This is my last blog post for Hometown to Hollywood. It’s been an amazing adventure and my true honor to share it with you, and in turn, to share in the adventures of many of you.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts before I go.
“We need wit and courage to make our way, while our way is making us.”
–Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia, Part 3: Salvage
This Tom Stoppard quote from my favorite piece of theatre sums up so much of the past dozen years, and I think the path of anyone who decides to take a great risk and walk the path less traveled.
It takes tremendous courage to believe that you can succeed where the odds are so greatly against your success. To give every audition everything you’ve got when over 99% of the time you won’t get the role. And then do it again and again.
To leave everything and everyone you know and love behind, in many cases, to pursue this dream. This path is not for the faint of heart.
And yes—while we are making our way, our way is making us.
One of the biggest gifts of the past dozen years has been how this journey has shaped us as human beings. What it has called forth from us, who it has required us to be. These gifts have sometime been hard-won, but I wouldn’t trade our experience and how we have grown for anything.
Twelve years ago, when Dove was fourteen and we decided to make the big move to Los Angeles to give her a shot at her dream, we could never have known what lay ahead. We knew the odds were crazy, but we knew we’d feel better—whatever happened—knowing we had tried. We left everyone we knew behind, packed everything we owned into a moving truck, and drove down the coast from our home on Bainbridge Island.
In the dozen years since, here are some highlights:
- Dove was cast in her own show, Liv and Maddie, for which she won a Daytime Emmy
- She played Mal in the three Disney Descendants films, for which she won Favorite Movie Actress at the Kids Choice Awards
- She acted in 43 different TV shows, including Shameless, Hairspray Live, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Rising, Schmigadoon, and Big Nate
- She’s acted in films including Barely Lethal, Dumplin’, Angry Birds 2, and Vengeance
- On stages in Los Angeles, New York and London, she’s played Sophie in Mamma Mia, Cher in Clueless the Musical, and Clara in Light in the Piazza
- She signed with Sony/Columbia and began releasing her own music… this year she won Best New Artist at the VMAs, and she’s currently nominated for Best New Artist at the American Music Awards
A few years into this adventure, I decided I wanted to give back and share what I was learning with families like ours. So, I started a blog, and then wrote The Hollywood Parents Guide. Then I began consulting with parents of young actors, and young adult actors, and teaching workshops. I started a podcast, Hometown to Hollywood and wrote two more books, Young Hollywood Actors and Top Hollywood Acting Teachers. I created online courses. And I met thousands of passionate, talented young people and their hardworking, supportive parents.
Meanwhile, Claire joined us in LA, got her degree, and began her work as a voice coach, combining all the things she’d learned from over 15 years of study with her own intuitive technique. She is now one of the top vocal coaches in Hollywood and teaches students all over the world. She’s an extraordinary teacher.
And through the challenges and leaps of faith and all the learning-by-doing, we have been changed. Our way has made us. While we’ve been making our way. I’m so proud of us, and of the impact we’ve made. Dove makes an impact through her art, and through speaking her truth so that others may too. Claire helps people find their voice, both literally and figuratively. I know that my work has helped countless young actors and their families, and I hope I’ve made a difference for you.
As you know if you’ve read my last couple of emails, I’m turning my daily attention to my new endeavor, We Can Books. I’m excited about it, and I’m ready for a new challenge. If you have any 3/4/5-year-olds in your life, check it out. These special books are a fun, intuitive way for a child to learn how to read.
The Hometown to Hollywood website will continue to be here as a resource for you, and you can still access my three books on Amazon. You can also still subscribe to the Hometown to Hollywood podcast and access all 132 episodes for just $5/month. The podcast is probably the best resource around to learn how the industry really works. My hundreds of blog posts will remain for you as well. I’m going to discontinue consultations at the end of this month, on December 1, 2022.
Claire will continue to teach voice, and for anyone wondering if voice lessons can really make a difference, I recommend her highly. Her schedule is often booked solid, but she works with people both in person here in LA as well as via Skype. She’s also working hard to create an affordable membership program and should have that launched by early 2023. You can check her out at https://clairehostermanvoice.com/ .
Dove continues to push herself in both her acting and music career. She’s been working in the studio writing and recording new music and spent the summer in Vancouver filming Schmigadoon Season 2 (Schmicago!) for Apple TV. That should be out in early 2023, along with a couple of other projects. We think there will be an album and tour sometime in 2023 as well.
I’ve come to realize that all the best things in my life have come from taking a risk. Having children. Moving to Los Angeles. Reaching out first to the tall man with twinkly eyes and warm smile. And this—creating Hometown to Hollywood, and the lovely people it brought into my life. So many kindred spirits. Adventurers.
And as I said at the end of my first book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, my personal mantra has become, “May the right thing happen.” I have given up believing I always know what the right thing is. Too many times in my life, what looked like a gift was not, and what looked like disaster was actually a gift.
Our lives have been transformed by the daily acts of faith and courage that helped us put one foot in front of the other when there was no clear path.
Thank you for sharing this part of my journey. I’ve left some good maps for you, and some tools to help you find your way. I wish you and yours all the best. May the right thing happen for you.