How to break into Hollywood

How to become an actor, How to break into Hollywood (actually this post should be: How I broke into Hollywood!)

Once upon a time, 

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(Me, 8 years old. That’s me on Warner Brothers lot for Lethal Weapon 4- so awesome, I missed 3 weeks of school for this movie shoot! 😀  And yes, those are Disney running shoes….You win a prize if you know which character I have on my shoes! )

There was this little girl. Who had a big, BIG dream. She hoped and wished with all her might: that one day she would be in front of a camera, win a Oscar (come on, I think every actor has thought of this), perhaps be the star of her own Disney Channel original tv show or movie, or just the chance to be a part of the magic of movies. Well, its been a while since that little girl thought about that. But that dream still exists…

(I got really lucky.)
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(Yup, thats me. In all my 8 year old glory. Thank you- Lethal Weapon 4! <3 Best first time anything experience, ever.)

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(On Nickeldeon’s  Zoey 101 set, yeah- in between takes- I got shielded from the hot hot heat.) 

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(On Nickeldeon’s Zoey 101 set.)

Ever since a really young age. I’ve loved acting. I’m weird though: I do get shy, quite often- I get nervous, I get the whole sweaty palms, over worry and insecure thing. But I can’t explain it. That rush I get before going inside that casting room, performing on stage or finally landing a job. Its incredible, indescribable. There’s so much I want to write about-but I don’t wanna bore you. I’ll just graze the surface of what I feel 🙂 Hope you enjoy this post.

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iCarly, anyone!? Yup, got to play Celine on this show!

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As you can tell, I’m really happy. With the star of iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove.
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(On SONY studio- shooting ABC’s Cavemen, thanks mom for being there every step of the way)

The agents in LA: 

You need to get a headshot, a resume, a reel and compile as much stuff as you can on it with your experiences, training, skills, etc.

Send out those resumes, reels and headshots after you’ve done your research to as many reputable management companies and agencies as you can. (I did it the old fashion way. There’s theatrical , modeling and commercial- most people start out being signed to the commercial and print division, while working on their craft.)  You will need an agent. Your agent helps you find jobs. They get casting notices and send your information, pictures to the production company.

If production company likes you- you get called in for an audition.

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Shooting away in Hong Kong. I’ve been here for the past 4 years. And so thankful for every single experience!! Thanks to my amazing team at Bullet Films

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Short film for Tie The Knots.
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I got the opportunity to shoot a movie in Beijing, China. 
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Being able to watch myself on screen in All’s Well Ends Well!

I got to film numerous commercials too…. 🙂

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Circle K.
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A slew of Cafe de Coral commercials….

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This was the first one we shot!

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My new film, An Inspector Calls is out! Buy it on dvd! <3

The audition process in LA:

It’s terrifying, it’s nerve wrecking and it’s exciting. I’ve been to countless auditions and I love them. I really look forward to the audition. The process is never the same and it’s also one of the most gratifying things.

Your agent will send you sides (basically a section of the script that the movie/tv show casting department wants you to go in and read for).

DO YOUR BEST, whatever it takes- to practice, practice, practice. Sure, some people have crazy talent and can wing it and improvise. Kudos to you. But if you are like me (and maybe the rest of the population) then you need the practise- and you want to kill it, do your best. Go all in and do it! Memorize those lines. My mentality is that if you are going to go all the way to that audition- you might as well go in and do your very best. You can control only what YOU can control- so go in and KILL IT!

I always arrive early. Being early, being on time- is professional and hopefully appreciated! My parents have always instilled that in me. I’m very grateful for overly supportive parents. 🙂 Thank you mami and babi. For a long time (when I wasn’t able to drive yet), my parents would drive me over 2+ hrs to go to LA and audition (thats not even including the drive back). Some times the audition lasts 10 minutes (thats already a long time), others last barely 30 seconds. The waiting however- takes upwards of an hour or so….honestly, every one of them is different. But I treat them all the same- overly anxious, driven and to try my very best.

Finally its just you, the camera (and actually the casting director, assistants and some people from the production side may be there)….and its just up to you! Go have fun. You’ve practised enough- now just go and do your best.

Sometimes, you get lucky- you get a callback, book and land a tv show or movie. Other times, just remember: it’s not about you. The producers and casting department have a specific look in mind, and you should just keep going at it. Keep going for your dream. 🙂

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I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and so fortunate that I’ve even landed some tv shows and movies. And, I promise you; you have not seen the last of that little girl: Miss Jessica Jann has sooooo much more to offer! 😉 Watch out world.

Thanks for reading my story. <3

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<3 Always Jess