When I moved to LA, I searched high and low for the answer to every artists’ biggest question: How do I break into Hollywood?
Whether you are an actor, writer, producer, director, or cinematographer, it seems incredibly vague as to how to “break in” to the Hollywood scene. There doesn’t seem to be one right way. Some people are born into the Hollywood family. Some have a look or a special talent that got them on the map. For actors, some have done the casting director workshop scene and gotten in the door that way. Some say it’s all about relationships and start using social media to get closer casting directors and producers. And some have made it on sheer luck (aka being at the right place at the right time for the right role). Well, that didn’t help! It’s not like wanting to be a lawyer where all you have to do is 1) go to law school 2) pass the bar 3) apply to law firms and boom– you get yourself a job at a law firm. Why can’t breaking into Hollywood be that simple?
WHO do you build relationships with and HOW do you do that?
I listened to a seminar with Gary Weinstein, the producer of “Pretty Woman,” and a beam of sunshine parted the clouds. He said that there were two simple steps to break into Hollywood:
1) Find out who you truly are, what makes you so unique, and what stories you tell better than anybody else.
2) Find people in the industry who tell similar stories to yours, and develop relationships with them.
Oh my god, the seas have parted. This made so much sense to me! Taking a step back and looking at what I previously booked, I realized that I booked roles where the role was totally me and the stories that I liked to tell OR I knew people on the production side who called me in for their projects that told stories similar to the stories I liked to tell. The proof was in the pudding! My stories are of strong, smart, sassy women. It’s not that I can’t tell the story of the fresh-off-the-boat Asian girl who’s a victim and lost in a new world, but that’s just not me. And quite honestly, there are other girls out there who can tell that story much better than me.
So, here’s what you can do to further expand on these two steps:
1) To find out who you truly are and what stories you tell the best, ask yourself:
* How would my friends describe me?
* What kind of stories do I love to tell?
* What do I usually talk about?
* What are my favorite kind of stories/shows/films to watch?
* What do I like most about those stories/shows/films?
* What stories resonate deep in my heart and get me excited/invigorated/inspired?
2) To find the people who tell similar stories, research:
* What TV shows and/or films tell my kind of story?
* Who are the people who make that show (i.e. show runners, producers, writers, directors, editors, etc)? You can find out this info on imdb.com.
* What is their contact information?
Once you have a list of people, start to contact them and develop a relationship with them.
This really de-mystified the process for me! I appreciate being able to embrace who I am and what stories I like to tell and find others with that similar story. Embrace who you are. Everyone has a unique story to tell. Celebrate your unique story and share it. The world wants to hear it. Why fit in with the crowd when you were born to stand out? Who knows? You could be the next big show! Everyone loves a discovery and is always looking for the next big thing. That thing could be you! What have you got to lose? At the end of the day, as long as you are staying true to you and your true story and purpose, you will be happy. And the success will follow.