If you want to treat yourself to a valentine that will help you navigate career challenges and maybe even improve your life, there’s a book by actress Robin Riker called “A Survivor’s Guide to Hollywood.” It’s not just for showbiz folks, it is full of great advice, intelligent insights, and great motivation to get ahead in a variety of business and personal ventures.
The entire title of the book is “A Survivor’s Guide to Hollywood: How to Play the Game Without Losing Your Soul,” and it is written from the heart and soul. Robin genuinely wants to help people benefit from her experiences, and avoid mistakes that litter everyone’s path. But don’t think that it’s a dry “How-to” read. Her book is packed with funny stories and she takes you on her journey of being a working actress and making the most of her life. She peppers her tales with interesting anecdotes from the sets, auditions, and hanging out with her actor friends. There are quotes from surprising sources too. Albert Einstein said, “You can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Always accentuating the positive, Robin prefers the latter.
“I want people to feel like they are sitting down with a good friend, talking about life, it’s up and downs, and getting good advice,” Robin told me when we enjoyed a sunny afternoon chatting about the book and life in general. She breezed into Paty’s in Toluca Lake with the biggest smile, happy that she found a great parking spot, and said, “Woohoo, it’s a great day.” It was an even better day when Robin discovered that her book was available worldwide on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Samuel French, in addition to RobinRiker.com.
“I want to tell everyone to live your whole life,” Robin explained. She believes the remedy from getting self-absorbed in Hollywood (or any town) is living your life between the auditions and your time on the job. “We should look outside ourselves a little bit more. And I think it’s really important to surround yourself with people who support what you want to do–not an ‘entourage,’ but an ‘en-courage’ group around you. If you can get out of yourself, you can see much more readily what’s available to you. It’s not always easy, but it’s okay to give yourself permission to enjoy a beautiful day, time with a friend. Things that will change your whole outlook on life include giving yourself credit for what you do, complimenting strangers, exercising the muscle of positive thinking as often as you can.”
It was positively a great day when I met Robin more than 30 years ago on the set of the cult classic movie Alligator (written by John Sayles). She looks as lovely now as then when she was playing the leading lady opposite the dashing Robert Forster. I had a bit part as the bride whose wedding was crashed by the gigantic alligator, and Robin was ultra-nice to me. It’s something you don’t forget, especially when it’s your first experience on a film set.
Of course Robin has lots of experience on film and TV sets. She was nominated twice for Cable Ace awards as Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Showtime’s groundbreaking Brothers. She starred as Ed Asner’s daughter on ABC’s Thunder Alley, and a nemesis to Chris Elliott on Fox TV’s Get a Life. She also starred on The Gregory Hines Show, and had recurring parts on The Glades, Reba, and Boston Legal. Other memorable roles were on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, and countless guest starring appearances. On stage she’s starred off-Broadway, and in L.A. at the Geffen Playhouse and Falcon Theatre. And she continues to enjoy being “a successful working actor” by following her own good advice.