The charm of Bollywood attracts everybody, irrespective of one’s geographical location and irrespective of one’s financial status. There are many who come from remote places in India to Mumbai with a dream of getting a break in Bollywood, as an actor of-course.
Surviving in Bollywood
The industry being huge, one could definitely survive doing some behind-the-camera job, and that’s what most do to survive as they put in the efforts to get that elusive break. But getting paid for performing in front of the camera can be a challenge.
For many, however, the problem is that they don’t know how to proceed.
Most think that by landing at the doorsteps of filmmakers and production studios and seeking an appointment with the bosses, they can help convince those bosses to cast them as actors.
However, that’s far from the truth. In most cases, you won’t even be able to meet the key people.
Though it’s a good thing trying to network with people, just calling up people, without adequate preparation is not going to work.
Same applies to singers and musicians as well. You no longer just go to the important people and say ‘hey listen to how I sing’ or ‘Listen to my latest composition’. That format died several years back.
I can understand that you may have been struggling in Mumbai for quite some time, and are finding it difficult to survive financially, but by calling people and asking them for work (without having anything handy to show people is not going to help you).
Where’s Your Portfolio of Work?
Today you need at least a portfolio of your work, and for best results you should be able to show it in various formats.
For wannabe models/actors, the first thing you should do is get in touch with a good fashion photographer and shoot great pictures of yours. You should ideally shoot 6-8 costume changes and get different looks for your portfolio.
For your shoot, you’ll require a designer (costume), stylist (hair) and makeup person to help you look best. Here I would suggest that rather than you figuring out who you should take on board, its best to ask the fashion photographer to arrange for their services. Most photographers give you a packaged deal that includes everything, saves you the hassles if you’re a newcomer in Mumbai.
Established fashion photographers also have contacts with casting guys and other important people in the industry, and they should be able to help you put your portfolio in front of a lot of important people.
Wannabe actors (and entertainers) will also need to have a video portfolio, and if possible include clips from your earlier shows (theatre or other events where you may have performed). In case you intend to include footage of your earlier performances, make sure you get it video-edited properly. Make the video look crisp and avoid making it seem like a drag.
Its also a good idea to have a website where you can get your important photos (and videos ) uploaded so that it becomes easier for people to check them out.
Make A start
Doing the above will obviously require you to spend some money; the good fashion photographers (with good contacts) can easily charge you around a lakh of rupees (at least) for your portfolio. If you’re on a budget, you can definitely approach the budget photographers because you’ll still need to get your portfolio made.
If you’re a struggler in Mumbai trying to get a break in the glamour industry, this is what you need to do, at least at a bare minimum.