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Going Hollywood right at home
HOLLYWOOD USA - Randal Patrick, Phil Kramer

Book has tips on getting into show biz in places other than L.A. or N.Y.

Of the Journal Sentinel staff

So you’ve got Tinseltown dreams and a Midwestern heart?

Well, according to a one-time Wisconsinite now working in TV, you can be a player in the national entertainment industry from the comfort of home.

So goes the line in “Hollywood USA” (Eggman Publishing, 270 pages, $ 19.95). Phil Kramer, a Manitowoc native who lived in Milwaukee from 1984-87, is co-author. The book sheds light on many obscure and not-so-obscure entertainment opportunities available far from the show biz meccas of New York or Los Angeles.

“People don’t realize that the industry is spread all over the country,” Kramer said during a phone conversation. “It’s getting too expensive to do productions only in New York of Los Angeles” Kramer was on location in Lajitas, Texas, where he’s serving as art coordinator for “Dead Man’s Walk,” a TV prequel to the western “Lonesome Dove.”

Taking a step-by-step approach, the book gives the rundown on a range of gigs – from how to snare a good acting role in a major motion picture to getting your child into a local J.C. Penney Co. commercial. A list of national talent agencies broken down regionally, is included.

Along with insider tips, the book includes more than a decade of behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

Kramer, who worked as a tennis instructor at the Town Club in Fox Point and was a general manager at the then North Shore Racquet Club (now the North Shore Elite Fitness and Racquet Club) in Glendale, was lured to Hollywood 10 years ago. He returned to the Midwest to earn a business degree from Northern Illinois University and has since worked as an artistic coordinator and co-producer on commercials, TV movies and music and sports specials.

Kramer, 40, wrote the book with his actor friend and partner, Randall Patrick.

Patrick came up with the idea for the book after years of enduring the questions of those seeking to break into the industry.

“Hollywood USA” is available in local bookstores.

How to become an actor?