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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill Breaking into the Business Adam Hill offers expert tips to help you get started in show business I had the good fortune to be born in Newark, New Jer- sey, almost a suburb of New York City. It was an hour bus ride into the “City,” as Manhattan was affection- ately known. There, I was able to see as many Broad- way Shows as possible. I was also fortunate to be born at a time when this was affordable for a teenager. Five dol- lars was the cost of a standing room ticket, which was my preferred ticket at the time. As children, my brother and I performed, singing and dancing, in and around Newark. This was my introduction into show business. However, when puberty set in my brother decided all this singing and dancing was nonsense and quit the act. My mother decided I should consider giv- ing it up, as well. The years passed. My love for show business never di- minished. In my late teens I became a member of a dance company in New York. Eventually, I acquired a dance part- ner and with good luck and a wonderful agent I began to work in clubs all over the East Coast and on television. This was great experience being in front of an audience and learning what it was like to be on a television set. This helped me signiﬁcantly later when I began my acting career. In my early twenties my agent approached me with an op- portunity to perform in Europe and Asia. This stopped me short. I didn’ t want to spend my life in nightclubs; I wanted to be an actor. I informed my agent to stop negotiations and quickly enrolled in Stella Adler’ s Acting Academy in New York where I studied for the next two years. I sold ties at Saks Fifth Ave to pay my way through acting school. 108 PAGEANTRY MATT DAMON Right out of acting school, I was lucky enough to be- come a journeyman for the wonderful Broadway theatre company, A.P.A. I am eternally grateful for that incredible opportunity which not only expanded my knowledge of the craft, but taught me a work ethic that I hold dear to this day. Afterwards, I performed in one play after another. After one such engagement, a group of actors from that company whom I’ d helped with their performances asked me if I would teach them for a couple of weeks. I told them I wasn’ t a teacher, and they didn’ t seem to care. I said okay, and that was the beginning of my teaching career. That day I discovered teaching was my true calling. You may be thinking: That’ s how you got started, Adam, but how do I start? There is no set way to begin a career in any profession. May I suggest you start by cleaning toilets? This suggestion may not be so strange when you consider the following: Bar- bara Streisand cleaned the toilets at her acting school in New York City when she was a beginning student. Danny Glover claims he was cleaning a toilet in a little theatre in San Fran- cisco when he was called to the pay phone (an instrument of communication before cell phones) where he was told he had won his break though movie role in Places in the Heart. Den- nis Hopper was an actor who appeared in over two hundred ﬁlms beginning with 1954’ s Rebel without a Cause, through his gig as a regular on the 2010 television series Crash. He frequently told how at the beginning of his career his job was to clean the toilets at the La Jolla Playhouse. The lesson to be learned from the above is that you start at the beginning, no matter where and how, and then do whatever is necessary. “All the good actors I’ve met have a great respect for the craft.”— Matt Damon STEP ONE If you wish to begin a career in acting you ﬁrst must clar- ify just what it is you really want. Is your pursuit going to be a hobby, or do you want a lifelong career? Both can begin any place. Most towns have small colleges within a reason- BREAKING INTO SHOWBIZ Continued on page 148