Hollywood Acting Career: How To Get Started If You Don’t Live Here

1One of the most common questions I get is how to get started if you don’t live in Hollywood — which to me means somewhere in Los Angeles County, or at least Southern California.  One thing I would recommend first is to get my Free Guidebook “Endless Professional Acting Work,” which goes into detail about the Three Phases of a Hollywood Acting career.  It will give you a great overview of the basics that you need, however, I will give you a few quick suggestions here.

First, you should know that if you want to have a serious on-camera acting career, at some point, you will for sure need to move to Hollywood.  You might get away with being in New York for a while, but eventually, you need to come to Hollywood.  So plan your life accordingly — whatever that means to you.  Whether you are still in high school or you are just getting started at the age of 40 and are deciding to pursue your dream, get on track to move here.

Meanwhile, you should start learning about acting.  Take classes at community colleges if they offer them.  If you are in high school or college, take drama.  Whether a young person or an adult, perform in your local plays.  You could even produce them and perform in them.

With all the video equipment that there is available and the ease of editing it, you could start making your own short films.  Start your own YouTube Channel.  You might make yourself famous!

You could contact your state’s Film Commission office to learn about films that are going to be shot in your state.

There are lots of things that you can do to start to prepare yourself for the big time, even if you don’t live here.  Here are a couple more basics to keep in mind.

When you get here to Hollywood, you are going to need three things:

  1. A professional headshot that looks like you at your absolute best and most interesting.
  2. A professionally prepared resume — a basic three-column format is the Hollywood standard for acting.
  3. A job that is flexible for auditions and that you make enough money to support yourself and your acting career.

Until you start working professionally, which will probably take longer than you expect, you will need to have the financial wherewithal to support yourself for a while.  In terms of expenses for your acting career, it’s like a small business.  You will need to invest a fair amount of money before you get any money back.  That is to be expected.

There is much more to learn, of course, but this is truly the most important thing:  Fame and being a movie star does not happen fast.  You must come here prepared to survive financially.  Some people have their families supporting them, and that is great — whether it is a loving spouse or generous well-off parents.  But just know that you will need to come up with some cash to keep your career going.

I tell you this not to discourage you, but only to make sure that if you are serious about a Hollywood acting career that you start to prepare for real.  If you really want it badly enough, don’t let anything stop you.  You could be like Brad Pitt — legend has it that he slept in his car for a while before things started to happen for him because he couldn’t afford to pay any rent.

What I am trying to tell you is that you must want “it” (a Hollywood career) very badly or you might as well not even bother because of the baloney you’ll have to deal with at some point.  If you think you want it that badly, then save your money so you will be prepared when you get here.