Growing up I always thought of LA as the land of beautiful, sun-kissed skin people who have big egos and not a genuine bone in their body. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this idea of LA. After all it is home to some of our favorite, and least favorite, celebrities. With the entertainment business so big in the area, I believed that it was home to nothing but fake people. Because of this thought, I thought you had to be fake to make it in the industry. So as I prepared to spend the semester living in LA and working in the industry, I got in the mindset of dealing with fake people and even being required to be fake myself.
However, when I arrived in LA I found this mentality to completely wrong. The first week of being in LA we had the opportunity to listen to many entertainment industry experienced speakers and panels. While listening to all of them I noticed a theme about how to get a job and be successful in this business. Every panel and every speaker would emphasize that you must be genuine in your work. If you are genuine in your work, they said, your passion will shine through and employers will see that. Being fake is easily spotted in this city and no one wants to work with that.
As classes started the following week this theme kept showing up. I signed up for the acting for non actors course taught by Barbara Deutsch. “Ok,” I thought, “Acting must be fake. It’s by definition playing someone other than yourself.” Turns out I was wrong about even that. Barbra told us that as an actor you must believe what you are saying. You must be genuine to yourself to be able to act well. Even when attending an acting class the instructor told us what you need to be a successful actor. You need to study the art in the technique but that is only half of it. She explained that you also have to put yourself into the the character. It is required to put yourself into your character to make it real and authentic because if there is not real and authentic the audience will not believe the character. Once again, I was surprised to find out that the part of LA I believed to be the most fake turns out to require authenticity.
As I got ready to live and work in LA, I prepared myself for the land of fake people who have no interest in the others living in the city with them. I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that to be successful in LA, the best quality is to be genuine.