I’ve already mentioned a few times on the Right Cast about the web series I collaborated with a few other actors to create, write, and produce, as well as star in. It’s been a ton of work, a ton of fun, and I’ve learned a ridiculous amount about self-producing. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! However, recently a talented and busy actress friend of mine cornered me about what the benefits actually are of acting and/or producing a DIY web series that doesn’t pay, takes up a lot of time, and potentially isn’t seen by anybody. Hm. Well…good point! So interesting was the discussion, I thought I’d share the topic with all of you: what is the point of being an active participant within the world wide web universe?
Here’s what happens. (And it happens all the time.) An actor, one who is dedicated and diligent just like you, spends his day submitting his picture to every single job he can possibly find on five casting networks, twenty-three listservs, Craigslist, and his Aunt Hildy’s PTA networking board. He submits. And submits. And every once in a while he gets an audition. He prepares, and prepares. He waits. He submits some more. And with all this emailing of his headshot all over town, for weeks and months and years, he starts to feel a bit disconnected from his own smiling face. Even when he gets called in!
“They don’t care,” he might think. “There are thousands of actors out there, probably applying to the exact same roles I do. I look the same as everybody else. I am the same as everybody else! I’m pretty much invisible.” Read More
Acting, whether you realize it or not, is a team sport. Your team, as I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, contains a bevy of players, from your agent to your headshot photographer to your lawyer; furthermore, they all truly just want you to succeed. And no one wants you to succeed more so than your manager.
When I was working in New York, I totally pooh-poohed the idea of a manager. What was the point? Why can’t I manage my own life? Wasn’t the real goal to get an agent? What does a manager even do, anyway? (I had a vague notion a manager was like the guy who’d stand outside the boxing ring and yell at the boxer while he’s the one who’s getting punched in the nose and there’s blood oozing out of his nose.) I had a few friends who had managers, sure, but it seemed like a lot of them didn’t get much out of the arrangement other than a snazzy graphic on their resume. When I moved to LA, however, everyone seemed to have a manager, and everyone I talked to really encouraged finding one for myself. So I did my research!
Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like everyone is just out to get you? Unfortunately, some days it’s the truth. It’s no secret there are those who try to take advantage of the people around them with scams, schemes, pitches, and ploys. What’s worse, a large portion of those scammers try to take advantage of one demographic near and dear to folks like you and me. You got it…Actors.
At this point, you might have already had contact with some of those who would take advantage of you and your hard-earned moolah. Have you ever been to an agent meeting that starts with them praising your talent and ends with them telling you to spend your life savings at their friends’ acting classes and headshot sessions? Ever seen audition notices on Craigslist that ask for a full-body photo “with or without” clothes? Ever heard about a great showcase opportunity that will be amazing for your career if you can just raise the $1000 to pay for it? Read More
Every single book about becoming a working actor gives the same piece of advice in the very first chapter: get a job. Nope, not an acting job, a rent job. Employment that pays your bills, buys you lunch, gases up your car and doles it out for the doctor. Income to keep you alive while you keep your career moving upwards. Ah, yes, paying the rent!
When I moved to a new city, I pushed my savings as far as they could possibly go so I could optimistically avoid getting non-acting work. I had come from a string of rent jobs in New York, all of them drama-rich and soul-crushing. I wanted to bypass the same fate in my new home. Maybe I could fast book some commercials and not worry about a rent job! (It happens for some, it’s true.) Soon, I found myself broke and worrying about paying my bills upon bills as I frantically tried to find some new employment. ANY employment. And it struck me: all those books were right. Everybody needs money coming in, if not for the necessities it pays for, then the surge of confidence you acquire knowing you’ve got a bank account to back you up. Read More
Summer’s over, school is just now beginning again, and so September always reminds me it’s time for my Artistic Retreat. For the past four years, I’ve sent myself on an Artistic Retreat after every Labor Day to refocus my energies for the coming year. Lucky for you, I’m going to teach you exactly how to have one of your own!
No, my retreat is not in the woods of New England, or at a swanky resort on a hot beach. (I wish.) In fact, no one is actually at my retreat but me. I’m the leader, the audience, and the guest speaker. You can have your Artistic Retreat anywhere, at any time of the day, but I’d recommend doing it either in your expertly organized Actor Office, or a nice, quiet place like a coffee shop or your local library. All you need is you, and my Artistic Retreat Questionnaire. Read More
There’s a well-known actor saying that goes, “Nobody’s casting in your living room.” In essence? Get off your butt, and get out to auditions, because you can’t just dream a career into existence while you lie on your couch. (That is, unless you live with a casting director.) You have to develop the courage to walk out your door every day and try to book work. However…you can’t get the work, unless you live in an office.
Okay, obviously, I don’t mean that you should actually sleep in an office building. (That’d be weird.) But you do need to have a space set up that is conducive to all the paperwork you have to do to propel your career forward. I didn’t realize until well into my career that a large portion of my job was about the paperwork. (Ugh! Paperwork! Where’s Ibsen? Where’s Shaw? Where’s Mamet, for goodness’ sake?! I want to work in the theater, in movies and television, not dilly-dally with paper! Well…tough.) You got a lot of work to do, and you need a safe space to do it. You’ve got casting notices to submit to, cover letters to write. Read More
The moment has come. Are you ready? I’m going to tell you the super secret key to rocking all your auditions. Yes, that’s right. I’m going to divulge with all you wonderful actors at The Right Cast the secret, singularly perfect way to do yourself proud in that casting room. Okay. Here it comes… Read More
We’ve created a Facebook page for TheRightCast. If you use Facebook please check it out and join. Right now we’re still building it out but within the next couple of weeks we’ll be publishing all our casting notices on it so it will be an easy way to find auditions. In the meantime we’ll be publishing all our great acting tips to it.
I am the youngest of three children, all of whom have made their careers in the entertainment business, and our shared childhood is pretty indicative of the choices we’ve subsequently made as professional performers. My sister, the oldest, directed my brother and I in every version of “Cinderella” she could brainstorm and film on my mother’s old camcorder, including “Cinderella: The Musical,” “Cinderella: The One-Woman Old-Time Vaudeville Revue,” “Cinderella: The Claymation Tragedy,” and, last but not least, “Cinderella: The Stop-Motion Melodrama Starring Barbie.” My brother wrote and performed all the music. I was lights, props, costumer, and, when I was allowed to act, diva extraordinaire. (I liked to keep my sister on her toes with my obnoxious yet witty ad-libs.) Challenging and ridiculous as the process was, Do-It-Yourself filmmaking (as well as DIY theater production, DIY neighborhood newspapers, and DIY cover performances of Barbra Streisand’s “Hello Dolly!” done entirely on roller-skates) taught me an invaluable lesson: DO IT YOURSELF. In between community theater projects? School’s out for the summer and no creative outlet? No one casting in your cul-de-sac? Make your own! Read More