Everyone knows that Hollywood is the mecca when it comes to a career in the entertainment business. That’s why 50,000 people moved to Los Angeles in the last year, many in hopes of being discovered and making it big in the industry. The city now taps out at a populations of over 4 million. From actors to producers, directors, singers, dancers, and everything in between, those with talent and drive will do anything to succeed, and you’d be hard pressed to hear anything but entertainment talk at any coffee shop table.
Tony Boldi, knows the landscape all too well, and he knows what it takes to make it in Hollywood. A soap opera star from General Hospital and Port Charles, Tony began his career as a musician before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Now with over 1,500 projects under his belt, Tony is an actor, producer, director, host, and musician, who is also a private and in-classroom acting coach. His students have ranged from Britney Binger from Girls Next Door, Booboo Stewart from Twilight and X-Men, and Isaac Singleton from Pirates of the Caribbean.
The People’s Mayor of Hollywood sat down with us to share his insights on what it takes to make it in Hollywood.
NYCastings: How did you become the People’s Mayor of Hollywood?
Tony: My parents were involved in politics when I was growing up and I saw so many opportunities to bridge the gap between the people and the politicians. I wanted to raise the peoples’ voice so they could be heard by the decision makers, like our very own Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. I was a big supporter of keeping films at home and working with our city organizations to find solutions for the extraordinarily high parking fines.
NYCastings: You started out as a musician? What caused you make the switch to acting?
Tony: I was in a band that traveled from Michigan to L.A. We had a mini record deal. We also had creative differences, so when the band went home, I decided to stay. I saw an advertisement taped up on a light pole and called the number. I ended up booking my very first major role on the hit feature film entitled Contact, with Jodi Foster. That led to my being a series regular on General Hospital, then Port Charles, and a lot more roles followed. Work begets work, I always say. I made sure to make the most of my contacts and stayed in touch with the various film crews and casting directors . So when they had roles open, they would call me in, and I ended up booking again and again and again. I swear that networking is the key to this town.
NYCastings: What was your first real acting role?
Tony: My first real gig was in theater playing Noah from The Rainmaker, which lead to many other plays and helped me to really master my craft. I went on to study at The Van Mar Academy of Motion Picture and Television Acting, as a student, and later became a teacher there. I eventually received an honorary PhD.,and when the legendary owner and mentor Ivan Markota passed away, he willed the school to me. I will forever be grateful to him and his teachings.
NYCastings: What was it like acting in soaps versus acting in film?
Tony: Soaps are a grind. A smart actor can take advantage of camera tech rehearsal, which is the only rehearsal you might get. It’s like going to a gym for actors. It constantly keeps you on your toes for sure. Soaps were a great training ground for me, looking back. Now with film, you can get many different takes for the editor to choose from, for the final cut performance, which the viewers get to see.
NYCastings: Who would you say has made the biggest impact on your life in the business?
Tony: I owned a few night clubs back when I lived in Michigan which gave me the confidence to make the leap to LA to start all over again. As an actor, you are in business for yourself, just like I was in the night club world. However, I would say that working at MGM, with Christian Slater’s mom Mary Jo Slater, gave me a huge eye-opening experience on how the movie business really works.
NYCastings: What is the hardest part about getting started in acting?
Tony: Just getting stared is the toughest part of acting. Be willing to get out of your own way. Learn to juggle paying your bills while studying your craft, taking head shots, getting your reel together, and always remembering that you are running your own business as an actor. This is why it’s called “Show Business.” You are literally managing your own brand. Your agent and manager work for you, not the other way around.
NYCastings: What advice would you give to those just starting out?
Tony: Start by getting into acting classes early on, as well as signing up with a background agency to get the feel for tv and movie sets. Make new contacts daily. The more people you know, the more chances you will have to work in this industry.
NYCastings: What would you tell those who are being stereotyped, or who just can’t make it to the next level?
Tony: Stereotyping is not a bad thing, if you use it to your advantage. It’s a foot in the door. Write and star in your own projects, in more diverse roles, in between those gigs.
NYCastings: Tell us about LifeForce Indy Films. When did you start and how has it grown?
Tony: I started my film company in 2003 with my feature film, In the Blink of an Eye. I was so excited about getting to produce and work with some amazing names right out of the gate. I personally employed over 200 people with that film alone. Check it out on IMDB.com
NYCasting: What are you working on now?
Tony: I am working with Majestic Productions as VP of Development & Programming, as well as producing a new film adapted by the late, Garry Marshall, from Pretty Woman/Happy Days. We are currently in the casting phase now. I also have my own acting school with an exclusive, “invite only” masters class taught by the top celebrity mentors. On the side, I DJ for celebrities like Paris Hilton and friends. You can see tons of pictures and video on my website, if you are curious. Thanks for asking. If any one would like to submit for any of my projects, just send me a note there as well.
Tony’s Top 5 Mistakes New Actors Make When Breaking Into The Business
- Not studying Your Craft
You can’t be successful at anything in life if you don’t know what you’re doing. Many actors think that looking good on camera and remembering their lines, is all it takes. There is so much more. Take classes, and then take more classes.
- Lack of Networking
Hollywood is all about networking. Some actors make the mistake of losing contact with those they’ve worked with or whom they’ve met at events. Without maintaining relationships with these contacts, they are missing out on projects.
- Not Treating Your Career As A Business
Acting is a business and “there’s no business like show business.” Those who treat it like a business are the actors who move up the ladder the fastest and who are the most successful. It’s all about branding yourself, promoting yourself, and making wise choices.
- Mishandling Money and Living Beyond Your Means
A sudden influx of money can cause some actors to make bad choices, spending all their pay, instead of investing it back into their business. This is why you see huge celebrities end up bankrupt with their houses in foreclosure and their cars repossessed. They lived beyond their means.
- Doing It For The Wrong Reasons
Those who get into acting for fame and fortune, and maybe even to attract lots of beautiful women, are in it for the wrong reasons. Acting is an art form, and if not treated as such, if there is no passion for it, most likely those people will fail.
We want to thank Tony Boldi for his time and great insights. Keep it real actors, and happy auditioning!