Monday, June 6, 2011

Aspiring African Actors/tresses Seeking Hollywood

By Miss Tilii


(this thread is aimed at only the serious minded african actors/tresses seeking to get into HOLLYWOOD someday)


I wish everyone the best - all our african actors and actresses aspiring to get a foot in Hollywood someday - and winning oscars someday. But if you are really serious about your craft - start doing your homework and research now, so that you dont embarass yourself competing with the sea of people all waiting in line in hollywood.



I write this thread because of someone (i wont mention name or give a hint - she/he knows who they are if they are reading this - they are "good"/border line"ok" but not "great" ) who had a great opportunity given to her by my good friend to meet an top exec in Los Angeles - and she/he was so unprepared (but i dont blame them cos no PR taught them what to do and my friend mistakenly referred this person not knowing they were not prepared) - It just made my friend look so bad and they themselves looked worse. This coulda been this person big and easy break into a top show here in USA yet they were so unprepared with no portfolio and came in gleaming from ear to ear like "Doh I should be known". If you dont know something ask questions and you will be told. Very embarassing situation.

I am no hollywood person nor expert, but from the little I know/heard from a friend or two in the industry who know much more than i do , if you want to get into hollywood there is a to learn and I would want to share some of these facts with you;

-CHOOSE GOOD SCRIPTS AND WORK WITH GREAT DIRECTORS TO CHALLENGE YOUR TALENT TO GROW (and do not say yes to every damn script cos you want the money or you just want to be famous for the next 5 yrs) - with the first few pay checks you get - maybe, try another business venture on the side so that acting is not all you depend on - and there fore have no choice but to say "YES" to regardless of script - cos you gotta eat or feed your family. Open a barber shop or snack spot - or something just to get some extra income (and the extra money could come handy in your EPK - if you dont know what an EPK is i will tell you later). I always wonder how many of our actors or actresses have side business they can fall back on.

-COMPILE A CREATE A GREAT RESUME OF WORK

-INVEST IN AN EPK and or DEMO REEL - like any other job here in USA you got 5-10mins to sell yourself to let the person hiring know you are better than the million others. Nobody is going to hand you anything on a silver platter cos you think you are famous on the continent of africa. EPK stands for Electronic Press Kit, which obviously is in an electronic form because the person accessing has to be able to view it at a snap shot on their Laptop, BB or Iphone (no body in hollywood has time to waste - like this person am talking about wasted this execs time and embarassed themselves) - You got 5-10mins to prove yourself. In the EPK kit will include;
-Your Headshots - this is imperative that by now you create an impressive picture portfolio

-Your Website (godaddy only cost $12 a year to get a domain name for your website, and with $300-500 some student can create you a nice professional website and less thatn $5 to host the website - This is 2011 - social media like FB, Twitter is extremely important - make use of it). Publicity small scale or not is publicity and People like my self and a few other bloggers are here to help. If you have a PR contact lets list it here for you - you not paying a dime for free publicity and maybe someone interested in your might contact you from LA. I may not be a big time blogger, but I am only trying to help for free - but i wont beg you.


-Your Resume of Work (best movies made with names of directors/producers etc)

-Professional Business Card

-3-4 Monologues of your self in your best scenes, ready to go/viewed at all times


-Network when you go to film festival (a little agressiveness with the bid dawgs you encounter wont hurt,dont just socialise with people u know, but with industry people who may be of help- dont assume he/he knows you cos you are big in west africa). You got 5 mins at that brunch table as you are all in line to get some meal, 5mins to say something memorable or sell your self. If this is too much pressure, abeg dont venture hollywood to embarass yourself.


We are all humans and nobody is better than anybody, If president Obama could become president of USA, then anybody can do anything you put your mind to (If you want to win an oscar someday-pray, confess it, and believe and it will happen)- but if you refuse to put the time, money, effort and research into it like everybody else - then am afraid you got a tough road ahead of you. Dont make the sentence "I want to win an oscar someday" begin to sound cliche. Mean what you say and start to proove it. If you are comfortable where you are now (africa) - then so be it - stay there, but dont waste peoples time and when asked of your long term goals in interviews, dont dare say "Hollywood/Oscar" and then you get an opportunity and you come unprepared with no portfolio/demo reel to proof yourself. You embarass the person who referred you and you embarassed ya damn self.


TO GET INTO HOLLYWOOD IT TAKES A LOT OF WORK (Djimon Housou had to start somewhere), SO PLEASE DONT THINK JUST COS YOU ARE FAMOUS IN AFRICA AND A FEW AFRICAN COMMUNITIES IN USA AND EUROPE YOU WILL FIND IT EASY. FAR FROM THAT. JOIN THE LONG LINE/QUEUE. EVEN IF YOUR MOVIE IS FORTUNATELY RECOGNISED AT A FILM FESTIVAL, YOU STILL HAVE TO WORK HARD TO GET YOUR FOOT IN HOLLYWOOD - NOTHING IS AUTOMATIC FROM WHAT I HAVE HEARD.

You dont have to aim for Hollywood, Personally I dont even think one has to aim for hollywood if they dont want to (though it may be the epitome of "you have arrived"). We can have our own well respected Hollywood in Africa- providing great work of art to the world, breaking box office records globally, paying good salaries to our actors in our own continent of Africa - but the question is - are we on that route or still simply playing touch football even after 20 odd years. Where exactly is our industry going. Yes we improve our sound and picture quality somewhat, but whats next, What is our long term goal.


ps: and please lets leave that "bragging rights" of 2nd largest to Hollywood on the table. "2nd largest to what??? is my question. Lets not flatter ourselves that much and get ahead of ourselves but rather stick to reality. Unless our movies start making millions of dollar in revenue globally and our well deserve actors start earning milllions of dollars per movie - keep that "2nd largest....." talk under wraps for now. You and I know the real deal.


Business Suggestion: For those wanting to relocate home and undecisive of a business venture- here is one for you. I suggest opening a Celebrity Life Coaching/PR company specifically targeted at hollywood aspires, to help many of our african aspires out - cos seriously - the majority need help - the fan base is growing here in the diaspora but they dont know what to do with. They make small guest appearances in small cities like NYC, Houston, Atllanta and make chump changes like $5000 during their 2 weekstay and they think thats it. They could easily make 6 figures if they know what they are about and they are strong PR behind them. Dont assume its only africans watching your movies- Teach them International Interview techniques, red carpet techniques, how to pose/smile, networking techniques etc etc - everybody in hollywood invest in this so why not africans.

This whole Hollywood thing takes a LOT OF WORK than meets the eye. Its like going thru metamorphisis of some sort to make the camera love you and ppl to love u. Pippa Middleton has a PR background and knows how to work it - so dont be surprise she is a world wide phenom after her sister Kate's wedding (its not just because she is Kate sister - she has the IT factor) - Now people are willing to pay millions of dollars just for her to make appearances, PippaMania is on strong 2011 and she doesnt even act- she is a smart girl, and with the lil popularity rising for a many of our stars - if they could channel this - it will work well for them.


ps: And to the 419ers making failed promises to aspires - please stop making all these big promises to these aspires. At least if for nothing help them put together a demo reel to show some professionalism. Aspires becareful whom u trust.


Sheish! - we have such a long way to go but slowly but surely we will get there.

ps: Please also bear in mind that Los Angeles is not the only hub for movie production now, Georgia (ie Atlanta where i reside now) is fast becoming the Hollywood of the South, followed by other cities like New Orleans giving huge tax breaks to film makers just so they can rake some money to rebuild the city after the 2005 flood.

Due to the huge tax breaks a lot of hollywood movie houses are moving their production here to Georgia. Georgia’s movie business is on a roll.

26 feature films were shot here in the last two years. New facilities are under construction. Film and TV production tripled to $770 million in 2009, according to the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. There are some great networking opportunities here - so just bear that in mind.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

ms Tilli, u are right on the money - please tell it like it is. thx

ebenezer aidoo said...

am a young guy and am interested in acting.what should i do?pls can you help me out?

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