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Making It In Hollywood, By: Bryan Hidalgo and Gail O'Donnell

May 12, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 160

Bryan Hidalgo and Gail O'Donnell have amassed a collection of over 100 interviews of Hollywood's top contemporary talent from the acting community, along with screenwriters and directors. Each interview is structured with a head shot of the person, their short bio, and a dozen or so revealing questions asking what factors have contributed towards their success in their profession. Their answers are soberly articulated both humbly and modestly, but a common thread exists - it takes hard work and never giving up!

Hidalgo and O'Donnell queried professionals from both sides of the camera lens. The common question first asked was always, "How did your career begin?" For screenwriter Wesley Strick, he began writing as a rock critic and journalist in Berkeley. Many actors such as: James Rebhorn, Marcia Cross, David Paymer, Alex O'Loughlin, Michael Emerson and scores of others studied acting in school. For Joe Penny "It just happened," as he went to pick up a friend taking an acting class and sat down to watch what was going on, thinking "I can do that." Elizabeth Perkins was at a barbecue in Chicago when someone asked her, "What do you do?" "I'm an actor," she replied, thinking to herself that's what she'd like to be; allowing the self-actualization of the candid remark to then pull her into her career. My favorite was David Zayas, best known for his role as a cop, actually was a cop.

In a fashion reminiscent of James Lipton's famous interviews from Inside the Actors Studio, Bryan Hidalgo and Gail O'Donnell each follow their structured guideline; allowing the commonality of the questions to paint an even backdrop for their readers, thus allowing the nuances of the replies to be easily perceived. "It's a tough profession," actor Joe Mantegna points out. "There are 140,000 members of SAG and less than 1 percent make a decent living," Mantegna continued. You have to love the journey, as in his case, "I was a fifteen-year overnight success..." Auditions, for example, are either loved or hated, but nobody treats them with disregard. Jason Alexander said, "Most actors think auditions are hell, I love them. To me they are a one-night-only performance of a role I think I can do better than anyone else."

In a way, Making It in Hollywood is like squeezing People Magazine into a 400 word periodical; the "espresso press of just the thoughts" of the entertainment industry's contemporary finest, sans hype and advertising. My surprising observation was although I only recognized many actors from their professional characterizations, each of their personal interviews were riveting. I found myself glued to the book, turning pages and going from actor to screenwriter to director seamlessly, realizing the symbiotic relationship they all have towards one another.

Making It in Hollywood is a must read for all those taking acting classes, or aspiring to "get tape" in the industry. It's a great gift as a graduation present to those that like to be on the receiving side of the lights, as well as those more comfortable writing or making movies. It's a book that crosses genres from reference to philosophy, from self help to anecdotal humor. This is an invaluable book for not only people seeking work in the entrainment industry but for fans of the magic of Hollywood. This book is easy to read, filled with actual stories of those who've found success and is literally a blueprint on how to build your career. It can best be summed up with the song lyrics from New York, New York, "If you can make it there, you can make it... anywhere."

Reviewed by: Gary R. Sorkin

Gary R. Sorkin is the Senior Editor for Pacific Book Review. Please visit Pacific Book Review at:

Source: EzineArticles
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