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Name: Todd Sandomirsky
Hollywood North is tough enough as it is, but how about trekking south to the real Hollywood? It’s a thought a lot of actors like Todd Sandomirsky have entertained.
“I realize the talent pool is much bigger in L.A., but I feel I do good bookable auditions almost all of the time here, and feel good about my talent. If I had more opportunities to audition and continue to do strong work in the room, that will translate as well,” the 37-year-old actor says when asked about trying to break into Hollywood.
It’s the “throw-caution-to-the-wind” type of attitude actors are known for. They, after all, are actors. And let’s face it, it’s not a career path many can stomach emotionally or financially.
According to the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), actors earn on average $8,000 a year. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not much higher in the U.S. Plus, the competition is far more intense. There are nearly 100,000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members in America, 55,000 of which live in L.A. alone.
However, if you are bent on breaking into Hollywood, follow Sandomirsky’s lead.
Step one: Research. Talk to other actors and immigration lawyers. You’ll soon become familiar with the different types of work visas (like the O-1) available to performers and its costs — usually tagged in the thousands of dollars if being sought with the help of a lawyer.
Step two: Make sure your credentials are up to scratch. Publicity of your career achievements will also bolster your visa efforts. In Sandomirsky’s case, his resumé encompasses a masters degree in fine arts from York University and years of acting experience, including projects headlined by such established stars as Ellen Page, Jim Caviezel, Ving Rhames and Val Kilmer.
“XIII is a political action thriller based on the popular French graphic novel and comic book series by writer Jean Van Hamme in which the first female U.S. president is shot dead during her Independence Day speech,” says Sandomirsky of his work with Kilmer. The joint French-Canadian mini-series is scheduled to air on Global Television and NBC in October.
Steps three and four follow: Getting approval from a U.S. performers’ union like SAG to work in the U.S. and lining up employment gigs. The Catch-22 ring of it all may sound rather daunting, but if you’re as passionate and driven as Sandomirsky, you’ll find a way.
“I think an actor’s spirit is a curious, questing spirit,” says Sandomirsky. “I love it and just try to keep the faith.”
An award-winning and multi-faceted media personality, Lawrence’s career spans journalism, television (hosting, acting, producing) and public relations (event management, publicity). Log onto lawrence-chau.com for more buzz.