In Hollywood, the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is often given more weight than other industries. Showbiz is an industry of networks and cliques. You’re either in with the red-carpet-strutting-popular crowd (successful and working), or you’re ostracized (out of work) and hanging out with career waiters and professional Uber drivers. Sure, those are two extreme points on the Hollywood social meter, but if you want to build your network and grow your caliber and career, consider each decision you make as a fork in the road leading to one of these two alternatives. You’re either building and cultivating a superior network, or you’re slamming on the brakes to your own progress by surrounding yourself with negative influences.
I always say there are two LA’s: the city that never sleeps, with the cocaine parties and models, and the city that grinds itself to the bone with passion. What do I mean by this? People associate Hollywood with glamour and quick wealth, and it is easy to get caught up in the façade of it all: living the movie star lifestyle without the bank account. But the people that make it in this field are, with few exceptions, the ones that skip out on those parties, at least early in their careers, and put their heads down and grind.
As an actor in LA, it’s critical to remember that distractions can pull you off track every day, and results RARELY appear overnight. Building Great habits is a sure way to keep you on the right track. If you don’t brush your teeth tonight, your teeth aren’t going to crack and fall out of your gums while you sleep. If you do 20 pushups before bed, without skipping a day for a year, you’re going to be in much better shape than if you do nothing. It’s not rocket science, it’s common knowledge, but why is it so hard for us to build and maintain good habits?
LA Confidential. Shawshank Redemption. The Shining. For aspiring writers, these titles might as well constitute the first page of the filmmaking Bible. Well-written stories are rare, and rarer still are the stories that are somehow able to remain timeless. That resonate through generations. For Hollywood hopefuls, nothing can be more inspiring than witnessing those masterpieces that blend plot, character and dialogue in such a way as to leave us speechless. It can also be daunting. But instead of staring fearfully up at the Goliath armed only with a sling, let Goliath be a stepping-stone. Study these masterpieces. Build a classroom around them. Watch your favorites three times. Once for plot. Once for character. Once for dialogue. And you will begin to unlock the puzzles, the formula of this art.