How to Succeed In Hollywood
ACTORAL MONOLOGUES: Even though some casting directors these days generally don’t require monologues, since standards for acting have declined, it’s always better to have monologues ready to read than to not. You can never be too good. You can be too bad.
Your monologue is of course, a segment of a script, play, or commercial that you have memorized, perfected, and ready to recite. It should be less than a minute long, which translates usually to about one or two pages of a script, depending on how much dialogue.
In a repertoire, your body of monologues, you should have at least 2 from the classical era, and 2 from the modern era. One comedy and one drama from each era is also advised. Classical era can include Shakespeare, which is always good to know.
Do not scream or yell, or use major profanity in a read unless it is in your sides (lines) and called for, or unless you ask the casting director (CD), agent, manager, producer, or director you are reading for first if it is OK. I can’t tell you how many actors I have had to shout over to tell them to stop screaming and swearing some lousy monologue.
Don’t look at the person you are reading for. I’ve had countless talents read love scenes or scenes that they are killing someone or such, and stare at me straight in the eyes. Don’t do that. You ask them where they want you to look and focus. Ask. Over their shoulder is usually the norm. If they want a different angle, they will move or tell you. When you are done with your monologue, say “SCENE.” I’ve had too many actors smile and such at me, only in painful seconds later to find out they are finally done when it wasn’t obvious.
Don’t pick monologues to play some one famous who you are not better than. For example, if you are not as good as Marilyn Monroe or James Dean, don’t try to read their lines from their films. Pick obscure material unless you can hugely carry.
THE REEL: Any actor not yet a star should have a reel, which is a copy of your best work on tape. When we say tape, we mean transferred from film to DVD, and also online, digital. Your reel should be about 3 to 5 minutes long, depending on how good you are and how much work you have done. Black and white pieces are fine, and even silent, but do include some talkie and color.
The rule for monologues should here too be followed. Show some comedy, show some dramatic action. Show some action or drama scene, show some comedy, horror, tasteful love scene, kick boxing, or whatever you do. Always include your name and reps contact information at the beginning and end of the tape, and make sure it actually stays on screen long enough for us to write it down. Flashy editing and FX is not going to impress us, so don’t bother if you can’t afford it. We are looking for the soul, for the craft in your work.
If you do have an agent or manager, do not include your direct contact or even email on the reel. Your rep will not want to be circumvented with your info public, and if one is a star, they can never be reached generally except through their rep. Treat your career as the stars do.
I help my clients get a reel done for free. Don’t pay a fortune for a reel. You should not press more than 100 at a time. Most submissions can be done online. Make sure you have a pro agent or manager OK your reel before you mass produce it, so as not to waste your money.
STATE OF MIND: The technical material is easy enough to learn and do. But perhaps the most difficult, and most important thing needed in order to get where you want to be and to stay there, is the mental, the emotional, the spiritual state. For if your head is not there, your body and actions will surely be not either. After all, your body only does what your head allows. So, the best thing you can do to make it, is to know you are going to make it, and to act on that knowing.
Anything great that the most successful achieve in life, is generally not by accident, but because they know without any doubt, that they will make it. Luck should be wiped out of your vocabulary. When people wish you luck, silently forgive them, and know they speak only out of ignorance. Talent and success is not luck. Where you want to go and be and achieve is not luck. It is calculated effort based on a science of winning. Fame is a plan. Fame is a science. Fame and success is a discipline. It is not luck. Stars are made, not born. Fame is created, not found.
We create our own success, and therefore we too can create our own failure. It is a step by step process. The other thing that is essential is to write down all of your goals. Break down big goals in to little goals, by working backwards from what is needed to where you are now. Write every step down. Make a daily to do list and follow it; do not stop until you do it all.
Constantly increase volume, production, goals, and effort. Be positive. Your mind is one of the greatest machines in the universe. Just as you program your computer or I-pod, you too can program your mind for being happy or sad, good or bad. As the saying goes from Zig Ziglar, “Garbage in, Garbage out.” If you feed your mind with trash, trash TV, trash talkers, trash mentalities of doom and gloom, and failure projections, you will get the same thing manifested in your life.
Feed your mind with success tapes, with positive people, with riches, with talks of happy outcomes, with projections of fame and fortune, and guess what you will have? Your mind will then create what you feel and draw to you.
If you want to be a top model, you should make a habit of spending time around top designers, and even the stores where their clothes are carried. Look it, feel it, live it. Even if you cannot afford those clothes, you need to surround yourself with what you intend to become.
If you intend to be a top actor, you need to go to the hot spots where the top actors and directors and producers go. Even if you have to budget and save up one month to dine at the go to hang out for one hour, that one hour can be life changing. Go to the parties, go where the top of the players in your game go.
MENTAL MASTERY: It is known in the Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) world of science, that in most people, over 90 percent of one’s thoughts and actions are motivated by unconscious patterns. These unconscious thought patterns are deep seated in our minds which create habits, good or bad. When we communicate with our unconscious mind, we do so often without even realizing it.
The unconscious mind, NLP teachers instruct, does not recognize words in phrases such as; quit smoking, or stop drinking, or don’t be poor. Instead, it only hears and reads; smoke, drink, poor. It does not therefore, interpret things in terms of complete sentence instructions of do this or don’t do that. It does rather, think and record and program only in terms of actual affirmative action’s if we are to want positive results, and of course, most all of us do. If you want to understand these better, read books on it, or call our office for free help.
Success in Hollywood is a constant process. The world may fight to make and keep you a failure. The world may fight to drag you down and destroy you, even after you have reached your dreams. So guess what? You have to fight that much harder and keep pushing higher and harder. Never quit, never give up, never take no for answer, never give in, never believe in losing, never accept total failure as an option. Be ready to fail one hundred million times. And be happy when you then had to fail only 1000 times and then you finally made it.
Every master, every genius, every superstar has failed over and over and over, and then they WON. Winners never quit, as the saying goes, and quitters never win. You must succeed and keep pushing against all odds. And not hope that you will succeed, not even wish. But instead, you must KNOW that you will succeed. You must know it, feel it, smell, it, breathe it, feel it, every moment, every second. Set big goals. Dream big dreams. Are you ready to make it happen and win?!
LET DOWNS: Be ready to be let down. Hollywood, like life, is full of let downs. Do not let them effect you. Use them to grow stronger, and move on. Do not try to get even with all of the people who do you wrong. Why? For one thing, if you do that, you will spend the majority of your time trying to get even, as you will keep attracting people to you that do you wrong. Try to let it go, and focus on the positive instead. The energy we put out there is what we attract to us. If you put out revenge and getting even to the world constantly, then you will be attracting their vengeance and them trying to get even with you.
If you march down the streets with a scowl on your face looking for a fight, guess what you will usually find? A fight. But if you smile real big, and walk out with your head high and positive attitude even higher, you will attract positive things, or maybe even lift someone out of their depressive hell. The same goes for driving.
One successful actor who was starring opposite a big star picked me up one day in his car, to drive us to a film event. In person, he was quiet, soft spoken, calm, and polite. But when we got in that car of his, I saw the real him. He became a madman. He was cussing left and right, calling people every name in the book, swerving around people in anger, honking, yelling, slamming on breaks, and tearing around like a madman. After saying something to him about this, he admitted to me that he was a very impatient driver. He put himself and others lives at risk.
There are way too many actors and models I have seen that act this way, not only in their cars, but in their careers. They storm around, acting like they own the world, that every one owes them, and that every one better move and get out of their way, or else. But guess what? When they were too busy storming around people with that attitude, they may have passed by a dozen civilized people doing deals on movies and projects bigger than they could even dream of being in. Slow down and calculate. Don’t crash and burn. This goes for in the car and in your career as well. Don’t put your dreams at risk!
Ever see a sports fight where one person makes another mad, then they get hit, then the other person hits them back, then before long, both teams are fighting each other, and later on, a whole mob of fans are kicking and hitting every one? It’s stupid. Violence breeds violence and there is nothing good about it. The same with verbal fighting and the same with being arrogant.
The biggest stars don’t have to be arrogant, because their creds and star power speaks for itself. They don’t need to run around town saying how great they are and how much they are doing, and how they can do everything in the world. The bigger the talent, the more down to earth they are, is usually what I have found. And the less talent, the more those failing try to compensate with their mouth for what they lack in action. Don’t be just a mouth. Anyone can talk the talk, and there are plenty of talkers in this town. But can you walk the walk? Can you roll with the best of em’? That is what counts.
GET ALONG WITH OTHERS: Never argue with someone you want something from. If you want an agent or manager to sign you for example, or to get you work, don’t argue with them. Agree, even if you disagree. Let them know you hear and understand what they are saying. Ask in a different way, or better yet, try getting them to come around to what you want and let them think that it was their idea. Then, when you get yourself in a better position of power, have negotiated what you want.
MAKE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS: Don’t trust anyone if your happiness or well being depends on it. If trusting someone is going to deeply hurt you if they do not deliver what they say that are going to do, then be cautiously optimistic. You can believe the best in people, but don’t be afraid to be let down. Don’t make your whole happiness or career ride on their one decision of doing what they say they are going to do. Because then if they do flake, or lie, you are going to be miserable. Do not allow that to happen to yourself.
Expect the best, as they say, but then let it go. Do what you can to make it happen, and then surrender it to the universal powers that be. Don’t let your life depend on it. Don’t let one business decision be responsible for your entire career or happiness. Make your own happiness, and then, anything else is just a bonus.
GETTING EVEN: The best way to get even with your enemy is to make them your friend. Kill em’ with kindness, as they say. Their goal is to make you angry, to make you lose control. They want and expect it. Why give it to them? Why let a jerk control you? Stay calm. Be in control of you. Be in charge of your role, of your life. Take back your soul. They know you will be mad when they do you wrong. They expect it. They want it. Don’t give it to them. Rise above the losers and haters. Rise above the jealous, sick mob. Conquer with kindness. Ignore fools. You have a right to be happy and to succeed, against all odds. Do it now!
For more information on “How to Succeed In Hollywood” and for free advice from the author, please visit: www.BruceEdwin.com