Driving your way to Success in Hollywood By Jules Koroleva
Los Angeles fascinates me. It is the land of endless freeways, tallest palm trees, and movie makers. You need to maintain a strong identity, live in the moment to be able to succeed in this city, and take the opportunities it offers so abundantly.
Since I came here first I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes the locals, wherever they come from, so independent, focused, goal oriented and creative. Eventually, this morning while driving to a rehearsal I had a revelation: it is driving - driving all the time to everywhere. It makes you more entrepreneurial. You stay your own self in your private space (your car), negotiate your way forward/to the left or right lane with others, see the end goal, yet totally embrace the now - you don’t want to make a turn now even if you know that the road curves just half a mile ahead. As for creativity, it comes from looking at the ocean or climbing a mountain.
Being entrepreneurial in this city is an essential part of being an actor and a filmmaker. According to a leading LA acting coach, director, producer, Gary Grossman, who also starred in “Bachelor Party” alongside Tom Hanks, “Mr. Saturday Night”, “Leprechaun 4” and numerous TV shows, actors and all artists should embrace all their creative sides.
“Actors could benefit from learning about writing, directing, being a DP and producing. It makes for a whole artist,” says Gary.
Directing, writing and producing have certainly made me a better actor. I can easily put myself in the shoes of those behind the camera and deliver a better result. As a director I want actors to not only be well prepared and cooperative but also bring their unique perspective to the table. So when I am working on somebody else’s project, I am fully there, ready to take on any angle of the character I am given as well as finding the core of the character and bringing it to life.
Todd Kruger is a great example of a Hollywood filmmaker. Having started as a stand-up comedian, Todd discovered his passion for filmmaking. His award winning short film "Exposure" has been in 7 film festivals so far, with more to come. “For an actor or filmmaker there is no one way to make it in the film business. You simply have to make great work and hope that opportunities open up for you,” says Todd; “In the end, the cream always rises, you just have to remain persistent and always stay true to your art.”
Exploring your uniqueness is as important as being entrepreneurial. To not only survive but succeed in the competitive world of movie making, Gary Grossman advises to create your own niche - "something that makes you stand out from the rest of the pack".
Most successful actors and filmmakers constantly work on their craft and discovering their special talents. They are never done studying. They never know everything. Studying helps to bring out your strengths, passion, confidence, and discover something special about you that nobody else has to offer.
Embracing the challenge is challenging in itself but it is fun and that’s what life is about, at least in my view. Most talented budding actors and movie makers in Hollywood are ready to take on any project that interests them no matter how hard or impossible it seems. Todd Kruger says, “I enjoy making projects that scare me. The more scared I am, typically the harder and better the project is, and the more I'll grow as an artist.”
As always, there are choices in Hollywood: to focus on the hardships of getting into the industry and not so rosy unemployment statistics or to embrace the challenge and drive your way into the movies and let others think you are on the top by pure luck.