There’s a red flag that too many actors blindly carry. One heralding to the entertainment industry a lack of self-confidence in artistic skills and work history. This banner of insecurity—not seen by the actor but by industry—must be dropped and discarded quickly if an actor wishes to win the battle that is acquiring success.
What are some actors flaunting that is so damaging that they are blinded to the consequences of their own actions? The answer is found in what do the following have in common:
Headshots with “burnt” negative edges
Actresses: Floral print schematas
Actors: Khakis / Beards
The white headshot
They’re all trends: come, gone, with some struggling on life-support. The “It” of the moment for which people followed to sacrifice individuality, free thought, and expression of the unique. Trends bear a herd mentality; sucking in swaths of followers who cannot think for themselves emulating what others are doing or expressing so as to quell the fear of being ‘left behind.’ (Trendies sporting mood rings to Gallagher appearances were the uber-mindless of the mindless: i.e. LCD zombies.)
In no other industry but fashion do trends mangle self-image than in entertainment and an actor’s pursuit of growing a successful career.
As stated in ACTING: Make It Your Business, our business of entertainment is “all about image, image, and image.” When an actor follows the latest headshot or marketing trend which will be here today and gone tomorrow, the same fate is often rushing to that actor. Why? Because the actor is not selling the image that is their individuality. Instead they are following the insecure herd. Actors who think that if they don’t have the latest trick being pushed by an industrious photographer or a profiting disseminator of an actor’s history—the can’t-think-for-themselves-actors believe they’ll be history. And consciously or sub-consciously the witnesses of that actor’s latest trend-indulgence notice the red flag proclaiming that the actor has insecurities beyond normal to being an actor. Insecurity doesn’t sell well.
For an actor to sell themselves to casting and/or talent representation the actor only needs the following:
High-quality headshot that looks exactly like the actor
Resume formatted to the industry-standard (see CH 4 of ACTING: Make It Your Business)
A user friendly, easy-to-navigate web site
An account with the following:
Backstage (for the early career actor)
…and confidence in who they are as an actor, and individual.
The next most vital asset (beyond talent) for an actor? A hunger and commitment to enlarging the actor’s professional and personal network by establishing honest relationships with other actors, directors, writers, producers, general managers, artistic directors, casting directors, and talent representatives. And don’t rely solely on social media for your networking: Facebook, Twitter, and alike are present trends. (MySpace or AOL chat rooms anyone?)
Trends don’t survive the longevity of a successful actor’s career. Your individuality is the standard bearer of your image. Leverage what is truly yours: you.
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)
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Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
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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!”
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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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