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Making It In Hollywood: What To Do & How To Do It From More Than 100 of Today's Top Actors, Screenwriters, Directors, and Producers Paperback – January 1, 2011
About the Author
Bryan Hidalgo is an entertainment attorney who worked for several years in Business and Legal Affairs for Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, MCA Records, and Geffen Records, before transitioning to private practice. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. Prior to his legal career, he performed as a concert pianist, and was an Official Pianist for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Opening Ceremonies. In addition to serving as an industry consultant, Bryan is currently working on his next book. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Gail Gradin O’Donnell is an accomplished Hollywood makeup artist. Her artistry has graced some of the most beautiful and recognized celebrity faces in the world on all the major film and television award shows, including the Academy Awards, Emmys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild. She has recently launched her own line of makeup. Prior to her career as a makeup artist, Gail was employed by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency, Inc., and has been a personal assistant to Alan Alda. She resides in Los Angeles, California.
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I've been studying acting for almost a year, and for me, reading this book was like getting to sit down with some of my favorite actors to ask their advice on study, auditioning, finding an agent, etc. To highlight just a few of the interviews, four of my absolute favorite actors, Michael Emerson (Ben Linus on Lost), Bryan Cranston from (Breaking Bad), Walton Goggins (Shane on The Shield), and Alex O'Loughlin (Hawaii-50), gave incredibly inspiring interviews and really helped me come to grips with how to approach those dreaded auditions and what to really focus on while pursuing this career. I didn't think I'd be as interested in reading some of the director or screenwriter interviews, but it was really fascinating to get their views on what an actor brings to a role and the nature of the collaboration that takes place when making a movie or TV show. I highly recommend this book.
America has provided the world with many, many things: flight, the automobile, the steam engine, and movies, to name a few. Movies alone have done much to exacerbate a perception of cultural glamour, a window through which the rest of the world sees everyday life in America.
The truth is far less spectacular, and success takes far longer than just under two hours in a darkened room.
Brian Hidalgo and Gail O'Donnell have taken care to make Making it in Hollywood -- What to do and how to do it more about the process and approach than about celebrity exposè or sensationalism. You won't find revealing secrets or tales of hijinks between actors/actresses. Additionally, by design you will not find this to be in the vein of the Dummies or Idiots Guide to . . . series -- no step-by-step instructions here. This is guidance and advice on a kind of esoteric level, the kind of encouragement and recommendations that only those from the inside could give about the slow burn it took to 'make it' overnight.
Chances are good one of your favorites contributed to the book: 71 actors and actresses, 16 screenwriters, 11 directors, and 7 producers contribute to the wide array of voices within. Each of these people, in their own words, offers insight and suggestions for those who are seriously looking to make it big in entertainment, much less Hollywood.
A little name dropping would be in order. Making it in Hollywood contains interviews with long familiar and up-and-coming faces: John Travolta, Jason Alexander, Brandon Routh, Katey Sagal, Brent Spiner, Virginia Madsen (a personal fave), Seth Green, Luiz Guzman, Tom Arnold, Sean Astin, Regina King, and Sarah Jessica Parker are among the performers included.
Among the screenwriters who chime in: Carlton Cuse (Lost, Nash Bridges), Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleeples In Seattle), and Wesley Strick (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cape Fear) discuss their path behind the scenes, getting to script for some of the biggest in the business.
Directors like Joel Schumacher (Flatliners, Falling Down, Lost Boys) and Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting, Medium, Remington Steele); producers such as Martin Bregman (Serpico, Scarface) and Steve Tisch (The Pursuit of Happyness, Forrest Gump) -- all here for those willing to steep themselves in their admonitions and lessons.
Many of the questions put to the contributors are similar, allowing for a sound foundation from which to start building. The only problem I see with that approach is our inherent desire for juicy gossip -- we like to know how people got where they are, but we can't wait to find out who screwed whom to get there; if that's what you're after then Making it in Hollywood will disappoint you. But many of the answers are entertaining of themselves, playful and pragmatic, and at times raw in their honesty.
For the serious, this book could be a genuinely valuable resource. There is no outward leaning towards any particular style or company. The advice given is presented in the performers own words, as they experienced their own rise to fame.
Apprehension; Fear; Hope; Doubt. These four words, too, are widely acknowledged as brutal obstacles for anyone waiting tables and biding time while anticipating that once in a lifetime chance, that one call back or request for a revision. Making it in Hollywood should be heavily considered as required reading for any budding professional in the entertainment business.
The book is assembled in sections for actors, screenwriters, directors and producers, with persons listed in alphabetical order. The actors are asked the same group of questions geared specifically toward the acting field; the screenwriters posed questions directed toward writing, etc. Their answers are varied and interesting.
I found that, in reading Making It In Hollywood, I gained new respect for actors I had previously not thought much of. Those I particularly enjoyed reading about, based on their answers, were Victor Garber, Tony Goldwyn, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Meloni, to name but a few. It was gratifying to read of how these successful actors suffer self esteem issues and fears of rejection, just like the rest of us. I also appreciate the honesty of those who claim simple luck for their success, and that, plain and simple, the money for what they do is fantastic.
I was also pleased that Leslie Dixon and Nora Ephron were included, as they are two writers that I greatly admire and whose work I enjoy (and in the case of Nora Ephron, a talented director as well).
For anyone who looks to make a career in the entertainment industry, or who merely enjoys reading about it, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Making It In Hollywood.
Lori, Psychotic State Book Reviews