You can’t live in LA and work in the film business without learning The Rules of Hell-A, even if by osmosis.
Here are the first ten rules as outlined in False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter:
Hell-A Rule #1: In Hollywood, there are no rules and they’re strictly enforced.
Hell-A Rule #2: Always wear black or white. You can also get away with funereal colors that appear black, like navy or dark burgundy. No happy colors like red, yellow or bright blue. And never, ever wear pastels. If you look like an Easter egg, you’ll end up with egg on your face.
Hell-A Rule #3: Never ask for okra in a Beverly Hills grocery store. You will be escorted to the nearest Greyhound Bus station, where you will be placed on the next bus back to Hicksville.
Hell-A Rule #4: Meetings have rankings. You can tell how important you are to the person who invited you by the time and place of your meeting. From least important to most, they are: phone meeting, office meeting, coffee meeting, breakfast meeting, lunch meeting, drinks meeting, dinner meeting.
Hell-A Rule #5: Screenwriters never get dinner meetings unless their new movie just grossed $100 million the weekend before. Then two dinner meetings a night for two weeks is the rule.
Hell-A Rule #6: To succeed in the screenwriting business, you have to have more than faith. You have to have more than talent. You must have some family history of mental illness.
Hell-A Rule #7: No more than 5% of diners in a restaurant can be famous; the other 95% must be commoners. Of course, during Awards Month in February, when all the stars in the universe congregate in LA for the Oscars and the Golden Globes, the ratio rule is temporarily suspended.
Hell-A Rule #8: a.k.a. Screenwriter’s Dress Code: Never overdress. In fact, dress to unimpress. The proper wardrobe for a female screenwriter is well-worn designer jeans, a “cause” or retro T-shirt and tatty black leather jacket if it is “winter.” The most important part of the look is double-take shoes. Boots are good. Anna Sui black leather knee boots with metal studs and flowers will get you invited back for another meeting.
Hell-A Rule #9: Never arrive on time for lunch. It makes you look unimportant or worse, desperately unbusy.
Hell-A Rule #10: Never whine. Or if you must, do it in the privacy of your own boudoir in the darkness of night with the covers pulled over your head.
There are many other Hell-A Rules. Check out the book for the full survival program.
Buy as a paperback or e-book on Amazon.com