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. on the benefits of taking classes. on how to choose the right school for you. 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:

And that should be all you need at the moment!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


...My problem is that I don't know where to start. Can you help?


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:
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."
Good luck!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Question: I just got a role in a play in which I have to play a girl...

...who is a few years younger than me and a lot different than me. How do I get into character.


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!