Hollywood is said to be a closed enterprise; an elite fraternity with lavish rewards only accessible through nepotism, wealth, or sheer luck. As someone who is attempting to make it in Tinseltown, I have to admit that it certainly feels that way sometimes.

In How to Break into the Film Industry, I wrote about how to get a foot in the door. Making it to the top seems to be a delicate game of networks, social skills, and unwritten rules: only known by the in-crowd.


Hollywood’s a tangled mess of catch-22’s:

  • You can’t get money to make a film unless you’ve already made one, but you can’t make a movie without the money.
  • You can’t get an agent without having experience, but you can’t get experience without an agent.
  • You can’t get into the union without having time on a union set, but… you get the idea.

Rogue Hollywood Insiders

To help navigate the mess, a rogue group of Hollywood insiders secretly wrote down the rules against the wishes of the establishment. It’s a classic Hollywood scandal: someone leaking the rules to you, so you can get into Hollywood (and create your own scandal!)

The Hollywood Rules by Anonymous is a collection of thirty rules to live by in the film industry. I’m breaking rule #30 right now. (30. Don’t Share the Hollywood Rules!) But then again, the authors broke the same rule by writing the book. Oh well, that’s L.A for ya!


The line at the top of the cover reads: “The book Hollywood doesn’t want you to read.” 

I wonder if that’s true… I mean, I’m sure on some level it is. When people are holding on to a treasure, the immediate sentiment is to keep it a secret.

But is the secret fraternity institutionalized? Scan-dal (with a French accent)

The Rules

Some of my favorite rules:

Rule #12: Always End the Phone Conversation First

Apparently it’s important to always look… well… important. The authors suggest tactfully ending phone conversations with Hollywood types as soon as they start to slow down. Doing so puts you in the power position and makes it look like your time is in demand!

Rule #17: Accept the Beverage!

“Would you like something to drink?” Who knew such a small decision was so important? The correct answer is: yes! It puts the studio, or the agent, or (insert Hollywood type here), in the position of serving you.

Plus, its just about the only free-bee you’re going to get. That makes sense.

Oh yeah, and you’re going to need it for a prop when you’re pitching your movie.

Rule #19: Always Have a Project in Hand

This one makes a lot of sense. Even if you’ve written a script and are shopping it around, you need a second one in the trunk of your car. You never know what opportunity might present itself. Besides, you’re much more likely to hear “so what else are you working on,” than “I’ll buy it!”

Alright now, that’s enough violation of rule #30. The Movie Goddess, Pelicula, is on my tail.

I’d love to keep chatting with you, but I’ve got a meeting in five minutes… Yeah, it’s pretty important stuff…

Call me! (insert air kisses here)

The Hollywood Rules by Anonymous