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  • Ben Stranahan

Keeping Your Head Up While Starting Out in Hollywood

One of the most important things a Hollywood hopeful should have is right there in the name: hope. You’ve got to have a strong positive mindset as you set off on the journey of your dreams, an optimistic outlook that will keep you going when the night seems darkest. I’ve gathered here a few tips for keeping your head up as you pursue your passion in the City of Angeles:


  • Accept the fact that you will face failure and rejection.

  • If you want to work in Hollywood, you’ve got to know what you’re in for. Take comfort in the knowledge that every obstacle you overcome makes you stronger and brings you closer to success.

  • Don’t waste a moment on despair.

  • The long road to fame requires considerable strength and fortitude. Allowing yourself to wallow in negative feelings will only serve to weaken your resolve. Instead, invest your valuable time and energy into learning from your rejections or failures. Take every missed opportunity as a chance to improve yourself. Audition for your friends and ask for feedback on your weak points. Seek out resources to learn about the specifics of your craft. A true student of the craft is never finished learning or improving.

  • Find friends and keep them around.

  • Friends are invaluable in the City of Dreams. You can collaborate, rehearse together, help each other improve, share opportunities, and support each other through difficult times.

  • Soviet actor Aleksei Kravchenko recalls an experience in which he (not an actor at the time) accompanied a friend to an unsuccessful audition, only to find himself asked to audition for the lead role. He won the part and went on to star in the acclaimed 1985 war drama Idi i smotri, or Come and See. This story is meant to illustrate that you may find success in unexpected places, and you should never waste an opportunity.

  • Be grateful.

  • Instead of focusing solely on the difficulties and hardships you face, contemplate the good things in your life. Write them down in a list if you’d like; it can be helpful to see all the positive influences in your life — all that you love, all that makes you feel happy and comfortable — laid out before you. Make sure that you are not taking anything (or anyone) for granted; people like to feel appreciated for the things they do.

  • Find the humor in every situation.

  • You know what they say: laughter is the best medicine. A strong sense of humor and a light-hearted view of the world can do wonders for your mental health as you struggle in the pursuit of your chosen field. As acting requires a fair amount of ridiculous and exaggerated behavior, you will occasionally make a fool of yourself. This is not a bad thing. Embrace the awkward, sometimes embarrassing nature of the entertainment business. Flub a line during an audition? Oops. Pants fell down on stage because your belt was too loose? Hilarious. As author Peter McWilliams writes, “To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes might be the biggest mistake of all.”

  • Create a positive environment.

  • Fill your days with people and pursuits that lift you up, things that make you happier and more comfortable. Identify sources of negativity in your life, and attempt to limit their influence on you. Some stressors can’t be avoided; auditions or pitch meetings are necessary anxieties for those who want to work in the industry. However, you can control the way in which you perceive and manage the stress of these events. Auditions or pitch meetings should not be viewed as opportunities for failure, but opportunities for success. Both of these events are chances for you to show off your hard work and creativity. It’s completely natural to be nervous, but you can be excited, too!


I hope this advice will encourage those pursuing their dreams to face up to the challenges and difficulties with a sense of optimism and positivity. With the right attitude, these obstacles (and any others you face on your path to Hollywood success) can be overcome.


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