01/30/2013 08:50 am ET Updated Apr 01, 2013

All the Doors to Hollywood and How to Open Them

Some time ago, I needed a job. I had spent six years finishing a book, living on and finally totally depleting my savings. At last, I found employment with a start-up corporate public relations firm, worked there for six months, was fired for insubordination, refused several apologetic hire-back offers, and was on the scramble again. But in those six months, I had learned the publicity game. Several friends suggested I try the movie business. I put together a resumé, and on my third interview, was hired as publicist for the movie The Border with Jack Nicholson. The fun began.

Most of us -- perhaps you -- have an almost insatiable interest in all things Hollywood. Often we fantasize -- secretly, perhaps -- about being part of the film business ourselves. But being so seems impossible.

What actors and stars do, what producers and directors and writers do, seems light-years beyond our reach -- despite all the advice books telling us how to make the rareified leap. We lack, we believe, the talents, the training, the connections, the youth and physical perfection, the long grinding grit and sheer gumption necessary to break in. Even, possibly, the luck.

But we have other abilities. Abilities rarely associated with film-making, but ones that stand behind the screen and make the magic possible. Abilities without which there could be no movies at all. The high-profile professions, so excessively publicized, so glamorous and brightly lit, are not the only doors to Hollywood. There are other doors -- many doors -- doors we walk through, without a thought, every day -- to professions absolutely necessary to the Hollywood show's going on.

This blog tells you what those other doors are.

On these doors, most of us -- ordinary people in every city -- nurses, carpenters, teachers, first-aid workers, journalists, electricians, photo lab and metal workers, secretaries, sketch artists, plasterers, makeup artists, cooks, hairdressers, model-makers, truck drivers, photographers, seamstresses, accountants, and so many more -- need only knock. We will, of course, probably have to knock more than once, as for any job. Nor is ultimate employment inevitable -- as for any job.

But if the doors open, we will be extremely well-paid. We will take great pride in our skills and enjoy the camaraderie of our colleagues. We will be delighted with our union benefits. And we will have, for all of our lives, wonderful behind-the-scenes stories to tell.

These are some of the doors; this is how some people have opened them. And these are some of the adventures they've had.

Perhaps you'll do the same. I did.