Here are some other ways big names got their foot (feet?) in the door in Hollywood or any show business town. No two celebrities made it the same way unless maybe they were twins. Here are some things to think about as you begin your career.
Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce Lee, Steven Segal and Chuck Norris have all been able to have big screen success with their prowess at Karate and all the other methods of self-defense. Jackie Chan might be called a martial arts star but he might be more of a brilliant stunt coordinator and comedic actor.
For the past couple of decades more people have made it big in films and TV by starting with a comedy routine at a place like The Comedy Store or The Improv. Look at Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams and Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield. There still are comedy venues in every state where comedy newcomers can work. Those places do pay.It helps a little if you are funny.
Many performers who are now big movie stars began their comedy career on the NBC Saturday Night Live TV show. It has been a spawning ground for some of the most successful actors on the big screen. John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Steve Martin, Wil Farrel, Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase are just a few who come to mind.
Radio is covered in more detail in another part of this site. Johnny Carson, Rick Dees, Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern have been able to use radio as a springboard to other show business success. You can still get a start in radio in small markets and college stations.
Bess Myerson, Vanessa Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Reeves, Tawny Godin (Little), Phyllis George and many others have been in beauty contests and have won. You don't have to win. Have you ever heard of Leona Gage? Check out her story on the internet. She won Miss Universe in 1957 but was stripped (of her title). I always admired her and she did make some movies. They took away her title because it turned out not only was she not a virgin or even single. She was a married mom with two children. She looked great. I say "Hooray!"
There are actual success stories now with YouTube celebrities. If making comedy or music videos is your cup of tea, head for YouTube and work your way up to Hollywood from there. It can be done. You start, then you grow and finally you reap the reward of makin' it.
Dr. Joyce Brothers has appeared in a few comedy movies and lots of talk TV programs. She got her start in a "contest" of sorts. She was a contestant on a 50s game show called "The $64,000 Question." Her catagory was boxing. I believe she walked away with $32,000 and the fame that would help her to become famous as a TV psychologist. Phyllis Diller was a contestant on Groucho Marx's show "You Bet Your Life." She was very funny and job offers came her way after her appearance. Be seen. Be visible.
There are things you really should be doing, of course. An acting workshop, if you can afford it, is a good idea to help you learn about the business and get you accustomed to performing on a stage. If you can't handle the cost of a workshop, try starting one of your own. It will help you to establish a "peer group" which is a good foundation for you when you want to get some feedback. How to make it as an actor is the theme of most workshops.
I intend to offer some advice for creating an acting workshop or drama club sometime soon.