With regard to acting careers too many actors lose reasoning skills and testicular fortitude when discerning truth from bullsh*t. Some actors are unable to detect fool’s gold advisories from authentic guidance. It’s little wonder that a percentage of actors are easy marks for swindle when among their ranks an Israeli actress insists that an acting teacher is correct when he tells her to describe her accent, on her resume, as ‘South American.’ (My South Jersey accent of ‘warsh’ for ‘wash’ I can now classify as North American.)
In an audition hallway one actress insists wrongly informing peers, “Nude heels is the required footwear for musical auditions.” Who sayeth so? Jessica Simpsonia the Goddess of Straight to Pay-per-View? I don’t get the logic-disconnect nor the uninformed certainty. Why are some actors perpetuating the stereotype of actors having the intellectual prowess of a gnat? In some studies of professional trades actors are often categorized as forward thinkers. Leaders in outside-the-box creativity and reasoning. But as long as a too-large percentage of know-nothing participants in the entertainment trade continue to mine, and then sell worthless minerals—the praised characteristics for an actor is challenged.
Pyrite encountered as horded by actors who believe they possess priceless bouillon:
Fool’s Gold 1: Actors are to put parenthetical descriptors on actor resumes after roles played. Example: Jean Valjean (man who steals a loaf of bread).
An acting teacher spreading this inane bile is making actors look like imbeciles (people who display low intellectual prowess).
Fool’s Gold 2: Actresses with long hair must always wear it tightly pulled back and up for auditions and performances.
This misnomer comes from several of my students who allegedly had been told this fallacy by teachers of the arts. Possibly the instructors secretly desire a dominatrix’s crop?
Fool’s Gold 3: Actors shouldn’t waste time sending land-mail submissions to casting directors.
A fallacy brought to my attention by actors who ‘heard’ from a casting director or two who students can never recall or if they do the casting person in question is one that doesn’t cast. Casting offices look at all mail: land and electronic. Actors who support email with land-mail do receive auditions and/or employment.
Fool’s Gold 4: When sending a submission for representation or to casting place a Post-It on the headshot as a cover letter (for land mail) or no content in the body other than contact information in a submission email.
The format, content, and overall presentation of cover letters, emails, headshot & resumes actors put out to the world of entertainment is a representation of the person, their work ethic and skills.
Fool’s Gold 5: List screen extra work on a Legit resume aside principal work.
Keep extra credits on your extra’s resume. Extra credits aside principal credits on a resume diminishes the principal credits. Extra work–of which is gained not by talent but by look or special skill i.e. horse riding–on a resume announces the subtext of, “The actor is padding their resume.” We all begin our journeys without treasured memorabilia.
Fool’s Gold 6: Black is the only appropriate attire for auditions.
Yes, if you’re auditioning for Morticia Addams or Voldermort.
For general (non-role) auditions, dress for who you are emotionally (your persona). If all actors wore black daily The Tonight Show would be a Bronte-fest.
Fool’s Gold 7: Only brilliant people exist behind the casting table.
Recall who is responsible for:
The Mob Doctor
NBC’ prime-time programming
and the peers in our industry selling fool’s gold.
When career advisories are hurled your way consider who is tossing. What’s their life and career experience? Do they know the full landscape within and beyond their career’s present borders?
Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors
Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:
This is your roadmap!”
— BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
— SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & Order, Unforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
— DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
— KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
— KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
— Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
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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 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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