Sunday, February 24, 2013

Can I make it in Hollywood?

Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood Talent Manager with WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared in numerous national commercials, movies, webisodes, short films, and on television networks such as ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, plus many more. Previous to being a Manager and a Talent Agent at Burn Down Entertainment, she assisted many high profile Managers, Agents and Publicists in the careers of Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Galecki, Sarah Michelle Geller, The Four Tops, The Bee Gees, Meatloaf, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Guttenberg, The Cranberries Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Neil Diamond. Wendy is also a Recording Artist, Actress, Author and Music Producer all  giving her a 360-degree perspective of the industry.

If you are a star, you are going to have to kick, fight and scratch your way to the top. You are going to have to claim your spot amongst a handful of very talented people, who are the best of the best.

You have to do good acting work over and over, for years, until it becomes great work. You may have to work 3 jobs, take the bus and even a miss a meal so you can afford to take a class. No one walks in at the top. The very successful in the business work their asses off to show everyone how talented they are, how much they want it, and how deeply they love the work.

If you are looking for an easy ride, this won't be the business for you. If you are looking for over night success, you are in the wrong game. Most actors work 10 years paying their dues before they get noticed at the level that makes a career start to take off. This business is not for the faint of heart. It is for those who can handle the tough odds, and keep showing up against thousands of other competitors for ONE role. It is for those who can handle "NO, you are not what we want for this" thousands of times, and keep the faith that one day it will be their turn.

Actors must continually train in acting classes, audition classes, scene study, workshops, doing theater and commit to a non-stop quest to break down every wall that hiders them from expressing their souls openly, fearlessly and without holding back.

An actor lives to act. They don't do it to get rich, because most actors never get rich. In fact, actors spend most of their time out of work looking for a job. They get to do what they love for a fraction of time and spend the rest of the time training and searching for their next gig. If you want to get rich, go into another line of work. If you want to act to become famous, you are in the wrong business. Most working actors are unknowns. The public doesn't know their names. There are many easier ways to get famous. Acting is probably one of the hardest ways to do it.

If you think you are going to waltz into Hollywood, get handed a part on TV and become a star you are living in a fantasy world. Becoming successful in this business takes years of hard work, thousands of auditions where you never get the part, day after day, year after year where you feel like giving up, not knowing how you are going to afford another class and just keep going.

My best advice is to fill your life up with all the things that make you happy; sports, the beach, music, meditation, exercise, volunteer work; because desperation is a killer of careers. No one likes a desperate actor. But a happy person who has a full life is more interesting, more pleasing to be around, and easier to employ.

Most actors think, I am ready; I just need an audition, I just need a job. Well, they all do. Get in line. There are 165,000 members of SAG-AFTRA, and another 50,000 hopefuls come to LA every year. Talent rises to the top. Great acting rises to the top. If you are a mediocre actor, you better get realistic and develop your chops, because competition is fierce. If you took a few acting classes in your home town and moved to LA to make it, you better start training with the best until you are better than anyone else in your advanced class, otherwise you will have a hard time getting work. You are competing with actors who trained at Julliard, Yale, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Carnegie Mellon, Tisch School of Arts at NYU, etc.

This town sees actors come and go by the thousands every day. You have to prove to casting directors, agents and managers that you are here to stay. That you take this business seriously and that you are a professional. Lazy won't cut it. You need to show up on time for auditions, get outstanding PROFESSIONAL headshots and present a excellent demo reel. You don't shoot headshots with your neighbor for cheap. We know all about those kinds of actors and they DON'T make it. You think you can get away with mediocre headshots? Average to no acting training? Demo reels that don't show you doing great work are a waste of time. You think you can land a real acting job for a Network or top Casting Director, Director or Producer without real audition training? Ha! Think again.

No one is going to hand you anything in this business. You have to work hard for it, It is the most difficult way to earn a living, and one of the hardest careers to be successful in. You still want it? You still think you have something unique and special that world needs to see? Will you be miserable in life if you are not acting, even if it is only a few hours a year? Make sure you are 100% committed. Because if you are not, this is not the path for you. Stop walking around thinking you deserve anything.

Get humble. You are LUCKY if you get a job. You are LUCKY if you get an agent or a manager, someone who believes in you enough to work for free until you become a good investment of their time, energy and contacts. Get grateful, get to work and get off your high horse. There are people here that are more talented than you, better trained and better looking. So get out of fantasy land and into reality. Train, Train, Train.

Put your best foot forward at all times. Invest in great marketing materials. Be professional, punctual and friendly. And critically important; you must understand how this business works. You must know how you come across, what your type and be realistic about the roles you can play. Forget saying, I can play everything. No you can't. If you don't have a realistic understanding of your abilities and type, and know how to clearly show what they are, you will have an impossible time getting casting directors to understand you. Your "brand" should be clear and concise. Take image classes, business marketing classes for actors, get a marketing & career coach. 99% of beginning actors need help. Get a manager if you can. We can save you tons of time in mistakes and guide you. You really don't know anything yet.

People will write you off quickly here, so be careful how you present yourself. You have have one chance to make a first impression. A bad 1st impression is almost impossible to overcome.

If you are still here after reading this...I wish you luck. This will either discourage you or encourage you to work harder, look truthfully at your self and career, make some changes and move more fiercely in the right direction. Because honestly, only those who can handle the truth, grow and apply the effort will make a career here. So go for it! Believe in yourself. Remember you can create anything you are willing to work hard enough for.

There are 6 ways to make it in ACTING/Show Business that I know of.

1) Start acting when you are kid, when it's easiest to walk in the door. You don't need an impressive resume or much experience to get a good agent and go on tons of auditions. Newcomers are welcome and they expect that you will be learning on the job.

2) If you missed getting in as child - You will need to do great acting work in short films, web series, student films, indie films, national commercials and theater OVER A PERIOD OF TIME - where someone might see your work and ask you to be in projects they are working on. Your outstanding work in one thing may lead to opportunities you could never imagine.

3) You join the rat race, come to LA and audition like crazy. Maybe you book some things and GET LUCKY. Maybe a job you book turns into a hit show that really catapults your career. Or, you take a supporting role in a small indie film which becomes nominated for an Academy Award and get your tons of exposure (through no real effort of your own). You know how to turn that exposure into meetings, auditions, publicity and other projects that keep you working.

4) You produce and act in your own projects. NOT waiting for other people to cast you, or decide if you can have an acting career. You choose to be the driving force behind you. Then you get your work into film festivals and get as much exposure as you can.

5) Network like craaazzzzy to build your relationships with producers, directors and casting directors. People hire people they know and people they like. Get known. They can't hire you if they don't know you. Be of service on other people's projects. Volunteer on charity events together. Stay in touch with your contacts by announcing the work that you are doing through postcards, send xmas card, make phone calls, try to meet the people you want to work with. A 10 minute conversation in person will go 10000X farther than 10 years of postcards.

6) Be born to someone famous and utilize THEIR connections they built over 20+ years.

If I left something out feel free to comment below.

If you want mentorship check out my website
I offer a 52-Week Online Video Course, Skype Career Consultations an really helpful e-Books. Get a plan of action that will move you you steadily forward in your career. Don't waste time.

Believe in yourself. And never stop fighting for your dreams. As WALT DISNEY says, "All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them."


Wendy Alane Wright
President, Talent Manager
WAW Entertainment

You can also Get 3 FREE chapters of my new book "Breaking Into Show Business; Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager." It includes my secret list of the most important casting directors that you should meet! Just sign up below.

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