How to Get Ahead in Hollywood by REALLY, REALLY Trying!


What allows for some artists to succeed?

I have known many artists and being able to support oneself with one’s art is a rare thing, demanding respect and investigation.  A friend told me that even the piano singer at a hotel singing “Summer Winds”, if he is supporting himself solely with his art, he is a rare success in the echelon of the .0001% of artists.  It is with that understanding and respect that I bring you Gentle Reader to my discussion with Director – Guy Bee.

Guy Bee’s IMDB page reads like a TV Fan’s dream resume.

Guy came to Hollywood via Florida to California in 1987; he obtained a job working for a camera and camera equipment leasing company.  As Guy put it, “I came in early and stayed late.” He managed their books, meaning he logged the equipment that was checked in and out, he cleaned an repaired the equipment, and drove the company truck.  Guy’s diligence impressed his boss who offered to let him go to a Steadicam workshop because he wanted him to keep track of the equipment that was leant to the workshop, allowing Guy to attend a free Steadicam workshop.  As Guy leased this equipment he, would meet more and more Directors and Producers. This led to a string of short projects while he continued to work at the leasing shop, which slowly built up his reel (segments showing his camera work) on VHS TAPE.

Guy states that “You live and die by the reputation that you can handle anything without being rattled.” This philosophy set the stage for Guy’s shot at Directing.  By working diligently and establishing relationships with the cast, crew, directors, and producers of “Third Watch”, Guy was given his first professional directing opportunity, which would grow into 13 episodes of directing.  His success as a director on “Third Watch” led to “Alias” which led to one of my favorite shows of ALL TIME: “Jericho”.  “Jericho”, for the uninitiated, is the story of a Kansas town holding together in the wake of Nuclear War.  Guy described the show as – “Every scene was important and the stakes were always high. There was no ‘C Story’.”  Guy directed three episodes of this show that was gone too soon.

Protips?  Flexibility.  “If you’re behind because of lighting or someone’s late, you still have to figure out how to get it done in time”.  Why? Budgets!  Once you cross 12 hours of shooting, everyone’s rates go up.  “It takes seven days prep for eight to nine days of filming.”  These principles took him to three of my favorite shows: “Supernatural”, “Arrow”, “The Magicians”, and “iZombie”.

The question I had was how was he able to keep working and have one show feed into the next?  “[He] never turned down work.”  On “Supernatural”, he met Erik Kripke, Kim Manners, Bob Singer, and Sera Gamble and each of these producers led him to other episodes and new shows.

Where does he do the bulk of his work?  Not in Hollywood.  Why?  “New York is busy because the tax incentives have made it sexy to shoot there.”  This dates me a bit, but is there a true hiatus anymore?  “Everything has changed. Filming used to be  from July through April.  Now, with basic cable, it’s year round production.”

Protips:  I have an artsy daughter- what have I learned from Guy that I can impart to her to help her support herself in the arts?

Be versatile.  Guy has more than one skill.  If she were interested in filmmaking, I would advise her to not just be a writer.  I’m a writer and it’s fallow … A LOT. If she wanted to be a writer, I would tell her that she should also understand how to put together budgets for stories she’s writing.  Similarly, Guy has skills as a camera operator, which led to and helped him as a director- the skills were synergistic.

Build relationships. I would tell my daughter to be totally reliable and pleasant to work with (I apologize for ending with a preposition).   Guy worked on every project with diligence, never complained, and never turned down work, enabling him to continue working in the arts without a day job.

Music Video of the Day: Dear Jessie by Madonna (1989, dir. Derek Hayes)

Wow! I waited a whole 92 music videos of the day to do a Madonna video.

This is one of the oddball songs in Madonna’s catalog, but it’s one of my favorites.

The background story is pretty simple. One of her producers at the time named Patrick Leonard had to bring his daughter Jessie to the studio, Madonna took a liking to her, Leonard gave Madonna a song he had written for Jessie, she changed the lyrics a bit, and the rest is history.

There isn’t much to say about the music video itself either. It’s a very literal interpretation of the lyrics filled with animated characters you would expect from 70s-80s Disney. Madonna appears animated as Tinker Bell. I love that there appears to be some sort of cross between Tigger and Chester Cheetah during the marches of animated characters.

There are quite a few people that I was able to find who worked on the music video. Oddly, the little girl herself is not one of them.

Derek Hayes directed the music video. He seems to have only directed three music videos. I couldn’t find him for sure on IMDb, but there does appear to be two Derek Hayes that worked in animation.

Edit: According to Stephan in the comments section, Hayes is currently teaching animation at Falmouth University in the UK.

Nigel Hadley was the editor. I found a Nigel Hadley on IMDb who seems to have only worked as an editor on Derek Jarman’s The Garden (1990). If that is him, then that’s rather amazing seeing as Tilda Swinton played the Madonna in that movie.

Maddy Sparrow was the producer. She produced at least one other music video for Elton John’s Club at the End of the Street. I imagine she worked on other music videos as well.

There were numerous animators, which included Derek Hayes himself. The other ones I could find are as follows: Jimmy Farrington, Andy Goff, Alison Snowden, Neville Astley, Malcolm Hartley, and Erica Russell. I’ll just talk about a few noteworthy ones.

Jimmy Farrington appears to have worked on a bunch of big films from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) to Harry Potter to Marvel.

Alison Snowden went on to do more work in animation that included winning an Oscar for the film Bob’s Birthday (1994).

Neville Hartley appears to have had great success–going on to be a writer for the British TV Show Peppa Pig. He also co-created the show.

John Stevenson was the Character Technical Director, or Character TD for short. He seems to have been the most successful–going on to direct Kung Fu Panda (2008).