Back to Hollywood: How Persistence Pays Off!

Not even a week ago it looked like I was going to die by spontaneous combustion while doing financial administration in a place even villagers call the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the smell of a nearby Lays factory in the early, rainy morning. But yesterday  I booked a ticket to Los Angeles, today I quit my job and June 1st I will be on a plane to Los Angeles again, on my way to meet with an agent…

And though these events were also inspired by a sad development that freed my way, they would have never had the  ”meet with an agent” part, were it not for one small thing that I nearly didn’t do because I gave up…

You may remember that when I was in Los Angeles last time, only a couple of months ago, I was very close to getting an O1 actor’s visa. You may also remember that that got blown off right before I went back to Holland, leaving me with little hope. You see, for an O1 visa you need someone to “sponsor” you, which in the case of actors means someone to represent you, like a manager or an agent. Now getting an agent or manager on it’s own is quite a big deal already, a very large percentage of US actors are unrepresented. For a foreign actor it’s even more of a hassle, because after all: why would an agent go through the trouble of sponsoring you (it’s actually not that much extra work) when there are a gazillion actors who are ready to work right away?

But I am a lucky girl sometimes. While LA is famous for it’s sharks and backstabbers and fakes, the people I met were like private little angels. The people I met gave me rides, free hair dyes, a place to live… They got me a bottle of Reisling for my first scene in class, took free headshots, and -completely fantastic- referred me to agents.

And so when I left Lalaland last time, I had one little glimmer of hope left in the last agent I was referred to, one that told me to get in touch after pilot season. So of course once pilot season ended (oh who am I kidding, the millisecond after) I sent a perfect, well thought out e-mail to said agent with a “hi” and “remember-me?” and “want-to-meet?” And then started waiting…

And waiting a while longer. A reply unfortunately never came. And Hollywood’s golden rule is that no reply is a negative reply. So when I finished my new show reel a few weeks back I didn’t think it would be of much use to send it to the agent. I even kind of forgot about it. But then right before I went to sleep I did it anyway, in just a quick 10 word e-mail. Not even an hour later I had a reply back:

Hi Shanice,

Just give us a call when you are in LA and we’ll set something up! 

Now does this mean I will get signed, get a visa, start life in Hollywood and hold a golden statue in a couple of years? No. I’ve had previous meetings with agents that didn’t work out. But the important lesson – cliche and overpresent in pop-music – is, of course: “Don’t give up.” Or: “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” Because I really didn’t think my e-mail would lead to anything anymore. And I imagine many have been there with me. But it’s exactly at that moment where you really feel it’s the end, not the ones where you think okay-one-more-time, that you should persist. This is just a small example.

So, now it’s all about making plans to get the best out of my time in LA, on which I will write here of course. In the mean time, share examples of moments in your life where persistance paid off!

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33 thoughts on “Back to Hollywood: How Persistence Pays Off!

  1. Hi Shanice, I found your blog lately and it is amazing. Your posts are always very inspiring and make me think and some of them (like this one) make me feel like the dream of acting in Hollywood can actually become true. I share your dream, but I still have the whole process ahead of me, as I am only 16. I hope to get taken on by a good Drama School in the USA after school and then I’ll probably go through the whole trying-to-get-a-visa-process like you did, because I’m Swiss.
    Did you always speak English, or did you have to learn it? And was the accent hard to master? Because that’s something I’m slightly worried about.
    Well, I just wanted to thank you for this blog, it is very informative and inspiring, as I hope that in a couple of years I’ll be on the same journey you are on now.

    • Dear Loulou, thank you for leaving your reply because what you describe is exactly the reason for me to write this blog. To help and inspire others with my experiences. And in return I get so much support from all the comments from readers! :)

    • Hi Loulou, I’m also Swiss!From Lugano, but I moved to Rome to start my acting career 10 years ago..what a coincidence to meet here! Good luck with your study and more importantly with your dream to become an actress! Tschüssli.Roberta

      • Wow, that really is funny
        You’ll see, one day there’s going to be the headline “The Swiss Are Taking Over the Acting World” or something like that ;)
        Thank you very much and of course also to you the best of luck with your career!
        Tschau :)

  2. Ik hoop dat je deze keer echt in de prijzen valt Shanice en niet voor niks naar Lalaland bent afgereisd. Inderdaad soms wordt doorzetten en vasthouden beloond. En als het voor je weggelegd is, krijg je het! Toi,toi en we duimen voor je!

  3. Hi bella! You go girl!! As soon as I got your email in my inbox this morning, I thought:” I can’t believe it!” But deep down inside my heart, I do perfectly share your same ideas about persistence! Never give up! Never give up! So, I wish you good luck back in LA and can’t wait to hear more news on your meeting with the agent…As you might remember I’m trying to work my way out to the USA, as well and hopefully one day I’ll be make it, too! big hug from Rome!xxx

    • Thanks Roberta, I wish you all the best as well. It is nice to sometimes read an actual example of all those wisdoms and sayings isn’t it? Trust me, even I lose faith in them sometimes. That’s why i thought I’d share this.

  4. HI
    Congrats!!!! Giving up is never an option, is it? The best of luck with the meeting, I think everybody will keep his fingers crossed, and so will I.
    XxX kyara

  5. That’s so great!!! I can’t wait to hear how it all turns out!

    I have a little victory of my own, or at least semi-victory, that I just have to share with some like-minded people. Last saturday I auditioned for The National Film Actor’s Academy of Denmark, and a couple of days later I got an email saying I’m called back for the second round of auditions!!
    What a self esteem boost! ;D

    Best of luck,
    Emelia (I used to comment as Emilie or Emmy)

    • Wow, awesome! Keep us updated! These little things are exactly what we should share :)

  6. Hi Shanice,

    I follow your blog from (almost) the very beginnen and you are such an inspiration to me. I love to read about your passion for acting and I will always support you with the decisions you make. I think you’re very brave by taking this step and going back to LA to persue your dream. Indeed, ‘NEVER give up on things that make you smile’. So cliche, but oh so true! I personally don’t know you, but I’m SO proud of you that you’re going back to LA and you are such an inspiration to me.

    My dream is also to become an actress, but some how, things simply don’t work out… There are a very few auditions that I can attend, because of my look. I’m 18 years old, Surinamese/Indian/Dutch look. I’m in college right now, and I have three more years to go. I don’t want to attend acting school or something, because I feel like it’s good to have some back-up plans. If I get an chance to ‘act’, it’s an extra job… And those are the kind of parts where you don’t get a chance to experience the real acting. And without some proper experience, the chance that I get picked for a real acting job is also small…

    I want to wish you all the best and luck with the meeting! Much love and ‘toi toi toi’s'!

  7. Hi Shanice!
    Ik ben nu eindelijk klaar met het lezen van je blog! Zoals je je heel misschien nog kan herinneren, was ik, nadat ik je blog ontdekt had, begonnen bij het begin met lezen en ik loop nu dus eindelijk bij!

    ik had twee vraagjes:
    1. in een blog-post over het nieuwe jaar had je een aantal punten neer gezet die je graag wilde bereiken en één daarvan was ‘becoming S.A.G’. Ik vroeg me af: wat is dat?
    2. wat is het ‘pilot season’?

    Ik hoop dat je mijn vraagjes wilt beantwoorden!

    Liefs, Danielle

    • Hi Danielle, SAG is de Amerikaanse Acteursbond, pilot season is jan-april waarin alle pilots van TV series gefilmd worden in LA. Vergeet ook niet dat Google je friend is, beide deze dingen zijn makkelijk te vinden ;)

      • oh dankjewel! ik had er eerlijk gezegd niet eens aan gedacht dat het ook gewoon op internet te vinden was.. goede tip!

  8. Hi! So happy for you, hope everything works out alright! I’ve been living in LA for 2 months now, let’s have coffee when you get here! Or if you don’t have a place to stay, you’re more than welcome to stay with me :)

    Let’s arrange thing by e-mail! When are you arriving?

    Good luck girl, keep on persisting!

    • *something. I meant “let’s arange SOMEthing by e-mail”. Sorry, I’m just super OCD with mispelling and stuff haha

      • Hi Gabriela, I touch down June 1st, drop me a mail sometime after and maybe we can work something out.

  9. Hi, I can relate really well to your story.
    I’m a 20 year old aspiring actor from Belgium.
    Earlier this year I’ve quit university to audition for Drama Schools all across the UK, I’m actually in Oxford right now.
    Last week I just came home from my 9th audition, I didn’t make it to the 2nd round in 8 of those schools, so when I came home, I was feeling quite bad with only 4 more auditions to go, it didn’t seem very likely that I would be going to drama school in September. So I was super excited when I opened my hotmail and saw that I was offered a place at the one school I did well. Rejection is not failure, it’s feedback, success is all about persistence, keep it up!

  10. Hi Shanice!

    I just found your blog and really enjoyed your posts! I’m from Switzerland and currently in Los Angeles for a few weeks, and I would be glad to meet up when you arrive here.
    We have a quite a few things in common :-)
    I just sent you a message on FB, check it out when you have a minute.

    Cheers

  11. Hi Sharice!
    I’m 23 years old and i want to go to “The acting corps boot camp II”, a program that lasts 8 weeks, I have 0 experience in acting, with the exception of two plays at my School, I haven’t persue a acting career because I live in chile and I don’t like the “showbiz” here.
    I’ts my dream to be a actress but not here, i want to go to EEUU and be a actress there, is that to impossible for a 23 year old girl with no experience and with Spanish as her first language?
    Do you know if boot camp II is a good place to practice acting? i want to go to some course in L.A but i don’t know were to go and were can i live. And in case of staying in L.A to persue a career how can i find a agent? sorry for all these questions but i have really no idea.

    Thank you!!! :)

  12. The Visa-process seems to be a hell of a hazzle. I’d love to read more about it from an actors point of view, like a step-to-step guide.

    I’m going to new york in september and have my student visa but can’t work on that. :-/

    • Hi Ellinor, yes it’s horrifying the whole visa business. You can find what you’re looking for by clicking the “visa trouble” tag in the lower right corner. Hope that helps! And keep an eye on updates, I’ll definitely write more about it.

  13. Your blog has managed to procrastinate me for a good three hours of studying for finals/exams in college. And I thank you for that. This is absolutely amazing, and this specific post you made got to me. Like you, and basically everyone whom I see commenting on this blog is an aspiring actor/actress(I’m a male). I’m 19, in college and hate it. For the longest time, like you I’ve had my eyes set on LA. I’m just attempting to work on the backbone to tell my parents and work up enough courage to actually take that step to buying a plane ticket. I’m grateful though, to have been born in the states, going through to get a visa sounds horrid. Anyways, I just wanted to say I wish you the best of luck and full confidence in you. Also, I left my facebook(if you have one) and my email if you need any monologue help. I’m sure you are wayyy ahead of me on studying and analyzing plays/scripts/etc. but there is always a play you have not read that I may have read with brilliant monologues and vise-versa. I honestly don’t think you need this, but out of respect I will leave with “Good luck”!

    • Hi Todd, thank you for your kind comments and sorry for keeping your from studying! Go back, you! Anyway, please don’t do anything you hate, especially a study because you might end up doing it 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year for 45 years. Don’t waste your time, you’ll regret it. Good luck! :)

      • I apologize for the late response. But thanks for the response! :) I know what you mean! I am merely only doing it for a back-up and the fact, of the matter I don’t think a 19 year old kid could survive in LA alone. But hope all goes well!

  14. Pingback: Sweet dreams, babygirl « Still a long way to go

  15. Hiya,

    Loving the blog!!
    my name is rose im a dutch actress living and working in (rainy) London im about to graduate from my Theatre Arts course (YES YES YESSS)
    and I just came back from LA 2 days ago (head is still banging) Had such a good time and met up with some great agents and managers and i can pass you their emails:) (email me and ill send it ) . I think you are doing such a great thing with your career and this blog Im looking to apply for the O1 Visa soon this year so maybe we could meet up :)

    xxxx
    rose

    • Hi Rose, congrats on your impending graduation! What school did you attend? And wow on the meeting with agents and managers, did you find anyone that will sponsor you? Would be nice to meet up, e-mail me anytime.

  16. Hi Shanice

    I feel so lucky to have read your blog. I have a hollywood dream in my heart. I m Chinese, and I’ve got a F1 student visa in somewhere near L.A.
    I really want to work in the scenes, even with no payment…
    But do you know is there any chance those directors will hire someone with no O1 visa, just a F1 visa?

    Hope you all the best! persistence is the most important trait for someone who succeed in the end!

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