“To Hollywood or to not Hollywood?” – Ashley Tabatabai

By April 11, 2017Student Blogs

Some of you may have heard of the Lana Turner Myth. It’s based on the story about a young girl who was discovered in Hollywood whilstsimply going about her daily business. And what happened next? She went on to become a “Star”. This ideal of simply waltzing into Hollywood and being“Discovered” is one that most actors will have thought of. Perhaps in manycases even believe in. Is it possible? Sure, anything’s possible. However, the illusion of this great industry is such that we often forget to realize what itreally takes to launch a successful career. Not just in acting, but in any discipline. If you’re familiar with Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, it says thatthat is the approximate amount of time you need to do something in order tobecome an “expert” in it. Look at the greats, they’ve all spent massive amountsof time pursuing and practicing their craft so that they could reach that level. And the one’s that stuck it out got their rewards.

Now, the point of all this comes from a post that Peter puton Facebook to do with Hollywood networking weeks. As someone who has gone onone of these weeks (4 years ago) and is in the process of getting a US visa, Ithought it would be worth sharing my experiences. First and foremost, I canonly relate to the specific company I went with as I do know that some othershave cropped up recently. Was I slightly sceptical before going? You bet! It’sa sizeable investment to go on one of these trips. Do I regret it? Not for onesecond, because I didn’t go in with any expectations of getting signed, landinga job or becoming the next big sensation over night. That was never promised. Whatwe got was an incredible experience. We met a lot of top agents, castingdirectors and coaches. I made some great friends who I am in contact with tothis day. And the organizer himself is someone who I consider a friend and hasbeen a great help to me in consulting me on the visa process. Some people evendid get offered representation. One girl turned down an offer from a hugeagency. Two others got offered management representation. However, here’s the caveat to that. They were only going to get on the books if they had working papers.
And that’s the main point. No papers means no representation and no job. The one thing the networking week really hits home is that this isa business. More so in LA than anywhere else. And if you’re not legal, you’renot going to be in business. So, please do go and enjoy the experience of anetworking week. But understand that your main route to working there is tohave the visa to let you do so. Build your career up and conquer your ownbackyard. Perfect an American accent as well, as that was a huge thing thatkept getting repeated to us. Work towards getting the right documents. Then goto LA and give it your best shot. You may not get plucked out of obscurity likeLana Turner. But by then you’ll likely have spent so much time on your craft that you’ll be ready when the business comes calling.