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!