This Week: How to be a Working Actor; When Work isn’t Working
Didn’t book a movie for the muggy months of summer play?
Pilot passed upon?
Auditions dried up?
Don’t panic. This is normal for nearly all actors. Especially the absence of auditions. We’re presently in one of two annual doldrums that occur within our industry of entertainment. So relax. It’s not you (unless you haven’t showered in the past week; uhm… then the cause for flee from your presence is definitely you and those creepy-crawly bacteria basking upon your bod).
June to the beginning of August is a time when casting rolls up their beach towels and head to the nearest refuge of water-side solace. Agencies, casting, most L.O.R.T. theaters along with film and theatrical production offices have shortened work-weeks while summer interns they corralled from colleges across the country perform in-house cleaning and organizing. So while the industry is focused on filing and fruit drinks populated with paper parasols what should you be doing? Nearly the same. Where’s the work for actors? It’s at your finger tips.
This is a time when every actor should be compiling and updating land and digital mailing lists. Re-formatting marketing materials. Reaching out to industry prior to the flood of inquiry they receive in the fall. Strategizing your salesmanship. Updating your web-site(s). And if you don’t have an online presence beyond Facebook, Actors’ Access or any other online social media then what the fuck are you waiting for?! An online, non-social media outlet, personal website is a mandatory business tool for every actor as outlined in the marketing chapters of ACTING: Make It Your Business. I was once a techno-boob. If I can create an online presence (I began long ago with a now defunct gay games website) so can you. I now know of a great number of once HTML-averse-actors who no longer worry as to what belongs on their web site because they took to being proactive with their careers having read AMYIB or taken my classes; both of which cover digital marketing. They know what to do. (O.K. enough of that slight slide into shameless self-promotion. Mea culpa. Where’s the shower to sanitize my soul? Back to where else the present work is for you.)
Don’t have an agent? This slow-down slump is prime-time to gain their attention. Talent reps. are literally twiddling their thumbs as they text and tweet to pass the ho-hum days of high-humidity and low-expectations. Go and grab their attention.
Just as your behind-the-audition-table counterparts of the industry are re-organizing and looking to the future; so should you. Don’t let the lazy days of summer make you a lay-about whining “Where’s the work?”. I remind you… it’s at your finger tips, on your computer, and in your files. The ‘work’ — abundantly avail at present — is the labor an actor must toil upon in order to get work. It’s a mandatory element of your job description. You’ll only get a little assist from your blinding smile, smooth deliveries and bending into positions that will require knee pads. Get to work.
Don’t force me to beat you over your attractive head that when the acting business sails annually into this calm that it’s your turn to take the helm of acting and make it your business.
HEADS UP!: Because actors have gotten agents (and more importantly) work; Access to Agents is back! Two versions are avail to you: Stage & Screen or Musical Theatre. You and I will work together on your audition and marketing skills, plus interview technique and then I’ll introduce you to a panel of agents for film, TV and Broadway who’ll give you feedback on your audition and potential as a client. Full details @ Access to Agents. Read feed back from some past students.
Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.
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