Finding work in the entertainment industry is a tough gig. But, when it comes to finding work in Hollywood, the old adage doesn’t apply anymore.  There’s change afoot. At least, we hope so.  It’s no longer ‘what you know but who you know.’ There’s a new way to make connections a lot easier and faster. It’s called HUSSLUP and it was founded by H Schuster.

Time to HUSSLUP

The Problem With Hollywood’s Hiring Process

Studio executives tend to rely on a list of people they’ve worked with before which doesn’t bode well for newcomers. This has been a problem in Hollywood for years.

If an executive didn’t have a list, the next step would be to make calls to managers, agents and other colleagues looking for names of people that fit a particular criteria. This is a painstaking process. And that’s just the beginning.

Underrepresented Minorities

Another problem within the industry is that it’s been criticized for underrepresenting the talent in minority groups. HUSSLUP was born to address this concept. It allows executives to find talent in many categories with a simple click.

How did the strike affect HUSSLUP?

The writer’s strike was painful. It lasted 118 days and was finally settled on November 9th, 2023. It was the second-longest entertainment strike in its history.

HUSSLUP CEO-Founder H Schuster said, “We believe this is one of the most useful innovations we have launched in our staffing workflow to date. And we are excited for our partnership with Showbiz to create efficiencies for their customers and ours. Our goal is to help get Hollywood back to work quickly.”

The strike, of course, had a direct effect on the members of HUSSLUP. Hollywood was at a standstill and there was little available work being promoted on the site. But while the strike was on, H Schuster and her team were busy taking advantage of the slowdown to further enhance the features of HUSSLUP.

So What is HUSSLUP?

HUSSLUP is a website and app that allows people in the entertainment industry to find talent for their projects through an online database. Members create a profile which lists their credentials and availability for work. It’s a little like LinkedIn except that HUSSLUP is targeted specifically to the entertainment industry.

HUSSLUP Square Logo

The objective is to expedite the process by providing a place where companies can fill roles while giving members a place where they can build a network and find work.

“As a former C Suite entertainment executive and executive producer in television who is a gay, gender non-conforming woman, I am driven by the need to democratize and diversify access to the media and entertaining industry. HUSSLUP is a searchable network that connects professional creative talent to each other and to the companies that need to discover and staff them. Let’s transform Hollywood’s old clique with one click!”  ~ H Schuster 

H Schuster

HUSSLUP first launched as a mobile app in 2022. The website was launched in the Spring of 2023. Right now, HUSSLUP has a network of approximately 10,000 freelancers. 

The company works with over 50 studios, production companies and other organizations including Tyra Banks’ Bankable Productions, NBC Universal, Blumhouse Productions, Don Cheadle’s This Radicle Act, and more.

The HUSSLUP Team

HUSSLUP and its team are based in Los Angeles. It’s the brainchild of H Schuster who is the CEO and founder of HUSSLUP. She’s worked as an executive and producer in television on such programs as MasterChef.

H Schuster Founder of HUSSLUP
H Schuster (CEO and founder of HUSSLUP)

HUSSLUP partners with ReFrame and Hire Survivors Hollywood

ReFrame is a non-profit organization with the goal to provide tools, training and practices to the entertainment industry and to promote diversity, inclusivity, and gender parity in the media industry.

ReFrame project

Hire Survivors Hollywood was founded by Sarah Ann Masse, a survivor of sexual misconduct in 2017. It is an organization dedicated to helping the entertainment industry recognize sexual violence survivors as a protected class.

Hire Survivors Hollywood Website
Hire Survivors Hollywood Website

These partnerships are designed to encourage executives to hire survivors in order to help change the industry while recognizing survivors as a protected class.

Can Anyone Join? 

Yes. HUSSLUP is global. Membership is free. The site is open to anyone in the entertainment industry. In fact, 75% of the members are mid-career level. Members include executive producers, camera crew members, writers, directors, editors, composers, and more.

Community Spirit

There’s a real sense of community spirit here. Since the founder is based in Los Angeles, members are encouraged to connect with each other outside of the app. Occasional mixers are organized giving members a chance to network in person and members are encouraged to share their links there.

HUSSLUP Homepage

And you don’t have to share only your own link. If you happen to meet someone looking for a specific type of connection, you can certainly share links to other members, too.

How Do You Get Discovered? The Keys to Success

The most important thing is to complete your member profile. Completed profiles makes you more discoverable within the database. A completed profile will appear higher in search results which increases your chances of opportunities.

Share Your Link: Send emails, text messages, Whatsapp messages, LinkedIn, etc. that include a link to your HUSSLUP profile. 

You can copy and share links anywhere. Use it as your business card. To get to your link, simply click the hamburger icon in the upper right corner of either the website or the app on your phone.

Profile Updates: Keep your profile updated with any new credentials.

Share With Non-Members: Non-members don’t have to have the app to view your profile. Your profile can be shared by using the QR code. Someone can simply scan the code to get all your profile information.

Features of HUSSLUP

Project Showcases: Members can showcase their projects on their profiles by adding information about recent projects such as the title, description, and role played in the project. Members can add links in the project such as videos, audio, and images.

Staffing Rosters: this feature allows executives to set up a criteria to find staff for certain roles. This criteria is used in the ProSearch Tool and can include such items as genre, location, role type, start date, and more. See the video below for a quick pitch on the Staffing Roster feature:

ProSearch Tool: this tool allows companies to search for talent based on a specific criteria such as availability, genre, representation, professional affiliations, and more. 

Create a List: Studio executives can create a roster of open roles along with a start date, end date, and rate of pay. Open roles can be searched by availability date.

Serendipity Mode: The Serendipity Mode is located in the left panel and allows members and companies to swipe through the virtual cards to view companies and availability.

Member Mixers: Date and time to be determined for the next Member Mixer. Right now it is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles. Other locations under consideration are New York or Atlanta.

Coming Attractions

Demographic Inclusion: The partnership with Hire Survivors Hollywood and Reframe will allow HUSSLUP members to check an optional demographic box on their profile indicating a specific demographic status.

Reminders: Your profile has an availability date. When this date lapses, a reminder will be sent when the system detects that it’s past due. 

Subscriptions: The subscription platform will be tiered for individuals and small production companies. 

Project Rosters: this feature will allow users to generate call sheets that can be used for collaboration, create statistical reports for tax incentives, and more.

Ask Me Anything:  Ask Me Anything with Tracy Hayes, film and television director. The next one is on Feb 21st in the evening PST. An email with an RSVP will be sent out prior to the event.

Finding Representation: Panel on how to find representation, how to work with your representation, how to get the most out of your representation. This will be a diverse panel of guests with various experience in this area.

South by Southwest: H Schuster will be heading up an AI Diversity panel in Austin, Texas. Other guest speakers include Kamala Salon, head of diversity at Lionsgate Studios, Evan Shapiro. Executive Producer, and Rebecca Finley, Partnership For AI. 

Mentor Marketplace: a place where seasoned professionals can offer help to HUSSLUP members.  

What Does The Future Hold For HUSSLUP?

HUSSLUP is quickly becoming a game changer. A member’s complete work history, education, experience, and connections are available with a quick mouse click. This has to be one of the most expedient ways to make connections and fill roles in the industry.

The Member Mixers is one of the many features that makes this site different from others that strictly network online only. It’s all about making connections–both online and offline.

It’s a one-stop shop for anyone in the entertainment industry. You can find, at a quick glance, people to fill roles that meet a certain criteria right from your computer.

The future of HUSSLUP is looking pretty bright. The company is committed to helping the entertainment industry diversify and consider hiring more minorities in order to give a clearer picture of what the world really looks like. 

If you’re not a member yet…it’s time to HUSSLUP.

Time to HUSSLUP Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 Comments

  1. Interesting read, Alanna Birmingham. Curious about how HUSSLUP’s tech platform specifically addresses the diversity and inclusion issue in Hollywood’s hiring process. Is there an AI component that helps eliminate bias, or is it more about broadening the network and visibility for underrepresented talents?

  2. Loving the collaboration between HUSSLUP and organizations like ReFrame and Hire Survivors Hollywood. It’s a step in the right direction for sure.

  3. HUSSLUP sounds like a game-changer for folks like us trying to break in. Just the kind of platform we need!

    1. But does HUSSLUP actually lead to real opportunities, or is it another networking site where connections remain online without tangible outcomes?