Monday, December 7, 2009

How Can I be Proactive in My Acting Career?

Well, the first rule is to stay informed.

Any business one is part of requires a person to be in touch with what is happening in that industry.

In the Entertainment Industry it is important to stay on top of the current casting, projects, who is hot etc. that is something easily done by reading the Trades, going on line and researching etc. It is not something you do by watching Access Hollywood or other trash T.V.

One can ALWAYS self promote in the Industry. A website, new current photos, updated resumes, making short films for YouTube, these are all things an actor SHOULD be doing regularly.

An actor has to keep his game going in order to stay fresh in the game.

If you haven't been on an audition in a while send out more headshots and resumes and update your website so you have new fun stuff posted there then send out a postcard telling casting directors, agents, managers, and others to check out your updated stuff.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opinions on the Industry

"The Industry", it use to mean so much more to be a part of Hollywood than it does today.

There was an art form that sometimes seems forgotten. It is called the ACTOR. With so many reality stars it is hard to find the real talent that was a mainstay of Hollywood's grandeur of yesteryear.

There are the real stars still, the Hugh Jackman's, who do a big blockbuster, but who is really a talented talent, who hopefully inspires others not to sell out just for the big bucks, but to be true to their own goals as an artist.

It is exhausting to hear commercials today that are a who's who of Hollywood. Do they really need the money that badly that they have to sell us cars, lumber, paint and a myriad of ten thousand other items? Maybe they should think about downsizing their lifestyle rather than their integrity....

It seems nostalgic, but there was a certain charm to the Marlon Brando's of a bygone era, the Greta Garbo's the other's who seemed to be just a little, I don't know, maybe classier than the trash we have to ingest today.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Set Attitude

On set attitude


Many wonder what will it be like to be on set?

How should I act generally?

If I act more important than the other actors won’t I be perceived as more important and then more opportunity will be available to me?

Well, a set is not at all unlike a normal working environment. Ninety percent of the people who work on a set never have their name in lights and have a pretty average life, suburban home, wife and kids, beer and BBQ’s on the weekends.

Generally, if you are just YOURSELF and maintain manners that is the best way one can be. If there are confusing things that occur on set and one isn’t comfortable to ask, make a note and check it out later, but don’t leave yourself with confusions about what is going on on set.

If one goes into a new job (which acting is – just a job, and usually new) with a holier than thou attitude how will one’s co-workers perceive them? Well, it is the same thing on set. Go in with an attitude of who you are, and you will find that those who like YOU will hire YOU again and again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Actor Exposure - Film, Stage and Showbiz Expo

Film, Stage and Showbiz Expo

This weekend the Los Angeles Convention Center was home to the Film, Stage and Showbiz Expo.

The show was a lively combination of actors, models, general entertainers, agents, producers, directors, casting agents, and anyone else you could think of having to do with the industry.

The excitement of the hall was palpable.

It was a great mix of entertainment professionals.

Attendees and exhibitors included Fox Television, Disney, MyActingSite.com, Kevyn Major Howard, a well known photographer, and many other hi-profile industry representatives.

This is the first year I have ever attended. It was interesting to see all of the various old and new faces to the industry in the same space. This show is a must attend for anyone looking to think out of the box where the Industry is concerned!

Check on line to see future show dates and locations!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Advice from a Hollywood Manager

Advice from a Hollywood Manager

A web presence is vital for an actor.

“Promotion is the key to sales. Sales is the key to income. Income is a measure of success. What could be more simple?”

Actors and all artists alike need to promote themselves personally until their measure of success is so high that promotion is done by fans.

There is fierce competition in the Industry. But there is also fierce originality and talent! The more your talent can be showcased the more opportunity has chance to knock on your door.

You need a website. You need a site that is easy to access. You need to have regular updates to your site.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Divas suck!

Divas suck - seriously!

There is the diva in Hollywood, male or female, they are all one in the same. Diva in the English language means a leading woman in an opera. Well, in Hollywood slang it has come to mean a woman who tends to demand, in an ungracious way, treatment or perks that are above and beyond what is acceptable as part of the needs of an artist.

Years ago a trend started in Hollywood where starlets would be asked by a generous producer’s staff if there was anything that they may need to be more comfortable. They would usually graciously answer with some small request.

In more recent years this has become a monstrous beast, from a simple thing like a specific brand of water to a HUGE request like a double the size of all the other talent’s trailer with fresh flowers in a specific color, a certain type of candles, specific food, etc etc….

Producers have caught sight of the fact that they can stand up to the “celebrity” and say no, or just not ask in the first place!

American Idol is a perfect example of this, all the guest performers are essentially treated the same way. They are paid the minimal amount of money per Union rules, given a so-so room and told the number of guests they are permitted in the audience. Sorry that is the way it is, don’t like it, don’t come get your face in front of our MILLIONS and MILLIONS of viewers!

It has begun to turn the tide. There is spectacular talent out there, people who used to be strictly film stars who are now doing guest appearances on television.

Why?

Because professionals LIKE TO WORK!

So what is the underlying message? Don’t be a jerk in anything you do in life, because it can sometimes permeate all the other areas and the next thing you know you are in a tabloid being talked about because you’re a real ass!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Key industry terms

Definitions of some key industry terms -

Here are some simple terms that have often come up to make it easier to understand what is being said in the Industry.

Audition: This is anything that an actor tries out for. it can be spoken or not. It can be for a commercial or theatre or TV or a film.

Call back: This is when the actor has done an audition and then is called back for a second audition. This means they liked you. It is a good thing.

Hold: This is where the production has asked an actor to possibly do a job, though for various reasons they cannot actually book the actor. It rarely has to do with talent, they would never hold you if they didn’t like your audition, it often has to do with production restrictions and union rules.

Booking: This is where an actor is given a job. Sometimes they are paying, sometimes not. It is always a confirmed job that has a shoot date.

Shoot date: This is the date that the actor will film a TV, movie, commercial etc. Often there are many shoot dates in a row and sometimes they are broken up into several weeks or months.

Set: This is any portion of the area where the shoot is actually occurring. For example, the eating area is not on set, though it is on the production lot.

Anything else that would be good to know?

Friday, September 4, 2009

A must attend event for any actor in Los Angeles

FILM, STAGE & SHOWBIZ EXPO

Just click on the link above and get registered! You will be utterly happy about attending!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is the "Method", and why should I stay away from it?

What is the "Method", and why should I stay away from it?

There are many forms of acting “technique”.

A technique is a way or means of doing something.

In the case of acting the person doing it is meant to pretend that he or she is a character and assume that character’s identity and portray that identity on screen or stage. That is the actual product an actor is achieving, the creation of a believable situation to the audience.

The means to get there is the technique the actor uses.

The “Method” is a specific technique. I have personally never taken nor taught the Method, so bear with me in that I can only share the limited experience I have had with it. The Method is a technique that uses past experience in order to cause the actor to “find” his emotion in the scene. This can be bad for two reasons:1. If you have no past experience to draw upon you’re up a creek 2. If your past experience causes you a great deal of emotional pain you have opened a wound which could sting long after the scene is over.

I have heard of people giving up acting because it was “too painful”. The Method could be part of that.

I did some career counseling with a lovely actress not long ago. She was on the show the Ghost Whisperer, she had to cry for 8 hours on and off for every take. There was another girl in the scene who dried up and could no longer cry. The other was practicing the Method, whereas the girl I was counseling had done some scene study and was using her imagination. She never dried up in 8 hours of crying!

Why? Because when someone has a terrible thing happen to them they go through various emotions and eventually those emotions go further up scale from grief up to cheerfulness, in other words, you eventually lose the tears. However, imagination is endless, one doesn’t run out of emotion because imagination goes on forever and has nothing to do with real emotion. As an actor you get to pretend the tears, the sorrow, the joy etc. for as long as you decide!

Make sense?

Monday, August 17, 2009

How Do I Push My Agent to Get Me More Auditions?

How do I push my agent to get me more auditions?

First of all you need to make sure that YOU are creating on your career.

People who are part of your team only work as hard as they are inspired.

Part of that inspiration comes from you doing your job and booking jobs. It means you making sure you are taking a class that celebrates you as an artist. It means really being well prepared on an audition. This needs to be a priority for you, it means not staying up late partying or goofing around when you should be working on your sides. It means being dedicated to your craft.

Once you have done your part, you can then do things like stopping by your agents office with a small token, like a coffee or a homemade muffin or a card or even better a new headshot, post card or resume addition, a new website or a note saying your site has new features or a new reel etc. It is important to keep yourself real to your agent and by real I mean there and in their minds.

Friday, July 3, 2009

How do I handle being nervous at auditions?

This is where the old adage “practice makes perfect” comes in. The more one does audition the less overwhelming it is and the easier to deal with.

In the meantime, a trick I have used with friends and my own child is half an hour BEFORE the audition take Vitamin B1, calcium, and vitamin C and E. the dosage and brand you will have to go to a nutritional site or look up at a reliable source.

According to some research I have read in various medical publications the B vitamin family has many relaxing qualities and actually helps to relieve terror stomach for a short time.

There is a book by Adele Davis, and while I am not a doctor or medical expert, the book entitled Let’s Get Healthy seemed to have some great and informative information about little tricks to help ease tensions in the body.

Finally, mentally, you must prepare yourself for your audition in a way that you feel you have done all you can do at that time to give your best performance and then don’t beat yourself up over any foibles. Find a class that embraces you as an artist and helps you to hone your craft without contributing to any insecurities you may already have.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How do I get a manager?

A manager is a bit more of a personal contact type situation than an agent in that there is no managers union whereas agents are regulated by SAG.

The best way to get a manager is to ask a friend to bring in your head shot to their manager and recommend you to them for representation.

If you don't have a friend with a manager you can get crafty and go on the net and search out those actors you really admire and then find out who reps them and mail several times to those managers. You can also open up any of the industry publications and seek out someone who has published anything in one of those for their clients.

Rule number one is simple: NEVER seek representation from anyone who wants money from you up front for services, even if they tell you it is only to provide expenses for photos or some other nonsense.

Artist's are easy prey for unsavory charlatans who would rather vampire than actually produce anything themselves, mainly because you, in the main, are trusting individuals who keep putting your hearts on your sleeves for the benefit of the world. So, pay attention and of it seems off it likely is!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hot new video, very funny!!! very real, and very true!



How do I get an agent?

There are a number of ways to do this. I will list them in order of seniority:

1. If you personally know an agent, whether a family friend, a distant or close relative, a former co-worker or employer - never hesitate to ask them for an audition or representation. When possible do this in a face to face encounter. Where face to face is not possible send them a PERSONAL letter along with your photo and resume and website info.

2. If you have a friend who has representation ask them to put in a call to the agent and ask for a meeting on your behalf. Sometimes you have to press this point with a friend, but fear not, there is plenty of work in Hollywood and RARELY will it come down to you and your buddy for the final casting call.

3. If you meet someone at a party (this happens ALL the time) who is an agent, ask them if they would mind looking at your photo and resume, and hopefully you have a card with you that you can give them with your website on it so they have instant recognition when you send them something. Then make sure you follow up IMMEDIATELY, procrastination is the number one artist killer! Don't let it get you!

4. If you have none of the above, the next option is to call SAG or go on line and get an approved agent list that you can then mail to. Choose only those that you have some connection with, their name is the same as yours, their agency name jumped off the page at you, whatever system you would like to use, then mail to each of those chosen agents your photo and resume three times. Three is the magical number in this world, somehow after the third every actor I have ever worked with has gotten an agent if not sooner.

So, don't be afraid or reluctant to ask for help from those you know, be persistent and don't procrastinate when you have any opportunity!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How do I organize my life to help my acting?

Imagine that you are an athlete and you and another competitive athlete have about the same build, the same physical prowess, the same genetic structure. The two of you compete against each other in sports regularly. One day he decides to up his game and begins to go to the gym more regularly, adds in body bulking protein drinks, stops drinking diet coke and generally increases his stamina. You do nothing different than you ever have before.

Who is going to win the next sports match?

Exactly!

So, in the world of the Arts, especially in today's market where the biggest idiots and most untalented people are now being dubbed "celebrities" (though I cannot wrap my mind around how or why they think they are actual celebrities - the derivation of the word it "to crowd") you HAVE TO up your game. That means perhaps sometimes missing a party, or other such function because you have an early audition. Or it means working a night gig so you have your days free to audition so you can still pay your rent and EAT without worries that you HAVE TO book a job or you will starve. Maybe it means you sit at home some Friday nights and update your website or send out a mailing of your new head shots.

See, this is not a job, this industry, this is a way of life. The hardest working actors have only a little advantage over the rest of those playing the game, but maybe it is that small advantage that makes the difference between success and failure.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Should I get professional head shots?

All entertainers should have professional calling cards. This is your number one promotional tool. In the case of Actor's this would be a head shot.

There are many photographers out there who take beautiful photos. One thing I recommend is that you have a look at their body of work, look for familiar faces, some head shot photographers have taken shots of celebrities and those photos are on their site, this will help you to see the representation of the person they shot.

Many photographers will meet you in person if you feel that is helpful before you hire them. There is probably not much worse than having someone take your pictures with whom you are uncomfortable, so this is a valid step in the process.

Don't let your buddy take some shots of you because they have a hobby and then think those will pull like a pro. The industry knows professional work when it sees it!

To be a Pro, you have to BE a Pro!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Important is it to be nice to everyone?

A very wise man once said remember the secretary of today is the boss of tomorrow.

No truer words were ever spoken. In fact, most of the Hollywood elite are not Harvard educated business men and women, most of them have industry related education and then went in to a mail room at some agency or studio to work their way to the top.

The late Dawn Steele, former head of Paramount who made Tom Cruise super star, was a self made woman and the first female to head a studio (she has a great Auto Biography that is a worthwhile read).

Most of the big wigs I have met in the industry have been self-made, which means that they had to work up through the ranks! And I will tell you the BIGGEST actors and BEST execs are the ones who have ZERO superiority complexes!

One time I was at a restaurant in Los Angeles with my husband, there was a very kind man and another gentleman sitting just next to us. They were simply trying to enjoy their meal. throughout dinner a variety of people kept stopping at their table and saying hi and chatting at them, finally the topper was a couple who stopped with their very large dog who sniffed around at us and the gentlemen, it was obnoxious. The one gentleman apologized to us. I turned to him and said in earnest, don't apologize to us - you guys are the one's who can't enjoy your dinner! Long story short, I rifted with the gentleman a bit, made fun of a film that was opening down the street only to find that he was the PRESIDENT of that film company, so rather than apologizing I played into my flub and made a good laugh of it. He then took my name and address and for 5 years sent my daughter EVERY single video release from that company that came out. She wrote thank you notes every time a new video would arrive.

So I would say that it is VERY important to be courteous to everyone you encounter - but above that be GENUINE in your behavior as veils are transparent - even a veil of feigned diplomacy or care.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How come it takes a week to make a show?

This is about a brief rundown as can be done on a blog. If you have specific questions feel free to write back and ask those and I will answer as I can.

Television is not like a film. Most comedies are shot in sequence whereas most films are shot totally out of sequence.

In television there are multiple steps to creating a show and there are also multiple people who are involved.

There is the Director of the show, the Executive Producer, The Studio person and the Network person. ALL of these people have to agree that they like the particular show that has been written BEFORE it gets shot.

Because most studio and network execs are more business oriented than they are creative (someone has to make sure a show makes some money!!) they generally like to see the actors do what is called a table read. A table read is where all the actors sit down with the first draft of the script and read their parts and then all those present make notes, most importantly the Studio and Network people say what they do and do not like or will and will fly for the censors and advertisers.

The re-write begins. Then the cast and crew have to come back together to run through the script that has now been agreed and approved. Though there are still changes to be made from this point and those will be incorporated all the way up to filming.

There is another step called Blocking. This is where all the actors “marks” or places to walk or stand etc are blocked out so the camera men can ensure their cameras are in the right spot for shooting.

And then we come to the Network/Studio run through and rehearsal. This is where any notes from the Executives of the show are given and incorporated into the show.

Finally – it is shoot day! Some shows are shot in front of a live audience and this is the day they use to make the show that will finally be on TV.

So all in all it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days to shoot a comedy show because of all the people who are involved.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is it like to be on a set?

In the beginning it can be VERY confusing. Most of the staff and crew on a set are so professional and so competent that you may feel like the new kid at High school in the middle of the school year.

There is always a person who is appointed to show you where to go and what to do (often this is a PA – Production Assistant). If you listen carefully to the instructions of that person and really keep your eyes and ears open you won’t end up totally confused by day’s end.

A TV or movie set is very face paced (though many actors think it is slow because they don’t see or know all that is going on behind the cameras) in that there are a lot of moving parts to filming anything, from cameras, to microphones, to bodies. So, because there is so much going on it is best to stay on the sidelines until you really know the ropes on the set - believe me there is nothing more annoying than someone accidently bumping a mic or walking into a shot.

It may be a good practical exercise to be an extra (background) on a set once or twice if for no other reason than to know what is going on and how things work.

All sets will have someone in charge (the Director) and then people under him/her that ensure people are where they need to be - all the way from the Assistant Director (that’s the Directors right hand) to the PA and every position in between.

A union set is similar to a chess game in that all the parts have specific tasks, they only do what their exact job dictates and all parts are essential to make up the whole.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What does an Entertainment lawyer do?

An Entertainment lawyer is responsible for ensuring his client is protected in all legal aspects of their career.

When one is a mega star they often find they no longer need an agent and only need an Entertainment attorney/lawyer. This is because offers come in without someone having to “drum up business”. Therefore is it superfluous to have an agent being paid a 10% commission on jobs that would come in regardless of their being there or not.

Most actors don’t require an Entertainment attorney until they have a body of work that requires them to begin to be protected from mis-use of their name,, image or likeness or for “riders” (a document laying out specific rules or items that an artist needs or wants as part of their contract) that go along with their contract or “deal”. I am sure you have read about these “riders”, one that comes to mind was the Backstreet Boys when they performed on the show Celebrity Apprentice last season. It was comical in fact, and if you haven’t seen it, it is worth YouTubing to see Trace Atkins’ reaction to some of the hilarious requests they had.

Agents and attorneys alike have the power to negotiate money. Managers cannot and do not negotiate money legally.

Entertainment attorneys take a percentage of the actor’s yearly income, as an example they would take 5-10% of the artist’s gross earnings for any year and in turn the artist would use their services for anything they needed negotiated on their behalf, like say, a house rental in another state or country or to look over documents relating to some other purchase and these would generally fall under their “retainer” aka the % of money the lawyer charged them on a yearly basis. Some special services may be above and beyond their retainer and then the artist would have to pay those services separately.

There is the attorney relationship in a nutshell. You will know when you need one because you can longer count your own money!!!!



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Procrastination and Actors

I have found a common denominator to ALL who had not attained the success they were seeking.

PROCRASTINATION.

Procrastination is defined by the Webster’s New World Dictionary as the action of deferring action; delaying: procrastinating until an opportunity is lost.

As an artist if it right for you it is right for you. If you are in the right frame of mind, clearheaded and sober you are likely making the right choice. Sure you can consult those in your life that you value the opinion of, those who support you unabashedly, but ultimately it is your life and you’re the artist.

Why do I say this? Because the artists of this world are the trendsetters, the future makers the people who dictate what the future will be. So how could a decision you make in the right frame of mind be wrong? It is likely not wrong is it?

What does this have to do with procrastination? Simple, do it! Do it now! If there is something that may help your career, your success, don’t keep putting it off. Make it happen and make it happen NOW! Not tomorrow or when the timing is better just take the leap and go for it!

I think you will find that things will change rapidly for you and your career!




Monday, March 30, 2009

Background work should an actor do it?

This is an odd one as some actors do background work for years never to any further benefit than a paycheck and others do it and meet someone and get “Taft/Hartley” and become SAG. I personally know many people who became part of the union in this way.

The best way to decide if you want to do background work is to do it simply and only for its purpose: To work on set and make a bit of cash. This way you don’t become disappointed if nothing more comes of it. And let’s face it, it is NOT a resume booster by any means.

I seem to recall Tom Cruise was basically an Extra (background actor) in TAPS and ended up landing the role that would lead to The Outsiders and the rest is history….

Ultimately, it is good experience to be on a set. Your first day on a real Hollywood set can seem daunting so it would seem to reason that even if it is background work it might be worth it just so you are comfortable with being on set.

Also, it does serve as some form of promotion in the sense that you could blog about it or post it on your website without stating you were an extra – you could just make mention of having worked on whatever set it was and state how great the crew and stars were. Never post anything derogatory on your website about a set – you never know who might be trolling the web!!!



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Actors - How to choose a head shot

I cannot tell you how many people say “A headshot should look exactly like you do”. Well, that’s all good if you have Jennifer Lopez’s virtually flawless skin, Angelina Jolie’s lips and Cherlize Theron’s perfect eyes….

Some of us need a little help to be at our best! And that is what you should look like in your headshot - the best YOU you can be!

So the first point is use a little make up if need be, get your teeth whitened if you can, pay the extra money to have your hair done.

Here is the second key point: Most actors are their own worst critic or total megalomaniacs, in either case, they are the least likely to pick the best photo. So, choose several shots yourself and keep a record of the shots you like (not on the photo itself but a separate piece of paper) then ask your agent, manager and other actor friends to make their picks. There will be one smile shot and one serious shot that have more yes’ by far than any other.

THOSE are the shots you use as your headshot.

The other thing you can do is put the shots on your website and “survey” your friends and family via the net so you can move more swiftly.

Give yourself a time limit to get the shots chosen and printed so you are not going on and on forever procrastinating (another noted action of actors – and another blog for another day) about what photo to use and thereby giving yourself an excuse to not promote.




Thursday, March 19, 2009

Actors and Agents - who works for whom


I have been in meetings with some of the worlds biggest Agency courting some pretty hi profile talent.

They come in in full regalia, suits, slick shoes and even slicker hair and yet still slicker talk. They bring out ALL the guns, everyone who could be part of the success of your career. They all intro themselves, smooth as silk with fast lips and faster titles, they promise the sun, the moon and yes, the stars, even the proverbial walk of fame star.

And then…

No calls, no offers, no wooing, and the auditions that are gotten aren’t great, mediocre in the majority in fact. And then the actor starts to feel smaller, unwanted, and I love this newest phrase in Hollywood - IRRELEVANT. It sickens me that anyone would suggest to an artist that they need to “stay relevant”. Relevant to whom? Some hack who will be fired or quit his or her big agency job in another month or three? Please!

The only thing that keeps an actor working is an actor. A hungry, vibrant, well trained and well promoted actor. Even with the biggest agency on the planet one is only as good as his or her last $ signs at the box office or his or her last Emmy or Golden Globe for the small screen.

Today is a different climate in Hollywood; in the wise words of Andy Warhol “In the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame.” Behold the latest and greatest “reality star”. YOU have to be the keeper of your own castle. YOU have to promote yourself regardless of if you have an agent. YOU have to pitch yourself even to your own agent or manager. I know it is sort of odd to think that you are the boss, being that you write the check in the end for their commission, but it is a fact.

So, I say to thee, be the boss of your fame, promote, promote, promote. Be creative it doesn’t have to cost a lot – it just has to be good!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Acting class for professional actors – Class Auditing

There has been some debate over the topic of whether one should go to a class that an actor cannot audit.

Some classes stipulate that they don’t want their students opened to ridicule, judgment, or the like.

Other classes suggest that if you don’t audit a class how will you know if you will fit with the other actors and therefore become a regular part of the class.

Here is one way to look at it: If you have the cash to go to a class without auditing it and you personally feel that the other’s who have come from the class are people you admire and have respect what can it hurt to pay a month’s class fees and do it?

On the other hand, if you don’t have heaps of cash lying around there are HUNDREDS of great classes that have huge actors who’ve attended that will allow you to audit the class for FREE!

A good class should have a website that you can check out. Any real professional in today’s day and age has a website, including most actors. It is an important calling card to show the public what you are about.

Go on their site and review their philosophy about teaching methods. Does it match yours? Do they list their students? Are you a fan of any of these student’s work? Do they have any statistics of the percentage of working actors in their class? Is it high or low in comparison to other classes?

These are all valid questions, as well as questions you should have the right to ask about and get an answer to.

Remember, this is YOUR career, if the other guy could act he would be! You have a gift use it and don’t allow even teachers to make you feel not worthy of attending a class!




Thursday, February 26, 2009

Promotion on a Budget For Actors

In these tough economic times it seems it can be hard to chase after our dreams.

And yet, ultimately, dreams are the only thing that will keep us all going, right? Think of Kennedy and his Space Program. At the time, just a dream, and a dream that kept us focused on exploration, not exploitation. Dr. Martin Luther King and his dream of a colorless America. He had a dream didn’t he?

I was shopping at the outlet malls in Palm Springs yesterday and wouldn’t you know it there was Scarlett Johansen and her husband, Ryan Reynolds (two of the nicest people by the way).

I thought to myself, now there is someone who GETS it, a big movie star who is shopping at an outlet mall, she has one of the hottest films out right now, and is IN TOUCH with the people – buying discount! It made me think of another big star who was quoted as saying she wouldn’t “dress down” for the Oscars, regardless of the economic times (I won’t mention her name but I am sure you could Google her) and to do what “makes you happy”! Can you imagine? To say that with the highest unemployment rate in decades? Do what makes you happy???? How about paying rent?

What does this have to do with promotion? Simple, these ladies are both huge stars, and one of them knows the importance of being real with the times. The other – bad promotion! I have seen Scarlett Johansen’s representation kit and let me tell you her team of agents are marketing geniuses! Not to say that the other isn’t a marketing guru, but in times like these one better get with the rest of us if you want us to see your movies, buy your clothes or listen to your music.

Take advantage of these economic times and get creative on your promotion. Promote yourself through paperless means, come up with a catchy phrase like “Join my Email list and receive updates through my Eco friendly waste –free website!” Take business cards from anyone and everyone that might know someone who knows someone and add their email to your email list so they get regular updates.

Make sure you keep your email list updated and send to it with some regularity. Not so much that people are annoyed with you, just enough that people feel in touch with you.

As an actor utilizing your website rather than mailing to the industry right now helps the environment, saves you cash and recognizes that these are tough and we need to do all we can to save money!

Of course, as an actor, you should ALWAYS keep some form of mailing card for follow up to auditions or meetings when you want to have a really personal touch.




Actors Resume

The all important resume.  Its funny that it can be so different from one coast to another, but it is... On the East Coast everyone wants to see Theater Credits as the first thing.  On the West Coast everyone wants to see Television Credits as the first thing.  

Here is a properly done example of a West Coast Resume  Click here

And here is a great example of an East Coast Resume Click here

Hopefully these examples will help you see what you need to do, and what your resume needs to look like, depending on what coast you are on.

Take care, and remember a properly done resume, makes you look more professional, and you need to be a professional in this business for sure!



Monday, February 16, 2009

Do I need my own Domain Name as an Actor?

Yes, 100% yes!  The "Vampire" effect is utterly eliminated by having your own domain name.  It is crucial to have your own domain name.  The "Vampire" effect goes like this: (its so common, its ridiculous).

Ok here it is: You have been working hard at your craft, going to classes, doing what you need to in order to get out there and be a star.  You land an agent, you book a really good role!  Excellent.  But while you are celebrating you first big break, the cyber-vampires of the world are searching the trades and online sources to find such actors and entertainers, like you, who are on their way up to stardom and they will register your name as a domain name.

Take a look at almost ANY top actor and you'll see they don't even own their own name!!!  These cyber-vampires (sometimes called cyber-squatters, or typo-squatters) do this in hopes that you make it big and then they call sell you back your domain name for the big bucks and quite often will put up porn or something else you don't want associated with your name to make you more interested in coming up with the big bucks.  

Recently, over $10,000.00 for a minor celebrity domain name.  Can you imagine paying $10,000.00 or more for your own name so you can put up a website and control what is being seen about you?

The worst part of all of this is its 100% legal.  Get your own Domain name fast if you are in this business. If you do not have a web site now  you should get one, but if not at least protect your name!  Its your name after all!!!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Good Acting Resources on the Interent

I have found a few great web sites for actors in my searching of the internet to further expand my career.  I figured it only appropriate to share them with everyone else.

Here you go, in no specific order of importance whatsoever:

Actors Access - A great place to be able to find out what is going on with auditions, and you can even submit yourself for a small fee.  Some may be free, I am not sure.  However if you are a serious actor you should be all over this web site. 

Casting Networks - (also known as LA Casting) Another great place that you need to be a part of.  These guys basically own the commercial casting side of the business.  You need to have your picture and resume on this site for sure.

SAG - If you are not a member, you can learn how to become one here.  Also, there are a ton of great perks for members, like discounts on things you buy all of the time.

AFTRA - Same as the SAG site, if you are not a member go learn how and why you must become one as soon as possible.

Headshots101 - An amazing site, with everything you  need to know about one of the most important tools in getting work... your head shot.

My Acting Site - A place to not only get your very own web site, but also a ton of resources in their resource center.  You can sign up to get into the resource center for free, and trust me its worth it.

New York Film Academy - Lets face it, they are the leaders of some great education, and the summer program they have is just excellent!  They even have a class in Los Angeles.

Actors Connection - A great site for education, and great seminars.  They are in NYC, but do things in LA as well.  Great people!

Backstage - A great publication, with a casting notice board on the site.  You should really be in touch with this site on a regular basis.

There are a few more for sure, but this will get you started.  I will post more from time to time.  From my experience, even though some of these sites mentioned charge a fee... they are for sure legitimate.  There are a ton out there, that I will also mention at some later point... that may be free or may change you, but for every good site out there... there are 50 or more that are nothing more than a scam.  So be weary, and remember "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is"

Hope this helps!



Thursday, February 12, 2009

What are the key points to making it as an actor?

1 - Knowing how to Act!  Thats right, learning the craft of acting, and then be able to apply that understanding in front of others.  This does mean going to a class on a regular basis

2 - Getting yourself an Agent that wants to help you, that pushes you to everyone, and helps to make sure you are getting out on auditions on a regular basis

3 - Understanding and knowing how to deal with the Business of Acting, do you need a SAG Card / AFTRA Card, etc...  What you should do with your money, etc...

4 - Being a professional at all times, and really knowing the concept "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".  There are literally 1000's of scammers in this business, and you need to know how to avoid them.

5 - Really understanding how to promote yourself, and helping to augment the work your agent does for you, or really knowing how to promote yourself if you do not have an agent yet.

I will discuss all of these points in great detail in future posts.  I am seeking to help the actors of the world by offering some advice that has worked for me, my family, and friends over many many years in this business.  There is no charge for this advice, but hey if you click on one of the links... a few pennies may come my way!

Take Care, and make your dream a reality!