Whether you have dreams of being a movie star, want to appear on television, or have a script or screenplay that the world should know about, you’ve probably considered moving to Hollywood. This is the place where many people have moved to make their dreams of being famous come true. However, if you’re not familiar with the area or you don’t know what to expect from the Hollywood culture, there are some important things you need to know before making this major change in your life.
Of course, we’ve all heard that Hollywood is full of superficial people who only care about money and good looks. It has also long been understood that Hollywood is filled with drugs, booze and late-night parties where some pretty weird stuff takes place. Sure, there’s some truth to that, but there are also people in Hollywood who actually get things done. These are the people who bring you the entertaining shows and movies you’ve come to know and love.
Are you sure you want to become a Hollywood resident? Before you make your final decision, here are a few things you need to know.
12. Have A Clear Goal In Mind
Before you pack your bags and move across the country (or even a few hours away) to Hollywood, make sure you’ve got a plan in mind. Hollywood is not the place to just “see how it goes.” You’ve got to know whether you plan to go on auditions every week, or if you’d be fine with waiting tables and taking auditions only when you learn about a project that inspires you. If you want to be behind the scenes in television and movies, have you applied for an internship? Have you made contacts with executives, producers and directors? Make sure that your plan is clear before you head to Hollywood. Sure, it’s very likely to change (because life happens), but you’re likely to get involved in things you didn’t bargain for if your goals are not clear. This is good advice no matter what city you live in, but it’s especially true in Hollywood.
11. Focus On Your Talent, Not On Handouts
It’s true that a few people in Hollywood have achieved fame as a result of unconventional “projects” like sex tapes, and some people are fixtures in Hollywood because they are always on the red carpet or have famous friends. However, when you arrive in Hollywood, don’t expect to get any handouts. For the most part, you’re going to have to work hard for any role or high-profile position you receive. Sure, networking is great (and necessary), but make sure that you’re continuing to perfect your craft, so that you’ll be known for your talent instead of your ability to schmooze.
10. Treat This Like A Career Move
If you’re moving to Hollywood to start a career as an actor, director or producer, you need to treat this transition as a career move. That means committing to going on a certain amount of auditions each week. It means getting up at the same time each day to organize your schedule and get in touch with people who can help move your career forward. There will be plenty of time to hang out at the local clubs and hob-knob at parties. Being social is definitely a part of finding your way in the city. However, it’s not a good idea to spend all your time partying if you’re serious about your career—no matter how many other celebs are doing it.
9. Be Yourself
There’s going to be lots of pressure to conform to a certain standard of living and beauty once you arrive in Hollywood. You’ve got to arrive in the city with a healthy sense of self-confidence, and you have to maintain it throughout your career. It’s no secret that many of the celebrities who have maintained their fame over the years have something that stands out, whether it’s their looks, personality or style of dress. Find the things that make you unique and use them to market yourself. You’ll likely feel the pressure to “be like everyone else,” but blending in too much will keep important people in Hollywood from noticing you, which can hamper your career.
8. Maintain A Pleasant Attitude
You may think that the way to fame is to have a rebellious attitude and to defy authority, but that’s really no way for an adult to behave, regardless of what you see from certain celebrities. The bottom line is that, generally, the longer you’ve been in Hollywood, the more leeway you get when it comes to outlandish behavior. That means if you’re new to the industry, do your best to be polite and courteous to everyone. You never know who knows who, and the person you were rude to could be the person who could have put in a good word for you concerning a role or other important gig.
7. Hire Help When You Can
As you start to make your way in Hollywood, you’ll quickly find that keeping up with such a demanding schedule can be overwhelming. To ensure that you look your best on the red carpet or for local interviews, hire a makeup artist who can make you camera-ready. If you’ve moved to Hollywood with your family, you may need to hire a nanny or private teacher for your children. Getting a stylist can also come in handy to help you find the trends that are best for your look. You’ll also need great businesspeople on your team who can help you manage your projects and money wisely. After all, once you become a success story, you want to stay that way.
6. Take Your Health Seriously
Hollywood can be non-stop, action-packed and exciting, but living in the city and working toward your dreams can take a toll on your health. There will be lots of sleepless nights, quick meals, a drink or two, and long workdays. This can lead to fatigue and poor concentration, and the fast pace of Hollywood life can affect your skin and weight. Be sure to make your health a priority by working out daily, taking time for meditation or maintaining a healthy diet. You need to be in your best shape mentally and physically if you’re going to keep up with all the other up-and-coming celebs who are striving to be the next big star.
5. Be Gracious
Aside from working really hard, part of what makes some of the biggest celebrities so appealing is their ability to be gracious. Don’t come across as spoiled and entitled. That act only “works” for some celebrities, and only certain sectors of the public buy into this type of attitude. For the most part, people like celebrities who are humble and always willing to learn. That’s definitely the attitude you want to take on when you’re new to Hollywood and are trying to make a good name for yourself. Remember, you want the reputation of being extremely talented, yet easy to work with.
4. Choose Your “Crowd” Wisely
Hollywood is a lot like high school, in that there are several cliques, filled with people who have common interests. There are groups of directors who spend time together, producers who have been friends for years, and groups of both newbie and veteran actors. Find the people who will boost your reputation and find a way to be seen with them as much as possible. You never know who is watching. The “birds of a feather” mentality is alive and well in Hollywood. If you’re spending time with people who have a great work ethic and superb talent, you’re likely to get work sooner than you think.
3. Find the Best Management Company
Have you ever wondered why some celebrities seem to have a pristine reputation in Hollywood, even when they are caught in mild scandals? That’s due to the work of a great management company. The management company you choose is also responsible for finding roles for you and helping you establish and protect your brand. Have some money saved up before your move to Hollywood, so you can afford to higher a top-notch management team. Be sure to research the companies so you’ll know which ones are legit, and which companies just want to profit from a Hollywood hopeful who is new in town.
2. Get Ready For Rejection
Even though you may have a solid plan for how you’re going to be a huge success once you get to Hollywood, you have to be prepared to handle rejection. There will be times that you’ve done all you can to get ready for an audition, and you may even be the “type” that the casting agent is looking for, and you still won’t get the part. There may also be times when the casting director changes his/her mind about the “type” of actor that is needed for the role. It could be months or even years before you get that breakout role. Learn to pace yourself and realize that rejection is just part of the process.
1. Prepare For Criticism
Being successful in Hollywood is one of the things that people envy the most. Don’t be surprised if you find that some of your family members and friends start to downplay your accomplishments, or criticize you whenever they get the chance. They are likely intimidated by the fact that you followed your dreams and are starting to make a name for yourself. Learn to stay focused, even though their negativity may hurt or anger you. Be prepared to display strength of character when this happens. You’ll be proving to your loved ones that you have what it takes to be a professional, and you’ll prove to yourself that you’re strong enough to handle whatever life brings your way.