Every year, thousands of people decide to chase the dream of becoming a movie star. And every year,
thousands of people let that dream die.
Becoming a movie star is no small feat. Yet at the same time, it's not impossible either. It is simply hard. Hollywood is very demanding, and those who aren't willing to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to it will be chewed up and spit out with all the others who couldn't hack it.
But for those who commit themselves to chasing movie stardom until their dying day, there are many rewards that potentially await them. Some find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Others spend their lives in cinematic purgatory, always playing the same small supporting parts and wondering how they came up short.
A wise someone once said that "life's not fair", and that has been a mantra for those who have been unwilling to put in the effort to drag themselves out of the muck for centuries. The truth is that life's not unfair either. There is vast opportunity out there, and the fact of the matter is that those who are willing to put in the work for it will prosper.
Take Brad Pitt, for example.
In 1982, young Brad Pitt graduated from high school at the age of 18. His whole life was already laid out for him.
He would attend the University of Missouri, he would major in journalism (with a focus on advertising), he would graduate,
get himself a decent marketing job, and work for the next 40 years until he retired. And that's just what he set out to do.
However, somewhere along the way, Mr. Pitt seems to have lost sight of his goals. For in 1986, when he was a mere 2 credits shy of graduating and making his family proud, he made the seemingly irrational decision to drop out of college and ran off to Hollywood.
Now prior to this, Brad had never expressed any interest in acting. Aside from a play he once performed in with his fraternity, Sigma Chi, no one knew of any passion for drama that he might have possessed.
That spring, Brad packed his bags, hopped into his car, and with just $325.25 in his pockets, he headed for California. He had virtually no acting experience and zero training, but he decided that he simply loved movies so much that he just couldn't settle for a normal life.
When he finally reached Los Angeles, he moved into a flat in North Hollywood with eight other guys. They had no furniture and no beds to sleep in. Just a sleeping bag for each of them, a TV, a stereo, and a toaster oven.
To pay their bills, the guys would go to a place called the Job Factory where people would employ day laborers to do odd jobs. You think waiting tables is bad? Brad's jobs included moving refrigerators, selling cigarettes, and once, he had to dress up as a giant chicken and stand out on Sunset Blvd in 100° weather for El Pollo Loco.
After getting an agent, Brad started booking small jobs like his stint on the sit-com "Head Of The Class" and an episode of "Growing Pains". He also booked other TV jobs on shows like "Another World" and "Dallas". However, as you'll read later, TV work does not lead to movie stardom. So how did he do it?
Well, like any other beginner actor, he started his movie career doing extra work as a background "actor". And after doing
three of these, he got his first supporting role in the straight-to-video movie
After this, he got an audition for an upcoming movie called Thelma & Louise. He played only a supporting role in this movie (a small-time thief named J.D.), but upon its release, Brad was exposed to a whole new world.
It would be this role that would get the attention of bigger more powerful agencies that might want to sign him. It was that role that would make big time filmmakers start making him offers for their movies. And just a few months later, he got the lead in his first big hit, A River Runs Through It.
With the credit of headlining a major studio film, Brad Pitt's salary sky- rocketed from $6,000, which he was paid for Thelma & Louise, to $500,000, which he was paid for Kalifornia, a film that was released 11 months after the huge success of A River Runs Through It.
At this point, most people would consider him a movie star. He had the fame from his hit movie, he was making more money in a couple of months than 95% of everyone makes in a year, and he had nowhere to go but up.
He was no longer auditioning for parts, the multi-million dollar offers for lead roles were on the horizon, and he'd been labeled a hot new sex symbol. But it's at that point that the difference between real movie stars and those who got lucky get sorted out.
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