November 12, 2012
Forum School Of Acting
Hello Mr. White,
First off I just want to say that I really appreciate your site. It has helped me a lot.
I just wanted to ask you some basic questions and they are not really important but it’s just something I’d like to know. I am an aspiring actress, I don’t have much experience at all but I’ll be going to acting school soon. I wanna learn as much as possible, and I am so dedicated and ready.
I am aware that ‘Hollywood’ is a competitive, shallow and tough place to go if you want to succeed and especially in this business, but I honestly don’t care because I know that I can do this on my own. You may think I’m naive, but trust me, I’m ready for this and I feel like the only person I need to worry about is myself. I know I will get hurt, disappointed and judged but I truly believe and KNOW that I’ll get through that. To me it’s just a test.
I hear people talk about the business like it’s space, somewhere they most likely will never go (according to themselves) and one thing I constantly hear is “Hollywood is all about who you know. You’ll never get a job unless you know every person in the business.” And stuff like that.
And I know it’s a big plus to know people but it’s not really like that, right? I mean, it is possible to make it without knowing everyone and depend on them to do you a favor and put in a good word for you, no?
I’ve read a lot of your articles but I just wanted to hear your own opinion on that, since you have so much experience and you would know.
But as I said, I don’t think it’s highly important, I just want to have all the information I could get, and it’s nice to know what opinion you have about that and if you have any tips or if there is anything I should know about just that.
When that’s said, everyone who say these things are people that’s not even in the business or people who simply gave up somewhere along the way because it was ‘too hard’ or for whatever reason. I’ve NEVER seen or heard any successful actor or actress or anyone in the business say “It’s all about who you know”, only the people who didn’t achieve what they wanted to and who simply didn’t want it enough because they used that excuse and gave up.
I hope to hear from you soon in case you have anything you’d like to say about this or if you have any opinions about it at all.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks for the email.
Yeah, I hear that “it’s all who you know” thing all the time and it’s almost always by people who are functionally clueless about this industry.
Knowing someone doesn’t add up to a hill of beans if you don’t have the professionalism and experience to get the work on your own. The truth is this business IS tough, probably the toughest one on the planet to get into. It takes a very particular person to really make in this business and the trouble is, it’s never the same for any two people.
The entire purpose of the website and the books I wrote is to give the aspiring actor the best chance to eliminate as many variables as possible. I see so many hopefuls not even understand the mere basics but still aspire to compete with the best in the business. If you get the technical skills down pat, the only thing left is the taste of the casting people, the taste of the director and ultimately the taste of the audience.
There is nothing you can ever do to change the last three, but there is a TON you can do to work on your technical skills. Here’s the best analogy I can give you…I’m friends with a guy who owns a chain of really high end, boutique hair salons. He has a stack of resumes from some of the best hairstylists in the country wanting to work for him.
Now, I don’t have the slightest idea how to cut hair, but I know this guy really well. If I asked him for a job, do you think I’d get it?
That’s how far “knowing someone” will get you in the acting business as well. Let’s take it a step further, let’s pretend I actually did have some hair cutting experience at Supercuts or Fantastic Sam’s. Think he’d give me a job then? Like, do you think he’d give the job to some hack from Supercuts over the one of the best stylists in the world just because he knows me?
Would you hire me if you owned the salon?
Of course not.
Like I said, this business is one of the toughest in the world to get into. Once you develop the skills to be able to actually do the job, the rest is completely out of your control and that’s the part that freaks everyone out. It’s freaky because you might actually be really good, you might actually know what you’re doing and people just might not like you anyway.
Therein lies your risk.