One of the worst things that a screenwriter or an author or any content creator can do in their career is operate in a vacuum or think that they’ve got to figure everything out on their own and learn everything by themselves.
For some reason, content creators take it upon themselves to think of their pursuit as a lonely one – like this romantic image of a writer stuck in a hotel room in a foreign country writing by himself. If you’re a content creator looking to achieve a result in Hollywood, then you’re going to be really well served to not just learn on your own, but learn from other people’s mistakes and successes and then leverage that learning into your own career.
What Makes a Good Mentor
There’s a world-renowned success psychologist named Martin Seligman and one of the things that he modeled or created was a framework for identifying who’s a mentor. In other words, who’s worth listening to and who’s not? He said a mentor, a quality mentor who can help you achieve a significant result or a significant outcome, has to satisfy one or more of the following three things.
1) They have to have done successfully what it is you’re trying to do.
2) They have to have helped others achieve success – helped other successfully do exactly what it is you’re trying to do.
3) They are world renowned experts in the field.
Anyone who does not satisfy one or more of those equations is not a mentor worth listening to. If they’re not meeting one or more of those equations, they’re really more of a peer and peers are great to network with, but not necessarily the ones you want to model your choices after.
The Purpose of a Mentor
The most efficient and effective way to fast track a career in entertainment in Hollywood is to get a mentor. So what is a mentor and how do you use them?
I sought out mentorship when I was just getting started. And I’m fortunate to have built the relationships with mentors that have achieved wildly significant results in entertainment. They took me under their wing and showed me the ropes. But I first began my career making a bunch of mistakes, and didn’t make the progress that I wanted. There was a lot of frustration for me.
The risk of going it alone and sort of learning the hard way is that you burn critical bridges that you will never be able to cross again. You’ll misstep. But after I was able to establish a relationship with some mentors, everything started to change. Things started happening.
So you’ve got to 1) identify mentors, 2) build relationships with them, and 3) do what they say even when it’s counterintuitive (the hardest thing to do, but probably the most important).
The things that appear counterintuitive are often the things that yield results. When a mentor tells you to try something or do something differently and it feels uncomfortable, chances are these are the things that are going to yield you success; the things that feel challenging or different from what you normally would do.
How to Get a Mentor
Getting a mentor is not easy because people who have had success in entertainment are short on time. Long in expertise, but short on time.
One of the things that we’ve created recently is a very cool mentorship program. All of our programs are effectively for mentorship at Voyage, but one thing that we’ve started is a program called Ask a Producer Anything. Through this program, for a very low monthly fee, you can connect with producers, ask questions, and get all of your difficult questions answered.
The best way to learn about Ask a Producer Anything is to sign up for our newsletter. You can do so below, and you’ll get some free training and other information as well.