. A member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America, he is a post-production consultant to Los Angeles broadcast and production studios. In addition to his broadcast credits, Jordan is recognized as one of the Top 100 Corporate Producers in America and is frequently a featured speaker at trade shows, industry events and user groups around the U.S. As an Apple-Certified Trainer in Digital Media, specializing in Final Cut Studio, Jordan combines his extensive production experience with his teaching skills to bring a wide-ranging, real-world perspective to his classes. He was one of the first four Apple-Certified trainers in the U.S. to receive credentials as an “Advanced level" Final Cut Pro instructor. In addition to authoring five books on Final Cut Pro, published by Peachpit Press and Focal Press—including Adobe Production Premium for Final Cut Pro Editors, Jordan has produced hundreds of hours of on-line training for Lynda.com and MacProVideo on all the applications in Final Cut Studio.
Maria Battles Campbell

Maria Battles Campbell

2nd Assistant Director, "Avatar", "Reel Steel", "X-Men: First Class", and "Boogie Nights"
Days after graduating from the DGA Assistant Director’s Training Program in 1996, Maria began her first of many features & TV shows as a 2nd AD on the acclaimed film “Boogie Nights” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Throughout the next several years, Maria worked with some of the best 1st AD’s in the business & such esteemed directors as Mike Nichols, William Friedkin, Ang Lee, Francis Lawrence, Robert Zemeckis & James Cameron. But it was Maria’s experience as Key 2nd on the ground-breaking “Avatar”, which taught her the most detailed elements of filmmaking & VFX, especially as her role changed to 1st AD for Additional Photography & 2nd Units. Most recently, Maria just completed her role as Key 2nd AD for her long-time mentor & 1st AD Josh McLaglen on Director Shawn Levy’s “Real Steel”.
Mike Musteric

Mike Musteric

2nd Assistant Director, "Lost," "Avatar," "X-Men: First Class," "Momento," and "Real Steel"

Mike Musteric is a Los Angeles-based 2nd Assistant director with credits on Lost, The Last Sentinel, Momento, Children of the Corn V.

Rick Taylor

Rick Taylor

Camera Operator, "Don Jon", "The Price of Happiness", "Timecode", "Perfect Game", "Team Knight Rider", "Ghostbusters" and "He-Man"
Rick Taylor is a Los-Angeles based Camera Operator and Cinematographer whose credits include On the Lot, The Price of Happiness, Timecode, Perfect Game, Team Knight Rider, Ghostbusters and He-Man
Rob Bowman

Rob Bowman

Four-time Emmy Nominated Director, "The X-Files," and Executive Producer, "Castle"
Rob Bowman has produced and/or directed episodes of nearly 40 television series and movies and films for the cinema. He earned four consecutive Emmy nominations for The X-Files. A short list of his diverse credits includes the television series StarTrek: The Next Generation, Parker Lewis, The A-Team and Castle.
 
Ron Franco

Ron Franco

Emmy-nominated Set Decorator of "True Blood", "X-Files", "The Day After Tomorrow", "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Heroes"
Ron is an Emmy-nominated set decorator on the TV shows The X Files, Help Me Help You, Californication, Cold Case, and Pacific Blue. He has also worked on the films In the Mix, The Day After Tomorrow, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Daredevil. Ron is also the president of Set Decorators Society of America, a non-profit oranization dedicated to supporting the set decorator profession.
Stephen Marinaccio

Stephen Marinaccio

Line Producer, "America's Next Top Model," "Headless Horseman," "Trade of Innocents," and "The Counselor"
Stephen Marinaccio picked up his first camera at the age of 8 and immediately knew that he wanted to be a filmmaker. He studied tirelessly through high school and college to learn the history and techniques of the medium. With 20 years of experience working in various positions on over 45 feature films he has acquired the knowledge it takes to line produce.
 
In 2001, James Cameron gave Marinaccio his first break.  He was upgraded to UPM on the Mexico shoot for Ghosts of the Abyss. From there, he started working as a UPM on independent features and was soon accepted as a member of the Director’s Guild of America as a Unit Production Manager.
 
Soon after, Steve McEveety (Passion of the Christ, Braveheart) hired him to oversee all production and post for feature films at Mpower Pictures, including The Stoning of Soraya M. and the recently released Snowmen. While at Mpower Pictures, Marinaccio was given the opportunity to assist with development, marketing and awards campaigning, further increasing his understanding of the business side.
 
In early 2009, Marinaccio started his own company, More Nachos Entertainment.  MNE is working on various properties in the video game world, comic book channels and even the Los Angeles stage scene.
Steve Skrovan

Steve Skrovan

Two-time Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer, "Everybody Loves Raymond," and Writer, "Seinfeld"
Steve Skrovan has had an eclectic career in show business as a stand-up comedian, actor, television writer and film director. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of Yale University, Steve began his career as a stand-up comedian in New York City during what is now referred to as the “Comedy Boom” of the ‘80s. After moving to Los Angeles at the end of that decade, he segued from stand-up into comedy writing when Larry David gave him his first writing job on “Seinfeld.”
 
Steve subsequently landed on the first season of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” where he stayed for the entire nine-year run of the series, rising to the level of executive producer and garnering two Emmy Awards. After Raymond, he has been on the staffs of “‘Til Death,” starring Brad Garrett and “Hank,” starring Kelsey Grammer. Currently, he is a co-executive producer on “Hot In Cleveland,” starring Betty White. In film, Steve directed the critically acclaimed, Sundance Grand Jury nominated, and Oscar short-listed documentary on the life and career of Ralph Nader entitled “An Unreasonable Man.” Steve made his narrative directorial debut with the feature “Fred and Vinnie,” which is currently on the festival circuit.
Vanessa Theme Ament

Vanessa Theme Ament

Foley Artist, "Die Hard," "Edward Scissorhands," "Predator;" Author of "The Foley Grail," Nominated for 2001 Golden Reel Award
Vanessa Ament was born in Glendale, California, and raised in the central coast county of San Luis Obispo. She grew up the granddaughter of the early film pioneer Earl L. McMurtrie. Vanessa was a singer and dancer in her youth and performed in many plays and cabaret shows. At Whittier College, she earned a B.A. in Theatre, and after graduation, worked for the Glendale Regional Arts Council as an "Artist-in-the-Schools" in the field of theatre. She "fell" into the work of a Foley Artist by mistake when she auditioned to replace a voice for a film and her accurate sync caught the attention of the mixer, Robert Deschaine and the manager of Gomillion Sound James L. Honore. She started training as a Foley Artist at Gomillion, thinking it would be "a good gig between acting and singing jobs."
 
This fill-in job became her primary career for over twenty years. Along the way, she began voice casting and acting, Foley and ADR editing, and writing and singing her own songs in the L.A. cabaret and jazz scene. In her thirties, Vanessa earned an M.Div. as a Unitarian Universalist at Starr King School for the Ministry, in Berkeley. Vanessa has always loved teaching, and had various stints as a Sound Supervisor for students at AFI and USC, as well as an educator at various schools and colleges, including Cuesta College, in San Luis Obispo, as well as both DePaul University and Columbia College in Chicago. Vanessa has been a member of MPSE, CAS, BMI, AFM, SAG, Equity, Society of Composers and Lyricists, Women in Film, and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has won three Golden Reel Certificates for Foley for the films The Dollmaker (1984), Predator (1987), and Die Hard (1988), and has had several nominations for other films.
 
Vanessa has been featured at film festivals, sound festivals and in various publications. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, she published MovieSound Newsletter. Music is Vanessa's true calling and she released her first CD in 2004. The most challenging thing Vanessa ever did, other than keep the faith that "work would come," was home school her son for seven years.
Veronique Vowell

Veronique Vowell

Location Manager, "Cold Case," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Nick of Time," and "Encino Man"
Veronique Vowell is a working location manager in Los Angeles, CA. Having ahd worked in both feature films and television series, Veronique's experience and talent has benefited such projects as Cold Case, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Banger Sisters, First Monday, Dead Last, The Replacements, Nick of Time, Richie Rich, Angels in the Outfield, Encino man, Tango & Cash, and many others.