About Smart Girls Productions
Smart Girls Productions provides marketing and consulting services for actors and screenwriters aspiring to work and expand their careers in Hollywood film and television.
- Our mission is to provide a setting in which actors and screenwriters can make contacts and create actual opportunities to have their dreams become reality.
- To help Actors optimize their branding and packaging, get legitimate representation, and increase their confidence in marketing so they have opportunities to live their dream.
- To help screenwriters fulfill their vision for their story and make it easy for them to market it to real Hollywood executives from wherever they are.
Dr. Melody Jackson founded Smart Girls Productions in 1992 and developed the Smart Girls marketing system to support, assist and empower working and aspiring actors and screenwriters to pursue their dreams of working in Hollywood.
Our marketing systems are designed to accommodate you at any level in your career, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been working for decades and want to re-vitalize your approach to your career.
We first work with you to assess where you are and then we discuss how to build on what you have already accomplished. We then identify the best marketing strategies and services to move you to the next level.
While we find being strategic and cheering you on like any good coach is important, our services are very much about getting the word out on the street through specific, tangible marketing efforts.
For actors, we create cover letters to present you to agents and managers to help you land representation at the highest level appropriate for where you are in your career.
One of the most critical aspects of our service is helping identify your casting and your branding and making sure it’s clear. Then we help you select headshots that are professional looking and also represent your realistic casting. Helping you present yourself with a consistent brand is one of the keys to the success of our services.
For screenwriters, to sell your script, you must first make your script is as good as it can possibly be. To help you get it there, we will review your screenplay and make recommendations on how to improve it for the Hollywood marketplace.
Once your script is ready, we help you get the word out to a targeted list of production companies through our Query Letter Marketing Package.
Additionally, we can do one-on-one coaching to train and prep you for pitching to executives in person, such as at Inktip events, the Great American Pitchfest, networking events, and the like.
Whether you want to work with us for all the steps in your career and a marketing campaign or just want us to assist you with one specific service or promotion, it’s fine. We are happy to support you in any aspect of your career that we’re capable of.
“People who pursue a career in Hollywood are big dreamers. It’s an enormous dream with fewer and fewer spots as you move up the ladder. My mission is to empower actors and screenwriters to give up feeling like helpless victims and instead to truly know deep inside that they have to drive their careers. It’s not just luck.
“You have to take massive action to make big things happen. I want to educate them on what to do and to faciliate some aspects of what they need to do. There’s no room for being a victim and feeling sorry for yourself because Hollywood is too much of a challenge and someone else will step into your slot if you mope around for too long. No getting down and staying down. Get back up and make it happen. Period. Let’s do it.” Melody Jackson, Ph.D.
Want the down and dirty story of how Melody really got started? Here it is.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…. Here’s the not so down and dirty part with more regular info, in case you’re trying to figure out Melody’s street cred. Now… from Melody in her own words… (as was the above, except the following will be in first person)! Where was I? Oh yeah… Specific info about helping screenwriters and then after this section, a bit more on how I help actors.
I’m a computer geek techie kind of person. (My undergrad was in computers.) Out of college, I went to work for the United States Department of Defense in California. But they tricked me to get me to work for them. (LOL!)
You see, I’m from Indiana. Around about 8th or 9th grade, I decided I wanted to live in California after college. Eight years later, as I was about to graduate from Ball State U., I sent out about four dozen cover letters and resumes to companies that were hiring anywhere in California.
Shortly thereafter I got a reply letter in the mail offering me a job — with no interview mind you — in a place called China Lake, California. Sounded fantastic and I immediately said yes. I was about to move to California and live on a lake! My dreams were coming true….
Or were they?
Actually, no — they were not. Turns out, it had been a good 10,000 years since that now-dry salt lake bed had had any water in it. It was an enormous dry lake in the middle of the desert. But I had accepted the job with the D.O.D. and they had moved me to California on their dime, so I stayed… Well, only because I had a contract for a year, else I’d have to pay back the $3500 they paid to move me and my college furniture there…. and 7 nights hotel accommodations and per diem for driving there.
One thing led to another as described in my dank, down, and dirty Hollywood story, and I moved away from the desert and into the culture shock that was Los Angeles. Turned out to be the worst year of my life….or let’s say one of the two worst years of my life…. but the other one is a whole different story.
I got past that first year and the culture shock with no friends — it was hard to meet friends here — but I managed to get through and find another computer sales job. But I had managed to lose the $20,000 I had saved at the age of 24 working in the desert and was now $20,000 in credit card debt.
I took a job not making much money compared to what I had been making, but I was back on a steady track. Over the following 7 years, I re-stabilized myself… but then… I had another crisis. I hit the wall. I had a good job, making good money again… but I was depressed…It wasn’t what I wanted to do.
I had always wanted to start my own company. Didn’t know for what…. but I knew I was an entrepreneur inside. I quit that job and began to pursue my dream of working in Hollywood. I ended up using my computer and technical skills to start Smart Girls Productions and the rest is my history to date. (For all the details, go to down-and-dirty.) Along the way, I built some fantastic friendships and working relationships with people such as my mentor, multi-talented producer Bo Zenga (“Scary Movie,” “Soul Plane”) and Hollywood Networking Maven Sandra Lord, both of whom I continue to be close friends with today.
My computer skills were critical for starting Smart Girls. With my background in programming, I created a way to track all the Hollywood execs and categorize them using a coding and scoring system to pick the best producers, agents, and literary managers to market a given screenplay to.
Fortunately, I also love everything about the internet and keeping up with changes in technology has been like getting new boxes of goodies for me… always something new to explore. The good thing is that I can help you market your script or yourself to Hollywood online because I know how to do all of it.
I have an awesome Email Blasting Service for which I categorize email addresses. I use an email verification service to make sure my email addresses are good. I track open rates and see which execs open the emails. I use a number of technical tools to help me accomplish all of this, and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my service. And I do all of this to help my clients get better results.
Over the time I’ve had my business, I also earned a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies. The intensive work I did studying Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, among so many others, deepened my understanding of story and human nature.
In turn, I think the intuition I developed and the knowledge I gained was a major contributing factor for being selected and ranked as a Top 5 Script Analyst three different times by Creative Screenwriting magazine (which is now a website). WHAT I AM MOST PROUD OF in the sense of business… or what I get the most satisfaction from… is two things: 1) Much of my business comes from repeat clients and referrals from past clients.
Each time I get a referral, it reminds me I have a lot of satisfied clients, and that makes me happy. But I also LOVE getting clients from Google searches because it tells me my geeky side did something right to be found on the abyss that is the internet. (This is good news for you because I can use those same marketing and computer skills to help you!). So getting referrals from satisfied clients and being found on the internet is one thing I’m proud of (could be two, but for me they go hand-in-hand).
The second thing I get great satisfaction from is that I’ve helped over 2500 screenwriters improve their screenplays and get them in front of Hollywood execs.
(And I’ve helped over 5000 actors get representation — but more on that below.)
My screenwriting clients have gotten their scripts into countless medium-sized and smaller production companies… and many have also even gotten their scripts into studios like 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount and large agencies like UTA, and CAA.
My screenwriting clients have landed positions as TV staff writers, sold their screenplays, won contests, gotten literary representation, signed options, and have been hired for writing assignments. They’ve had many different levels of success. I love when my clients have success!
More experience and street cred in helping screenwriters… I’ve been a Guest Speaker at countless industry events and screenwriting groups. The Final Draft Expert Interview Series interviewed me in one of their pro series programs. I’ve written articles for most screenwriting magazines in existence. I’ve spoken at events like the Screenwriter’s Expo, the Great American Pitchfest, Storyboard, and many more writers’ groups.
Bottomline, I assist screenwriters in getting their screenplays ready for the market and then in getting them read by production companies and development executives, literary agencies, and management companies.
And I’ve been doing that for a long time.
And now… on to how I help actors.
How I Help Actors in Their Careers
If you didn’t yet read my down and dirty story of how I got started in Hollywood, go here now. It’s my story of when I came across this idea of becoming an actor and taking classes and such.
I loved-loved-loved ACTING CLASS…. but you’ll have to check out that link to see why I stopped acting.
The great thing about pursuing an acting career for the time I did is that I learned what it’s like to have that desperate desire to work. I also learned what actors need. In fact, that’s how I came up with my Agent and Manager Mailing service — I needed an agent, so I created a database with a bunch of bells and whistles for my own use first.
Once my friends heard what I was doing, they wanted me to help them, so I did. Then they told their friends… and they wanted help, and so I did… And then they told two friends… and they told two more friends…. and so on and so on…. And here we are 20+ years later!
To wrap it up….Since starting my business over 20 years ago, I’ve helped well over 5000 actors get agents and managers. I’ve helped actors like you get into almost every agency and management company in town at one point or other. Many of those actors went on to be Series Regulars, play Lead Roles in films, book guest star and co-star roles, do commercial campaigns, or get their union cards.
Bottomline…. the main thing I do for actors is to help you identify your branding and pitch yourself, help you select the best photos that are congruent with your casting, coach you on pitching yourself in a meeting with an agent, and write your cover letter so you don’t have to! We also do the research on the agents and managers to save you time.
Two points to summarize all of this….
- You never know where your non-acting, non-writing skills or college degree can come in hand in helping you pursue your dream of being an actor or writer. You also never know how things will unfold in your life and your career. And that’s my point… TRUST that it will all work out perfectly… at some point…. if you allow it.
- I wanted to tell you about myself so you have a better sense of who you’re doing business with.
And that’s what there is to say….
Need more proof, credibility, and testimonials to convince you that I’m an awesome person to work with? Well…. I don’t have any more! Isn’t this long enough? 🙂
Just kidding. Look at pages around the site. There are more testimonials scattered throughout.