Wednesday, December 27, 2017

MEET THE AUTHOR: 'HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD' MARISSA THOMAS






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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Title: HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD
Author: Marissa Thompson
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 436
Genre: Humor/Fiction

BOOK BLURB:
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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What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I got my cosmetology license before moving to LA.  And, when I moved back to Minneapolis, I went back to doing hair part-time.  Clients would ask me to tell them about experiences in LA, and then tell me that I had to write a book.
                                                     
Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

Whether I want to or not, when I’m watching a movie, I’m also studying it.  I don’t take notes, but I’m checking out the background, and the blocking, and studying the actors’ expressions and reactions while delivering lines.  I watch how they deliver lines, what I like and what I think they should have done differently.  I imagine how long it must have taken to set up and shoot five minutes of the film.  How many takes it took to get every angle of a scene.  When I’m reading, I’m picturing scenes.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

I’ve always had a passion for improvisational acting.  Writing my own monologues always sounded like an unwelcome chore.  It wasn’t until I went back to doing hair and my clients asking me about being on set, and then telling me that I should write a book that I considered putting one together.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I’m a hairstylist working full time at a corporate salon.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

We all have our own ways of getting things done.  The one and only tip I can give anyone, is to just sit down at your laptop, and don’t pressure yourself to make the first draft perfect.  Just see what comes out, and take it from there.  You may find more inspiration in random thoughts.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

I would like to say no, but I’m sure that’s not true.  I have great memories from acting in MN and starting out in LA.  Regardless of what’s going on around me, it was fun to sit down and reminisce with friends that live both here and there.  I might think that other things won’t stop me, but I’m sure they contributed to a few shorter, or less productive writing sessions.

What hours do you write best?

I didn’t make the conscious decision, but I’ve learned that I write best in the morning.  I’m up early whether I want to be or not.  And, if I can write with a clear mind, I get a lot more done.  If I have an idea at work or the gym, I either lose the thought by the time I get back to my laptop, or cut my cardio short.

How often do you write?

Since my book came out, I have been writing at very random times.  Sometimes multiple times a week, and sometimes only weekly.  It’s just a matter of breaking down where I want to go from here.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

I discovered it by accident.  Only recently, but I can picture my tenth grade English teacher being proud.  Maybe not of the spelling and punctuation, but at least of the effort.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few projects I’m working on.  You never know what can happen!

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