3 Essential Tips for Breaking Into Hollywood


There are literally thousands of books dedicated to the subject, and an order of magnitude more blog posts: how do you break into Hollywood? Some maintain that it's a matter of perseverance. Others are adamant that talent alone is what gets you ahead. In truth, it's a mixture of the two, with about a million other small factors peppered in.

This post will hopefully cut through some of the noise, focusing on three essential, simple-to-understand tips for the aspiring entertainment worker. Whether you want to be behind the camera or in front, above the line or below, these tips will apply. It may not always be easy, but that's entertainment!

Seek Out Mentorship

The first thing anyone will tell you about breaking into Hollywood is you need "access". No, this isn't a physical access pass - it's the notion of being visible, being tied to influencers in the industry. Coffee shops in Hollywood do great business, because some up-and-comer is always taking out an industry veteran for coffee, just to "pick their brain" about the industry.

The problem with coffee is that it's such an obvious pretence. You're essentially communicating that you've arrived to Hollywood fully formed, fully informed and that all you need is a conversation with the right people. That's not a great look. Instead, seek out mentorship. If, for instance, you want to get a job filming Hollywood stars then be humble, seek out a camera operator or DP, and learn as much as you can from them.

Hone Your Craft

Internalize what your mentor(s) have to tell you. Practice in your off time, with whatever tools you have at your disposal. Become a voracious reader of technical books pertaining to your discipline, and try to put into practice new ideas. Honing your craft is not an overnight story, and it flies in the face of the notion that raw talent needs no guidance. No matter how naturally gifted you consider yourself, there is always something you can learn.

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Do Something

Waiting by the phone isn't really doing something. When people talk about getting out there and doing something, they mean it in terms of making a product. If you think you have an amazing story to tell, write the script, run it by a mentor, tidy it up, punch it up, cut it to size and get it out in the world! If you can't get the script out in the world, write a novel - you'd be surprised how many aspiring screenwriters (Ahem, Michael Chrichton) got in through the back door by way of publishing fiction.

If you're an actor, take on-camera gigs - even if you think they're "beneath" you - even as you hone your craft on the stage. If you're an aspiring director, make YouTube films, pull in favors, campaign for your work on social media and try to get a grassroots audience. There is always something you can do!

And there it is: if you put your ego aside and learn from the best, and if you hone your craft and put it into practice with a salable product, you can make it anywhere - even Hollywood!

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