headshot photo of James Hope

James Hope

Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts


Jim Hope has worked in the entertainment business for over thirty years and in television for twenty-four of those years. As far as making it in the business is concerned, he offers this: “There’s no simple, readily delineable path to success in TV. Make friends with people who share your vision. Have a vision. Improve your craft. Get in any way you can. Every job is a big job. When you start working, look for your dream job and when you get it, start looking for your next dream job, because nothing in this business lasts. I started as a guy with a BA in Poli-Sci who decided he wanted to be a stand-up comic. I’ve been the voice of a thumb, played a drunken Santa Claus, popped-and-locked in a fat suit and was cast as a creepy dude in a Madonna video. I’ve also written and produced late night talk shows, network sitcoms, animated and live action kids’ programs, morning radio, variety and sketch ensembles, and a game show presentation that was cancelled by an act of Congress. You never know which door will open next, but you do know that it’s probably going to lead to something pretty unusual. Avail yourself of every opportunity and enjoy the ride.”

As for the preparation if takes to get where you want to be, Hope says, “Training is essential if you want to make it in TV, but there are no A minuses or D pluses. You either get the job, sell the show, get financed or you don’t. Success in our business is binary: one or zero, on or off, in or out. Whatever you do to make certain you’re on the right side of that polarity is important. It’s not about getting the work over with so you can get to a party, expending the least amount of effort for the maximum return, or finding a way to skate by. It’s about constantly improving your craft, knowing that you can always get better and putting yourself in the best possible position to succeed. The deadlines you beat, the work you produce, and the times you come up with a solution, all matter. Start now. Learn everything!”