Breaking into Hollywood

Hi all!
For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to be an actress. The only major problem is I have no idea of what to do to get into the business. I’m in college now, majoring in English Education (gotta have a backup plan, just in case). I am going to sign up for an acting class next year, but because of financial obligations, that’s about all I can afford right now.

To make a long story short…

Do any of you Dopers have any advice for a budding actress?
Plus…I’ve been looking for a book on the topic…somewhere along the line of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series. I’d like to order it online, but can’t find it anywhere.

Star Light

I’ve got this casting couch here …

I was a professional actor for a number of years and made a pretty good living at it. But I don’t recommend it. It is an extremely hard life, especially early on.

Yes, I know there are the stories of people being discovered just hanging around. But for every one of those there around 10,000 who have busted their backs for years to be the third body from the back in the crowd scene.

Learn your craft, study, read and, most of all, meet people. If you are any good, people whom you have met will remember you and will pass the word. Try for every part available at your school, summer stock, regional theater or whatever. You learn that way.

Accept rejection but don’t let it get you down. A lot more people hear, “we have your name, we’ll let you know,” than “Could you do that again?”

Learn a theatrical skill. If you know lights, makeup, costumes, animals, sound or any other technical skill that is needed in the theater, there is a tolerable chance someone will take you on with a company for those skills. And often you can work your way in from there. Also in the early days, those skills pay better than acting, and there are fewer people competing for them.

As for books, there are tons of them. “Auditioning” comes to mind. I can’t remember who wrote it. The problem is there are almost as many books on the subject as there are out of work actors. Actors write them to stay alive while looking for work.

Probably the best advice comes from a Noel Coward song, “Mothers Don’t Let Your Daughters Go on the Stage.”

Break a leg!

TV Time gave pretty good advice. I just wanted to add, never NEVER turn down a part in a commercial because the product is weird, or laughable (feminine hygeine, douches, laxatives, herpes medication, Viagra, etc.) You do want your FACE out there…And anything you can put down as work counts for something.

My mom is doing fairly well, going to “stunt school” at 50+ and getting LOADS of ‘extra’ work, so much so she’s union now.

Break an arm while you’re at it :slight_smile: