So you just got to Hollywood, California because you are following your dreams of becoming an actor, director, musician, or model. The great city looks intimidating and is a polar opposite of the small down you came from. The Batman and Spiderman look-a-likes on Hollywood Boulevard entertain you, the fancy cars impress you, and the beautiful people intimidate you. So, how do you go after that dream of yours? Well here are some suggestions to get your foot in the door that has worked for others.
First, you need to make your rent. So why not get a job that will advance your career at the same time? That’s what I did and it helped me in my career. I got a job working as a valet for private parties around the Hollywood area. Scores of people would pay high dollars for the access and parties you get paid to be at! Oh, and always bring a change of clothes, because if your company is cool like mine was, you can just slip them on, and nobody will know you from a valet or a high-powered Hollywood producer. I have met some very famous people doing this, and still talk to some this day. And all from a valet parking job. It works, so do it. Catering jobs and event planning jobs will work as well. Basically what you need is an “in”, and this job is your ticket.
Second, you need to know which bars, clubs, and restaurants the big shots go to. That way if you casually bump into one and happen to hand him your golden screenplay, all is kosher. there are some great spots in and around Hollywood that I would suggest checking out. Some are the Sky Bar, Opera, Viper Room, and anything around Hollywood Blvd. Between Highland and Vine. Now this is going to be a hit-or-miss experience. Some people will be inflating their respective job accomplishments and be a waste of your time, but some will be the real deal. Your best bet is to seek out private parties from Calabasas and Encino, to the Hollywood Hills. And going to these clubs, parties, and bars is a great way to get invited.
My third suggestion would be to attend film, music, and TV events. These events are often listed in the local magazine called, ” The L.A. Weekly”. You can also find some on the internet by searching. Independent film festivals, entertainment showcases, and networking events, will all build your vital contact lists. You never know when you will need an editor, DP, or producer, and these are the places to find them. Some clubs will have a “guest list only” policy. For this, you must find the reservation contact numbers online and reserve your spot in advance.
Well, by now if you have done those above mentioned ideas, you will have the feeling this is not going to be as easy as it seemed on TV. But remember, in Hollywood you can always get lucky, but this is not something to bank on. Hard work, and dedication to your craft, is the best way to succeed. My fourth suggestion would be to make sure you live in the Hollywood area. Acceptable cities would be: Calabasas, Encino, Tarzana, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Hollywood, Los Angeles metro area, Burbank, Malibu. North Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Unacceptable cities are: Pasadena, Glendale, Oxnard, Canyon Country, and Palmdale. Stay close to the action. This is important! If you live in one of these appropriate cities, you never know who you will bump into at the checkout line.
OK so you made it through, yet you are not getting the respect you desire from the industry. Well, the reason why is because people here do not like fakes, flakes, and people who are uneducated about the industry. Yes your good looks will get you invited to some cool events, but that will be it. To be successful in this business you need talent, intelligence, people skills, and a never-give-up attitude. You will have many doors slammed in your face, but you just need to keep pushing. It’s like a sperm trying to get to the egg. Many will try and those with less stamina will not even get close. Only the strongest, most enduring will make it. Is this you? Oh and two more things. A lot of people say L.A. people “suck”. Well as a native I have some thoughts about this. First off, locals are like prized possessions in Hollywood. The definition of local, is meaning you were born here. Nothing more nothing less. I have found locals to be much more down to earth than visitors. Visitors tend to think you need to “be” a certain way here. Well this just causes an annoyance. If you put on a fake persona, give attitude, and do not return phone calls promptly, you might as well buy a ticket back. It’s best to be a giver at first until you gain respect. Then, you should still give back after success. I give back by my organization called, I Can Save The World. you can find it at http://icansavetheworld.com The more you give back, although some will take advantage, some will find it truly desirable. Best of luck to all you out there, and make sure to find me when you make your first 100 million dollar project!