Sunset Blvd, Hollywood Blvd, and Melrose have lines have seen lines of career casualties from one end to the other. Some who have made a short flirt of becoming famous then went back to Iowa with their stories, others who have stayed and struggled, and made enough to live, but all who have made the trip to the “City of Stars” dreamed about gracing the silver screen. Fame is hard to get, but it is a life that only can be imagined – for most of us.
For the struggling actor, who has watched all their friends acting careers go down in smoke, while they work menial boring jobs answering phones or moving furniture, the Hollywood “aspiring actor” thing can feel depressing. However, when a group of these “future” actors strolls to pass the Chinese Mann Theater, counting all the stars on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame”, gas is then put in their “inspiration” engines and they keep going broke sending out more headshots hoping for that big audition to land on their plate – at least for another week or so.
Many actors in the industry rely on the power of belief, the power of karma, the power of faith they will make it if they just keep on going. They just keep believing in their talent, (real or unreal) and they will make it. Talking to them about anything else than their predestined success will get you to shut down and most likely defriended. Many of these actors are shut off from their families who have pleaded with them, one to many times, to take the high road of a successful career in business, engineering, or possibly a Target sales clerk that gets paid. I was once dating a girl who was in this exact boat of people. Her mother and father were angry at her. They detested me, blaming me for it.
Ask the stars how they got there, the answers are in a nutshell “I stumbled onto it.” and “I didn’t give up.” No one talks about a plan outside of sending out your headshot to every casting call you can find and go sit in front of enough castings and it will happen because of internal belief. Or maybe not.
I once spoke to the now passed David Carradine who said his Kung Fu stardom when it was airing in the 70’s “it was a magical time. Did not know how I got there, but it was an awesome adventure!” At the time, David was struggling just to find work. When discussing the financing of a Karate Film he wanted to do, “Just wire the money to the bank and we can get started,” was his plan. All the details he sketched on a napkin at the restaurant. The standard way a star does business. Obviously, from that, there was nothing I could do.
Carradine is not the only star that time passed him under the bridge. Many others, or most others, have a difficult time holding their fame. Part of it is that after they make it, they lack the business savvy to keep their film branding nourished each year and their managers and agents fail to do so also, part of the problem lies with the nature of the Entertainment industry. Movies, but especially Television, are always looking for new starlets, new and exciting faces, actors on the way up. This sells in Hollywood. These new and exciting faces compete with hunger and enthusiasm for the few jobs that are there. The newbies are the talk of the young film crowd. The 13 to 20-year-old. And it is who Film, and TV executives covet. Who they write their business plans for.
However true for Film and Television, this is way truer for television than it is for the film? Why? It is the way film is financed mainly. With film, the star value of an actor is much of the value of the budget. The higher the star power, the higher the budget. Hence, Film producers and buyers are incentivized to drive up the star power of actors like Tom Hanks and keep it there. But as age progressives, even in film, star power normally wears down. Why? Because the normal movie watcher’s age does not change which are from the teens to maybe thirty. Even though the managers and agents make sue Botox is readily available to their “asset,” father time’s appeal to the young crowd can only go for so long.
Yes, Hollywood is filled with broken hearts that did not make it. It can take a successful young person who would have had a great career as a doctor and turn them into a dreaming looser. However, it is filled with hope. It is filled with dreams. It is filled with inspiration. When advancement towards your goal comes, it is like no other rush. You are on top of the world. For some, it is worth pursuing, even for the stories they have when they decide to go back home and become that doctor. It is filled with excitement. So, actors to be: it’s out there. Want to run the risk and go get it?