How To Keep Your Hollywood Dream Alive

Making it in Hollywood is no easy task. Actors, singers and songwriters all face stiff competition on the long road to fame. But often artists move to Hollywood believing that somehow it will be different for them. It rarely is.

Blogger and anthropologist Scott Frank, from Hollywood Sapien estimates that on average there are just over 100,000 actors in Hollywood at any one time but only 20 percent are actually in paid work.

The lack of available work means artists often hustle to make ends meet. Balancing multiple part-time jobs and dealing with ongoing rejection is all part of the job. But over time this can start to take a toll, often forcing artists to give up on their dreams.

Florence Hartigan, actress, singer and songwriter currently lives in Los Angeles (LA), California. With 10 years’ experience in LA, Hartigan knows first-hand the difficulties of making it in Hollywood.

“When I came here I was like, oh yeah it will be easy. I am just going to book something really fast and it is going to be really easy. Even though you know it is not going to be like that. That’s the dream,” says Hartigan.

Most artists move to LA without any family or support. Hartigan says that if you really want to make it in Hollywood, the key is to build a supportive community around you.

“I have met my core group of friends through my work, or in restaurants and bars. All of us are artists. It is such a supportive environment. You can’t do it on your own. You can’t have a big dream and chase it alone. You are not an island,” she says.

While dreams may not always turn into reality, Hartigan says artists today have a lot more options than they did 10 years ago. “People that are entering the industry now, have so many platforms to create and share their content,” she says.

While every artist would like to perform live, to a packed audience, Hartigan says the alternative of posting your music online can be just as good. “Now is an interesting time in the life of an artist. While the internet is flooded with people, the entertainment industry has also become very niche. As an artist you are able to directly reach the people that like your particular thing,” she says.

While LA can be a brutal place, one of the keys to staying in the game is the enjoying the process. “Even if I am not waking up every day and going to a recording studio, or even if I work at a bar to make money, it is going to be at a bar that I love. With people that I love. If you can make a life that is supportive of your end goal and you are having fun while you are doing it, even when it is hard - that’s longevity.”