Home / MUST HAVES / STRANGERS IN A FOREIGN LAND

STRANGERS IN A FOREIGN LAND

This section is for you wonderful actors from foreign countries, who are considering testing the waters in Hollywood. You may very well be fully aware of what we’re about to say, but perhaps you should read this anyway.

It has never been easy to begin a career of any type in the United States unless you have the proper work documents. Since 9/11, it has become next to impossible to enter the United States with the intention of working, no matter which country you’re coming from. Between our government’s rigid restrictions and those of your homeland, it can take literally years to obtain the proper clearances.

Actors face additional hurdles, unless they are already world-famous (no! just being a “star” in your own country does not guarantee entry here!). Proving that you are going to be able to support yourself (and not become a burden on us!) is one of those hurdles.

You must come here with a proficiency in English, first of all. The only language other than English in which you can possibly hope to make a living is, of course, Spanish, since Telemundo and Televisa have become major Spanish-language networks in the U.S. There are a handful of stations that cater to other nationalities, such as Japanese, Korean, Armenian, etc., but they provide very, very limited opportunities to work. So, even if you have an accent in English (and who doesn’t?!), you must feel comfortable enough to perform in the language of this country.

We won’t pretend to know all of the rules and regulations that will inhibit your ability to work here. It’s up to you to investigate that yourself, before leaving home. There is nothing worse than knowing that you are in this country illegally, just waiting for our immigration service to come knocking on your door. But we do have one suggestion:

There are a number of excellent acting schools in Hollywood that cater to foreign students. They can help their students obtain certain types of work visas, at least for part-time work. Here are links to two of the oldest:

THEATRE OF ARTS/ACT HOLLYWOOD www.acthollywood.com

LEE STRASBERG INSTITUTE www.strasberg.com

You should also check on a couple of our universities that have great theater arts departments: U.C.L.A., U.S.C., LOYOLA, CHAPMAN and CAL ARTS.

You may have heard that if a movie studio hires you for a role in a film, they can sponsor you for up to a year. That is true. What you may not have heard is that this type of temporary sponsorship limits you to only working for that particular studio during that one year period. You may also have heard that if an agency takes you on as a client, they might be willing to sponsor you, too. Don’t count on that happening – it’s easier said than done.

The bottom line to all of this is: Be very careful before attempting to make a move to Hollywood. Everything that we have said throughout this website applies to you, plus the added burden of being a stranger in this very foreign land.

Bon chance! Buena suerte! Viel Glück! Good luck!

About Kris Malone

Kris Malone is the nom de plume of a longtime Hollywood talent agent. Kris created this website as a way for actors to improve their chances of making it in Hollywood, not as a way to reach the agency for possible representation. Kris wishes all of you actors out there the best of luck, laced with a big dose of reality and plain old common sense.

2 comments

  1. I am currently finishing my studies in English Language and Literature in a greek University and I have taken a few acting classes -just a few. The few remaining drama schools here require 3-4 years of studying, and I am already 23. So I am thinking about moving to LA to start my studies on acting, since my main goal always was to go to a place providing more opportunities (nothing is moving here in Greece, especially in the field of arts). Any ideas on what my steps should now be? Should I start here in Greece first, or would it be better if I build my career from scratch in the country that I eventually want to work in? Of course the second seems the most difficult and almost “impossible” choice, but I think studying in the country that you aim to work in later, helps to adapt to the new environment, fill in any cultural gaps, or even maybe making some connections in the acting industry. Any help would be appreciated!

  2. I know am a full blooded 100% actor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Scroll To Top