Image by Jason Drakeford via Flickr

How to interview like you are in show business!

My wife Kyle recently attended a writer’s workshop in Portland, Oregon where she got the opportunity to pitch some writing projects to Hollywood insiders. It was very interesting to hear about her experiences in meeting with these insiders and how the process worked from her perspective. The web site for the Willamette Writer’s group also provides tips on pitching your big idea to industry insiders if you are working on a screen play.

If not, I have taken some of the ideas that Hollywood insiders give for doing a successful pitch meeting and translated those insights to a job interview setting. We may not all be box office superstars, but there is no reason you can’t interview like one!

Why interviewing is like selling a Hollywood movie

Executives are not only evaluating your story and your pitch – but whether or not we would hesitate putting you in a room with Studio Executives. And whether or not you are someone we are going to want to talk to and work with for the next 1-4 years of our lives. I can usually tell within the first minute if that’s the case.

Tips for pitching yourself in an interview

Here are some Hollywood script selling tips that translate very well into a job interview situation.

1. Be normal
2. Be conversational, but stay focused.
3. Pretend you are speed dating. Don’t waste our time.
4. Do your research.
5. This isn’t Leno Letterman – don’t use cue cards.
6. Know your story and speak it coherently
7. Be prepared to answer questions confidently.
8. Don’t make them not like you!
9. Leave your props, toys, posters and dioramas at home.
10. Be excited about your own story. If you don’t like you – no one else will.
11. Don’t jump on the office furniture.
12. Remember the 60 second rule. “We’ll know by then if we like you.” and differentiate yourself. (Source: adapted from work by Daniel Manus)

Kyle also shared another technique they were encouraged to use in these pitch meetings that would make both a great interview preparation technique as well as a unique interview question.

The question for the pitch meeting was:
“Tell me what the trailer for your movie would look like”

The same question in an interview format would be:
“Describe your career for me as if it were a movie trailer”

Give this some thought and share one of your highlight scenes with me in the comments.

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Views: 87

Comment by Bobby Whitehouse on August 15, 2009 at 12:21am
We hold hiring conferences where military-experienced candidates interview with 5 to 7 companies in a fast paced half-hour interview. It is a one day event and candidate preparation is critical. Our guidance is similar, with a focus on research. It is astonishing how well this setting delivers strong hires. Hiring on chemistry can be very accurate.
Comment by Michael VanDervort on August 15, 2009 at 11:37am
Very cool. That would be an interesting exercise to observe. "speed date" interviewing!


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