Marissa Thomas left her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to pursue her dream of acting in Hollywood. Without industry contacts, she had to educate herself about the business. In How Not to Succeed in Hollywood, Marissa shares her experiences, both good and bad.
In addition to writing, Marissa is a licensed hair stylist. She also enjoys painting and produced the artwork for the cover of How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.
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About the Book:
In HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD, Marissa Thomas offers readers an inside view of one young woman’s journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an actor. The personal and humorous story of Lisa reveals the often difficult and inspiring process of navigating the entertainment industry.
The acting bug bit Lisa during her first elementary school talent show. After receiving positive reviews for her performance from her fellow students and impressed parents alike, Lisa basked in the high she felt from being on stage. She ventured further into the acting world as a teenager when she enrolled in a twelve-week acting program. Although plagued with some doubt about her potential to become an actor, the experience reignited the spark that had originally lead her down the road of performance.
HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD follows the staggered path that Lisa took on her journey to achieve her acting dream. Her love for acting expanded when Lisa entered college and began auditioning for plays produced by the theater department. Reassured by the exhilaration she felt while acting, Lisa made the decision to leave her home and move to Hollywood to pursue her passion, but first she had to tie up a few loose ends. After a whirlwind romance with a fellow student, Lisa found herself moving into her own apartment while juggling school and work, as well as taking the steps to fill out her acting resume. A car accident that resulted in serious physical injuries led to a slowdown in her momentum. However, Lisa’s best friend, Mike, who already had a solid plan to move to Hollywood, gave her the encouragement she needed to overcome multiple obstacles so that she could move forward with her goal.
Marissa wrote HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD to give “anyone curious about Hollywood culture another point of view from someone coming from a completely different world, aka the Midwest, taking the plunge, and immersing herself in a new life.” Marissa says the book is “the story of my life. I can’t tell anyone any surefire methods of getting cast for your dream project. I’m just sharing my life experience. Anyone with a relentless dream has to find sanity in the limbo between a self-motivated fantasy career and the harshness of having to survive real life in the process. We’re all human, and sometimes all you can do is laugh. Set a goal, and break a leg.”
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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
While doing hair, small talk would lead first time clients to ask questions about my experience, where I was originally from, etc. Talking about taking a break from hair and living in LA, the next question was always about whether I had stories to tell about sets and actors. The response to my stories, was that I should write a book. I’d tell them that the idea sounded good, but the only title I could think of was How Not to Succeed in Hollywood. From there, I used the title, and simply had to write the story
Can you tell us what your book is about?
My book is a comedic accumulation of my experiences trying to get to and survive in Los Angeles to pursue a legitimate acting career.
Can you give us an excerpt?
“I’m glad you get to come to opening night of the play,” I said to my boyfriend, casually, while we started digging into our boxed dinner.
“I know. I’m glad, too. You’ve been working hard, and it seems pretty important to you,” he replied.
“It is. We’ve all been working on it for months,” I reminded him.
“Well, is it because you’ve been spending all this time on it, or is it because it’s something you really want to do?” he asked.
It seemed like a very obvious question. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Why do we put all the time and effort into projects like this? Projects that don’t provide a paycheck, cause us to rearrange our schedules, and even add stress due to the unwritten requirement to provide a quality performance. He really made me think. It wasn’t even a conscious decision on my part. I welcomed the chaos of the production into my life. The answer to his question was as obvious as the soy sauce on the egg rolls.
My mind started to wander. I almost felt like I was becoming a part of an actors’ anonymous group and professing my addiction. My name is Lisa, and I’m an actress. I could picture the scene: Beautiful people sitting in a circle, each of them with a monologue in hand. And everyone waiting his or her turn to speak about the repercussions, good and bad, that the industry has had their lives. It was like a support group, to help each other through the bad auditions, drop hints about where to find the legit ones, and tips on how to nail them. Who knew how true that statement was? After a brief moment of fantasy, I was back to reality.
“I do. I really want to do it.” I turned back to my food and continued eating. “It’s something I want to pursue.” It felt good to say it out loud, to admit it to myself.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Don’t waste time being skeptical of your own skills.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
I have heard from my hair clients who have purchased my book, that it made them laugh. Even though I don’t have a typical professional writing style, that they really enjoyed the story, and they want more.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
One of my best friends picked up the book and started reading random pages. He was laughing as he read them out loud, insisting that he liked the story, but told me that my writing needed help. It stuck with me. Not that it bothered me, since being an author was the last thing on my mind. Long as my name gets spelled right, I’m very contented being perfectly imperfect.
What has been your best accomplishment?
Seeing my finished product available for sale on Amazon. It showed me that my efforts have been worthwhile.
Do you Google yourself?
I haven’t. Since I self-published and tried to contribute to MarissaThomas.net, I’m not sure there’s much more out there to find, yet.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have a few projects that I’ve been working on. You never know what can happen!
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Don’t be afraid to trip and fall on your ass. Set a goal, and break a leg!