Title: HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD
Author: Marissa Thompson
In HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD, Marissa Thomas offers readers an inside view of one young woman’s journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an actor. The personal and humorous story of Lisa reveals the often difficult and inspiring process of navigating the entertainment industry.
The acting bug bit Lisa during her first elementary school talent show. After receiving positive reviews for her performance from her fellow students and impressed parents alike, Lisa basked in the high she felt from being on stage. She ventured further into the acting world as a teenager when she enrolled in a twelve-week acting program. Although plagued with some doubt about her potential to become an actor, the experience reignited the spark that had originally led her down the road of performance.
HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD follows the staggered path that Lisa took on her journey to achieve her acting dream. Her love for acting expanded when Lisa entered college and began auditioning for plays produced by the theater department. Reassured by the exhilaration she felt while acting, Lisa made the decision to leave her home and move to Hollywood to pursue her passion, but first, she had to tie up a few loose ends. After a whirlwind romance with a fellow student, Lisa found herself moving into her own apartment while juggling school and work, as well as taking the steps to fill out her acting resume. A car accident that resulted in serious physical injuries led to a slowdown in her momentum. However, Lisa’s best friend, Mike, who already had a solid plan to move to Hollywood, gave her the encouragement she needed to overcome multiple obstacles so that she could move forward with her goal.
Marissa wrote HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD to give “anyone curious about Hollywood culture another point of view from someone coming from a completely different world, aka the Midwest, taking the plunge, and immersing herself in a new life.” Marissa says the book is “the story of my life. I can’t tell anyone any surefire methods of getting cast for your dream project. I’m just sharing my life experience. Anyone with a relentless dream has to find sanity in the limbo between a self-motivated fantasy career and the harshness of having to survive real-life in the process. We’re all human, and sometimes all you can do is laugh. Set a goal, and break a leg.”
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Marissa Thomas left her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to pursue her dream of acting in Hollywood. Without industry contacts, she had to educate herself about the business. In How Not to Succeed in Hollywood, Marissa shares her experiences, both good and bad.
In addition to writing, Marissa is a licensed hair stylist. She also enjoys painting and produced the artwork for the cover of How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.
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How I Made My First Sale
When I decided to try my hand at becoming a published author, I had no idea where to start. I had spent my time and effort pursuing a career in acting. Being a full-time hairstylist and working small acting gigs on the side to keep my resume remotely current, I figured the best place to start, was to actually have a finished product. So, I spent my mornings before work simply turning on my laptop, and seeing what could happen.
After eight months of writing, I felt I had the best piece of work I could write. So, I started researching the concept of self-publishing. I tried to find every review I could about self-publishing companies. Knowing what it’s like to work directly with clients, I wanted to read the negative reviews, as customers are far more likely to share negative experiences with anyone who will listen. After doing a little research, I knew I didn’t want my manuscript sitting at the bottom of a pile on the desk of a major publisher for the next few years, so I decided to be a little more aggressive.
I knew I’d have to be a little more aggressive and step out of my comfort zone. Again, unfamiliar with everything, I was fortunate enough to be referred to an online version of self-publishing that walks an author through the process, step by step. Eventually, I knew I’d need to find some sort of PR service. But at that point, I was thrilled to have my finished product ready and available to readers. After a year-and-a-half, I got to post the availability of my books to friends on social media. And, I’m not sure who bought the first copy that day, but the feeling of accomplishment to see that first copy sold was priceless. And I will always be grateful for that.
“I’m glad you get to come to the opening night of the play,” I said to my boyfriend, casually, while we started digging into our boxed dinner.
“I know. I’m glad, too. You’ve been working hard, and it seems pretty important to you,” he replied.
“It is. We’ve all been working on it for months,” I reminded him.
“Well, is it because you’ve been spending all this time on it, or is it because it’s something you really want to do?” he asked.
It seemed like a very obvious question. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Why do we put all the time and effort into projects like this? Projects that don’t provide a paycheck, cause us to rearrange our schedules and even add stress due to the unwritten requirement to provide a quality performance. He really made me think. It wasn’t even a conscious decision on my part. I welcomed the chaos of the production into my life. The answer to his question was as obvious as the soy sauce on the egg rolls.
My mind started to wander. I almost felt like I was becoming a part of an actors’ anonymous group and professing my addiction. My name is Lisa, and I’m an actress. I could picture the scene: Beautiful people sitting in a circle, each of them with a monologue in hand. And everyone waiting his or her turn to speak about the repercussions, good and bad, that the industry has had their lives. It was like a support group, to help each other through the bad auditions, drop hints about where to find the legit ones, and tips on how to nail them. Who knew how true that statement was? After a brief moment of fantasy, I was back to reality.
“I do. I really want to do it.” I turned back to my food and continued eating. “It’s something I want to pursue.” It felt good to say it out loud and to admit it to myself.
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