288 - Inside look at a Hollywood freelancer: Tom interviews Alesia Abatie - Screw The Commute

288 – Inside look at a Hollywood freelancer: Tom interviews Alesia Abatie

Alesia Abatie's here and the problem introducing a longtime Hollywood person is they've done so darn many things. I really literally could take up the entire podcast telling you all about it. So I'm going to do my best to give you a picture of her work and then she'll fill in any blanks that I missed. She's worked with Film Wave Pictures. She worked with CBS, NBC, UPN and the Turner Network. And then she worked with Radiant Productions, which is a big shot Wolfgang Petersen's company.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 288

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[03:58] Tom's introduction to Alesia Abatie

[08:57] Changing Rebel Yell Productions

[10:43] Breaking in in the early days

[14:56] What a production coordinator does

[18:21] Sponsor message

[21:37] A typical day for Alesia

[23:59] Getting “glamour” from her job

[26:10] Making a career as a freelancer

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Episode 288 – Alesia Abatie
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody it's Tom here with Episode 288 of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with Alesia Abatie and she has worked in television and film production in various capacities from 1993 in Hollywood. And she's worked on films like Batman Forever, Dragonheart, Heat, McHale's Navy, Independence Day and tons more. And she's going to be telling us all about the freelance life of screwing the commute in Hollywood. So bring her on in a minute. I hope you didn't miss Episode two eighty seven. That was Ruth Kline. She's an internationally known brand strategist and the bestselling author of six books with the latest being Generation Why Not? And she has some great tips on branding and getting yourself out there. So I hope you didn't miss that episode 287. Now, if you'd like to hear your own voice here on screw the commute, if the shows helped you out at all in your business or giving you ideas to help you start a business. We want to hear about it. Check out screwthecommute.com and look for a little blue sidebar that says Send a voicemail. Click on it and talk into the phone or your computer and tell us how the shows helped you and put your website in there and we'll put you and feature you in a future episode of Screw the Commute. Let's see. You definitely want to download a copy of my automation e-book. This book has saved me millions of keystrokes, literally seven and a half million keystrokes from just one of the tips in this book and allows me to handle 150000 subscribers and 40000 customers without pulling my hair out so you can find it at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. We sell this book for 27 bucks, but it's yours free for listening to the show while you're at it. Grab a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app and we have complete instructions on how to use it so you can take us with you on the road. All right. Now we're sitting here in the middle of this pandemic with people, you know, on Google, like searching for work from home, tips like crazy hybrid preachiness. Since 1996, I've been selling on the commercial Internet since 94, started teaching it to others in 96. And then people nowadays that knew me back then to say, well, we should've listened to you, but I guess you do, because it's it's really a powerful skill to not have to worry about outside influence and still be able to make a living. So. So check it out. We have a school I have the only licensed dedicated Internet marketing school in the country. It's IMTCVA.org, Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia it's a distance learning school right now. So anywhere that you can hear this, you can be in that school and getting these skills that allowed me to live this beautiful lifestyle business for 26 years now. Okay, so it's very powerful. It's no hocus pocus and it's a highly in demand skill. So it's also good as a great legacy gift for your grandchildren, nephews, nieces or your own kids so they don't get saddled with debt and get out and compete for jobs at Starbucks in the traditional system. This way they could be making money within months of going into the school. So check that out.

[00:04:01] All right. Let's get to the main event, Alesia Abatie's here. And the problem introducing a longtime Hollywood person is they've done so darn many things. I really literally could take up the entire podcast telling you all about it. So I'm going to do my best to give you a picture of her work and then she'll fill in any blanks that I missed. But she's worked with film Wave Pictures. She worked with CBS, NBC, UPN and the Turner Network. And then she worked with Radiant Productions, which is a big shot. Wolfgang Petersen's company. And she helped get the show, The Agency on a two year run on CBS. Then she founded Rebel Yell Productions, and then it changed to Clean Street Productions. And I want to ask her about that. Did she sell it? Did she just change the name for a reason? Rebranded? I don't know. But they produce non-fiction stories, and then they produced the, let's see, three one hour comedy specials with Dylan Brody. She's worked on. This is L.A. This is San Francisco for CBS. See what I mean? I could just keep going and going and going. I've got to let her fill in the blanks and bring her on now. So, Alesia, are you ready to screw? The commute?

[00:05:19] I am really ready to do that, Tom. You're my faithful leader in making big changes. So, yeah, I appreciate that.

[00:05:27] All right. It's so, so good. I'm glad we reconnected recently. Is actually based on a product that you have. And so tell everybody what you're doing now, and then we'll take you back and see how you you navigated this.

[00:05:43] We everybody else calls it Hollyweird seen for all these years and made a good living doing it.

[00:05:51] One of the things that I'm doing now is obviously freelance production management. So that's a day to day thing. Currently working for a very large educational institution, doing production management. The other thing that I'm currently working on is we have a Web site called TheActorsRepertoire.com, which is the premiere acting course for actors. It's been used by really all of the great actors refer to this as a tool that they've used to develop their careers. And it's a Four Seasons strategy where they also you devise basically a brand for you as an actor and you continue working that brand and creating opportunities through brand creation, basically. And it really is a really strong program. A lot of people have used it. It has great tools within the program and it's been very successful in getting people working for beginning actors who don't have any kind of focus on how they should direct their careers. But it also works everywhere into intermediate and advanced actors who also realize, oh, hey, I have a lot of tools. I just haven't connected them properly. And so what they're doing is they've been able to then sort of connect the dots. And that's what actually what led to them to have bigger breakthroughs in their career.

[00:07:04] So is this a live thing they come to or is this an online thing or what is it?

[00:07:09] It's an online program. It's 40 minutes.

[00:07:12] It's hosted by Australian actor Aaron Hammond, who is very successful both in the US and in Australia and both feature films and comedy and other thing that's always interesting, because he's a former bodybuilder who actually does comedy, which is, you know, he's always getting cast in the action roles.

[00:07:29] And he actually has more interest in doing comedy. We find it interesting that, you know, in order for him to have to have made that change, he really had to rebrand himself and to get casting directors to see him differently.

[00:07:40] So anybody so anybody interested in acting could could take this course online then right?

[00:07:44] Could take the course online and it's a downloadable course. You go to the website and download the course, and it's a PowerPoint presentation with audio and video. And it also has several worksheets in there. They invite you to get a notebook and take notes on the course. And since you have the course on your computer, you can listen to it multiple times.

[00:08:05] It's effectively a book that's on your computer where you can do the lessons over and over until they make sense to you and until you're able to put them into practice.

[00:08:14] Yeah. So great. So we'll have the link to that because I probably half the people can't spell repertoire.

[00:08:22] So we'll have a link to it.

[00:08:24] And that's funny because lad is an industry code word that people don't really talk about very much.

[00:08:30] So what is the repertoire?

[00:08:33] You know, your repertoire is is is effectively what things were before we called the ball brand. So what are what is it that you're known for and how does that work or what kind of training have you had? Is everything in alignment with what it is that you're that you're promoting?

[00:08:48] I still betcha some of the biggest actors that we'd know their names can't spell it every time.

[00:08:53] Oh, I'm sure. Absolutely. I know they have they have fun doing that. Definitely.

[00:08:59] All right. I want to ask you about this before I take you all the way back. I want to talk to about the rebel yell and turning into curling. Did you send it? Did you rebrand it? Why was the name change?

[00:09:11] Actually, the first the first name change that we had was a rebel yell productions.

[00:09:15] One of the problems sometimes you have when you secure an LLC is that their names are only relevant to what state you're in.

[00:09:22] Okay. So, you know, if you're doing if you're doing a yogurt shop or you're doing a restaurant, you don't really care that there is a good restaurant in Florida. Right. California.

[00:09:30] Nobody really cares because you're looking at a pretty much a local business. Right. But when you're doing a television company, when you find out that there is another company called Rebel Yell and their production company out of Miami. But they are more into live events and top models and other things. And it's really sort of distracting from your brand.

[00:09:50] You decide that maybe that's not the name you want to go with or they file a lawsuit against certain ways which which you can happen if you if you if you watch those.

[00:10:00] A great Netflix documentary that they recently had called Tiger King. Right. That one of the disputes that this guy had with the woman in Florida was a continued dispute over him putting up a Web site that utilized their branding and there they called the big RFQ Entertainment or whatever, and he was basically trying to profit off of the branding that she had already had had already done. Or so they allege anyway.

[00:10:23] So, yes, that's exactly what can happen. So we changed the name to Cling Street because it was a little bit more.

[00:10:28] Also, Wolf, what's on Cling Street? What is more generic? It's not so much so much of a giveaway. And that was really was a smart thing to do because the next venture that I was involved in was producing comedy. So when you use something like Cling Street, it's not quite obvious immediately what that is.

[00:10:45] All right. So let's take you back and see. I know you went to film and TV kind of ski to get started. But tell us about your break in in the early days.

[00:10:56] How did it go breaking in in the early days? That's a that's a tough one. What happens is you've you've come to L.A. and you study at the university and you study radio, TV, film, and frequently, you know, go to the career center and you'll find out pretty quickly how and if those people are about telling you where the opportunities are.

[00:11:12] They don't have a clue about how to find opportunity in the business.

[00:11:15] So interestingly enough, you know, I just started talking to my other classmates about, you know, what what people were doing and where they were going.

[00:11:23] And as kind of a fluke, one of the fluke things was I ended up moving from L.A. back to Santa Barbara.

[00:11:29] And while in Santa Barbara, I met a young guy who was going to Brooks Institute, which was a photography institute. And he also studied cinematography there. And he had told me about a program in L.A. that he was going to drive down and 10. And so he and I, you know, we can't became friends. And I ended up attending that particular program. And it was basically about how to break into the industry and who you needed to talk to. And it was basically a class a seminar in which you find out who are the people that hire you very specifically in the job that you do. And interestingly enough, you'd go to these seminars and find that most people didn't have the job titles they were looking for, much less, you know, who would hire that person and that job titles. So I already knew what it was that I was interested in. Breaking in with the industry was production coordinating, being assistant production coordinator in the production office, because I'm an excellent organizer and have certain skills about doing people enough and all sorts of those things. And so once I figured out that, you know, the production office and production coordinating was going to be my way in.

[00:12:34] Based on what skills and interest I had discovered that the production managers you, UPMC, out of the DGA are the people who hire your production coordinator and the people at the studios who hire the APM are production executive. And it then became very easy to find all of the vice president of production at each studio. And I started calling them up and I started going to the studios and meeting with them and getting assigned to different to different productions and film. And so I had set myself up as a, you know, an on location production coordinator. And that was initially how I started in the business. And the irony of ironies is that in my current position, the production executive at Universal, a wonderful woman by the name of Cool Marter, she gave me some on my first production jobs on Dragon Heart called the Conqueror. And then I went over to Independence Day after a time, and it was through her through making that connection with her at Universal that I did several the first two years of work or entirely through that one connection that I had. And interestingly enough, here we are three years, 20 years later, and I'm now working at an educational institution.

[00:13:44] And Komada is now the head of the thesis program for the second year in a giant city, right?

[00:13:53] It is. And you'll feel fine that that that is the way that the world works. Is that the best thing that you can do is to make really strong allies with people who value you. And you have to also create your own brand as to who you are as a person. You know, you either decide who that is. Or it will be assigned to you by default.

[00:14:13] You do not want the default brand.

[00:14:15] The default brand is I'm indecisive. I don't know what I want. And people don't really. They'll probably call you for work because they know you need to work, but they may not call you because they know what it is that you do. One of the things I learned really early on is that you get hired for what you do. And so the best thing that you can do is actually be doing the work of that person or that title or that job that you're interested in, people promote you for what you do well. So you then have to excel at what you're doing. And they find you. I mean, you literally go out to find you when they know what you do exceptionally well. And you know that that's when you know, you've generated exactly what you're supposed to be doing.

[00:14:58] All right. Now, let's bring us down to earth a little bit and help us understand this. Probably a thousand different things you do as a production coordinator. But can you give us some of the actual nuts and bolts of what a production coordinator does?

[00:15:14] Sure. I'm one of the things you have to love if you do production coordinating, as you do have to like to certain degree, paperwork. Every part of the job, there's what's there.

[00:15:22] You know, if you have rental building, five percent of the job is eventually going to be eviction. But that's really troubling to you.

[00:15:28] Probably don't want to become a landlord. It's great when 95 percent of your time is the checks are just coming in hard when you have to deal with this one problem.

[00:15:37] So I can tell you that some people are very much they want to be on set and the prospect of doing paperwork and organizing things is not particularly glamorous to them. If that's your thing, then production coordinating is definitely not the route that you want to go in.

[00:15:49] The second thing is you have to be a very astute problem solver and you have to be an independent problem solver. You have to come up with your own solutions and also anticipate solutions are going to happen. And who would you call and how would you resolve it? And obviously be very resourceful. You can never run out of resources.

[00:16:07] So give us an example of that. Like like what kind of thing would happen that you would have to figure it out and fix it?

[00:16:15] Well, for an example, production partners do a lot of the travel. So traveling is obviously one. You want to make sure that you communicate with your crew well so that they know exactly when they're coming and going and you know, all of their flight arrangements. You want to be sure that you hire people also that are smart enough to get on the right plane.

[00:16:32] You'd be surprised. No, I wouldn't say.

[00:16:36] The second thing is when you're on location, you sometimes have to set up the entire production office, meaning you're renting tables and chairs and office supplies and hooking up computers and doing basically you have to be a moderately decent I.T. person. Wow.

[00:16:52] Fix your own.

[00:16:54] You know, they're not expecting you to install servers, but obviously you should be able to buy computers and be able to, you know, set up an office for an incoming group of people, whether that's production designers or production office itself or whoever that may be.

[00:17:09] So I think there's a lot of you know, that's a very less glamorous side of the things that you do in Hollywood. But, you know, all of those things are vital, essential functions of what it is that they do. It's definitely a big part of it.

[00:17:22] So I think one thing you always want to identify is what really is the five percent of the job, a tax rate, and make sure that that's at least you don't have to like it. You just have to be able to tolerate it and do it well enough that it doesn't become an ongoing issue.

[00:17:35] Well, what would that job be less competitive in Hollywood? Because there's so many people just shooting for the glamour.

[00:17:42] That is definitely something that that happens a lot. You'll see very quickly the people who are willing to put in the hours and do the work.

[00:17:48] And to some degree, they don't mind a certain amount of grunt work. And there are other people who just like steps to be found. And you do see a little bit of that.

[00:17:58] But you can usually tell that pretty quickly because people who really want to dive in and learn everything.

[00:18:03] Those are not the people, you know, the people who have the scratched elbows from doing the work.

[00:18:08] So. So that's what you're known for then. If if they need somebody to a great production coordinator, you're the person to call.

[00:18:17] I am definitely the person they want. They would call.

[00:18:19] Yes. But as you got a reputation also. So. So we got to take a brief sponsor break here. When we come back, we'll ask you what it is. Probably crazy for somebody like you. What's a typical day look like now? Not now, since it's in the pandemic areas at home, but but the typical day when there's a production going on. What's it look like for you?

[00:18:42] So, folks, about 20 years ago, I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head because people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front to teach what I know to some other small businesses. And I knew a lot of these guys. You gave them 50000 friends. They'd be gone. You'd never even learn from them. So so I said, you know, that's too risky. And I'm a consumer advocate. And I wanted to make sure small businesses had the access to this information. So I. I kind of turned everybody mad at me because I started charging like 10 percent of entry fee. And then I took a percentage of profits that was capped at fifty thousand dollars. So for somebody for me to get my fifty thousand, you had to make two hundred thousand. And so people just love. That in 17 hundred students later, it's still still going strong after 20 years, so. So this is called the great Internet marketing retreat and joint venture program. I'll put it up against anybody on Earth is program in Internet marketing. It's so unique. It's so, so powerful. It has helped so many people over over many, many years. And so part of the uniqueness is you get an immersion weekend as part of it, where you actually stay in my state home, you actually live in the house with a small group, maybe four or five people for a weekend. The other biggest thing that's the most powerful for me is that people at my level won't even talk to you at all, let alone teach a thing.

[00:20:18] But I again, I came from a small town. We did what we say we're going to do. We give great value. And so you have unlimited access to me and my entire crew that I've trained for a year for one on one tutoring.

[00:20:35] We don't lump you in with the group because if if you're in with the group, the advanced people are bored. When I'm talking to a beginner and the beginners or lost when I'm talking to an advanced person is just totally, pitifully unofficial. A lot of the the other people do that because they don't have to do much work. They just grab money from as many people as they can and they don't care if you're successful. Well, I do, because I won't get my 50 grand if you're not successful. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. We even finance your entry fee. We're so sure that our program is is really, really powerful and it will help you out. Plus, you get a scholarship to my Internet marketing school, which you can either use yourself or gift to a loved one. So it's like I said, I triple dog dare anybody to come up with a program as powerful as long running and as successful. So greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. Check it out. And I hope to see the program one of these days.

[00:21:40] All right. Let's get back to the main event, Alesia Abatie's here. And she is a freelancer in Hollywood for many, many years, been involved in lots of movies and TV shows you've heard about. And Alicia, so. So what's a typical day look like when it's non pandemic, when you have to go out into the trenches and do stuff? What's what's it look like?

[00:22:03] Well, we would I would basically say we have two different kinds of days. We probably have a preproduction day and a production day of preproduction day. And we're probably working in an office from seven to seven.

[00:22:15] And you're dealing with things like only 12 hours later, you're a slacker. Yes.

[00:22:20] An ad for pretty much pretty much the standard ad for hours of commuting do that.

[00:22:28] That can happen. But preproduction has been really great now because a lot of the work is done remotely now.

[00:22:33] So when you think like OneDrive and Google Drive where you can upload documents so that your crew can well, whatever that is, whether, oh, that's much more efficient.

[00:22:42] So that's definitely much more efficient. But basically, there's really there's really only three kinds of things, really.

[00:22:48] There was a preproduction day, which is you're setting up your production, your production days when you're on set could be at a location that could be at a stage when you're working with actors and directors and cinematographers and setting up shots and basically completing principal photography.

[00:23:03] And the third part of it would be the post-production phase after the things are shot and they're ready to go on your post-production, meaning editing room.

[00:23:12] Voiceover, cutting out of music, adding titles, all of those things.

[00:23:16] It's basically three, you know, three days and you can figure out which they are on your maybe three weeks of preproduction, three weeks of shooting and maybe three or four weeks of post-production.

[00:23:26] You're involved in all of those different phases?

[00:23:29] I am, yeah.

[00:23:30] Usually what happens is as a producer, you do a lot in the preproduction and the production phase and then in post-production phase, you're mainly in a supervisory role working with the post-production supervisor who actually does all you know, I get the part, all the paperwork and all the good stuff on to the first production guy.

[00:23:45] And then he runs the editor as assistant head of those people. Then then we get to go to an edit and see what the what the final cut is of the local material that you've been working so hard on. And it's really rewarding to see things like right now.

[00:24:02] Do you get any kind of glamour out of this? Invited to the premieres or any of that stuff?

[00:24:09] You do get to know some people like it. Some people like to go to premieres more than others.

[00:24:13] But you're just so exhausted by that.

[00:24:16] Well, exhaustion is definitely part of it, but it's also really fulfilling when you get to work from your.

[00:24:20] There's also a cast and crew screening usually and special screenings that are just for the people who work behind the scenes.

[00:24:27] So sometimes the premiere is always funny because they like to invite big stars because that's just what? Just get into the magazines or the tabloids. Right. And sometimes the behind the scenes, people are totally like, you know, we get steamrolled and nobody nobody pays attention to us.

[00:24:41] But it's interesting that the behind the scenes people have their own little, you know, quick group of people where where they are all talking to one another and they have their own special events that they go to.

[00:24:52] And in some ways, it's kind of nice because you get the benefits of having worked on all these really great shows and done all these really great things without having to be a publicist for some people like the public recognition. And there certainly is that if you want it, but also for behind the scenes, people might have a really strong network of great friends.

[00:25:09] Are there awards for that kind of stuff you do?

[00:25:13] Not for the job that I do.

[00:25:15] There are, you know, DGA awards for production managers, the unions and also the guilds have their own awards that they give a lot of the behind the scenes people. Some of them are recognized for, say, at the Oscars or the Emmys. But then the second recognition is also through their bills. You know, the Directors Guild has their own awards night where they give specific awards to people who work behind the scenes on top of the directors who won for best production manager and best movie. So there's also some of that as well.

[00:25:48] Wow. Wow. So definitely, if you're looking for glamour, this ain't the job to go for Hollywood.

[00:25:57] But you know what? This is not a this is not the glamorous one. Although most people who who who really, truly enjoy the craft of making movies, I really enjoy working on set.

[00:26:06] They're not usually that. You know, those are people who really enjoy the work.

[00:26:10] And that's part of a part of why they do well. Well, great. So thanks so much for taking the time to fill us in. Everybody is always interested in the ins and outs of Hollywood in the end. As a business, you've been able to make a career out of this on a freelance basis. For how many years now? I watch over twenty five years, 25 years doing it. So and then it's mostly under an LLC is outside a large part of it.

[00:26:39] Yeah. And it's also a great way to be able to, you know, one of the great things about working in film and TV, it's really a great industry where you can literally write your own future.

[00:26:47] Then you think that basically by what it is that you do and how well are you able to market that to other people? So that's why I always like connecting with Tom, because he has great marketing advice.

[00:26:58] And that's definitely something that's helped me too many people who are good with marketing and really understand what that's about.

[00:27:05] And there's no shortage of work out there. No shortage of work out there. Yep. Wow.

[00:27:11] Yeah. So that's that's really cool. So tell me again, how do you how to find that course. And of course we'll have it in the show notes. What's the Web site again.

[00:27:19] Oh sure.

[00:27:20] The website the premiere of course for actors is theactorsrepertoire.com.

[00:27:36] Yeah, I got that. Perfect.

[00:27:38] But what do you look it up in the dictionary and make sure it's spelled right in the show notes so they can just click on it.

[00:27:46] Right. So people can consult with you too. Right. They sure can.

[00:27:51] So if somebody is interested in going to Hollywood or later you have to start out in Hollywood, they could do it remotely to learn about how to approach this job, right?

[00:28:02] Yes, they could. There are several things you could get started on.

[00:28:05] It doesn't matter what city that you're in and you feel like if they're organized and gung ho and good work ethic, there's always work in this field and out there, right?

[00:28:14] Absolutely. And there are plenty of things that you can learn as far as finding jobs in your current area.

[00:28:21] If you live in at least a mid-sized city, there's a great possibility for you to advance.

[00:28:25] Oh, okay.

[00:28:27] So, so great. So, so good. What's the best way for them to reach you?

[00:28:33] Probably the best way would be to look me up on LinkedIn and connect with me there.

[00:28:39] I read all my emails on LinkedIn and I certainly respond to people that, you know, put forth a good effort. And I'm happy to talk to anybody who would contact me if they want to go and spell your name for them.

[00:28:51] Sure. First name is Alesia and last name is Abatie.

[00:28:57] Yep. And that first name is really beautiful. Does it come from anywhere? How'd you get that?

[00:29:04] If you if you look up the battle, 52 B.C., there's the battle of Alesia and it's in France.

[00:29:10] Well, I guess it would be it isn't wasn't France yet. Whatever was the predecessor to France.

[00:29:15] So that there a battle that I've been named to, the fact that I've heard people call their wives battleships. I mean, I don't think that's a pretty beautiful name. I never dreamed it was a battle. Probably some bloody battle there. Cutting people's.

[00:29:31] Off, this is the battle of Alesia, so well, thanks so much for coming on.

[00:29:39] Thank you for having me. All right, everybody. We'll catch you on the next episode. See you later.

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