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Breaking into Show Business

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Alexandra BoylanHave you noticed we see the same people nominated year after year, the same faces popping up on our TV screens and on the big screen along with the same crewmembers in the rolling credits, so how does anyone break into this very select industry?

I recently opened my Variety magazine to find this headline staring back at me: “Breaking Into a Crowd of Veterans.” Which got me thinking, how do you break into an industry that is already populated with veterans and a line of people around the block desperate to be let in?

Hollywood has created a maze where only the strongest will survive. There is a paradox inherent to the industry where only people with known talent, credits or previous relationships can get a job.

Here are just some examples of the paradoxes surrounding the fortress called Hollywood.

1) You can’t get an agent without credits, and you can’t get credits without an agent.

2) There are many more female directors now, as the Directors Guild site shows. But many of them face a vicious cycle: if a woman isn’t hired she can’t get experience, but she can’t get experience if no one hires her. “I think we have to be better as an industry,” said so brilliantly by Manohla Dargis in her article, “In Hollywood, It’s a Men’s, Men’s, Men’s World.”

3) You can’t get into the Union unless you have union days under your belt, and you can’t get union days under your belt unless you are union.

It is a paradox. And the problem with a paradox is it is an endless cycle with no entrance or exit route. At least that is what Hollywood WANTS you to think. The truth is there are ways to get a foothold in and each solid step in the right direction helps you break the barriers.

Here are my three tips for breaking in:

1) Make your own stuff! Simple as that! You must be creating your own content in any way you can. Make YouTube videos or write a blog. Whatever gets your name out there as an artist where people can follow your work and see what you have to offer to the world. You must showcase your work, your talent, and your capability, so this industry can become aware of you. In today’s technology age there is no excuse not to be creating your own work. And once you have that, viola there you have a credit to your name.

2) Be the kind of person people want to work with. When given an opportunity in this town, don’t squander it. It’s a small town, be the kind of person people want to take with them to the top. Be positive. Be kind. And share that positivity with everyone around you. No one likes a naysayer. Positivity is contagious. This is a proven, scientific fact, that positive people breed positivity into their lives. You will go nowhere with a crummy negative attitude that brings down the people around. And people don’t forget how you make them feel, so always make a fantastic impression. You need allies in this business to succeed; never forget the importance of rising in groups.

3) There is no such thing as a small job. Take any opportunity that comes your way, cause you never know who you will meet, and what that job will lead to in the future. Never think you’re above anything. Don’t let your ego get in the way of success because you think you should be further along than you are. Remember you are not entitled to anything in this lifetime, and it’s ok to take sides steps in order to move into the position you want. Take every opportunity as a chance to move into your dream job. This business is all nepotism, and we all have to start somewhere, grasp even the smallest opportunities, give it your all, and prove you belong.

I found this fabulous quote from “The 48 Laws of POWER” by Robert Greene: “Law #10 says Infection; avoid the unhappy and unlucky; You can die from someone else’s misery-emotional states are as infectious as diseases. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead!”

One thing I can tell you is successful people don’t waste their time around negative people who complain and play the victim game. There simply isn’t enough time in the day for whining and grumbling. Successful people are pro-active people. And if you want to get your name in the list of exclusives, you’d better be ready to take on those three steps with a vengeance.

My advice is to get out of the line of people desperate to get in, and create your own path into the golden gates of Hollywood. Take risks, work hard, and bring your best attitude to work each day.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ― Steve Martin

Alexandra Boylan

About Alexandra Boylan

Alexandra Boylan (Producer, Writer, Actor, Co-Founder Mustard Seed Entertainment and Mirror Tree Productions) Alexandra is an award-winning filmmaker. MirrorTree Productions, has produced numerous feature films, including "Home Sweet Home" and "At Your Own Risk". Her company Mustard Seed Entertainment's film "Catching Faith" had a two year run on Netflix and was on the shelves of Wal-Mart. Her most recent film "Wish For Christmas" sold to Pure Flix Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Alexandra’s script "Switched" was awarded the winner of the Kiaros Pro MovieGuide award for best screenplay. She is the author of "Create Your Own Career in Hollywood: Advice from a struggling actress who became a successful producer" available in Kindle and print on Amazon, and is an active member of Woman in Film Los Angeles where she served on the WIF PSA Board. Alexandra co-collaborated on the book "Thriving in Hollywood!" for msinthebiz.com