Eight Tips for the Aspiring Shooting Star
Congratulations: You've done it. Toward year's end, your agent informs you that a selection committee has nominated you as your country's prospective Shooting Star. About eight weeks later, there's another call: You're in.
When in doubt, lie
Looking it up online, you find out you're under 35, speak fluent English and have established a successful professional career in your native country. If any of this comes as news to you, don't let on.
Bring your agent
European Film Production, which organizes Shooting Stars, does not pay for your agent, manager or publicist to come to Berlin (it might spring for parents if you're under 18), but you should convince your representatives to attend on their own dime. Just mention the many parties and events you can get them into, and they'll probably jockey for position.
Be ready to party
"I got drunk; I danced a lot; I laughed a lot," says Edward Hogg, a Shooting Star last year. But keep in mind, Hogg is British and comes from a proud tradition of thespians known for at least two of those activities. Germans are not known for their sense of humor or for dancing, but drinking is par for the course, which leads us to ...
Be able to get up early after a party
"I think some of us had quite a tough time in the morning, but everybody made the early-morning meetings," Hogg says. While he had nabbed a role in Roland Emmerich's upcoming drama Anonymous and was set for the time being, Hogg says being a Shooting Star offers opportunities not to be missed. "To meet and talk to casting directors and directors from all around Europe. Just people you wouldn't have a chance to meet in your life."
Bring reels and headshots
"I love it when actors give me material, especially hard-copy material," says Lina Todd, a founding member of the Shooting Stars casting network. "I get e-mails from around the world every day, and I can't properly file them."
Collect business cards
"Who did we meet? I met ... I'm terrible with names -- I can't remember anyone," admits Hogg, adding that his agent kept track of such things at the event. But while he's very happy with his representation, you might not be in a year or so. Your agent might have done a pretty good job so far, but you'll want to hold on to those contacts, just to be sure.
"It's a very important thing to follow up, to let us know when they pay a visit to Los Angeles or New York, let us know what they are doing and keep us informed on what's new and exciting in their professional lives," Todd says. It is, indeed, because many people you'll meet at Shooting Stars will return next year and meet another 10 exciting European actors.
"It's not at all like boot camp. It's like the flashiest business holiday you've ever been on," Hogg says. "Just have a very nice time. It's such a brilliant opportunity. Eat the free food, drink the free booze, and meet the nice people."