Tips for getting your movie career launched

by : Bas de Baar

Hollywood helps those who help themselves! In you want to get your movie career fast tracked then here are three common sense tips to help you on your way.

1. Borrow the Boy Scout's Motto: Be Prepared.

Once you start the ball rolling you never know when you're going to get a casting call. When that call comes there isn't going to be any time to get all of the basics covered so get them out of the way right now.

Get your portfolio in order. Have plenty of copies of your PROFESSIONALLY done publicity photo's on hand.

Have all of your stage and screen credits listed even if it's only summer stock and school performances.

List any special skills you have, such as dancing, juggling, yodelling, foreign languages, anything which might catch a casting director's eye.

List any union memberships such as SAG, AEA or AFTRA.

Build a web site that contains everything that's included in your portfolio and make sure that there is contact information available. If you have an agent then list the agent's contact information instead of yours. If you stink at building web sites then pay a pro to do it for you. Hire a copywriter as well if you have no writing talent. Register your name, if possible, and make that your domain name.

2. Stay Connected

Join local theater groups, read the trades looking for casting calls, hang out where other actors hang out so you can stay on top of the local gossip and happenings. Sometimes you can pick up a valuable tip or hear about a film crew that's coming to do some local shooting. I know a girl who landed an extra role in Robert Dinero's 'Meet the Parents' by "accidentally" showing up at the train station in Oyster Bay, NY where a scene was being shot. She picked up that juicy tip at an actor's workshop she attended.

3. Make your own luck

The harder and smarter that you work the luckier you get. Remember my friend from 'Meet the Parents'? What's the chances that she'd have that screen credit if she didn't go out of her way to "get lucky".

If you live in Podunk, and no one ever films in Podunk, then move somewhere where they do film.

If your state or city has an agency that works with movie companies to help scout locations and strip away red tape, call them and see if they have a mailing list or any other way of finding out IN ADVANCE when a film crew will be shooting. SHOW UP on shooting days. Don't make a pest of yourself but be "noticeable". Hey, you might just get noticed. If you have enough advanced notice then find out who the casting director is and fire off a copy of your portfolio. Sure, it's likely to get "filed" but you never know when yours will show up and be the right thing at the right time.

If you look like someone famous then make that work for you. Now, I don't mean that you kind of resemble Julia Roberts if only you lost 60 pounds, got a cut and dye, and had your teeth capped. But if people come up to you in restaurants and ask for your autograph then you could have an instant ticket to the movies!

Get a recent publicity photo of Ms. Roberts and take it to the hair salon. Have your stylist cut, style and color your hair to exactly match the style and color in the photo. Then make your way to the local boutique and buy something to wear which matches as closely as possible what Ms. Roberts is wearing in the photo and then get a professional photographer to shoot you in the exact same pose.

Now, take the real photo of Julia and your own and fire it off to her agent, your agent, any agent you can find. Send it to casting directors, heck, send it to the local and national newspapers. Write a letter asking: Can you tell which one is the real Julia Roberts? Might not work for you; but I'll tell you this -- It doesn't have any chance of working at all if you don't at least try it.

The road to Hollywood can be long an never ending, or it could be the next exit on your journey through this world. The fun thing is: You never know!

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