Thursday, August 14, 2008
to ask you a question. I'm Russian and I came to United States 4 years ago
to pursue my acting career ( I'm 16).When I turn 18 I'm moving to NY to
pursue my career.
Today I have been working on my cover letter and this is that what I came
with :" Dear( agents name) Your agency has been recommended to me by various
people during my search for representation in New York/Los Angeles. I have
always loved acting and I have taken various acting classes in and outside
of United States, so I am sure that I am the right type of "white bread" to
be represented. I have enclosed my resume and photos for your consideration.
I am looking forward to meeting you and I will contact you by phone ( date
and time). Truly yours, Daria XXX.
do you consider this to be a good cover letter?
IF you don't mind Ill address my another problem, when I was in Russia
I have been in MANY theater productions and such,however I lost information
( director's name etc, ) how should I present it in my resume?
I decided to be an actress when I was 7 ( I saw the lord of the rings) and
I was like this isit... I want to do that. Thank you so much for a chance
to ask you a question.
There were a lot of mistakes in that mail above that I received. I corrected most of them.
First of all, with regard to the cover letter, have a look at this page.
It's a similar question I answered from a girl not long ago and has
some of the things I think will be helpful for you.
Secondly, I would suggest you have a look at these pages as well. They
are about what you need to consider when you get an agent.
That leads me to your accent and English language ability. The better
your English is, the more kinds of roles you can be cast in. Otherwise
you will always be the Russian girl. There is absolutely nothing wrong with
that, but it limits the number of auditions you can go on and consequently,
the number of jobs you can get.
This page shows you step by step exactly what you have to do to get an
Also, even though you have a lot of experience, you should still be going to
class. Your acting craft never stops growing. You must keep learning. Also, it is
important for you to know that even if you don't have a lot of experience, agents and
casting directors will be looking to see if you have been training or not.
Here's how to choose the right school for you:
Lastly, with regard to the addresses, names you have lost. I don't know what
to tell you except don't lie. You must find some of them at least.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
As long as you haven't signed an exclusive agreement with any one agent, you can have as many agents as you want. My advice though would be to be honest with your agents, especially with the ones that get you most of the work. It could happen as happened to me a couple of years ago, that I got called in for the same audition by two different agents within 15 minutes. I accepted to go to the audition from the first agent. When the second agent called, I told him that I had already accepted to go to that audition. In that moment, I was so glad that I had told the second agent the truth, which was that I had another agent as well. Even though I wasn't obligated to tell him, I was thinking it might be better to be honest, which would help maintain a good, open relationship.
I just think it's always good to be clear up front. Takes the stress out of life. There's enough of that already.
Hope that answers your question.
Here is some information about how to actually go about getting a talent agent.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Question: How could you give yourself a chance at a career in acting when your parents don't like the idea?
I have a friend who is really good at singing and acting and she would really like to try a career in acting but knows it's not what her parents want and thinks it would disappoint them. But it's her dream and she doesn't want to spend her whole life thinking she should of given it a go. How could she do this without support from her parents and not disappoint them?
At her age it will probably be very difficult for her to do it all on her own without the support of her parents. One of the biggest mistakes people make in just about any area of life is to try and convince someone of something that they themselves know very little about.
One of the keys to being able to convince someone is to be very knowledgeable on the subject. If your friend is anything like most younger aspiring actors, she probably doesn't know very much about what it really means to be an actress or a singer other than what she sees on television or at the movies.
So, she has to do a lot of homework. Think about a lawyer who goes to trial with his client. That lawyer, in order to convince the jury that his client is innocent, has to do a lot of studying of the facts, do research, investigate, read, ask questions, talk to experts AND he/she has to be a really good communicator able to get the key points across in a compelling and convincing manner.
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. On it you will find a lot of different links about various aspects of starting an acting career that might be helpful to your friend. Among the very first links you will see are two that have to do with how to convince your parents to support your acting career and the second actually will take your friend through how to conduct the conversation with her parents to have a better chance of convincing them. The other links will get her well on her way to learning about what it means to be an actress and what will be expected of her if she hopes to be successful. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
But like I say at the end of one of those pages, this is not a guarantee that it will work, but one thing is for sure. After doing the work, your friend will definitely and without a doubt, know more about what it means to be an actress than she does right now.
Good luck to her!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Do something outrageous, ridiculous or something that no one has ever done.
If you are talking about acting, I think a Hollywood acting coach I interviewed for my website said it best. "The express elevator to Hollywood acting success is broken. From now on you'll have to take the stairs."
There are no short cuts. The people you hear about who are over night successes, are people who have been working at it often for years.
Also, fame is a consequence of a lot of hard work, determination, perseverance and yes...probably some luck too! What's more, it is reserved for a very small percentage of people; not because I say so, but because that's just the way it is. The statistics don't lie.
If you are interested in an acting career, BECAUSE YOU LOVE ACTING (I wouldn't recommend starting anything at this stage unless you can really commit to it for the love of doing it.) then have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. On it you will find 23 links to different pages that have to do with various aspects of starting an acting career including thoughts on becoming famous, steps on how to get started, 23 reasons why you should take acting classes to get started, 17 things you can do to start getting acting work and 29 ways to promote yourself.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Yes LA would definitely be the better place to be for film and televison, but
you will want to use this time until you graduate to do a few very important things.
1. Start getting some really good, solid acting training. Learn a technique for example. Learn how to audition. Learn some monologues. Learn why classes are important and how to choose a school that is right for you:
2. Learn as much as you can about the industry and what's happening.
Learn as much as you can about LA and Hollywood, not only from an industry
standpoint, but also from a geographical standpoint.
3. Devlop a strategy that includes learning business and networking skills. You NEED to know how to do those things. It's not just as simple as getting an agent and expecting that they will do all the work. It's not that simple. That's what my book teaches you about, among other things.
If you can get a chance, take a couple of fact finding trips to LA and check things out. Go to some workshops and seminars for actors there. Start interviewing schools and other actors there before you go, so that you will feel more sure when you finally get to where you want to be. Have a look at the HOLLYWOOD HO link on the menu of the site.
> We are hoping to be moving out to California or Arizona in 3 yrs, so that will help, but until then, what can we do as parents to help her? Thanks
The first and most important thing that I see you are already doing is to
get her into some really good acting classes and keep her there. She
can never get too much experience. Ever! Keep her in classes...continuously.
Another thing is for you to stay close to her when engaging in contacts in the
industry. Now it's pretty much a no-brainer, but even as she gets older, don't
let her out of your site. There are a lot of people who will prey on kids like her
and tell her everything and anything to make a buck. Don't buy it!
For example, some will tell you that they will represent her, but that you have to
pay for that service. That's Bull! Agents get 10% of the take generally (in a few
cases maybe 15%) but AFTER she has actually done the job. First the audition,
then she would be hired, then she does the job, then the agent gets paid by the
customer and THEN she will be sent 90% of whatever the pay was for that particular
job and the agent will keep 10% for him-/herself. That's the way it works.
There are three other things I would suggest you do:
1. Have a look at my latest video:
The Top 10 Reasons Why Most Aspiring Actors Never Make It!
2. Have a look at this page on my site. It's dedicated to teens, but you will certainly find some helpful hints and practical things to do that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career such as:
How to get an agent
23 benefits of taking acting classes
17 Things you can do to start getting acting work
29 ways to promote yourself as an actor
How to choose a school
All about head shots
Also, you could read the pages about convincing your parents and tell me what you think! :-)
The cost of an acting career
Thoughts on becoming famous (that you might want to have her read)
3. Invest $19.95 in a copy of my book: Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success. You can buy it on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.com or order it in your local book store. To see what it's all about, have a look at this page.
Just remember that it is a business you are getting your daughter into.
A store owner must make sure that her store is attractive and inviting, but first
and foremost it must have really good quality products. But then, the owner
must make sure that people come into the store and that people even know about it.
Otherwise it is all in vain.
Many aspiring actors don't make it, because they don't have the concept of business
in their minds. One of the things you must do in my opinion if you really want to help your daughter is "make sure her product (of being an actress) is top quality, because the competition is fierce. And then you must make sure that the right people see her work.
I did an interview with a Hollywood Acting Coach named Bernard Hiller who said,
"It's not about who you know in the acting industry and it's not about who knows you.
It's really about who WANTS to know you!"
Make sure that the right people want to know your daughter. You do that by starting from scratch of build a good, solid base of acting talent and skill, while you Mommy, bone up on your business skills. That will be a winning combination down the road!
Good luck to you and stay in touch with ActingCareerStartUp.com!
> Thank you so much in advance
In the end what matters is what you can do, whether you are a good actress
or not. It is true, however, that training is important for what it does for your
acting capability, but also as it appears on your resume. One of the things
industry professionals look for is 1. that you have been training, 2. what kind
of training, and last but not least 3. where and with whom you have trained.
The better the reputation of the school, the more likely they are to want to
give you a chance.
I agree that if you are serious, nyfa isn't probably at the top of the list, but if you have already committed and can't get out of it, try and look at it from the positive side.
One thing I would recommend is for you to find people in your classes who are as
committed as you are. NYFA has a lot of young kids (not only), some of whom just think it's cool to be going to school for acting, but they really aren't committed. So find and latch on to the right people.
The same is true for the kids in the director's school there. One great advantage of going to NYFA is that you will have a chance to do a lot of student film projects, which will give you experience and practice. That's something that you wouldn't have at some other schools.
The main thing is for you to find the right people and hold on to them.
It seems like you are really serious about starting your acting career and that's good, because that seriousness you will definitely need to be successful. Only if you are really serious though, you might want to think of investing an additional $19.95 for my book: Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success. It will help guide you through moments like the one of indecision that you are having now.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Headshots can be tricky if you are not guided in the right direction.
Two questions I have in my mind are:
1. Have you had any acting training at all yet?
2. How good is your head shot photographer?
3. What will you use the pictures for?
The reason I ask is, if you haven't taken any acting classes yet, then it might be too early to think about head shots. Why? Because (and now moving into the next point) if your photographer isn't good enough or professional enough or is only interested in making a buck, then you risk having pictures that are not very good, emotionless and that don't bring out the best in you, because you don't know how to "own" the camera.
The third point is, if you are truely a beginner and are going after a legit or commercial agent, what will you do if you get called in to meet them? Are you ready for that?
If you already have the pictures, which it seems that you do, have a look at this page on retouching. I interviewed a New York retouching specialist for my site for new and aspiring actors who talks about the retouching process and how much retouching is too much.
Also have a look at this page!! http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/headshots.html
This is a whole section on head shots, how to get the best ones, how to make sure that you get the right head shot photographer for you, the right questions to ask, how to evaluate which head shot photographer to use, and so on.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Fame is a consequence and not a goal. It's the consequence of a lot of hard work.
Instead of asking how to get famous, it would be better if you asked how you can really become a good actress. It's much more solid and grounded and it will inevitably get you further.
Have you been in any acting classes yet?
Let's say for example you get discovered, meaning that someone sees you and thinks you have an interesting look and that person is looking for someone who not only looks good, but who can act and dance and sing.
They call you in for an interview and ask you to do a monologue or sing a song.
You see? You need to be prepared FIRST!
And if you really want to become famous, the base MUST be hard work and skill and talent and THEN MAYBE, JUST MAYBE fame will come even if it is unlikely.
Start at the beginning and build a base and then try and POSITION yourself to be discovered. Again, fame will be the result of a lot of hard work and dedication.
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has links to 23 different pages that have to do various aspects of starting an acting career like thoughts on becoming famous, choosing a school, benefits of taking classes, finding an agent, industry resources and more.
Take the time to do the work in the beginning, be patient, work hard, be curious and learn as much as you can. One day you will be glad you did!
The first thing I started to do before I even thought about getting an agent was to start training. I realized that if I started contacting agents before I was ready, that once I got an interview and they asked me to do a monologue, that I had to be ready. I had to know how to act, at least a little.
I also started finding out what agents really look for in an actor and why agents are in business, what they would expect from me once they decided to sign me.
I also knew that it was important for me to understand what my type was, so that all my marketing efforts were funneled in the same direction.
Once I started to do those things, I then began to find out which agents cater to my type, which agents were actually looking for someone like me. I looked at the Ross Reports and another publication called New York Agencies and found everything I needed.
I learned how to write a good cover letter, learned how to put together my resume and how to get really professional looking headshots taken and then I started systematically mailing the agents I was interested in working with.
In this way I ended up getting three agents to work with me in a short period of time.
If you are one of the many young kids going directly from "I wanna be an actress." to "How do I get an agent?"
That's not a winning strategy. Make sure that when you spend time and money to make all your materials, that someone will want to actually look at them!
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has 23 links to different pages that have to do with aspects of starting an acting career, including how to get an agent, how to get really good head shots, how much your acting career will cost along with other things you might find helpful. www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
To go directly to a page that gives you a 12 step method to getting an agent, click on this link below:
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Question: I am writing a book that I want to have made into a movie with myself as the start. How can I make it happen?
I'm not sure where you start except that you will need to have a good, solid story line. You might need to take a workshop about the key elements of story telling. Stories have certain qualities and elements, that make them compelling and interesting to read or watch. If you don't know what they are, you might want to figure that out.
Otherwise, I would say that you are on the right track by looking for information, but don't underestimate the importance of knowing exactly where you want to take the entire project. Be VERY, VERY SPECIFIC AND DETAILED. The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely is that you will be able to make it happen.
Don't be in such a hurry to rush off and get something done to achieve your goal without spending the necessary time, to do these things that I mentioned above FIRST.
Without a good story, your whole project crumbles.
Anyway, congratulations! This is a great idea. One of the reasons why many aspiring actors don't make it is because the only way they know about to get acting work is "get a head shot, resume, write a cover letter and try to get an agent." What they don't realize is that there are many other ways to get acting work and get your self set up in the industry.
Your project is ambitious, but if you really and truly want it and go about in a smart way, you could very well achieve what you are looking to achieve. But you will have to work really, really hard.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
What you said about the good actresses that can't live their dreams is so true. Not always but often. The reason that is true is because people think that
If you haven't been able to convince them, there is a reason.
What is it?
Why haven't you been able to convince them?
I would guess that it is because you haven't been able to make your case. It's just like in court.
Imagine that there is a big trial. A man risks being found guilty of a terrible crime that he didn't commit. The defense attorny comes out and says to the jury, "You should believe us. My client is innocent." That's all he says.
The prosecuting attorney comes out to speak to the jury. She has facts about where the defendant was on the night of the crime. She has testimonials, witnesses and people who actually saw the defendant at the scene of the crime. She has DNA and experts come and testify.
Which lawyer do you think would be more likely to win the case? It's obvious.
The defense attorney must present proof, "beyond a shadow of a doubt", that their client is innocent. In order to be able to do his/her job, the defense attorney must do research. She/he must be very, very well prepared. They work long hours and they work really hard to present their case so that it will be compelling and credible. If they don't do that, they risk being defeated.
You must do the same. You are on the defense. The example might not be a case in which a terrible crime was committed, but the principles are the same and preparation is key!
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has 23 links to pages about different aspects of starting an acting career including two pages about how to convince your parents. One talks about the basic concept and what it will take to convince them. The second page actually tells you how to set up and conduct your communication and how to talk to them about what it is you want.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
You can also check with the Association Of Talent Agents to find out if the agency is registered with them.
At any rate, you will probably be in a room waiting with a lot of aspiring actors and people who really shouldn't be there, but who have a dream and think that even without training they are qualified to get an agent.
As far as what to expect when you get your turn, it really depends on the agent and what they are looking for. They could very well ask you to do a monologue 1-2 minutes. You should have two or three monologues to choose from anyway when you walk in.
They might ask you to do commercial copy. You might want to practice that as well.
Haven't heard of too many agents asking you to do a cold read, but you never know.
And then again, they just might want to talk to you to see what your personality is like and what your motivations are for wanting to become an actress. In that case, with their training they will look deep into your soul and try to figure out if in the long run, they can make any money off of you. In other words, they will be trying to determine whether or not if they send you to auditions, if they think you will have a good chance of booking something. If not, they will most likely not be interested in you.
So if you don't have training, then just go for the experience, but don't get your hopes up too high.
Don't pay anything, no matter what they say!!!
Don't go to any photographers they suggest!!!
Those are indications that they are trying to scam you.
In fact, decent agencies don't usually have open calls. They have no need to do so. So I'm skeptical already.
Also, don't put all your eggs in one basket. I hear of so many kids who talk about that ONE open call or that ONE friend who said they would introduce them to that ONE agent or that ONE casting director and they put all their eggs in that basket and then just wait...and wait...and wait... and most often (99.999999%) of the time, nothing every happens after that.
That's not a strategy.
A strategy first starts with your true and deep desire to pursue acting because it's something that makes your heart smile and because you just can't live without it.
Then, you first start trying to become the best actor you can possibly be. And THEN you start thinking about an agent.
Putting the cart before the horse, you are thinking short term and not long term.
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has links to 23 different pages that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
Including much better ways to think of getting an agent rather than going to an open call!!! Ugh!
Anyway, good luck!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The best way to get discovered is to POSITION yourself to get discovered.
Train. Train. Train.
See if you have the talent.
Develop your networking and business skills. (One of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make is underestimating their importance. It could have you end up with most aspiring actors that never, ever make it!)
Be determined, patient, persevering, inquisitive, PASSIONATE.
Make sure you create a circle of friends who can help you, encourage you, give you tips, mentor you, help you along, whom you can model after.
Don't believe the hype, that all you need is a good look and your natural, God-given talent and that taking acting classes isn't so important. Get someone to tell you those things who is qualified, like your acting teacher for example.
Take some classes and start training.
If you worry too much about getting discovered, it'll probably never happen.
Remember, it's not about who you know.
It's not about who knows you.
It's all about who WANTS to know you.
Make sure you do something that is so different and so unique that you make people WANT TO KNOW YOU.
Otherwise, you'll be just one of the crowd.
Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has lots of links to pages that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html .
It might also help you to figure out how to make this happen with what you called your "crazy life."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Question: Stage fright!!!!!!!!!!!? Okay, so I made a speech compition, like the top 2. Now, I have to speak...
First of all, read over your message to us and see if you can find the things in it that are only pulling you down further.
Did you find them? They're there.
First your title:
"Stage fright!!!!!!!!!!!?": Now does that sound desperate or what?!!!
1. "I have to speak in front of all the grad 7 and 8 students and all the teachers too!!!!!!" : Sounds like you are really scared.Plus you used the words "have to". Do you have to? Who is making you do it?
2. "I am shy...": This is talk that isn't helping you at all if you have to speak in front of a lot of people.
3. "What should I do??: 2 question marks for me is starting to sound desperate.
4. "I AM NOT POPULAR...": A negative phrase in all caps is a double whammie.
5. "EVERYONE HATES ME.": Another double (negative) whammie.
All that is talk that isn't helping you at all, so stop telling yourself those things and thinking about them! It's not helping you at all. Think positive things!
Now let's look at the positive things, the things that you said and that some part of you at least must believe or feel that can help you.
A. "I made a speech competition, like the top 2.": That's great news! Be happy, pleased and proud!
B. "I have to speak in front of all the grad 7 and 8 students and all the teachers too!": Notice how I took out all the exclamation pointw. To me, the way I wrote it means excitement!
C. "I was not so shy in my first speech presentation.": You see, you even said it yourself that it is possible. Try and remember how you felt and what made you feel so comfortable. Re-create that feeling of confidence. If you did it once, you can do it again!
D. Instead of "What should I do??", how about "Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help me relax?".: It's more cool, calm and collected, which is what you will be if you prepare well.
Stay away from the negative things and stick with positive things. If you want still another explaination, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has to do with how to get over stage fright: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/how_to_get_over_stage_fright.html
One last thing. Be prepared. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you practice, the more you will feel comfortable when you are in front of the group. That feeling that no one know this speech better than you, will give you a lot of confidence.
You will be great!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Question: I need an actor's agent anywhere in the uk. I have been in hundreds of theatre productions but i need an agent?
I don't mean to be harsh, but rather to give you an important message that you won't forget and that will hopefully help you.
You see, it's all about your approach and even that is no guarantee that you will be successful.
How long have you been looking for an agent?
Why haven't you found one so far?
Aside from the productions you have been in, have you been training as an actor?
Do you know what agents look for in an actor?
Do you have all your materials together and are you prepared for an agent interview?
What's your type?
What roles do you think you would be best suited for?
What kind of acting career would you like to have?
What kind of people do you hang around? My guess is that they are not all the right kind of people who are already doing what you want to do or you wouldn't be asking this question.
On my site for new and aspiring actors, I have an actor quiz. One of the questions is, "How long have you been acting?" Another question is, "Do you have an agent?" More often than you might think, there are people who fill out the entire quiz and who have been into acting for more than 5 years and who still don't have an agent. The question I have is, "Why not?" After a few weeks or a few months, the answer, "I don't know how to get one." is acceptable, but not after five years! Not after 6 months even!
If a person doesn't have the approach that if they don't know something they have to figure it out, then they will never be much of a success, not only in acting, but in anything else they choose to do in life.
Change your approach. Change your way of thinking and I'm willing to bet that you will start to see positive results in your acting career as well.
Have a look at this page on my site. It talks about different aspects of an acting career including how to get an agent. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
Even if you are not a teen, read some of the titles you find interesting anyway.
One last thing. You said you need an agent anywhere in the UK. Are you sure? What if you live in Manchester and your agent is in London and most of the auditions they call you for are in London? Are you really going to want to be trekking down there frequently for auditions? That will cost you time and money. Do you really want to do that?
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Question: Stage Fright! Please Help! I have an acting performance in a couple of days in front of 300 people.
Not too long ago I conducted a seminar for 300 people. The person who organized it asked me to do the seminar for the entire second day of the three day event. It is true that I do that regularly, but this guy was so worried about the three day event going well, that he really tried (probably not intentionally) to put me under some serious pressure. He told me that there were big expectations for my day, that the speakers and seminar leaders in the past were all very good, that some of the people in the group were very tough critics. He even called me the day before and asked me if I was ready and that the guy before me was doing a great job.
I thought to myself that if I were insecure, I would be worried, but I wasn't! I thought to myself that this is MY seminar and I know this better than anyone else. No one knows this material as well as I do. I also had done it before and knew what to expect. I TOLD MYSELF THAT I WOULD BE FANTASTIC! And guess what? They loved it. Fortunately I had the whole thing taped and I'm having a promo video made up.
So how does this relate to your situation? Maybe you haven't done this before, but just like I was, you have to BE PREPARED! Practice over and over and over again and know your lines, know your character, know everything about her, know the lines inside out, backwards and forwards and upside down, know why she is saying them. BE your character and remember when you're on that stage that it's not about you!!! It's about your scene partner. Put your attention on him/her. Really listen to what they say and then respond with your lines in a natural way. Sounds easy, but tell yourself positive things before you go on stage.
Be ready and you will feel better.
For a more, somewhat technical explanation, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It talks about how to overcome stage fright.
Good luck! You will be fantastic!!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
If you are at the beginning of your career which it seems like you are, you might find that getting pictures taken at this moment, is not the best thing to do. If you don't have a good photographer and you couple that with no acting experience, your pictures could very well turn out to be not very good, expressionless and blank.
First thing I would recommend is for you to start getting some training as an actress. Get into a good acting school or get a good teacher and stay there!
Secondly, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. You will find a lot of information about head shots, how to find a photographer, questions to ask and how to get really good shots.
And lastly, just remember that you get what you pay for. If you want head shots for free, don't expect a lot.
Monday, April 21, 2008
My suggestion is that before you drop your agents, to try and figure out why you are not getting much work?
Learn how to analyze your BUSINESS, because that's what it is.
Loving your agent is not a reason to stay with her/him.
Have you had a discussion with your agent?
If you have, did you learn EVERYTHING you need to learn about why you are not getting work?
What does your acting teacher tell you about your acting ability and about your readiness to audition? Especially if you are not working a lot, what ELSE are you doing while you are waiting for agents to call you for auditions? There are so many other things that you can do!
What ways are you using to promote yourself and get your work seen?
When's the last time you were in a showcase?
Did a targeted mailing?
Submitted yourself online?
Tried to get some experience in community theatre, just to keep your skills sharp?
How would you evaluate your auditioning skills?
Your cold reading skills?
Your monologues? How are they?
How are you with the camera?
How do you keep track of your auditions and what information do you keep track of? How often do you analyze it? What conclusions have you drawn recently from your auditions?
Which ones do you do the best at? What kind of auditions were they?
Which ones did you do the worst at? Why? What was the situation? What kind of audition was it?
Especially now at the beginning of your career, you really need to become analytical so that you can figure things out for yourself.
I have a whole lot more information about how I analyzed my work in the beginning and still do.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Question: I want to be an actress so bad its my life long dream! but my mom doesn't want me to. Can you help?
If you were an adult and a young person came up to you and asked you to do something against her parents' will, would you help them do it?
What would happen if your mother found out you had an agent and were going to auditions and getting acting jobs...every now and then?
If you really want to act, you will definitely get your parents on board. If you are young and still at home, you will need them. They can protect you from the hyenas and give you guidance.
I wrote two articles about how to convince your parents on my website for aspiring and new actors. They are about the approach as well as how to structure the communication.
Basically and with regard to the approach, you need to know more than she does about acting and acting careers. If she knows just as much as you do about the industry, what actors do, the value of taking classes, how to get an agent, what agents can do and how they work, then it will be difficult to convince her. You will have a much greater CHANCE if you know more than she does and even then you still might not convince her, but at least YOU WILL KNOW MORE than you know now about what it is you say you want to do.
Also, if I ask you, "Why is it that your mother doesn't want you to be an actress?" Do you know the answer?
If you want to convince someone of something, you have to know what it is REALLY that they don't believe in and not what you THINK it is that they don't believe in.
Then, with regard to the structure, you should know that persuasive communication has a structure to it. My personal favorite structure of persuasive communication has 7 steps to it, BUT it will only work if you go through the first step, because you will need ALL that information to make your communication more effective. This answer is getting too long or I would take you through the 7 steps. You can also go to the site and look it up. Here's the structure layed out in detail.
The last thing is, "Are you ready to get an agent?
Where have you been studying acting?
Do you know what agents look for in an actress?
Do you know what to expect when an agent calls you in?
How many monologues do you have?
What's your type? (And I'm not talking about guys either.)
What would you say to an agent if you found one?
What do you have to offer to the world of acting that is unique?
And that's what I like about this technique if you will, to helping kids convince their parents that they want to become actors. It forces them to meet with their parents on the subject face to face and talk about it and it forces them to learn a lot FIRST about what it's going to mean to be an actor.
Let's say your mother agreed to let you start acting, but only if you show her that you are really serious and mature about it.
How would you demonstrate that to her? What kinds of things would you do to show her that you are working hard every single day? Be specific when you think about the answers to those questions.
Think about it. If you are really serious, you're in for a lot of hard work. If you do work hard though, the rewards can be great. Not necessarily stardom, but rather doing something that you really love. Have a look at this page on my site. You might find it useful: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/how_to_get_an_agent.html .
Friday, April 4, 2008
Question: I am so blessed that I have found such an informative site like yours, but I have some questions about where to start.
acting class gaining experience how do I create a resume. Also I am
considering getting headshots done but should I get headshots before I
get experience? After gaining experience and headshots, and creating a
resume what specifically should I do?
Your question has confirmed an idea I have had for some time now about
helping people to know exactly where to start and how to make that clearer
Here you go. I will give you a series of pages to go visit that should help
you get started.
1. Go to this page on a squidoo lens and read:
The Top 10 Reasons Why Most Aspiring Actors Never Make It!
2. www.actingcareerstartup.com/an_acting_career.html This page has 7 steps
to get started including 23 benefits of taking acting classes.
3. www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_classes.html - on how to choose an acting school.
4. About a resume: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/professional-actor-resume.html .
There you'll find 10 things you need to know that will help you create a resume.
5. How to write a cover letter: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_cover_letter.html
6. With regard to headshots, part of your answer you will already have if you read
the squidoo lens article about The Top 10 Reasons... . For the rest of the answer,
I'd like to you go read an interview I did with a Hollywood Acting Coach. See what
he says about headshots. You'll find it about half way down this page link:
7. Here you will find everything you need to know about how to make sure you get the headshots
you want, choosing a photographer, etc. www.actingcareerstartup.com/headshots.html
8. What to do after you have some experience and have headshots?
Ashley, that should get you well on your way to your dream of becoming an actress.
By the way, when I talk about studying the industry, I mean researching some of the links
you will find on this page:
If you sit down and go through this 'mini course' that I have outlined for you, I'm sure you
will make progress. You must be diligent though.
Question: I have a stage fright issue. People tell me that I am a good singer. They even say that I am amazing.
I recently conducted a seminar for 300 people. My seminar was on the second day of a three day event. I had the whole day. The organizers really hyped it up and tried to put me under a lot of pressure to do well telling me that everyone was really expecting a great seminar and performance from me.
They called me the day before while another seminar leader was on stage, telling me that he was doing a fantastic job and asking me if I was ready to 'perform' the next day. I said I was.
For a split second I thought about how, unconsciously, these guys were really trying to put the pressure on me. They wanted to look good for having organized a great event.
I then thought to myself, that this is MY seminar. They asked me to come and deliver it, because they believed in me...for the most part. I also thought that while I am on stage, NO ONE in that audience knows what I'm going to talk about better than I do.
I felt extremely confident! And guess what?
It was a smashing success! I had people wanting to take their picture with me, people wanting me to sign autographs and dedications for their books and things. They loved it.
Now. If I had let those guys put me under pressure, I would not have come off like I did. I'm sure.
So, my message to you is. You KNOW YOU CAN SING well. Strut your stuff girl! Like Cider says, give them the reason that you know you have to like you. They will love you.
Also think that there might be one person in the whole group who would want to be in your shoes, up in front of the group singing like you will do. Maybe just one. The rest of them will be more than happy to just sit back and listen to the great performance that you will give.
Walk on that stage like you own it!
It will be the best performance of your life!
For a little technique to help you with all that, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors about how to get over stage fright
Think about this.
Instead of thinking about how you get discovered or how someone will discover you, try thinking about how YOU can put yourself in the position to be discovered.
I recently did an interview on my site with a Hollywood acting teacher named Bernard Hiller. He said that he runs into people all the time who say that in the acting business, it's all about who you know. He said that he disagress with that. In his opinion it is NOT who you know, but WHO WANTS TO KNOW YOU.
People will want to know you if you have something to offer. Most aspiring actors want to meet people who will give them something. Hiller said in the interview that actors should always be thinking about WHAT THEY WILL BRING to the party and what they have to give to casting directors, agents, directors, producers, etc.
In order to have something to give, you might first want to think about getting some training and learning how to act or sing or dance or model or whatever it is you want to do. Start taking classes.
Also, find out what it means to be an actress. Talk to people who are already doing what you want to do. Also talk to people who are and have been trying to do what you want to do, but just can't seem to get things going. Compare what they are doing wrong with what the others are doing right and from both you can learn.
Here is a list of 17 things you can do today to get your career started. I recommend doing them after you start to have some training under your belt.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Question: I have the phone number of a talent agent looking for teens my age. Should I call? And if I do, what should I say?
Get together with your parents and figure out what it is YOU want and that will help you to know what to say when they answer the phone.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket though. Don't do like so many other aspiring actors do and make that one phone call or send their package of headshot, resume and cover letter to one agent, casting director or director and then sit back and wait.
1. Know what you are striving for and make it clear to yourself.
Here is a page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It is a provocative look at 9 different types of acting careers you might think of strivng for.
2. Start learning what it means to be an actor. Talk to actors who are working all the time and also talk to actors who have been doing it for a while and who still are not really doing anything in terms of acting work that is important. You can learn from them too and find out why they are struggling to be successful. There are a lot of people like that around.
3. Know that agents are in the business to make money. They can only make money if they represent clients (actors) who they are sure will get booked on jobs from going to auditions. The way to get that certainty is for them to work together with or represent actors who are good and know how to act, which brings me to the next point.
4. Start learning what agents do and what they look for in an actor.
5. Start learning about the industry. Here are some good sites to do that:
Also know that there are many different variations of acting careers: film, theatre, day-time televsion, prime-time televsion, hosting, educational videos and corporate videos, on-camera commercials, commercial print.
So this answer goes full circle back to the original point I made. Know what it is you want.
If I were your parents, I would probably tell you that finding an agent right now is premature until you start doing some of the things I said above.
Lastly, when you do start contacting agents, don't just contact one. Contact as many as you can in your area that are looking for your TYPE. Knowing what that is will increase your chances of getting an agent.
1. you English must be very good. Not necessarily without accent, but almost.
If you still have a strong accent, you will have to work on accent reduction while
you are in the states.
2. You will need your parents to be involved as you will need to have someone
to stay with in the States while you are studying.
3. You should do a lot of research first. Find out about what it means to be an
actress...really, especially at the beginning. It's tough Manuela. Not impossible,
but very tough. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_careers.html
4. Figure out what kind of actress you want to be:
5. Study the industry and gather as much information as you can so you understand
the arena in which you will be playing.
6. Read. Read. Read! I wouldn't advise you to start with my book. Start with
two other books first and then read mine. Those two are:
Sanford Meisner on Acting
Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success
7. Sign up for the rss feed for my blog on ActingCareerStartUp.com, so that you receive
updates every week when I put up a new page.
8. Here is a complete guide for how to plan your trip to New York to study and/or
work as an actress.
Friday, March 21, 2008
... if you read your question again to yourself, you just might find the answer in it. It sounds to me like you have already decided what you need to do.
One important question to ask yourself once you decide whether or not to start an acting career is whether you chose acting or whether acting chose you.
In your question it sounds like you are choosing acting, but that wanting to become a doctor has chosen you.
What I mean by something choosing you is that you just feel that it is something you MUST do. You can't not do it! You simply have to do it! That's the way it seems that med school is for you. It doesn't seem like acting has that power over you. In the long run you will be happiest doing something you are passionate about, something you really love.
To help, go through this exercise on my website for new and aspiring actors. It will help you clarify your goals. On this page link you will find a series of goal questions and then a link to other questions. This is just for starters, but my hope is that you will begin to understand why you want what you want. Once you clarify that (and it will probably take some time-in other words, don't think you will just read that page once and then it will be settled. My advice is to continue to ask yourself those and other questions until you feel 100% sure of what you want.) you will be at peace with yourself and with your decision. Here's the link:
You can also take those questions and adapt them to your medical career as well.
Good luck in your future.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I'm not sure what I need to do to get started. Can you help?
One question you will want to answer sooner rather than later is, "Did I choose acting, or did acting choose me?"
Why were you looking up famous actors? Was it because you would like to see what kind of life they live? Was it because you hoped to see what kind of path they followed to get where they are today? If that's the case, it might be a little soon to be declaring that you want to start an acting career. If you are already trying to become an actor, then you should already know they answers to those questions.
But you are on the right track for starters. It's important to find out what it really means to become an actor FIRST.
Getting back to figuring out what your goals are, it might help if you ask yourself some questions:
Why do you want to become an actor?
What will that do for you?
How will it make you feel?
What kind of actor do you want to become?
How far are you really and truely and honestly willing to go for your acting career?
Do you know what it's like to work as an actor?
Do you know what actors do when they are looking for work or in between jobs?
Do you know what kinds of different acting careers you could have?
How hard are you willing to work? Honestly. (I ask that question, because you openly declared that you feel lazy and bored. If you become an actor, your days should never be that way.)
What do you think having an acting career entails?
What do you think an actor does day to day, when he's not working?
Do you know anything about business? Do you realize how important it is to know how to promote yourself and to be able to get your work seen?
Have you taken any acting classes yet?
What method are you studying?
What other methods are you aware of?
Do you know what the benefits are to taking acting classes? In other words, do you know what they can do for you, other than teaching you how to act?
Do you know how you can tell if a class is right for you or not?
Do you know how to choose an acting school?
Do you know of at least ten different ways that you can promote yourself as an actor?
Do you know how to go about finding a talent agent?
Do you know what agents look for in an actor?
Do you know your type and why knowing that is so important?
Do you know how to do a mailing?
Do you know how to use post cards?
How about head shots? Do you know what the disadvantages are of getting head shots taken before you are ready?
Do you know the right questions and what to look for when selecting a head shot photographer?
Do you know what the industry formats are for an acting resume?
Do you know one of the first places agents and casting directors look when they look at your resume?
If you were further along, I would ask you other questions like:
How did you get your agent?
What do you do while you are waiting for your agent to call you for an audition?
How did you choose your monologues? Do you know the most common mistakes actors make when performing a monologue and how to avoid them?
How do you prepare for your auditions?
What method of acting are you studying and why does that method speak to you?
Do you know how to build a character?
You shouldn't be bored any more now. If you really want to be an actor, then get to work and answer all those questions and look for others to answer as there are many more. If you start with those, you should have a pretty good idea what it means to become an actor.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I am considering getting an agent, I have had a lot of experience, and next week I am getting head shots. I have made up my resume and so far it's really good. My mother and I just can't find a decent talent agency in NY.
What do you suggest?
I am not saying I'm going to to get an agent, but it's worth the try.
Well it sounds like you are doing the right thing by keeping your mother involved. That is especially important as there are a lot of creeps out there preying on young people. They will tell you anything.
I just recently received a story that I will be posting soon on my website for aspiring actors. It is from a girl, sounds like she's about your age. She and her mother were almost victims of a scam at some agency.
One of the things you will want to think about doing is making sure that you know what your type is.
You have two choices. You can either go after any and all agents or you can go after an agent in a targeted and methodical way. Needless to say, the second way will get you better results.
First of all it's important that you know what your type is. If you are not familiar with that concept, find out. See if your acting teacher can help you figure it out. Type is important because it will help you to make sure that your head shot, your résumé and your cover letter are all giving off the same message. That will get you some extra points, because you will be not only projecting an air of professionalism, but you just might make it easier for an agent to decide to bring you in for an interview.
I can recommend to you a way that I used to personally get my first agents in a relatively short period of time.
Don't forget then that you will want to prepare for the interview itself. One of the best resources to help you do that and to help you be able to prepare for some of the questions that an agent might ask you is Brian O'Neil's book, Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success. I know Brian personally and he has many years of experience in the industry as an agent, actor and personal manager.
Lastly, another thing that you must never forget is that agents are in the business to make money. They can make more money from, and will be willing to invest more in people who are well-trained, prepared and who have a better chance of booking work.
In order to be all those things to an agent, you need to be trained...well. You should be taking classes continuously.
I wish you the best of luck!
Get yourself some hosting training. Learn how to use an ear prompter and a tele prompter. If you want to be a host you will need those skills. You can find people who teach classes on those things like Pat Murphy in NY www.mediaimagecoach.com . She's very good.
So, first and foremost you will want to be trained!
You will need to be good at marketing yourself to production companies and casting directors who cast hosts.
You'll also want to find out which agents or agencies have hosting departments and contact those people directly.
I wrote an article on the site about 12 steps to getting an agent that you can check out if you want.
Something else you should take into consideration. That is become an expert at something and create your own show! With today's technology, you could create a program of your own and shoot it all over the internet, youtube, myspace, facebook and there are so many other sites like that. You could build a website and become a point of reference.
Remember that something else that is important and that will help to increase your possibilities of getting booked on jobs is how big your fan base is. What I just suggested is an excellent way to create a fan base or a following of people who can't wait to see your videos or the next episode of your show.
Here's another page on my site with videos on it that I took off youtube that show how some actors and entertainers are making their own videos to promote their careers.
To follow the path of creating your own show or website you will need an extremely high dose of PASSION. If you have passion you will want to work on your project all the time and doing things for it will not be a chore. If you are thinking more about what people want and less about your passion, you will find that the things you have to do for your site or for your show will be a chore and you won't enjoy it.
Lastly, when you do create your videos and your show, you will then have more things to show your agent or to casting directors interested in your skills.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Question: What is the very first thing that i have to do if i want to be a child actress and i have some experience with working in front of a camera?
With regard to your question, first of all you must be more specific about what
KIND of child actress you want to be. Have a look at this page on my site. At
some point you will have to decide which kind of acting career you want:
Then, the first things I would do are these:
1) talk to some working actors and see what it's like to be an actor.
See what actors do before they get to television or the big screen.
See what it's like looking for work and the types of things you have to do:
2) Get into a good acting class with a good teacher.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/taking_acting_classes.html on the benefits of taking classes.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_classes.html on how to choose the right school for you.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting-career.html This is an interview with a Hollywood acting teacher. I asked him how you know if a school is the right one for you. His answer you will find about half way down that page.
3) While you are going to class (and you should be doing that all throughout your career),
you should figure out your type and then study the industry.
To find information about how to figure out what your type is, check out my blog:
To know the types of things you need to know about the industry, study the links
you see on this page: www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_industry_information.html
And that should be all you need at the moment!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Question: I WANT TO BE AN ACTRESS SO BAD I CAN TASTE IT!!!! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE. I CAN SING AND DANCE A LITTLE...
First of all, don't let anyone tell you that you can't fulfill your dreams. You can do it if you have a method. I changed my life completely from corporate manager to actor/voice-over artist, host, author, motivational speaker and I'm loving it. This change took place three years ago and I'm still not where I want to be, but I am enjoying the journey and most importantly, I'm making some serious progress! I have agents working for me. I have productions companies and casting directors and agents call me either for work or for auditions. But this didn't happen over night. It takes time and lots and lots of hard work.
It will take time to build your career and set yourself up for long-term success. I conduct a lot of interviews that I share with aspiring actors and one of the most recent ones was with a noted industry professional who owns an acting school in New York. She said that, "You should plan on at least 2 - 3 years in the beginning, preparing your base so that you can get to the point of being able to compete with well-trained actors who are and have been working regularly."
Most aspiring actors never make it for several reasons.
1) They think that it is just a matter of getting an agent, no training, no classes, just get an agent! False!
2) They are not motivated enough to 'see it through' and to do what is necessary to be successful.
3) They have no business and marketing skills or what's worse, they don't realize that they themselves are a product that they must sell and have no clue how to do it.
4) If they do get an agent, they believe that the agent should do all the work and get them all their auditions. Let me take an historical quote from John F. Kennedy and twist it for the purposes of my communication: "Ask not what your agent can do for you, but what you can do for your agent!"
5) They neglect training, because many people around them (family and friends) tell them that they are cute, beautiful, make people laugh, are talented and should go into acting.
What they don't realize is that most if not all of those people are not qualified to say whether or not you are talented enough or have what it takes.
6) Most aspiring actors neglect probably the single most important show-stopper: Money. They don't plan to be able to have either enough money set aside to really be able to pursue an acting career full-time or they have not set up at least one or more streams of passive income so that they will be able to concentrate fully on their careers.
7) They have no clue what's going on in the industry, what the trends are, who casts the types of projects they are interested in.
8) They don't know what their type is and thus don't focus their efforts on getting that type of work. Their headshots, résumés and coverletters don't speak the same language. And the industry professionals they contact are not the right ones.
9) Lack of focus and method and strategy to get what they want.
10) They don't know themselves well enough. The market is so saturated with well-trained actors AND with people who think that they have what it takes to be an actor. It is ESSENTIAL to find that something special about yourself that will set you apart from all the other actresses out there who are of your type. Otherwise, you will get lost in the crowd! Once you've figured that out, you need to find a way to get to the people who could be interested in what you have to offer. Here's my approach to how to figure that out: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/actor.html
11) They start out approaching their acting career by asking themselves the question, "I wonder what an acting career will get me?" instead of, "What am I going to bring to my acting career? What do I have to offer?"
So, what to do? If you are really serious about pursuing an acting career, there are several things to do in my opinion.
First: Research: Find out as much as you can from people who are already doing what you want to do.
Learn about the industry: Read Variety, Backstage for starters.
Learn about the different acting techniques.
Research different schools. Interview teachers about their teaching methods, techniques, audit classes if they so allow.
Figure out how much time you will realistically be able to dedicate to an acting career.
Figure out how you will make money so that you don't have to work 9-5 and don't have enough time to pursue your career.
Then get into a good acting class with a good teacher and stay there...forever! What I want to say there is that your training never, ever stops.
If you want to in the meantime, you could check with your local film commission to see when Hollywood films will be coming to your area to shoot so that you can put in for some extra work. Check this page link for 17 things you could do today to get started.
Also, you could sign up with some extra casting agencies. That's great experience at the beginning of your career to learn how things work on set and make a little money at the same time.
You could also get into some community theatre.
Lastly, if you really are serious about becoming an actress, you will find these things to be easy and you won't be able to wait to do them. If you are not motivated enough in the long run, you will find all these things to be a chore and tremendously difficult.
I know this was a long post, but I get passionate about this!
One last quote from a Hollywood acting teacher I recently interviewed named Bernard Hiller: "The elevator to success is broken. You'll have to take the stairs."
Thursday, February 14, 2008
1) You should know as much about that character as you can. Who is she?
· First of all understand the entire story and understand how your character fits in and what her relationships are with the people with whom she comes in contact throught.
· Where is she from?
· Where did she grow up?
· What kind of life does she have?
· What does she do for hobbies?
· Where does she go to school?
· What does she like/dislike?
· What is she good at?
· What are her strengths and weaknesses?
· Where is she vulnerable?
· How does she talk?
· Does she have friends?
· What are they like?
· What kind of character traits does she have?
· What kind of family life does she have?
· What kind of relationship does she have with her parents?
· Does she have brothers and sisters?
· How old are they?
· How does she interact with them?
If these things aren't in the script, you have to create them yourself. That helps you to bring something special to the character. Clearly all this must fit into the script. You can't re-write it.
2) If you as the person you really are, don't fit the profile of that character, then go someplace and observe how those kind of girls behave? Just spend some time and watch them. Talk to them. See what they tell you.
3) You might want to pick up Stella Adler's book. She takes you through everything in much more detail than I ever could. She's one of the masters.
4) Start today and get yourself into a good acting class with a good acting teacher. If you are doing this for a hobby, then coming to forums like this is fine to get some advice. If you are serious about becoming an actress, then this is not where you want to be coming for advice. A serious actress would be surrounded by people who can help her, including classmates and a good teacher. Taking class in a group setting is such a valuable experience, because you not only get to work on what your teacher tells you, you also get to see others work through the same issues and see how they do it.
The people here on this forum can give you advice, but alone it will be difficult for you to put it into practice and to know whether or not you are doing the right things.
All the best!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I’m sorry to have to tell you that I’m not an agent. Maybe I will be in the future, but I’m not right now. I can tell you what I would do for example if you were my sister.
The best way I can help you is to give you information about what you should do. I can best do that through the website and through books. The website ActingCareerStartUp.com gives you information about an acting career. The book Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success give you the tools and resources to be able to put it all into practice in a very effective way. I can give you a step by step on how to find an agent, but you will need some training first.
If you were my sister, I would help you get into a good acting school with a good teacher first and tell you to stay there. After you have been in classes for about six months or so and start to have a base of preparation and skill, we would look for a print and a commercial agent for you.
Commercials are good, because you can earn what they call residuals. That means after the one or two day shoot of the commercial, you get paid for that and you get paid based on how many times the commercial is actually run/played. That means you could be getting checks for a few thousand dollars for several months into the future all from the commercial shoot you did once! National commercials can make you thousands of dollars not to mention the enormous exposure you can enjoy, which can be helpful to promoting your acting career.
If there would be time, I would have you take an improvisation class too maybe once a week. That would be really good for commercials, because in commercial auditions you are often asked to improvise a scene and make believe.
By this time we would have been hashing out what your strengths and weaknesses are and what kind of acting career you would really like to have. I would also be constantly observing you and your level of commitment to what it is you are doing. If I am going to be helping you, then I don’t want to waste my time helping someone whose heart isn’t in it and I don't want to waste their's either. If I would see that you don’t have the passion, the drive and the determination to do what’s necessary, I would no longer support you in this endeavour. I would want to be your coach and not your babysitter. If on the other hand I see that you are really into it, then I would give it my best to help you be successful.
Then I would try and find you a legit agent (for film, television, theatre if that's what you are interested in and where your strengths lie.) using a 12 step approach that I recommend. It's a step-by-step on how to get an agent.
Then, still as your brother, I would also help you set up a system to do mailings once every month or two in as much of an automated way as possible; targeted mailings to casting directors and agents and production companies with headshots, résumés, cover letters and post cards. At the time we do the first mailing, I would start prepping you for the meeting with the agent, teaching you the basics of effective communication, how to build rapport with the person you are talking to, how to read non-verbal communication and so forth. We would study what agents are looking for and what they expect from actors. We would also examine the business of being an agent, so that you can put yourself in his/her shoes, so you know how it feels, at least as much as possible to be on the other side interviewing the actor. We would also do simulations so that you would be ready for the meeting. We would study the industry together and be well informed about what the issues are that actors face, also what the trends are in the industry. We would know who the big players are in the industry, who the people are that we need to know to really help your career take off and who casts for the types of projects that you are interested in. And finally, we would go into the meeting having rehearsed a list of questions to ask the agent to make sure that we also are getting the kind of agent we want to represent us and who can give us the best chances for success.
And after all that, I would bet any amount of money I have, that you would get an agent! But we would still be active doing mailings and I would be doing many other things to help you promote your acting career.
That's it! That’s what I would do if you were my daughter and had time to represent you properly.
- Hi there! Ive been a fan of your site and writing for a while now. I agree with you on the importance of being in acting classes. I just have one question. Is it okay to be enrolled in many at once and would you recommend it? I know lots of coaches offer multiple classes. I want to take classes from two seperate coaches at seperate facilities. One for private and the other for group. Do you think that could be offensive to either of them? What about combining three? Thanks for your time!
I'm glad you like my website! That's always nice to hear.
There are different schools of thought about taking multiple classes. There are for example schools that offer intensive programs like the one I went through a few years ago in New York. It can be a great experience. Before I did that program all at the same school, a year before that I had gone to New York and put together my own class schedule combining different schools and different teachers. My schedule was:
Tues: Technique (Method based)
Wed: Audition technique, Sensory work (Method) and Scene Study (Method)
Thurs: Improvisation, Yoga.
Saturdays: occaisionally there were specialty classes and forums with casting directors and agents that I attended.
For me that worked out fine.
I believe it is possible to successfully take different classes at once, but they should all be based in the same technique. For example if your acting class for technique is based in Meisner and your acting coach teaches Method, I wouldn't do that. It can be confusing to you. Any classes you take, you want them to complement each other. If on the other hand, your tecnique class is Meisner and your scene study class and your acting coach is also Meisner based, then I would say it's ok. Keep it all in the family, so to speak.
Another thing you could do is, study technique, scene study, have an acting coach, take a class that helps you break down text for audition (all based in one technique and I wouldn't take any more of those all at the same time than you can handle) and at the same time take an on-camera commercial class or a day-time or prime-time primer class or a television hosting or industrial class or an improvisation class as they are all specialty classes that shouldn't interfere with or confuse you with your technique.
Lastly, if you tell your teachers that you are taking other classes, you might find a teacher that doesn't like that and another who thinks it's ok. So be ready for that.
Here are some tips about choosing the right school. (same link as the one above.)
I hope that helps and don't hesitate to contact me if you have other questions.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
If you have already started training and have at least that
to put on your résumé, then this is what I recommend with regard to how to get a talent agent. This information you will read below is based on what I was coached to do three years ago. I actually did it and it worked! In this way I got two agents and a personal manager in a short period of time. In addition, using this method, I also got casting directors and production companies to call me directly to come in and audition or to book me for jobs directly.
1) Try and figure out what your type is. If you don't know, take
a stab at it. Are you the tough guy, the nerd at school, the super
intelligent kid, the bully, the gang member, the super stud, the
jock, the class clown, a comedic type? What kind are you? A rapper?
Casting directors and agents need to know that. Movie executive? A lawyer?
If you don't know, ask a lot of people. Take a poll and try to narrow it
down. Ask the question: "If you were to see me in a film or in a
television series, what role do you think I would be best for?"
See what people say.
2) Find a couple of monologues that speak to that character and learn how to memorize it quickly and effectively and learn how to perform a monologue so that you can avoid common mistakes. If you need help choosing them, then ask your acting teacher, your monologue coach or go to your local Samuel French or Drama Book Shop in New York. Those stores have people who can help you choose a great monologue for you. If you are in New York and are looking for a Monologue coach, I can highly recommend Karen Kohlhaus of the Atlantic Acting School, Brian O’Neil, best-selling author (Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success) or Wendy Ward of the Ward Studio.
3) Carefully choose a headshot photographer and get some headshots that look as much like that character as possible. It must be natural though. Don't make yourself up.
If you really look like that character, then you shouldn't have to
do very much. Just wear the right clothes, make sure your expression
says the same thing. For example if you are a comedic type, you
won't have a blank stare on your face, but not a shot with your mouth
wide open either. Make sure your eyes have a look in them that makes
them pop off the picture.
4) Write a cover letter that communicates that you are that character
and that those are the kinds of roles you would be best for.
5) Have some good training to put on your résumé if you don't have
any work experience.
6) Find out which casting directors and agents and production companies
and extra casting companies (don't limit your mailings to only agents)
cast for the kinds of projects that speak to your type.
7) Do a mailing using the method on this page link.
8) Make sure you follow up with everyone you mail to about four weeks later making reference to your first mailing and reiterating the fact that you would like to audition for a casting director or to have a meeting with an agent or production company.
9) To follow up, you should have postcards made up with your headshot on them and your contact information.
10) You should have an answering service/machine for messages on your phone and you should keep your phone with you at all times so as to be able to return phone calls immediately.
11) Follow up every 6-8 weeks reporting progress that you are making in your career or at the very least, classes that you have attended and have finished or whatever. Make sure you have something to report, always using the post cards you had made up. Keep following up. every 6-8 weeks.
Also, see if you can make some of these 17 things happen to help get you work.
You will need to send out at least 150 - 250 of these kinds of mailings and not be surprised if you get around 5% responses back. Don’t be alarmed. It’s normal and if they don’t answer you, it doesn’t mean that they are not interested. It could just mean that they are inundated with mail and haven’t gotten to it. It could also mean that they aren’t interested in that moment. Once I met a producer at a forum one evening. He openly told me that he found my work very interesting and that I should keep in touch. I kept in touch every few months with updates on what I had been doing in the way of acting. His office called me in a year later for a job!
Yes my friend, it's hard work, but if you stick with it, it pays off. I don't remember if you are under aged or not. If so, just make sure your parents are involved in what you are doing.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Passion/love for acting more than anything else.
A certain degree of talent to start with.
Drive and determination.
Talent: You must have a certain degree of talent as a base.
Business smarts. (most actors don't realize that
if you want an acting career, you have to learn how
to run your own business. You have a product to
sell and that product is you!
Creativity: to come up with different ways to
promote yourself and get recognition.
Motivation: rejection can be a back breaker if you
are not prepared for it. You also need to keep yourself
motivated each and every day to do what's necessary
Planning ability: you need to be able to plan for your
success to make sure you stay on track towards
Knowledge of yourself: You must know yourself inside and out! Many actors
don't and that is why they make the wrong decisons
about their careers and consequently don't get a lot
Vision: You MUST have a clear idea of what kind of career you
want. It's crucial. Like I said in the page I sent
you to today (I hope you got the e-mail), if you are
specific about what you want, it will be a lot easier to
get it! Wanting to be an actor in itself is not specific
All these things are in my book Acting Career Start-Up.
The website has a lot of information on it that can help
an actor be successful. The book will teach you how
to apply those things and to optimize your efforts.
It will give you a personalized plan by the time you
Oh! It helps if you have enough money coming in from
a passive or residual stream of income, that will allow
you the flexibility to focus as much as possible on
I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any
more questions. I'll do my best to be quicker at answering them.