There may be a woman behind every successful man, but there is Marki Costello behind most of Hollywood’s successful celebrities.
Having managed and coached the likes of multiple Grammy award winner CeeLo Green, actor Dolph Lundgren and Kelly Osbourne there is little casting director Costello doesn’t know about making it in Hollywood.
And all this knowledge is encapsulated in her reality series, The Drama Queen, in which Costello shows us how she runs her talent management company.
Making it in Hollywood is no easy feat and her job is to determine those who could make it with a bit of help and those who are simply beyond help. Her theory is, most of us are more likely to be struck by lightning than make it big in Hollywood.
“In this day and age, because of the internet, especially with sites like YouTube, and because of reality TV, everybody thinks they are talented and can make it. Yet the reality is most of those people have a better chance of being struck by lightning because they have no idea what the f*** this business is about,” said Costello.
In her experience many of the people who go to Los Angeles to make it have no clear goal in mind or how to reach it should they have a dream. In fact, most of them want to be famous for the wrong reasons.
“I get about 10 000 e-mails a day where people say: ‘I need to be an actress and I want it more than life itself, oh my god’, and I ask if they have an acting reel and they say ‘no’. I then ask if they have a headshot picture and still they say ‘negative’. I pry whether they have taken an acting class, and still they say ‘no’ and then it blows my mind because I wouldn’t go to a doctor who didn’t go to medical school. So why should I hire an actor who has never acted,” she asked passionately.
On The Drama Queen, Costello takes us into her daily routine to show viewers some of these situations first-hand.
“The show is about how to navigate this thing we call ‘Hollywood’ and I am the ring leader of a group of coaches,” she said.
As for her credentials, entertain-ment runs through Costello’s blood and as much as she has tried to escape it, it is all she knows.
“I was born and raised in this crazy business we call show- business. My grandfather was a famous comedian, my mother was a casting director, my father was a record producer. I own a huge media training school and casting company. The company deals with a lot of different genres of entertainment,” explained Costello.
While The Drama Queen will show you talented people whom we will probably see prospering in a few years’ time, there will also be footage of those who never should have turned their eye on Hollywood in the first place.
“I had these two adorable kids come in with their mother so they could study acting with me. After I worked with them for two hours, they were okay, but while their mother said they wanted to be actors more than anything, I didn’t get that from them.
“I told them that acting is about becoming someone else and asked who they’d like to pretend to be and they said they did not want to pretend to be anyone. Instead, they liked playing football and other outdoor sports and I was confused until it dawned on me that their mother was the one who wanted them to act so badly,” she said.
And with child stars like Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber going on to make it big in the entertainment business, many parents in the US wish that for their own children.
“These parents realise that it didn’t happen for them or that their parents didn’t allow them to go after it so they are going to shove it down their kids’ throats. Ultimately, their kids succeeding is somehow validation that they succeeded.
“You will see on the show there is a woman who comes in with her daughter who is five. She is adorable, but her mom wants it so desperately and it’s sad because what does a five- year-old know about what they want. They just want to be a kid. My four-year-old changes his mind every day about what he wants to do when he grows up,” she explained.
Another notable factor that came out of this show was that most of Costello’s clients preferred to cut corners and avoid hard work to gain overnight success.
“That just drives me nuts. No one wants to put in the time or the education, they just want it now. And what I realised is that people don’t want to be actors or singers, they want to be famous. They want the world to love and know them. It is a huge validation because Mommy and Daddy or a boyfriend didn’t give it to them, so when they make it is almost like karma to the ones who didn’t believe in them. Sadly, that’s not enough motivation to succeed because they have nothing to back it up talent-wise,” she said.
Closely linked to laziness and lack of talent is the misconception that Los Angeles is an easy place to crack it in showbiz. On The Drama Queen Costello also deals with these kind of people.
“People think you come to LA, fill your car with gas and when you are done someone hands you a sitcom. They don’t realise that before Jennifer Aniston booked Friends, she was doing pilots and auditioning for eight years. She had been trying for that long. People need to live by the principle of 10-year overnight success in Hollywood.”
• The Drama Queen airs Tuesdays at 10pm on E! Entertainment, DStv channel 124.