We’re back for round four of LAdyboss interviews. This week I sat down with Kat Hazelton… after I accidentally introduced myself to someone else thinking she was Kat but she wasn’t. Life, am I right?
We met in Silverlake for a morning coffee to chat about her work and experiences in the entertainment industry. Kat has loved film, theatre, and the entertainment industry since she was cast as SIMBA in her kindergarten play. She is currently a many-hat-wearing professional: writer, actress, director, set PA, Executive Assistant, and Script Supervisor. She is from Seattle, Washington where she grew up riding horses, dancing and acting. By the 8th grade she knew she wanted to be a screenwriter (and I’m still sitting here flabbergasted that an 8th grader knew what a screenwriter was). She headed to Chapman, a university in Orange County to study screenwriting and then she made her way up to LA.
Kat previously worked as an assistant at a talent agency and then as a producer’s assistant. The role of an assistant in this industry is probably one of the most overlooked, and often semi-abused positions, IE: Talent Manager Apologizes for Email Telling Assistant to "Sew Her Vagina Shut".
Kat and I discuss the symbiotic relationship between an assistant and their boss. Neither can survive without the other, but sometimes in this industry, execs often forget just how important a good assistant is to ensuring they can make all their “big, important” decisions without worrying about scheduling their travel, appointments, checking in with talent and confirming all of their other meetings and timelines. Kat has recently made a huge decision, a decision in Hollywood that I think 95% of assistants all wish they had the guts to take... She has officially decided she is ready to go out on her own and truly focus on her writing and her passions.
“I’m okay with being the 'LA cliche', a barista writing a script, or a waitress who works nights and can write all day. All the effort I put into my work really reminded me of what I wanted at the end of the day. I also saw people in this industry who had these high-powered jobs but still weren’t happy. Sometimes you have to put yourself first. ”
Kat and I dug into some of her best tips, tricks, tools and inspiration for writing:
Something that you wish you had known before starting on in this industry?
If you could do it all over again, what would you do the same, differently?
I probably would have stayed a little longer at the agency. I was able to learn SO much and meet some insanely talented clients, all while making connections and having a kind of camaraderie feeling with everyone my age in this “assistant’ level life. Even though I had just the tiniest hand in it, it was immensely satisfying to watch our clients succeed and achieve their goals and dreams.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Your mental and physical health is more important than anything you’ll get from this industry. Besides, you’re not going to be doing your best work if you’re not feeling your best.
“Don’t be so busy making someone else’s dreams happen that you forget about yours; yours are important too.“
Where do you see yourself in three years?
No idea. I would hope that in 3 years i’ll see my name on a screen, either as a staff writer, or having produced a feature. Even working as Writer or Director’s assistant. I’m totally fine with the grunt work but don’t feel it’s too much to ask that i’m respected while I do it.
What is your best suggestion for someone starting out?
No one knows what the first step should be, I moved here with no job, no money and it worked out. It may take more time than you’d like it to, but every step, even the jobs you don’t get, is a step in the right direction.
The people in this industry are absolutely amazing, talk to everyone you work with. Whether it’s a director, agent, the security guard or janitor, everyone has stories to share and experiences to learn from.. You learn something from every single person.
Give yourself deadlines and stick to them and use fellowships and competitions to stay on track and keep writing!
This industry is not for the faint of heart. If you really want it, you’re going to put in blood, sweat and tears. You’ll hear “no” far more than “yes”. I’ve been told too many times that if attempting to make it in Hollywood is too much, I could leave LA and go get a “real” job... But I definitely don’t plan on throwing in the towel any time soon!
Who’s your inspiration?
Patty Jenkins - WONDER WOMAN, MONSTER
Kathryn Bigelow - DETROIT, ZERO DARK THIRTY
Christopher Nolan - DUNKIRK, THE DARK KNIGHT
Quentin Tarantino - RESERVOIR DOGS, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS
What’s missing in theaters and the industry today?
What are you currently working on?
Kat’s confidence and her typical-meets-solo adventure out in LA showcases the tried but true mentality that no career path can be followed to a “T.” Every career path is it’s own journey. This town is full of favors for favors and if you do good work - you’ll keep getting your chances.
Want to learn more about what Kat’s up to and writing? Check her out here:
Twitter - @kathazelton
Instagram - @kitkathaze