Thursday, May 30, 2024

David Bolno on How to Flourish in Hollywood

David Bolno wears a lot of important hats in managing the careers and brands of A-list talent like that. He oversees things like their professional teams, negotiates major deals, maps out priorities and long-term planning, manages estates and assets, and so much more backstage. Put simply, he’s an indispensable fixer and strategist for elite entertainers. 

Photo by De’Andre Bush on Unsplash

But beyond just being a renowned business manager, Bolno is also deeply passionate about mentoring up-and-coming professionals trying to break into the industry. He sees nurturing new talent as absolutely vital for the future of the entertainment world in Hollywood and beyond.

After decades of guiding so many renowned artists and witnessing what separates the flash-in-the-pan acts from those with real staying power, Bolno has developed a strong perspective on what it truly takes to make it big and sustain that success as an entertainer.

Master Your Craft Relentlessly

This one may seem obvious, but Bolno can’t stress enough just how dedicated you have to be to constantly honing and improving your core skills and talents day after day, year after year if you want to make it huge.

Far too many aspiring entertainers get caught up in the fantasies of fame and fortune while losing sight of the hard work and grinding it takes to get to an elite level. Whether you’re an actor drilling script, a musician woodshedding your instrument, or a writer polishing screenplays – daily practice to elevate your craft is job one.

Bolno advocates for immersing yourself in educational resources, taking classes from respected industry mentors, getting coaching, and always striving to add new tools to your toolkit. The second you think you’ve peaked or don’t have more to learn is usually when you start getting passed up by hungrier and more adaptable up-and-comers. Mastery is an endless pursuit – embrace it.

Cultivate Your Personal Brand and Network

In today’s digital world, it’s absolutely critical for aspiring entertainers to put real work into cultivating a personal brand, leveraging social media, and building up a network of valuable connections and supporters. This goes for actors, musicians, writers, influencers – everyone.

Bolno also preaches about the immense importance of networking from day one – meeting other talented people, attending relevant events, exchanging contacts, learning from respected professionals, and putting yourself out there. You never know when a random connection in your network could open up a golden opportunity down the road.  Successful careers in Hollywood thrive on relationships and shared experiences just as much as raw talent.

Be Resilient and Stay Persistent

Perhaps the biggest prerequisite for making it in the entertainment world that Bolno stresses is having an incredibly resilient mindset and spirit that lets you power through rejections and setbacks. This industry is absolutely rife with people being told “no” or facing adversity – even bonafide legends faced years of naysayers earlier in their careers.

With so much competition and subjectivity in what becomes the next big hit movie or album, rejection and critique just come with the territory. You have to develop the emotional resolve to take that feedback, honestly evaluate where you may need to improve further, and then bounce back persistently time and time again until you break through.

Throughout his career, Bolno has seen so many immensely talented individuals wilt after too many “no’s” or negative reviews. And he’s watched others use that adversity as fuel and motivation to become even hungrier while working on their weaker areas. Those are the ones who sustain long-lasting careers. You can’t let the setbacks and ego bruises derail your persistence and self-belief ultimately.

Seek Out Guidance and Ask for Help

On a similar note, Bolno is a huge proponent of aspiring stars being incredibly proactive in seeking out mentors, advisors, and more experienced guides who can help accelerate their development and navigate the hurdles of the industry earlier. Going at it completely alone with no support system is a recipe for stagnation and mistakes.

Whether it’s finding respected acting coaches, job-shadowing established filmmakers, or even hiring professional representatives like publicists or business managers – having those more knowledgeable voices in your corner can be absolutely game-changing for your growth.

Bolno himself spends a significant amount of time mentoring burgeoning pros because he sees first-hand how valuable that wisdom is. It can mean the difference between becoming another showbiz statistic or separating yourself from the pack in a sustainable way.

Money Management and Long-Term Thinking

Speaking of professional representatives, one area Bolno feels is woefully under-emphasized early on for many talents is money management and strategy for the long haul – both of which can derail even the most explosive initial career if not handled correctly.

So many young actors, musicians and creatives find themselves swimming in sudden money and opportunities without any real guidance on how to properly handle it and think far ahead. It’s easy to blow through fortunes without setting yourself up for the big picture. And it’s easy to make short-sighted decisions while caught up in the heat of the moment early on.

Having a level-headed team around you like an experienced business manager in addition to lawyers, accountants, wealth advisors and others focused on your big-picture interests over decades can protect you from draining your resources too fast or sacrificing long-term goals.


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