How to Break Into Hollywood

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You dream big. That's a given. Making it in show business is probably one of the hardest things that you can attempt to do. Children of celebrities with a billion dollars backing their careers often fail to even make a wrinkle in the sea of show business. It's a harsh world, and the realities of living for your dreams will hit you hard as you try to survive in an expensive city. There is hope for you to succeed along with the thousands of dreamers who have found fame and fortune on this Pacific coast. Here is how to break into Hollywood at any time in your life.

  • Make a plan. Think about what you truly want to accomplish in Hollywood. If it's instant fame, you should probably turn that car around and head back home. You can get instant fame in your hometown by doing a wide variety of odd things. Fame the size of Hollywood is a rare thing to come by. Many who obtain it secretly wish it away. Consider all sides to the equation of what a career in show business really means. If you think you are in it for the long haul--whether the long haul means serving food to rude and obnoxious customers at your survival job waiting tables or spending your life running from tabloid photographers in your fancy cars--then proceed. You are tough enough for the business--show business.

  • Get your life in order first. As soon as you arrive in Hollywood, you will be in shock. It's an unusual place with all kinds of people. You will hear false promises, and you will be lied to as many times a day as you can count. Adjust with an open mind and kind attitude. Get a place to live and a car to drive. Those are the top two essentials to be settled in Los Angeles. Next, find a survival job so that you can support yourself while reaching for your dreams.

  • Act with integrity in all that you do in show business. The important thing to remember is that you do not want to be like the people who lose your respect. Be honest. Don't make promises you can't keep. If you cannot do something, say it. Rejection is a fear in this town, but it is part of life. You will gain people's trust, respect and friendship by being genuine. That goes a long way in this town.

  • Network as much as possible. You might want to tone it down in your job of choice, but you can use that hosting job in a restaurant or that assistant job at the agent's office to your advantage. Get creative here, but you are meeting a lot of people with these jobs. Leave a good impression. That does not mean slipping a reader your script, but it does mean going out of your way to be kind and memorable. Introduce yourself, and express what genuinely interests you in the people around you.

  • Get stellar head shots. Your head shots are your calling card in this business. You should also make promotional cards of your photographs and get postcards made of an alternate head shot pose to send as a follow-up.

  • Send out your head shots every week. You will never book anything if you don't keep trying. Send at least 20 per week. Get addresses from "Back Stage West," "The Ross Reports" or any of the management and agent books available at Samuel French on Sunset Boulevard.

  • Get involved with a class. A class is a fantastic way to improve your art and craft. It is also a place to be seen. Some managers, agents and producers scout out classes with a high reputation. Your school may even organize a way to show off its students.

  • Be a part of a showcase. These are very important, and it takes a lot of work to put together a decent one in Hollywood. Most agents prefer to go to films, and going to live theater to look for a film actor can seem like a waste of time for many. The good agents have actors with experience knocking down their doors. High-quality agents may seek out a showcase if marketed properly. Research any showcase that you consider, and don't give away a lot of money to be part of a showcase.

  • Use your imagination to be noticed. Kate Winslet called the director and begged for her role in "Titanic." Michael J. Fox pretended to be his own agent. Stars sometimes get creative when desperate, and that's when they become stars. Be tactful and respectful, but let your imagination run wild.

  • Be persistent. This town is often like a race. The last man standing can win.

Tips & Warnings

  • Help others as you go along your journey, and never forget anybody who has helped you along the way. It's a big small town.
  • Don't assume that everything will go your way. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

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