An industry primer offers novice actors a guide to surviving their early careers in Hollywood.
For new actors freshly arrived in Hollywood, getting to practice their craft on a real film set is probably the main thing on their minds. But successful actors know that there is a lot more expected of them on a movie set than mere acting. With this book, Mongiello (Start Your Own Screen-Printing Business, 2008) seeks to prepare actors for operating within the world of the film set so that they can give the finest performances and leave the best impressions. Some “actors will overwork themselves and their crews because they don’t know some basics that make for a much better movie,” writes the author in her foreword. “If you remember the suggestions in this book, then directors, producers, and crews will want to hire you over and over again.” Mongiello preaches the gospel of professionalism: showing up prepared, on time, and agreeable. She describes the processes of a set, from call sheets and one-liners to the various responsibilities of gaffers, grips, and script supervisors. She also goes into the etiquette of working with directors, hitting a mark, navigating hair and makeup, and practicing on-set ethics. In addition, the author delivers off-set advice regarding acting classes, coaches, and that trickiest of topics: money. Despite a few peculiarities (the volume is dedicated to “my dearest friend, L. Ron Hubbard”), Mongiello’s manual supplies advice that is generally practical and sound. Her prose is direct and easy to follow, as here when she provides a tip for preserving emotional continuity during scenes shot out of order: “A good way to keep track of all this is to get a hold of the continuity one-liners the script supervisor makes. These are like a table of contents for the movie. Underneath each one-liner write what the character is going through.” The work is a quick read without much filler. The author is a fellow thespian taking a newbie under her wing. Even if her counsel is sometimes clipped, it comes from lived experience and will save actors the pain of learning it for themselves.
A slim but pragmatic and helpful manual for navigating a film set.