The quirky character actor has made his feature directing debut with Fat Kid Rules The World and now he's on a mission to become a top Hollywood player.
Lillard, who also teaches drama in New York and at the Vancouver Film School, admits he has had to fight for more work - because he's not one of the lucky go-to stars who can land any role they want.
He tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "There are millions of actors in the world and I'm the lucky one but I get rejected 98 per cent of the time. We just downsized our life and sold our house and got rid of big cars. We're like everyone else in America.
"There's a very blue collar element to the entertainment industry that a lot of people don't know about. Yes, you know about Tom Cruise's fancy life, but for 99 per cent of the actors in the world, we're just trying to make it over the poverty line! That red carpet moment is a night in a year of trying to find jobs and hustle to feed your kids."
But Lillard hopes his directing helps him land a big Hollywood deal that leads to more work behind the camera.
He adds, "If I could direct the rest of my life, I would. I'd like to tell big stories. I'd like to tell Joss Whedon-like stories. I'd like to tell Avenger stories, Iron Man, and Game of Thrones. I like sci-fi stuff. I like fan boy stuff. I like character-driven stuff and I think if you apply that in big movies, you have a really exciting combination."