Did you or your child decide to become an actor? It's a dream many of us at some point may have had while watching our favorite TV show or movies. It sounds glamorous and acting doesn't seem to be that hard.
And you’ve probably heard lots of different stories about how the child of a friend of a friend’s cousin booked a few commercials, and you’re wondering how did they do that. But you have also heard the horror stories. You have heard how scammers come around telling hopefuls how talented they are and that they would put them on the silver screen, only to steal their hard earned money and disappear forever.
So now you are also scared about the whole process, thinking it’s probably not something you can do.
I didn't know anyone in Hollywood when I started. Neither did my parents. They were immigrants who had nothing to do with the entertainment industry. I had no connections but I managed to find my way to live my dream. I got my agent and eventually started booking roles. It is absolutely doable for anyone to become an actor if it is what you want.
So how do I get an agent then?
Not so fast...
Many people think the first thing you need to do is to get an agent. But that's the last thing you should be doing. Getting an agent is not going to book you a job. It's like getting a job recruiter before you start college. It would leave a bad impression on the agent, and when you are actually ready to go, the agent wouldn't look at you anymore.
The very first thing I will offer you is: Get Educated!
We want to help you get the right information FREE so you can feel safe navigating through the entertainment industry. With the correct information in your hands, you will gain the confidence you need to make your dream come true.
So here’s your basic guide to starting in Hollywood in 6 basic steps in the order you should do them in. Part 1 of this guide will give you the first 3 of the 6. Be sure to get our second part as well.
1. It's Show Business, Nor Show Job
“There's no business like show business like no business I know...” From the hit broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun.
The first thing to ground yourself is that when you decide to be an actors (or when your child decide to be an actor), you are getting into the business of acting. It is a business. The actor is the product and your job is to develop the product until it is marketable, and then you market the product.
Hollywood is a multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, some single films can gross over $1 billion. The SAG-AFTRA union rate for a day-rate actor in 2019 is $1,005 for an 8 hour work day. That's as much as an iPhone. So you betcha they expect that kind of quality of work delivered by the actor. Be honest with yourself and ask is your product truly worth $1,000+? Would you spent $1,005 for a product that never went into development?
So the first thing you must do when you go into business is to develop your product. For the business of acting, that means the actor needs to get training.
2. Get training
Nobody does it alone.
Repeat after me: Nobody does it alone. This was the most important thing I learn from one of my acting teacher Joe Hacker at the University of Southern California.
Most of us start alone not knowing anyone or anything about the industry. So the first thing you need to do is to start surrounding yourself with people who do know more about the industry than you do. Some great places to do so are community theater groups and acting schools. When you find the right one, they should be filled with both aspiring actors who are in the same boat as you, and veteran actors who can show you how to move forward with your career. If you still have doubts, you actually do know someone in the industry now. You know us! You know PopRock.
The biggest myth you have to get out of your mind is that all you need is talent. It is simply not true.
First, nearly everyone out here in Hollywood is talented. This is the place the most talented people on the planet come to compete for the biggest jobs. Talent isn't enough.
In fact, I would even argue talent is not even that important. I have known many people with talent who end up going by the wayside. They end up quitting acting, losing to people who has “less talent” than they did, simply because those people worked harder. Those are the ones who put themselves through classes by working multiple jobs to pay for them. They keep training and keep working on their crafts. When the right opportunity presented itself, they jumped onboard. Just like a smart kid who doesn't study and work hard will fail, a talented performer who doesn't train and practice hard will also fail.
So find a great program with great instructors who have real world industry experience to give you good guidance.
*BE CAREFUL OF SCAMS
But be weary of any school that ask you for thousands of dollars up front in training fees and promise to make you or your child a star. No one can guarantee stardom. However a good training facility will give you the skills you need to be successful in the business of acting.
3. Write your resume
Now that you have gotten your training, you can start marketing yourself or your child.
Just like any other job interview, a resume is essential to becoming a working performer. For a new person entering the industry who has no real experience, community and school productions are a great place to get started and put one your resumes until you have better credits. Also your training will show casting directors that you are serious about your craft.
There are multiple ways to format your resume, and none are necessarily better than another. The basics are the same no matter which way you go.
TOP: Name and contact information
BOTTOM: Training and other skills
When listing credits be sure to list them by relevance and importance. My resume design is modular so that way it can be shifted around depending on what I'm going in to audition for.
There are other nuances to writing an acting resumes as well as how to adjust them for submission websites. Stay tune to get a comprehensive guide on how to make your resume in the future here with us at PopRock Academy.
This is the first part of a 2 part series on how you can get started in Hollywood. In the next part of the 2 part series, I will teach you:
Fundamentals of getting a headshot
How to submitting to casting directors
Other awesome things to do to launch your acting business
To get the second part of the series, join our mailing list here and you will receive our different pdf's throughout the year. You can also contact our front office and learn more about acting and breaking into the industry by scheduling a private consultation.
So get started today in achieving your dreams!
“Helping kids, teens and adults overcome nervousness, gain confidence to achieve their dreams with acting, dance and music classes.”
Paul Kwo is a veteran performer with extensive credits including work on blockbuster franchises such as God’s Not Dead, Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off the Boat, and multiple music albums. He has over 20 plus years of teaching experience working with many students finding major success performing for the Lakers, Kings, Mattel, ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS in Hollywood and beyond.