I am 18 years old, I want to take a gamble and leave my country for Hollywood and pursue my dream career in acting, is this a wise move?

It is always good to have dreams and to be willing to go to the enth degree to see your dreams and desires achieved. That is the way to live your life, going hard for the things that you love and are passionate about. There is nothing worse than waking up everyday and going to a job that you hate, that process kills you slowly each and every day. It is sad that millions of people sentence themselves to such a life style ruled by a job they hate and not dictated by their dreams and passions. Achieving your dreams and goals does not just happen by wishing and day dreaming. It comes through active planning setting goals and acting on achieving those goals. You are in the right frame of mind and in order to get what we want in life sometimes we have to make the most extreme decisions that no one else understands. As amazing and encouraging this sounds, there are various factors you have to consider before making the move to Hollywood. Though our hopes and passions are called dreams they don’t materialize from dreaming, in fact they are a product of wisdom, hard work, dedication and consistency.

In terms of acting as a career, most successful actors did things differently and different things work differently for different people. However in your case we will look at how you can possibly understand the different processes involved in making a life decision. The honest truth is, this question is asking about direction and dreams, how one can peruse their dreams and goals with a sense of peace and security. The honest truth is it comes down to God, mentality and opportunity.

 God’s Part

The best way to have peace about making any life decision such as moving to Hollywood would be to surrender it to Jesus. Honor him first by asking him what you should do and He will direct your path. He will make sure that you will not travel down the path of regret. Furthermore, surrendering all major decisions of your life to Jesus means that Jesus now assumes control over your life. Jesus will bring to this decision security, peace, safety, blessings and favor.

One of the best ways to reach a place of knowing what God wants you to do is putting the major decision aside and focusing on knowing Jesus more, especially with issues concerning your purpose and direction of life. Jesus fasted from food and water for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert away from any distractions, before starting his ministry. The idea is not that you starve yourself and go live in a desert. The idea is that you mentally or physically remove any distractions and simply put Jesus first in your life for a specified time that you decide upon preferably but not specific to 40 days.  In this stage you are simply thanking God for everything he has done in your life, you are praising him because he is great and worthy to be praised or you are inviting Jesus into your life and asking him to take charge of all the aspects or your life. In this stage make sure that you are reading the bible not to find any answers about whether to go to Hollywood or not but to know the Lord more and to put him first in your life. The honest truth is you will never come last by putting God first never!! Don’t be overwhelmed and excited by the prospect of the Hollywood opportunities and disregard what God is trying to tell you and where God wants to lead you.

Are you mentally prepared?

There are three things that Hollywood does not have a short supply of: age, beauty and talent. What does that mean? That means that you have to mentally buffer yourself and familiarise yourself with the fact that there are going to be thousands of people fighting tooth and nail for the same opportunities you want. Despite these facts, you have to be confident in what you are bringing to the table and not be intimidated by the various amounts of talent out there. Mentally prepare yourself and see yourself as the best, seeing yourself as the best also comes with always improving to be the best (by continuing to take classes and improving on your acting skills).

You also have to be real with your self and ask questions such as; Am I really talented? Can I really act? Is this really my passion? The facts are, you can tell your self that you are the best all you want but if you don’t have the talent, passion and drive to be an actor you better review your decision closely. You have to understand the reason behind why you want to be an actor before committing to going to Hollywood. Part of being mentally prepared is knowing the reasons ‘WHY’ you want to go to Hollywood. If your why is not bigger and stronger than your desire to go to Hollywood then simply put you will quit and not enjoy the journey. You will give up at the first sign of adversity and difficulty. The best way to find out if your WHY is stronger than your desire to act, is asking yourself the reasons why you want to be an actor in Hollywood.

 Good reason for wanting to become and actor are:

  • Because you are passionate about acting, film, art and theater and you have been involved in acting on a local scale.
  • Because you love the industry of acting, and are involved in it some what
  • Because you are genuinely talented at acting, proven by various local roles you have done at school/ college
  • Because you studied acting and going to Hollywood would open up avenues to work in your dream environment
  • Job opportunity which opened up in Hollywood

Weak reasons for wanting to become an actor:

  • I want to make a lot of money (never mistake desire for fame and money as your purpose and life dreams, life dreams are deeper than just a desire to be rich and famous)
  • My family and friends think I’m a great actor
  • I’ve always wanted to act
  • I want to be famous
  • Acting is easy anyone can do it
  • I’m bored with my current job
  • It’s on my bucket list
  • I love watching movies, acting is easy

Be prepared for anything

 It is important to note that money and fame should not be the driving dominant reason in wanting to go to Hollywood. It is important to understand that financial gain or fame should not be something you pursue because it does not bring happiness. Pursue your dreams and financial gain will follow. You can never lose money following your dreams and purpose but you can lose your purpose/ happiness following fame and financial gain. If you are going to Hollywood in pursuit of your dreams and not fame and fortune nothing will be able to stop you from achieving your dreams. If you could go to Hollywood and work as an extra for the next 20 years on minimum wage and still be happy and fulfilled you are making the right move. Pursuing purpose is something that  money cannot buy or replace.

Have big dreams, but don’t be too proud to start low and work your way up. You have to be content with working an extra job on the side, outside of your acting hours. Most people go to Hollywood and think they are going to become an instant hit, get discovered and be famous, but this only happens to less than 0.000001% of people. In other words, it’s virtually impossible. The majority of people who end up “making it” spend years being consistent in doing what they enjoy and love, sometimes going for days with no money, no place to live and no food to eat. People see a star on screen overnight but never see the years of consistency, hard work, strength and dedication. You have to possess the ability to not settle but be content with having nothing but your dreams and purpose. Enjoy the experience of acting and the exposure even if you are not getting paid but never settle for anything less than what your dream is, you should be always looking for better opportunities and never settling.

You have to be productive and hardworking where you are now before thinking about making it big somewhere else. If you are not fighting hard in your own country where the competition is not as stiff, Hollywood is going to be 100 times harder, so be prepared. Hollywood is not an easy way out, it is one of the toughest and hardest industries to break into. However, for someone who is hard working and purpose driven, toughness and hard work should not be a deterrent. Make sure that you stick to your values and morals as many have been dragged into various regrettable activities because of the desire for money, fame and fortune. The cliché action of selling everything and going to Hollywood is attractive and worth it, if you are hardworking fully convicted about acting and not expecting a hand out. If you don’t have the rock solid resolve that  acting is what you want to do,  this could be an unwise move.

Maybe you don’t even know what you want to do in life and in that case you have to find out what your purpose is. It is important to know what you are naturally good at (gifts and talents) and the things that you love and are passionate about. In other words understand what you are  talented with and what you are passionate about. The idea then would be figure out how to marry your talents and passions. A good example is Usain Bolt ( fastest man alive) who was passionate about sports and cricket before athletics, then he discovered his talent was running fast which changed his focus from cricket to sprinting. He emerged his passion for sports and his talent for running and has broken countless records on the world stage. Imagine if he had pursued cricket, some say he would not have even played for the Jamaican national team. The point is if you neither have passion nor talent in acting, review what you are about to do.

Lastly if you are indeed talented in acting and you love it with a passion then pursue it and become all that God has called you to be, but never compromise on your virtue, morals and values because Hollywood will strip you down, and chew you up leave you barren and robbed or all three.

Summary in point form:

  • Take every decision to Jesus, you never come last by putting Jesus first
  • Be mentally prepared, be honest with yourself and buffer your mind and be emotionally stable
  • What are your reason ‘WHY’ you want to act in Hollywood, money and fame are not strong enough reasons why
  • What is your purpose, you know your purpose by joining your talents and passions.
  • Be prepared for anything if you go to Hollywood
  • Have resolve about what you want to do, resolve brings hard work, consistency and strength

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