“How To Make It…” is not a primer on solid tactics that’ll have movie executives sweating, panting, and clamoring for you, nor music executives really digging your sound and thinking you could be the next big thing, thereby allowing you to bypass the “American Idol” route. Instead, it’s simply They may not show it outright, but with their words, you can definitely hear the frustration of the lives of many artists trying to become bigger.
Director/writer/producer Christopher Odom does right by keeping this documentary low-key. Questions are posted on the screen against a black background before it’s answered by one of the participants. There are questions posed toward everybody (“How do you pay the bills?” and individually, such as one point where Ken Cosby is asked if the Cosby name helps or hurts his career. He reveals in such a way that nepotism is not a part of his career at all and tends to have trouble with his last name. Not only is he a screenwriter and an actor, but he’s also a stand-up comedian who, when trying to find work, comes upon people who not only wish for his stand-up to be squeaky clean, but also spend time talking about his famous uncle and spending time with him.
There’s other interesting personalities to be found in such people as LAnce Moseley (Capitals on the first two letters of his first name because of Los Angeles), who hosted a show for the Playboy Channel that became one of the highest-rated on the channel, and did 13-15 episodes. There’s also Annie Lee, an actress and producer who’s involved in an independent film company with her family and hopes to make more Korean-American films a reality.
These people aren’t George Clooneys or Mel Gibsons or any insanely famous female actresses who, with one quick smile, can cause thousands of people to open and empty their wallets. And this is a good thing, to get away from that aspect of Hollywood and focus on people who merely want their work to be seen more widely than it has and have more opportunities that enable them to do just that. This is the type of documentary that tells you, “Hey, struggles are all part of trying to get people to listen and watch. It can be hell, but it just might be worth trying if you have the patience, drive, and the willpower to constantly learn your craft, improve upon it, and still make it your own.”
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