When you’re in the thick of things, trying to be discovered, trying to succeed, trying to survive in Hollywood, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that your heroes – the people who have found success, who are where you want to be, have just always been there. They just apparated right there, in the center of success.

But the fact is, everyone of us started somewhere, and it’s not THERE, even if your daddy’s Ivan Reitman or your mother’s Debbie Reynolds or your uncle is Francis Ford Coppola.

That’s why I listen to interviews, read biographies, watch documentaries. I’ve researched, collated and reported the Hollywood stories on this blog to keep myself grounded and remind all of us that, even with a late start, you can find success.

A top comedy manager tells the story of a persistent little guy, standing outside the bar where they do the weekly SNL post-taping party, always begging him to be his guest, get him into the party, take my jokes, my sketches, show them to someone.Offering to pay the manager to get him into the private party. But time and time again, this manager had to turn down — Zach Gallifinakis.

A prominent producer talks about her early days in Hollywood, working for a casting director at a studio and looking up one day to find one of the handsomest young men she’d ever seen, standing in her office, out of breath. Two problems, he came to the wrong place for the audition, and he was already 15 minutes late for his call time. So she gave him directions. He didn’t book that job, but he did get the next one, for a small role in Thelma & Louise — Brad Pitt.

A legendary actor, producer and directorexplains how little interest he had when his casting associate, who also happened to be his sister, told him he needed to see ‘this guy she saw busking at the Santa Monica pier.’ In a bind and desperate to find someone to cover a small guest role in the TV show he was showrunning, he gave in and told her to call him. The next day, he walked into his office and a strange man was sitting on his head in the outer office chair. He ushered the guy in, amazed by his strange behavior, then cast him, changed the script to incorporate the man’s improv-ed oddities, then gave him his own TV show based on the strange character inspired by the son of the producer’s love of Star Wars — Robin Williams.

We all start somewhere. And even if it’s hard to see now, the only rule that works in this town is persistence. There are talented people who gave up and went home, never finding success and there are semi-talented (or no-talented) hacks who find six figure success in this business because they just refused to let go of their dreams. Be one of them. I am.