Thursday, December 27, 2007

Question: I wanna be an actor....

Two different companies offered to represent me, but they both told me I had to pay for it though. One company told me the cost was $1,200 and the other charges $600. What do you think I should do?


You shouldn't be paying anything. People like that run businesses and prey off of people like you. They tell you what you want to hear and suck you in that way.

Usually what happens in cases like this is, the person who asks the question will receive answers; good answers telling them not to do it as I am telling you now and as Theatredoc told you. Then, because that's not what they want to hear, they continue to ask around until they find enough people who tell them that it'ìs ok to do it. Then, they pay the money and some months down the road, they realize that it was a bad investment and that the company that discovered them isn't really doing anything for them.

Listen. I might be wrong about this company. In fact, I don't even know which companies you are talking about, but my experience tells me that anyone who charges you to represent you is to be kept at a distance.

If you just can't stay away, go back and ask a lot of questions about what you will get for all this money.
Ask specific questions about how many auditions you will be sent out on, how they will train you, how many training sessions, what kind of training will it be, which acting methods, if they will train you to go on auditions and again, how and how many sessions, how long will each session last, what will you learn, who are their other clients, ask if they have any success stories and if you can talk to those people, how long it took those people to get work, what kind of preparation they had before they came to that company, ask how they see you and your potential as an actress, who are the agencies they work with, who are the casting directors they work with and what kinds of projects have they casted, what kinds of auditions will you be sent on and how frequently can you expect to audition each week, also tell them that you know of actors who have told you that you shouldn't pay for this type of service and that they told you that it isn't normal practice (see how they respond to that) and...and...and..

Then ask the BIG QUESTION: Ask them if they will put down in writing in contract form that you will guarantee some of the things you expect from them. Talk it over with your parents and be prepared the next time you go in. I can also imagine that they will tell you that you can try your luck to get an agent, but without knowing the right people, you will have difficulty and that they can help you more than anyone right now.

My bet is that they will be a little perturbed that you ask all the questions and that they will hand you some story about why they can't put it in writing and tell you something to make you feel pressured to sign with them and pay the money. They are more than likely very experienced at this type of negotiation.

My suggestion is to build your base first. Go to school for acting and bone up on how the industry works. I can offer you my website for new and aspiring actors for starters. Begin with this page and go from there. I think you will learn a lot. It will even explain how to get representation without having to pay for it.


p.s. Good luck!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Question: I want to be a model/actrice. How do I get started?

I'm 5'9",
skinny shoulder length brown hair,
brown eyes,
light skin,

Answer: Your physical attributes are what they are. If you want to become an actress you will become one. With regard to acting remember that you need to work backwards and don't put the cart before the horse as we used to say.

If you start contacting agencies, you will need to be prepared for the meeting. To be prepared for the meeting you will need to know what to expect. To know what to expect, you will need to inform youself. In order to inform yourself, you will need to find people who can explain what it's like. You could also very well be asked to perform a monologue. To perform a monologue well, you will need some training. To get training you will need to go to school. Before you go to school, you will need to search for a school, the right school and be sure that that is the right school for you. In order to do that, you will want to interview different schools.

To find the right school and the right acting technique for you, you will need to know what the different acting techniques are or at least be familiar with them. It would help to know what you are looking for in a teacher, but that will probably come later after you have had some experience learning the craft.
You will also need to think about what your budget is.

AND THEN, starting over again, but correctly this time, you will want to start contacting agents and promoting yourself. In order to find THE RIGHT AGENTS and promote yourself in the right way, you will need to know at least a little bit about the industry and about which casting directors cast for the types of projects that you would be right for and which agents they usually work with, or rather which agents usually are informed of and submit their clients for those types of projects. To know that, you need to study the industry. To study the industry, you will need to read books and trade papers, navigate on the internet, attend seminars and classes about the business of acting, talk to other actors, go to plays, movies, watch television and do just about anything that will help you learn as much as you can.

There's lots to learn if you're up for it.

Have a look at this page link. I put it together for youngsters just like you. I think it will be a good start for you.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Question: I was dropped by my agent...what do I do now???

"Im totally heart broken. After all the hard work and effort that I put into trying my best I later call my agent and he tells me that maybe I should find a smaller agency. He hasn't been able to put 100% in my career and prety much in a nutshell they are giving me the boot. After 7 years of work..Ive done tons of commercials and at least 7 feature films then later I'm told that he has his mind on a thousand different things...mainly not me. I on the verge of suicide. What can I do?"


When I used to work in the corporate world, when employees decided to leave the company, we always had what we called an exit interview. The reason was to try and understand WHY the person decided to leave.

In this case, I would be trying really hard to find out exactly why they decided to terminate me. There is a reason and you have a right to know what it is! Whether they want to tell you or not is a different story.

Knowing that will help you grow.
Another thing I would have been doing is keeping track of all the projects I got booked on vs. the number of times I was actually sent out on auditions. I keep track of all my auditions, submission, etc. Why? Because the numbers don't lie. It gives you a great base to analyze your efforts and see what's wrong and where to go to fix it.

You talked about the tons of commercials and the 7 feature films. Analyze those numbers and break them down over the entire 7 year period. How many jobs did you actually book per week, per month, per year and what kinds of projects were they? Was there any trend in the amount of commercials and films that you booked, say at the beginning of that seven-year period? What was the trend of your bookings in the last two years? Was it on the rise or on the decline. And whatever the answer to that question is, you can always ask yourself another question: Why? If you don't know the answer to that question then you could stand to pay a little closer attention to your career.

There is always a reason. And given the fact that agents are in the business to make money. If you had been making money for them, they would never have terminated you. It just doesn't make good business sense. What other reason could there possibly be? Did they acquire other actors that were performing better than you, meaning were there others that had a better audition to booking ratio than you? Was your ratio on the decline? There is always a reason. Find out what it was before you go on. Do you have a particular type that is no longer requested often? How is your versatility as an actor? Can you play different roles and does your agent know that? Or are you always seen in the same way and called in for the same kinds of roles. If you are more versatile, you will get called in more?

So, whatever the case is, learn from this experience. Maybe your booking rate, even though it was good, wasn’t' as good as the other top actors they represent.

The fact is, I'm speculating. If I were you, I would try and find out as much as possible from your agent.

Don't call him/her to talk about it on the phone, ask for an appointment and tell them that you WOULD LIKE to know the EXACT reasons why you were terminated so that you can grow. If you do it on the phone, you might only get part of the answer, because it is easier for a person not to tell the whole truth on the phone, because they don't see you. If, on the other hand, you have a face to face conversation, you can see all his/her non-verbal communication and ask appropriate questions when you see that they are not giving you the whole truth. Some people aren't comfortable being up front with people. In fact MANY people aren't comfortable with that.

Last thing is, you may or may not like what they tell you, but at least you will know and you can learn from that.
Do the interview if you can. It's important. They might not grant it to you, but if you don't try, you'll never know. No matter what happens, let this be a lesson to you. Always keep in constant contact with your agent (the way that they prefer) and try to build a relationship over time, so that you know as much as possible about where you stand. This might be easier with some agents vs. others, but that should be your goal.

After that, don't fret. Rejection is part of the game and because of it, many actors either get stronger or they fade out. I would like to think that because of this experience, you would get stronger and persevere! If you were successful once, you can be so again!

You'll find another agent. You have a lot going for you and you will be successful. Have a look at this page link and see what I would do if I were in your situation. This strategy has worked before for me and I have no doubt that it will work again should I need it. It might work for you too.

Just one more thing. Make a habit of using post-cards with your headshot on it (if you are not already doing so) to say thank you to casting directors for having you in to audition. Also use them to communicate with casting directors, agents and production companies to communicate what you have been doing, ie. jobs that you've booked and even CLOSE CALLS, meaning call-backs even if you didn't get the job. Those are interesting pieces of information for casting directors and agents to hear. You'll see that they might start calling you directly.

Hope this helps. Keep your head up!
Good luck!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Question: Where can I find some good casting agencies that don’t cost a lot? I really want to get into acting, but I don’t know where to start. Can yo

Get your terminology right first.

There are talent agencies and casting directors and then there are casting websites where you can get work.

If you want good jobs, you need two things: experience and an agent. The jobs you see posted on a website are what's left over once the producers and directors have submitted their breakdowns of the roles they need to talent agencies. For real important roles, they almost never go to casting websites, unless they are looking for something that is really difficult to cast.

Now back to you. If you are not getting any response, it could be what you suspect; that the casting website isn't any good or not legit. It could be their fault.

It could also be your fault that you are not getting a response. Did you ever think about that? Are you trained? What do you have on your résumé? Where did you go to school? What do you have on your reel? What do your headshots look like? How did you fill out your profile on the casting website? Did you utilize all the tools they gave you to be successful?

If something isn't working for you, you need to be able to analyze the situation and fix it as quickly as possible.

Go have a look at It really is made to help you.

What I can tell you though is to start here:

Have a look at the teen acting page as well.

Lastly, talent agencies don't cost you money. They take out 10% of what you earn AFTER you actually do the job and not before.

Good luck in your search!


p.s. Go to school and really learn how to act and once you find a good school, stay there and keep on training. You'll be glad you did. Then, learn the business and see how things magically start to happen.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Question: I'm trying to become an actor. My dad knows a guy who knows a Hollywood director. Should I try to work that contact and get introduced?

Build your base first.

It's important.Are you trained? Have you taken any classes? Do you know what it's like to work as an actor? Do you know what it's like to have to look for work, day after day? Do you think that by meeting Cillian Murphy, that you will be set for life as an actor? Are you counting on this being your big break?Build your base first! Has your dad's friend ever seen you act? If not, why should he introduce you? Why would he? If you knew someone famous or important in the industry, would you introduce them to someone whose work you've never seen, especially in a world where everyone and his brother wants to be an actor?

I wouldn't. Because that's my credibility that's at risk. I would want to be sure that when I introduce someone to a person of that calliber, that my introduction will make a strong, positive impact.

Now, having said all that, if you are well-trained and ready to be introduced to such a person, then by all means, go for it. If on the other hand, you haven't even taken a class yet, then do that first! Get your training. Trust me. You will be glad you did. You will feel so much more confident. You will be so much better.

If the introduction is set up as a casual meeting that probably could have, would have happened anyway, then sure, go meet the guy. But I wouldn't go having an expectation set up that you will audition for the guy if you're not trained.

For more information about what you need to do to get started, have a look at this page link with 21 helpful tips for starting your acting career.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Question: How Can I Become Famous?

Fame is not a goal, it is the consequence of hard work, sacrifice, drive, determination, motivation, perseverance, ability to overcome the effect that continuous rejection can have, ability to sell yourself and make contacts in the industry and last but not least, the level of motivation you have to become the best possible actor that you can be. Becoming a good actor, studying hard to do that and to stay sharp should be your number one priority.

What's the one thing that will push you to do all those things above? Your LOVE for acting.

Without that, you won't enjoy it. You won't have much fun and you will become just another statistic; another person who had a dream of becoming FAMOUS first and who puts everything else second. You'll be just another drop-out in the world of acting, another youngster, with big eyes, who SAID that he wanted to be a famous actor without really realizing what being an actor, day to day really means, without realizing what you must go through just to get to be a WORKING actor, much less famous. Most of the time, what happens is that after they find out what it really means, for a while when asked they keep on saying that they are an actor or that they are pursuing acting. After a time of that, they devote their lives to something else, because they are not willing to go the distance and do what's necessary. It's too difficult.

Am I trying to paint a dismal picture? No. If I could, I would conduct a big academy for all the youngsters who say what you said and I would take you all through the whole process of what it means. I would have industry experts for you to talk to as well as actors of all types and experiences. When you would leave that academy, you would know what it really means to work as an actor. In the meantime I have created a couple of resources to understand better. Have a look at this link to see some of the issues that actors face just to get work, much less to become famous: and watch the video.

Fame and money are consequences, not goals.So now the question back to you?

What is it that you really want?


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Question: What Do I Need To Know About Getting An Agent?

You want an agent? Ok. Now work backwards.

What do you need to get an agent? Talent, communication, headshot, résumé, cover letter, labels/mailing list. If the agent already knows you, you would have an advantage.

The most important thing in that list is a résumé, because it shows what you have done without you actually being present to tell the story.

So how do you create a résumé that's going to be interesting enough to get you an agent? By getting some interesting work to put on the résumé and by working on reputable projects with reputable directors in reputable production companies.

What can help you get work? Or rather what will make casting directors want to hire you? If they see that you are well-trained and can take on the roles for which they are casting AND if you are right for the parts AND if you are better than the other candidates or have something to offer that is different or more interesting than your competition.

What will help you be seen as a well-trained actor who is the right actor for roles and who is better than the other actors they see? Training with a good school and a good teacher.

If you have not been training, I think your time will be better spent building a base of SKILL first before looking for an agent. Remember that casting directors and agents eyes are trained and experienced and they can see when an actor is trained or not.

Now that we have gone through that, here is a way that you can use to get an agent: Get an agent.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

4 Key Factors For Success In An Acting Career

How To Start An Acting Career

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Question: How Long Do I Have To Take Acting Classes?

Recently, a young, aspiring actor asked me, "How long will I have to take classes to become a good actor?" Here below is the answer I gave him.

You will want to find a good school, a good teacher and stick with them. When you are an actor, even when you become pretty good, you will want to continue to study. As you continue, will get to know yourself better and you will get to know your strengths and weaknesses and thus, what you need to improve on.

I would venture to say, that the fact that you ask that question means that you need to continue. When you are able to answer that question for yourself, after having worked a lot, after having a feeling for how you are doing as an actor, you probably will never feel like you should stop.

The other thing to consider is, what kind of classes are you taking now? Technique is one thing, but then there is scene study, voice, movement, text breakdown, audition, on-camera, commercial, stage combat. All of these could represent areas in which you might need to sharpen your craft.

The answer to your question? First of all it depends on you, how fast of a learner you are, how well you take direction, how well and how quickly you can grasp concepts and assimilate them, how humble you are and how much raw talent you are blessed with.

But the real answer is, whether you stop taking classes or not depends on how good you really want to be.

Here are some things to consider about choosing an acting school or class:

I hope this helps!

Good luck!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Art & Artist Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

The Positive Side Of The Writers' Strike

While I totally sympathize with the writers, who are under paid and somewhat taken advantage of, I try to find the positive side of everything.

In this case, I hope that the writers get what they want and what they truely deserve for the great work they do.

In addition, I think that this strike represents an opportunity for us actors.
This is a great time during the work slow down to take that class you've been wanting to take, get those new headshots, get that reel done or basically just catch up on the things ou've been needing to do for your business. Remember, it is a business that you are running!

Are you treating your acting career like a business or are you just taking whatever work comes along? Are you continuing to do background work, because it's been easy to get? Because it's comfortable? Because the background casting agency knows you and calls you in all the time? Or are you going for the gusto and going after roles that you are perfectly capable of performing? You're not?
Would you like to know how to do that and how to take control of your career instead of letting someone else control it for you?

On the site you can find 10 of the 21 business skills that are in my book Acting Career Start-Up.

Another link you might find interesting is this one: 29 ways to promote yourself in your acting career.

Stay in touch!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

How can I get castings without any acting skills?

Recently a young girl came to and asked me that very question. This is what I told her:

Don't illude yourself.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "If I have three hours to cut down a tree, I would spend the first hour to sharpen the axe."

Sharpen your axe first before you start! What's the hurry? Don't know if you ever thought about this, but, not all actors who get jobs are able to keep them. Sometimes even actors get fired. Why? Because they maybe auditioned well and were liked during the audition process, but when it came down to actually working on set, it was discovered that they really didn't have the talent to keep the job or they simply just couldn't keep up with the director's demands, they couldn't take direction, because they didn't have a solid base of acting skill.

So, my advice would be for you to get your training first, be the best you can be and then go to castings. At least start learning some kind of technique first and go to castings while you are studying.

Here is a list of 17 things you can do today to get started in your career.

Good luck!

Monday, November 12, 2007

How To Start An Acting Career?

How To Start Acting

“How to start acting?” Aspiring actors want to know what some concrete steps they can take if they are at the very beginning of their acting careers.

I discussed this the other day with best-selling author Brian O’Neil (Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success) and this is his list of 5 things you can easily do to start your acting career.

1. Get some good, solid training in acting technique (i.e. Meisner, Method, etc.) as well as specialty training, i.e. on-camera commercial training, acting for film, how to audition, etc.

2. Put together some monologues for your auditions. It will do you little justice if you get a meeting with an agent or get an audition and you don’t have anything prepared.

3.Contact your local (reputable ones!) theatres in your area to attend staged readings of plays, participate as a reader, read stage directions or usher. This will put you in close proximity to the people you want to meet (people who cast the plays, directors, artistic directors, other actors: all sources of contact and information for you.

Participating as a reader in staged readings with reputable theatres, extra work and soap work along with your training, training, training are great ways to start to build a résumé, especially if you have nothing to put on it.

4.Contact agencies that cast for background work. Extra or background work provides a great education to see how actors really work on set. You get to see it all up close. It’s great experience at the beginning of your career.

5.Find out who the people are who cast for soap operas (especially if you are in New York or Los Angeles). Getting work on soaps is very accessible even if you don’t have an agent. It’s relatively easy to get cast in small roles for these programs and there are a lot of opportunities every day as soaps are shot 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year.

Brian told me about a client of his who was able to book 12 days on a soap in New York and he did it without an agent. He told of another who booked three days, all speaking roles; once again without an agent.

Participating as a reader in staged readings with reputable theatres, extra work and soap work along with your training, training, training are great ways to start to build a résumé, especially if you have nothing to put on it.

6.In addition, finding an agent for on-camera commercials and commercial print and/or voice-over work, are other opportunities you could pursue in the meantime. You must take into consideration, however, that those areas also require certain skill sets. For example, there are specialized classes for on-camera commercials and also improvisation is a great help to prepare for that kind of work as well.

If you want some more tips on how to start acting, click here where you’ll find lots of all-around information on starting an acting career.