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Bright Lights, Big City

An opportunity written in the stars
July 1, 2000
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/29582

Most people go to Hollywood to find fame and fortune in the entertainment world. For commercial actor Mark Rollings, 38, starring in a big-budget action film with Arnold or Sly wasn't exactly his idea of a successful career in the city of glamour and glitz. Instead, Rollings' story of franchise success in Tinseltown is a model for anyone who wants to cash in on Hollywood.

The former radio station owner from St. Louis opened a Fastsigns franchise in Studio City, California, with one dream: to provide signs to the stars. He advertised in industry publications and directories, then networked like a Hollywood pro. One of the first jobs he landed was making several signs for NBC's Caroline in the City. Another big break came via a job he did for a televised concert featuring KISS, The Who, Leann Rimes and the Dixie Chicks-when the Internet company sponsor needed two 400-square-foot banners in a week's time, he delivered.

Today, Rollings works with every studio in Hollywood. What advice does he have for other franchisees with Hollyood fever? "This has to be the toughest category I've worked in," says Rollings, "but once you're in and you deal with art directors and producers who like you and your work, you'll get repeat business."


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