Article and video contributed by Matt Ritchey 
with edits by Tracey Paleo

The First Annual Film Con Hollywood, on March 24th, hosted by David Rountree, owner of LA Acting Studios, and Richard Botto, Founder and CEO of Stage 32, which took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, downtown L.A., presented a day-long convention connecting filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, and industry players. On offer were a full day of panels by executives from Gersh, Netflix, TCA, Amasia Entertainment, Gravitas Ventures, Buffalo 8, Three Point Capital, Bondit Media Capital, directors from Sundance’s A Boy, A Girl, A Dream and Angels & Outlaws), and writers from Girls, The Newsroom, and The Affair).

The inaugural event featured a marquee Inclusion/Women panel, Girls Rule Film Con Hollywood 2018 headed by women’s civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, EP 13 Reasons Why (Netflix) Mandy Teefey, and Academy Award Winning Producer Jennifer Warren and included workshops as diverse as Developing Your Own Content, Social Media & CrowdsourcingFinding Agents and Managers, Financing, Acting on Camera, and Pitching Your Screenplay.  Also in attendance were production and actor services such as CurioVFX,, and IndieScene. All celebrated creativity and focused on two core messages.

Allen Maldonado, producer, director, actor, and star of ABC’s Black-ish and Netflix’s The Last O.G., began the day with the first:

#1 – “This is not a career. It’s a small business.”

Branding was a huge subject throughout the day for this reason – knowing what makes your work unique and understanding how to turn it into a personal brand to be sold.

Richard Botto instilled the second and perhaps the most important of the core messages:

#2“It’s all about building relationships.”

‘It’s who you know’ is almost a cliché phrase in Hollywood.  But that doesn’t make it any less true. Networking and meeting people is a major key to success.  But all of the panelists echoed the same sentiment – that networking is about being interested in other people and giving yourself value in being someone people would want to work with, rather than simply pushing an agenda.

Creating original content and not waiting for someone to bring you a project was another topic mentioned throughout the day.

“You can’t sit at home and expect things to happen.”

With the accessibility of equipment, there’s no reason artists shouldn’t be creating original work constantly, refining their art and being the best storytellers they can be. At the same time, being true to yourself.  Your art is key.

“Keep yourself intact. L.A. is different than anywhere else in the world and artists can be sensitive, so keep yourself intact,” added director Qasim Basir at the Independent Film Directing seminar.

At it’s heart, Film Con Hollywood was a place to get reinvigorated. Staying grounded and realistic about how to stay true to yourself.  And adapting to the realities of an ever-changing business.

**The legendary actor Chevy Chase received a Lifetime TEA Award (Top Entertainment Award) of Distinction, Empowerment, and Inspiration as did Emmy nominated actress Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street), during the evening ceremonies.