When Adam Brody left his video store job in San Diego to pursue an acting career, he gave himself a year to reach his goal.

“If it didn’t work out by then, I was going to re-evaluate my life,” Brody says.

So, he took community college classes, got a private acting coach and quickly landed roles in commercials and on MTV’s teen reality-esque series “Undressed.”

Almost a year later Brody quit his last part-time valet job, and celebrated his 20th birthday on the set of his first big break: playing Greg in “Growing Up Brady.”

“It was one of the hardest and most rewarding years of my life,” he says. “Sure, it was fast — when you step back and look at it — but, for me, it was molasses.”

Soon, his boyish good looks and dry, smart-aleck delivery won him guest appearances on “Gilmore Girls,” “Smallville” and his role as unpopular outsider-by-choice Seth Cohen on Fox’s “The O.C.”