We meet our Guide and learn a bit about why we might want to trust her.
Chapter 1: YOU ARE HERE
Forewarned is Forearmed
A brief description of Hollywood and it’s promises, temptations and perils, plus, the one phrase any actor must emblazon upon his or her soul before venturing into “The Woods.”
To wit, “Show business is not a meritocracy!”
Chapter 2: A STAR IS BORN
Flip that Burger, Book that Job
Wherein our guide and author relates the circumstances of her arrival in Tinsel Town with $45, a headshot and a free place to stay. And how good luck, a positive attitude and some curious characters and current celebrities lead to her first job in television. The early lessons she learned which lead to the beginnings of her soul maintaining philosophy: “Your state of mind is the most important tool you have in this town”.
Chapter 3: ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
I Mean, Why the Hell Wouldn’t You?
Easy, practical tips on how to maximize the good things that are happening in your life and to extend the “lucky” feeling that is so important to a hopeful attitude and success.
“Never let an unhappy actor talk to you for more than 30 seconds about how hard it is to get an agent, an audition or a job.”
Chapter 4: THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
“Beware the Soul Eaters”
I know this may come as a shock to you, but not everyone who chats you up and acts like they want to be your friend is your friend. Hollywood is a voracious, narcissistic beast. She cares only for being adored and fed and she attracts a lot of people who feel the same way. You will be introduced to some of the classics in this chapter. Read and learn and then discern! “Beware the Soul Eaters. They feed off your power.”
Chapter 5: A NECESSARY EVIL
“Running the Gauntlet”
Auditions. Some people love them, some people hate them but everybody’s going to have to deal with them and the strange creatures in the room for whom you audition. This necessary evil has many different facets to it and most of them can only be learned by being in the trenches. I’ve been there. I will share with you things it took me years, even as a working actor, to figure out. Ways to approach them, ways to survive them and ways to get the hell over them when they go wrong. “The audition may be Hollywood’s major perspective scrambler.”
Chapter 6: HOLLYWOOD HIGH
“Getting the Job”
A look into the types of roles; co–star, guest star, series regular, film roles. Funny examples of how some of those gigs played out for me and examples of what your work day might look like. Tips to make it fun and emotionally painless. Everyone on set is important. From the craft service person to the executive producer, they are all worthy of your respect. And you will definitely see a lot more of the craft service person than you will the executive producer. Play nice. There are a lot of egos on a set, consequently, there are lots of ways to get your feelings hurt or to possibly injure someone else’s feelings. Don’t do that. “ Remember: everybody was nobody once.”
CHAPTER 7: THEATRE IN LOS ANGELES
“Don’t Tread Water, Trod the Boards”
There is a lot of good work being done in theatres both large and small in Los Angeles.
Between jobs or while waiting for film or television work, an actor needs to feed his or her soul. “You do theatre in LA for the work and the affirmation it gives you as an artist.”
CHAPTER 8: NEW MEDIA
“What’s a Big Star Like You Doing in a Project Like This?”
A look at the opportunity created by the unprecedented arena for self expression that is the new media. Experiences from video games to, motion capture to webisodes and internet series. How it works, and what fun it can be. Even the audition process has been changed by it. “There are times when the camera phone is a God send.”
CHAPTER 9: WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DOUGH
“Mom, are We Poor? No Honey, We’re Broke and There’s a Big Difference.”
Tried and true tips to feeling abundant even when the ‘facts’ may indicate otherwise. Making whatever money you have feel like a whole lot more. Suggestions about generosity of spirit as well as an easy bill paying system which can take away the panic surrounding your debt. “If I have enough money to pay the bill that is due today, then I have enough money.”
CHAPTER 10: THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION
“The Care and Feeding of Agents and Managers”
The wild, weird world of agents and managers. What to watch out for, what they want, how they treat you and how to deal with them. Agents: you gotta have one. Managers: you could probably use one. In this hyper competitive world, it doesn’t hurt to have as many people as possible on Team You. However, not all managers or agents are created equal so be careful and trust your instincts. “Agents are like lovers, most of them start out as good kissers but not all of them are worth a relation ship.”
CHAPTER 11: COMPARING YOUR CAREER TO OTHERS
“But Have You Seen the Size of His?”
Comparing the arc of your career or the pathway to it with anyone else’s is psychological and spiritual poison. How personal experience with a Hollywood tragedy, taught me to trust that : “No one else gets ‘your’ job.”
CHAPTER 12: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING STUCK
“When LOL Turns Into WTF?”
How to handle the dry spells. Ways to replenish your spirit, change your luck and your perspective. A year of auditions with no work and many disappointments brought me face to face with the decision of whether or not to abandon my dream. How a trip to the mountains and an unexpected phone call restored my spirit and how even a brief sojourn can clear a cloudy sky. “Return focus to real life, cease focusing exclusively on reel life.”
CHAPTER 13: FEELING STUCK PART II
“Feed Your Soul”
How being brave enough to start over can pay off. Even working actors can feel the thinness of creative life in Hollywood. Often the paycheck and the credit on your resume are the best things about a gig. An artist cannot live like that. When the thrill is gone, you have to be brave enough to take a new chance, stir the waters and roll the dice one more time. If you wanted a predictable life, you never would have come to Tinsel Town so don’t be afraid to try something new.
“When your artistic, creative soul is full and happy, your day to day life will be richer because of it.”
CHAPTER 14: FOLLOWING YOUR HEART
“And Filling up Your Soul”
Be honest with yourself and those you love. Dreams are living things and worthy of respect and protection. How a new challenge can create a new vision, new opportunities and restore hope. “You’ll feel better about yourself in the long run if you do what your heart tells you is right.”
CHAPTER 15: THE BEST LAID PLANS
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame or Hollywood calling…again”
How, empowering and surprisingly rewarding it can be to say no. Believing in yourself and making your own decisions can give you the kind of appeal that simply ‘doing what’s expected of you’ can’t. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
CHAPTER 16: MAKING IT
“Those Two Little Words”
The two words engraved on the inside of the big, brass ring…and what they really mean; not just in Hollywood but in the world at large. “There is only one success…to be able to spend your life in your own way.”
CHAPTER 17: WHEN DO I CALL IT A WRAP?
“I spend most of my time waiting, how do I know when I’m done?”
There is a great deal to consider when deciding whether or not the Woods of Holly is a place we really want to stay. Hollywood has a way of eating up the passing years without you ever really noticing. On these pages, you’ll find out ways to measure the ratio of satisfaction to effort and what to do with the answer you come up with. “All experience is great provided you live through it. If it kills you, you’ve gone too far.”