A Casting Director’s Bait & Switch with Actors? – Caution!

A NYC casting director for background and commercial casting is baiting actors.

bait and switch

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Paul Russell_Headshot

Paul Russell
PaulRussell.net

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A NYC casting director for background and commercial casting is baiting actors.

The hook begins promising. The casting director entices actors to read for the casting director as an exploration of the actor’s abilities. The cold read lasts 30 – 60 seconds. Not too long please, there are other actors in the audition studio hallway backed-up waiting for their fleeting spotlight. Once the casting director dismisses the actor, the actor is then handed over to the assistant. The assistant gaily leads the actor to a secluded hallway. There begins what the actor believes is a one-on-one career consultation. It lasts no more than 2 minutes. And it ends with a snare.

The assistant (almost always a 20-something young woman) asks the actor for their resume. She reviews the resume with a cursory glance, and then begins the script. Having overheard the assistants for over a year the script leads the actor as follows:

The assistant to the actor: “Where do you get most of your auditions from? (Occasionally she’ll be adventurous and deviate from the script and say ‘work.’)

The actor generally replies, “Back Stage. Actors Access. Casting Networks,” and obscure websites that often have the same information as the preceding casting notice outlets.

The assistant then restates the websites the actor stated adding her casting office utilizes those website too! (There’s always a reminder from the assistant that the actor keep up-to-date membership fees to the casting notice websites.) No matter if the actor has stated one, two, or more of these sites the assistant does not deviate from her script. The assistant also emphasizes to each actor, “We cast 24 hours a day. Log-in to Casting Networks often. Submit to us if you see a project you’d like to be considered for.”

Then comes the snaring scripted question asked by the assistant of every actor in this private career consultation, “Do you have any questions?”

And as if the actor is being voiced by a ventriloquist each actor queries, “[Name of casting director] asked me to ask you about her upcoming workshops.”

The assistant always feigns surprise, “Oh! She did?” And then begins the sell for on-camera classes. And even as I watch an actor take the bait and buy into the class the assistant tells every actor before and after, “We only have two seats left.” It’s a car salesman ploy not worthy of our industry.

How do these actors get snared firstly? They’re contacted by the casting director’s office after the actor has submitted materials to the casting director. You too can have an introductory read with the casting director. There’s a nominal fee. As reported by one actor who participated, he paid $20 for the privilege of a thirty-second read for the casting director before he was pulled aside by the assistant for the bait-and-switch.

On the website ClassActOrHack.com an actor states paying $39. for the initial reading. The actor then goes on further to say of the experience: “…fraud extraordinaire… Rushed everyone. Scammer, scammer, scammer. Grade F.”

There’s nothing illegal happening here. One can state that no one is being harmed. But for the industry professionals who work as actors, casting directors, or talent representatives who also teach actors from a desire of heart not with wish of meager disposable income, what of their reputations? Sullied by the few industry players who play actors for their wallets.

The practice is stomach-turning. And the practice will continue as long as actors let themselves be the prey of the bait-and-switch.

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, Elon and Wright State University. 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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Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
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 & OrderUnforgettable)
“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.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:
Make It Your Business
!

Skype With Paul
A Casting Director’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

ACTING: Make It Your Business

A Rotten Tomato Grows in NJ? – Talent ‘Agent’ Requires Upfront Registration Fee

Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike isn’t the only source for a rotten smell in the Garden State… A New Jersey modeling and talent services organization offers the potential for talent representation partly dependent upon a fee.

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Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike isn’t the only source for a rotten smell in the Garden State… And New Jersey Consumer Affairs, via Superior Court rulings, have in the past fined in the 6-figure range some deceptive NJ talent representatives to clean up their stench.

Talent representatives in New Jersey are governed by New Jersey Employment and Personnel Services code NJSA 34:8‐43 et seq and NJSA 56:8‐1 et seq.

Section 34:8‐51: Requirements, section b, paragraph 6 of the New Jersey statute states:

“ b.   In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection a., each employment agency which charges or may charge the job seeker a fee shall:

  “(6)  Obtain a bona fide order for employment prior to collecting any fee from a job seeker or sending out a job seeker to any place of employment…

“…no charge or advance fee of any kind shall be charged, demanded, collected, or received by the agency from a job seeker seeking employment until employment has been obtained by or through the efforts of the agency;”

Section 34:8‐65, paragraph i states:

    “Not more than one‐third of any fee, charge or commission shall be collected by the registered organization for its services or products more than 60 days in advance of the date on which the registrant provides its services or products as stated in its contract.”

‘Registrant’ being the person represented for the outreach of employment. In this case i.e. ‘actor.’

Presently, a northern New Jersey modeling and talent services organization offers the potential for talent representation partly upon an up-front fee. Located in a bucolic suburb of New York the NJ talent company charges the advance registration fee for as advertised on their website:

“One of the top child talent agencies in the NYC area, [We’re] proud to open doors of opportunity to any child or teen wanting to work in showbiz…. [Our company] also offers amazing bookings and castings… representing young talent just beginning a career in the business. Highly regarded as the go-to source for extras casting by top production companies, our actors in both Divisions work frequently in top television and film productions, commercials and print campaigns and are an elite group of budding professionals enjoying early successes.”

The talent representation company in which the owner is self-described as an agent further stresses online:

“OUR DIVISION BOOKS CHILDREN AND TEENS WITH LITTLE TO NO EXPERIENCE IN NON-SPEAKING ROLES FOR FILM, TELEVISION AND BOUTIQUE MODELING PROJECTS.”

Past readers of Answers for Actors may note a commonality of ALL CAPS UTILIZED in claims made on the websites of the alleged pay-to-play operators.

The NJ talent company charges a $249 registration fee for a division of their clients. An up-front payable for an initial interview with young actors between the ages of 2 – 17. The registration fee is lessened $50 if a code, provided on the company’s website, is utilized in the online registration process.

Along with the registration fee is an additional fee that is be checked-off and agreed to. Whether or not the additional fee is required is not made clear on the company website:

“MONTHLY FEE FOR [OUR] EXTRAS DIVISION BOOKING SOFTWARE PROFILE IS $20/mo.”

The talent company’s website advises that the interview and registration fee do not guarantee representation. Representation that, at first blush, seems mostly for background work which can be found by any civilian for virtually free on their own.

The company does have two divisions of clients. One division for background actors. The other division apparently includes: “established and emerging professional children who can be seen regularly in television, film and print projects such as Disney and Nickelodeon commercials…” After paying for the lower division how and when does the representation for talent graduate beyond background work into the second division of “professional children who can be seen regularly in television, film and print projects?” Is the registration fee for the lesser division returned once the child is submitted in response to a Breakdown to which the child is cast as a principal?

Answers for Actors learned via Thom Goff, Director of Operations, East Coast at Breakdown Services, Ltd. that the northern New Jersey operation does hold a subscription to BreakdownsBreakdowns which include principal casting (commercials, pilots, episodics, Broadway, major studio films, and respected regional theaters). The self-proclaimed “Child and Teen Self-Management” company openly advertises to book more than just background:

“OUR CURRENT ROSTER OF ACTORS AND MODELS HAVE ENJOYED TOP BOOKINGS IN MAJOR NETWORK TV SHOWS, PILOTS AND COMMERCIALS, STUDIO FEATURE FILMS ALONGSIDE A-LIST ACTORS AND DIRECTORS…”

Breakdown Services in the past has strongly frowned upon representation, with a subscription to Breakdowns, charging clients any fees beyond allowable commission (10% for franchised agents and whatever percentage a manager gets their client to agree to). Answers for Actors reached out to SAG-AFTRA’s Megan Capuano, Associate National Director, Professional Representatives for verification if the self-defined agent and company is franchised to represent union members. SAG-AFTRA’s Communications Department responded that the company in question is not franchised with SAG-AFTRA. New Jersey statute permits employment agencies and talent companies seeking work on behalf of their clients to be termed ‘agent.’ The northern New Jersey talent company is a licensed business in New Jersey to operate as an employment agency. As documented in New Jersey Employment and Personnel Services code NJSA 34:8‐43 et seq and NJSA 56:8‐1 et seq, employment agencies are not to seek or request up-front fees of clients. Actor unions also have policies barring pay-to-play representation of actors.

In addition to talent representation, acting classes, and in-house extras casting for outside production companies the northern New Jersey talent company also offers headshot packages for children at $199 advertised as being, “Child & Teen Photo Shoots by a Kids Talent Agent.” Blow-outs and make-up available at an additional $100. The $599 acting classes have check-out options during registration: Order a headshot session. Or add ‘Keep Calm & Call My Agent’ t-shirts. Two color choices. All sizes. $26.50 each.

The talent company operates in an upscale town with hillside mansions overlooking New York City in the distance. Residents include a famous, late-night talk show host. Broadway and Hollywood talent. Franchised talent agents. C.S.A. casting directors. And behind-the-scenes creatives of the entertainment industry. But several blocks from 8-figure manses that are home to entertainment pros is the talent agency requiring up-front fees for a division of the talent they represent. The talent company also has an in-house casting director whose prior experience before casting is detailed online as having, “a previous career in book publishing and store management.”

Pay-to-play-to-be-submitted-for-casting consideration operations are no longer confined to malls and McMansion bedroom communities. The questionable practices thrive and exist online, and in our backyards. Supported by neighbors we believe to be educated on questionable practices within entertainment industry’s ranks. But as long as there are the star-struck wishing to be famous there will be hands and websites holding open doors for dollars. And as long as there are adults chasing the stage and screen ambitions of their prodigy and established entertainment professionals harvesting the children to fill roles these companies, some well-known like the New Jersey operation and others existing under entertainment industry’s radar, the pay-to-play game continues.

[Author’s Note: Sourced quotes from the talent company’s website are documented via time and date stamped screen captures.]

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, Elon and Wright State University. 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.

ACTING: Make It Your Business

10 Tips On How to be a Professional [Actor]

Merriam-Webster’s clinical definition for professional is slightly incorrect… someone is waiting to take advantage of your misstep(s).

Merriam-Webster’s clinical definition for professional is slightly incorrect:

pro·fes·sion·al / adjective

(1) :  characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) :  exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

Professional behavior extends beyond the jobs in which we toil to survive–life’s everyday interactions requires personal professional behavior. An actor, whether household name, developing, or amateur is a public figure once they take to the stage or screen. Off-screen and off-stage manners are scrutinized by peers intensively. And often surreptitiously as does supposedly the NSA with our daily email interactions. The actor is always “on” whether they wish to be or not. Everyone watches your personal professional behavior. In an insular industry in which is often joked that only six people are working in it because everyone knows everyone via a connection… your image, persona, and personal and work ethic is being watched. And someone is waiting to take advantage of your misstep(s).

10 Tips On How to be a Professional [Actor]:

1. Approach Peers in Your Trade as Individuals—Not for What the Individual Does as Their Trade

When I encounter an actor unfamiliar with my work as a director and casting director often the next phrase from the actor is, “What are you casting and/or directing now? Anything right for me?” When arriving early to teach classes in New York I hide in a back hallway. If I don’t several actors in my class will ask for me to correct their homework; give additional instruction and/or both. This personal-time intrusion is as equally dismissive of me as a person as if in the civilian world when a doctor, lawyer, or any trade professional is routinely asked for professional advice by strangers and acquaintances during the trade keeper’s personal time.

Before engaging with trade peers beyond their work recall that like you the person is more than what they do to earn a paycheck.

  1. Arrive Prepared

Audition, interview, performance or class; if you’re not prepared due to lack of self-interest and/or self-time management the only person at fault is yourself. You’re not entitled to sympathy or re-dos for your inability to prepare. Showing-up is half of what is required of you. Showing-up prepared is the other 50% of attaining success.

  1. Accepting & Owning Mistakes

Not even the most persnickety perfectionist is immune to airor (pardon me: error). Colleagues and peers hold in higher regard co-workers who fess-up to misjudgment, error, or inappropriate comments and/or actions. A deflector or liar is rarely, honestly admired. Politicians are the worst actors for spinning fiction.

  1. Living Happily is Life’s Only Entitlement

Believing you’re right for a role, or believing that because you played a role previously prompts your entitlement to an audition and/or hire is behavior not worthy of a playground let alone a chosen profession.

Accept that nothing is inevitable. The inevitable is one of many possibilities.

  1. Good Manners is Responding to Emails, Voice-mails, Text and Inquiries

Just as you appreciate recognition so do the people reaching out to you. Silence screams a lack of respect and courtesy for others.

  1. Let Peers Participate

In group situations, rehearsals, class settings, meetings the lone attention-hog repeatedly asking self-serving questions is the person who’ll eventually be alone. Let peers and colleagues participate in group endeavors.

  1. Pitch. Don’t Bitch.

The backstabbing, snarky whisperer soon finds their pool of light diminishing. The Barter Theatre’s curtain speech quotes their founder Robert Porterfield: “If you like us, talk about us. And if you dont, just keep your mouth shut.”

If negativity is an admirable trait more children would aspire to be cable news commentators.

8. Focus on Your Duties, Desires and Efforts Not the Responsibilities and Career Advances of Co-workers

9. Spontaneous Compliments to Peers are as Welcomed as is Water to the Parched

10. Accepting Tough Love Criticism Equals That You’re Open to Improvement and Love

My ego and work is often thrashed. Once particularly from a woman I never met. But, if I ignored her tough love criticism you and I would not be sharing this conversation.

The gracious and generous Brian O’Neill nudged along my first book ACTING: Make It Your Business. He discovered a blog post of mine on an obscure website for actors. He introduced me to his publisher and editor. His editor read my work. She loved the book proposal, and was ready to begin offering a contract. She then tragically passed due to cancer. The publisher put all of the editor’s pending projects on hold. Mixed emotions indeed were mine.

I held out hope the journey with Brian O’Neill’s publisher would continue. Months passed—a nano-second in publishing—no forward movement with the publisher. I then put out to other publishers the same book proposal the deceased editor praised prior to her too-young passing. I received one response. Highly critical. A pass. What?! But this was the same material for which an editor was ready to provide a contract! How could my words and proposal fail elsewhere? I fumed. I vented (privately to my partner and cats… the cats licked their paws). My email in-box remained empty of returns from other publishers. Weeks passed. Still nothing. I re-opened the critical editor’s email. I began making changes based on the woman’s insight and critique.

I sent the book out to more publishers. Months later, a phone call came mid-day. “Have you sold your book yet?” asked an editor with Watson-Guptil (an imprint of Penguin-Random House). The editor sought to buy my book. The one based on changes I made. Changes prompted by the tough love criticism made by a stranger. Several days later Brian O’Neill’s publisher placed an offer on my pre-critiqued proposal. Which door should I choose?

If I had not listened to the tough love advice of a stranger I doubt ACTING: Make It Your Business would exist. Brian O’Neill’s publisher dropped their books on acting a year later. I was damn lucky I got over my ego and listened to tough love advice from a stranger. She was being a friend. A friend I have yet to meet.

Listen and your ego will subside.

The 10 tips prior on how to be a professional [actor] are applicable to a career in nearly any trade. More importantly, the tips on professional behavior are for life itself. When considering a future decision, discussion, and/or interaction reflect as well this: is the action you’re about to take one that you admire in others? Will your next step be equally admired by a majority of strangers and peers? If answered ‘yes’ then you’re being professional–both in career, and in life.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
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 & OrderUnforgettable)
“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.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

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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, Elon and Wright State University. 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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ACTING: Make It Your Business

How to Create the Best Acting Reel…

Modern actor reel_3

The traditional actor’s reel is dead.

The term ‘actor’s reel’ soon will rest aside the, “Fax me your résumé’s” crypt. Talent agents, managers and their clients no longer share with casting a 3.5-minute historical compilation of an actor’s on-camera work. Doing so is akin to a lumbersexual parading skinny jeans at a Chick-fil-A. Très passé gauche.

An actor’s modern digital media doesn’t rely on old rules. Length? Roll back your counter. There’s a new running time for efficient, and industry-acceptable length. Fancy editing? Oh. My. Gawd. So 80s MTV. Modern actor digital media requires a new and simplistic format that directly targets specific casting.

And then there’s media real estate. Actors are being overlooked if they haven’t staked prime media real estate. The free—to nearly free—properties with the best digital curb appeal that attracts more industry views to an actor’s on-camera landscape. If you’re thinking YouTube; please rewind to 2009. Actors need to be looking to Vimeo, Actors Access or better the digital content platforms that representation utilizes to submit clients to casting: Active Pitch.

So what is the modern actor’s reel? It’s not a reel, nor should it be termed such just as a recorded sitcom should no longer be archaically termed ‘videotaped.’ The digital revolution has dramatically changed both live and recorded auditions. Reels are now segmented. Reduced to targeting projects specifically. Yes, some talent representation review an actor’s traditional reel when considering talent. But when that talent becomes a new client the reel is sliced and diced as if a filet on Top Chef. And when the talent is unrepresented the actor in relation to casting is no longer burdened by:

Reel length

Contrasting content

Dynamic editing

An actor’s digital media representing skill and work history is much simpler thanks in part to modern attention spans being compacted in the age of where 140 characters abbreviates content. And secondly, by the ease of sharing content online without need of a disc drive or the more ancient and bulky VHS player.

To further support, navigate and bring actors into the modern actor reel movement that casting and representation expect and utilize: I’m sharing the expectations for both digital and live on-camera auditions that I provide to MFA & BFA acting programs. A new master class for actors with or without screen history. A panel of film, TV, commercial and theatrical casting directors, and agents join me.

Yes, this is a post out of the norm for Answers for Actors. (And to be quite honest an uncomfortable posting by its author.) The posts here are generally of a prescriptive narrative. General advisories in text here for an actor’s digital media will not fully serve the individual. My sharing the casting clips utilized by actors on Prime Time TV, and the effectiveness of such may only be done privately in a class setting. Comparing an actor’s digital media to that of peers can only be done in a class setting. A blog post limits my ability to further advise beyond general umbrella statements.

Whether or not you’re available for the master class know that for your digital media representation to be effective to casting should:

-Target specific projects utilizing your media history that reflects the casting project targeted

– Showcase media that has production values (lighting, camera work, the work of peers) that you want to best represent you

– Have media real estate beyond public outlets that often distract the viewer from your media (i.e. YouTube is not an actor’s prime media real estate)

Master Class Curriculum:

WEEK 1: Mastering Your Media Real Estate to be Effective & Competitive (Having a reel is not necessary for participation.)

WEEK 2: Analysis of Actors’ Media Improvements

Plus…

Commanding the LIVE On-Camera Audition & Actor Branding – Getting the Job

WEEK 3: LIVE On-Camera Audition Technique & Branding Follow-up

Plus…

Final Analysis of Media Prior to Presentation to the Entertainment Industry Panel

WEEK 4: Panel Feedback

Lead instructor and guest advisers’ participation does not connote offers of employment or representation to class participants. These classes are for educational purposes only and will not secure or provide opportunity for employment in the field or representation by an agent. 

For details on the panel and the on-camera master class visit: http://paulrussell.net/AMIYB_MasterClass.html

 

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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, Elon and Wright State University. 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.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

 

ACTING: Make It Your Business

Actor Jealousy & Comparisons

This week: Jealousy Losses. Ambition Wins

Comparisons; they happen. Especially in group settings such as the collaboration that is the performing arts. And they can destroy the harmony and productivity of any project. The comparison can be a seemingly innocent thought such as a dance captain musing to themselves that one the dancers in the theatrical company has a better extension.  Or it can be a morale damaging comment carelessly (or with malicious intent) spoken by a secondary role actor that they believe they have superior skills than the actor playing the leading role. Comparisons do damage. Whether spoken or silently pondered. While you may think comparing is helpful to better oneself; careful. Human nature often goes towards the negative like a sexual compulsive to a bathhouse. Either situation; the chatterer or the salacious sex fiend, leaves them feeling empty and less than their worth. Jealousies fester.

We all do comparisons of ourselves to others. My partner constantly reprimands me for diving into the infested waters of the comparison swamp. I’ll comment about peers who I assume or know to have more profitable careers than I. And then I’ll mope. For days. Sometimes weeks. Thinking ‘I’m not good enough.’ When my book ACTING: Make It Your Business was first released I was daily, almost hourly, obsessed with going to Amazon.com to see where my sales rank rated and how it compared with similar books. When my high school friend Kevin Murphy, the creative behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Reefer Madness – The Musical, became an executive producer and writer for Desperate Housewives I wallowed in the soulless self-pity of ‘Why can’t that be me?’ None of these actions were helpful to my moving forward in my goals. Nor was I a happy camper to be around in the company of others. And this wallow and worry was also a major waste of time and energy. Energy that could have been put to better use elsewhere; like an ambition to looking for new opportunities for growth. As I often say (but seldom follow) ‘Worry is a waste.’ Eventually I’ll slap myself and stop what is essentially career momentum stopping behavior.  We all have our moments but when they build from moments to eras then you need to fix your comparison problem.

Positive comparisons are fine such as one actor complimenting another on their performance, “It’s wonderful how you ground your character and keep the tension of the story; I’m learning much from your work.” With a comment similar to that you’re not only providing positive reinforcement to a fellow company member (who may be in their own comparison swamp) you’re also displaying your desire for growth.

BackstabA potential negative comparison such as one actor to another in a regional theater setting, “Your comedic timing is fascinating; I’ll never be as good as you.” opens a Pandora’s Box for trouble. It may have seemed that what was expressed was a compliment. But words have a funny way of being twisted and carrying meaning beyond what we intend. Let’s take a look at where the statement crashed. First; the comment, “I’ll never be as good as you” belittles your contributions and openly announces insecurities which others in the company seize upon as a confessed weakness and gives an invitation to dismiss you. Secondly, you empower the person to whom you’re speaking. And thirdly, the vagueness of the comment “fascinating” could be viewed as sarcasm by the recipient.

The comparison statement doesn’t even have to be made by you to the person you admire (or are jealous of). Some people with insecurities (and that’s the heart to where this problem stems) will whisper to others in a company that they believe their skills to be far superior to someone else within the same company. That statement then, like the childhood game of telephone, is spread from one company member to another. The telling of the comparison changes as the information is disseminated and distorted between exchanges. Eventually this brings attention of the person(s) you were comparing yourself to. Gone is company moral. Unnecessary tensions build. Distrust breeds. Negativity manifests within the production.

Making comparisons is not healthy if you continually focus on your faults or the faults of others.

One of the traps in the comparison swamp is perception. While you may look at someone else who dabbles in your field of expertise and think them to be wildly successful you never truly know what their life is like. To the public they may seem as if they have a sweetly composed life accompanied by a healthy bank account. But in reality they may be like you; comparing their career (or lack thereof) to someone else while wishing their own were better.

If you wallow in the “I wish that were me” then you’ll always be mired in the comparison swamp. Lost in the reeds. Drowning. When the comparatives surface in your cranium think carefully before giving them validity. Is it jealousy that prompted the thought or is it a desire to better yourself? If it’s the former, toss the thought of, “I could be better than so-and-so…” away. If it’s for the betterment of you and invigorates your ambition for improvement then embrace and keep the thought to yourself while working on finding means to be content with what you presently can develop or keep from your talents. You’ll be a much happier artist if you do so.

My best,
Paul

Read advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

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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, Elon and Wright State University. 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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ACTING: Make It Your Business

Who Labels Actors as Frauds? – A Surprising Answer

“An actor? You’re only as good as your last performance/audition/job.” “You’re not an actor are unless you’re a working actor.” …if you’re not working now as an actor; you’re not an actor. Truth or fiction…?

Paul Russell
“Actor? You’re only as good as your last performance.”

“You’re not an actor unless you’re a working actor.”

Civilians slap actors with these damning comments; but worse are actors who abuse themselves:

A4A_NotAnActor

Alissa’s above undermined self-confidence or similar update on social media “I’m-not-working-in-my-profession-means-I’m-a-fraud” may have once mirrored your own damaging thoughts to your career.

You and I have been preached these and similar falsehoods so many times that we—like the short-sighted who have dumped on us that limiting historical perspective—gorge on the empty career-confidence calories the slights provide.

I’ve a family member who has been unemployed for nearly a year. I’ve never understood what his civilian toil is—my mother once claimed he worked for the CIA because of his foreign travels. (My mother should be the family writer.) My family member’s long-term unemployment—just like a doctor’s, lawyer’s, or mason’s does not make them—or him any lesser than who he is. He’s just unemployed. He actively seeks employment in his areas of expertise. If you met an unemployed marketing guru would toss in their face, “Oh you’re not a marketer. You don’t have a job as one.” No. With civilians and their careers, you and I don’t have a civilian’s limited scope of a person’s ambitions and history.

Do Not ActorBut when, as an actor, you’re asked what you do for a living by a civilian or colleague and you’re unemployed are you sheepish? Do you fear the next questions that will invariably come? “What have I seen you in?” “What are you doing now?” You probably do dread those inquiries because you’ve been whipped repeatedly by civilians (and by insecure colleagues) uneducated to an acting career’s challenges that if you’re not working now as an actor; you’re not an actor.

You have a history. Own it. Your present does not reflect your entirety. I too tire of the question “What have you done lately?” I answer: “Do you have time for me to recount my thirty-plus years of experience as an actor, casting director, director, acting teacher, and author? A thousand-plus projects is what I’ve done recently. My history is longer than yesterday or an hour ago.” My answer is not bitterness or smug. My answer is to educate civilians—and immature artists—that a person is more than their current employment. We are not our jobs.

Stop drinking the poisoned Kool-Aid that if unemployed you’re not your career. Unemployment in the arts is as common to the profession as are splinters to a carpenter. The wood smith is no less proficient a carpenter because of the lack of pine slivers piercing their skin. And you are no less an actor because you’re unemployed. If you believe opposite; it’s you who is saying, “I’m not an actor. I’m a fraud.”

My best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
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 & OrderUnforgettable)
“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.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

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Read Paul’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

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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, Elon and Wright State University. 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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ACTING: Make It Your Business

Can U.S. Actors Have $ucessfull Screen & Stage Careers Without NY, LA & CHI?

Can U.S. Actors Have $ucessfull Screen & Stage Careers Without NY, LA & CHI?

U.S. actors not based in NY, L.A., and Chicago are potentially employed more—as actors—than their survival job counterparts who’ve been pulled into entertainment’s gravitational pull of planet NyLaChi. Screen and stage actors with bank accounts and retirement pensions that aren’t impoverished. American actors who gig as principal actors in the U.S. Actors who rarely, if ever, audition in NY, L.A., or Chicago. Who’re these profiting thespians? Are they phantom players secretly stuffing treasures for decades into their creative and financial coffers? Celebs? No. They’re actors-without-borders. Working continuously; some at 50 weeks per year without interruption.

Some actors-without-borders receive 2 weeks of paid vacation—and their employ doesn’t require the Joker’s eternal menacing grin flaunted to tourists at a theme park or on a cruise ship. Actors-without-borders are fulfilling artistic joys as principals often busy alongside household names. These relatively unknown-to-the-masses actors own comfortable homes. One actor gladly doles out monthly mortgage payments of just $500. Compare that overhead expense to the average 1 bedroom or studio rental in NY at a whopping 2014 average of $3,200 plus, or $2,000 in L.A.

“‘Cause I’m Happy'”

When 6 actors-without-borders I recently interviewed were asked “On a scale of 1 – 10 what is your career/life happiness quotient with 1 being “Someone rescue me” to 10 being “I’m loving my life and the work I do” each answered at 8 or above.

Actors Without Borders_artYou’ve possibly never heard of these actors-without-borders. They’re not your AMC box-office draw. Nary a Netflix superstar. But these industrious actors have worked closely with stars who populate our collective celebrity-consciousness including: Dustin Hoffman, Jim Belushi, Kevin Costner, Colin Firth, William Hurt, Andrea Bocelli, Kevin James, Heather Headley, Jimmy Buffett, Cheryl Hines, Wayne Brady, Morgan Fairchild, Hayley Mills, and Paul Rudd. The actors-without-borders have also shared their creativity closely with highly-sought, high-profile directors including: three-time Oscar winner, and Golden Globe recipient Robert Benton (Twilight, Places in the Heart, Superman), writer-director Jeb Stuart (Die Hard), writer-director David Wain (Wanderlust), film and TONY award-winner, director-writer Frank Galati (American Playhouse, Ragtime), director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Disney’s Newsies, Grease), TONY award-winner Mark Lamos (Our Country’s Good) plus legendary writers including Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk, Lee Blessing (A Walk in the Woods, Eleemosynary, Cobb), and screen-writer and playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (The Duchess, Stage Beauty).

These 6 joyful actors-without-borders thrive (or had blossomed) without need or want of planet NyLaChi.

One actor’s career boiled in The Deep South (actor, Drew Battles). Another is presently far from being frozen in the wintry but artistically active Twin-Cities (actor, Steve Hendrickson). While 3 of the interviewed actors-without-borders have nurtured a network of entertainment industry vines abundant as is kudzu in the Southeastern U.S. (actors Tricia Matthews, Rick McVey, and Martin Thompson). Want glamor with possibly a dab of sin? Roll for Las Vegas (actor, Kate Gordon).  In the Washington D.C. / Baltimore capitol region (actor, Carolyn Agan) there’s no political gridlock for actors.

Where’s The Work for Actors?

While I was directing the regional premier of A Free Man of Color in Baton Rouge local actors in my cast working alongside New York actors often heralded the abundance of screen work (union & non-union) now hanging in Louisiana as liberally as does Spanish moss from the state’s majestic Live Oaks. “Louisiana is Hollywood South,” actor Drew Battles, recently of The Deep South, states. “If you are all-in on the TV/film industry, there is a great deal of work to be had.” Battles states this work benefits from Louisiana’s generous tax incentives the state offers film makers.  “You will be busy if you want to be busy,” he continues.  “Also, [Louisiana] is a great place to be if you want to self-produce.”

An Acting Career Takes Flight

Martin ThompsonActor Martin Thompson, who made the Southeast his home and workplace for more than a decade, agrees. “The Southeast has really taken off in film and TV production! With the tax incentives offered now in Georgia and Louisiana, as well as North Carolina, many television productions have made a home in the Southeast, and shoot their seasons there. In fact, many actors are leaving L.A. to move to Atlanta these days!” Battles’s and Thompson’s enthusiasm for the opportunities The Deep South and Southeast offer is mirrored in their personal lives with benefits New York and L.A. actors may not, if ever, enjoy as a continually working actor. “I had the opportunity to work in all areas of the industry,” Martin says, “while maintaining a comfortable suburban lifestyle! My children were able to grow up in a nice community, and family was close by.”

Dixie Beats Yankees

Drew BattleBattles, who recently moved to the St. Louis area, also enjoyed a comfortable home and family life while living and working in Louisiana. “The region is rich, culturally,” Battles says. “I love that you can be the kind of artist you want to be in Louisiana.  There are a lot of options and you can control many more aspects of your own career.  I never could wrap my brain around having a family in NYC. The balance of family and career was more attainable to me in Louisiana.” Battles’s leave from Louisiana came about because, “My wife and I now live in St. Louis.  We have let our academic careers lead us in a certain direction.  I never felt like I needed to move back to NYC while I was in Baton Rouge.  I was very happy there, artistically and personally.”

Keep On The Sunny Side

Tricia MatthewsActors Tricia Matthews and Rick McVey have found a balance of family and performance-work in the Southeast. Albeit a bit hectic, and sometimes self-admittedly “stressful” with too much work. Their schedule as actors is six days a week, 50 weeks a year acting simultaneously in multiple projects. Each is a Resident Acting Company member at the TONY award-recognized Barter Theatre. An AEA LORT member hosting three performance spaces with a rotating repertory program that for 80 plus years has been the cultural institution of Southwest Virginia. The Barter Theatre is also The State Theatre of Virginia. Presenting each season, February to December, a minimum of 26 productions, plus the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights mid-summer. And the Barter has a touring company. Having directed at Barter thrice myself I’m always amazed at how the actors maintain focus, energy, and good humor while six days a week they rehearse two, possibly three productions, in-between performing two separate productions daily. “Working at the Barter keeps me employed 50 weeks a year, full-time,” says Tricia Matthews who has called Barter and Abingdon, Virginia home for 9 years. Matthews relishes that while at Barter she enjoys, “…a house, varied roles and directing opportunities, a sense of family with the people I work with.” Matthew’s fellow Barter Resident Acting Company member Rick McVey agrees.

Rick McVey“I’m currently in my tenth year in the Resident Acting Company,” McVey says. “I can’t imagine a better venue for a working actor.  I’ve performed in over 70 separate productions in my time here and a wide range of challenging roles, from Ray in Blackbird to Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street to Javert in Les Miz.  It can be hard work but I can’t imagine a better venue for a working actor.” McVey was also an intimidating Bill Sykes in my Oliver set during the Blitz of 1940 England in which my Oliver was portrayed by the 20-something actress Maxey Whitehead. Barter’s Artistic Director Richard Rose is deeply committed to offering actors opportunities to explore roles that beyond Barter the actors would almost certainly never be cast in.

“You’re gonna make it after all…”

Steve HendricksWhile calling the Twin-Cities home actor Steve Hendrickson has made for himself a screen and stage career that is truly international and national. From his Minneapolis home Hendrickson’s resume reads like a map of the U.S. with pins dotting the country for the venues he’s worked his craft including: The Old Globe in San Diego, Syracuse Stage, Florida Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, Orlando Shakespeare,  Chicago Shakespeare, Barrington Stage Company, and of course his hometown theaters including the Guthrie. Often Hendrickson needn’t leave his home to audition. “Networking is critical to finding work, both locally and across the country,” Hendrickson advises. “The Internet has completely changed the playing field for actors outside the major markets looking for stage work. It’s easier to keep interested parties up-to-date on what you’re doing and where. Video auditions and Skype interviews are becoming more commonplace—my last job was booked off a video submission.”

Hendrickson reveals his networking necessity is similar to one I’ve been championing in my book, articles, and classes. Hendrickson lays out how he has for years efficiently networked. “If I’m passing through a city with a theatre I’d be interested in working at,” Hendrickson says, “I try to arrange a general audition, always stressing that I’m not looking for immediate work but to start a relationship that might lead to something in the future. Gate-keepers (casting agents) and Fire-givers (directors) almost always respond positively to this approach.

“If it’s a cold-call,” Hendrickson continues, “I will send a snail-mail letter (not a resume) first. Letters tend to receive quicker and closer attention while manila envelopes often get shunted to a look-at-later pile if they’re not outright tossed. I print my letters on a color laser printer and always include a headshot and one production photo in the body of the single page. I close the letter saying I will follow up the next day with a resume and full-sized headshot and make a follow-up phone call two days later if I haven’t heard from them first. I try to mail the letter to arrive on a Monday, the CV on Tuesday and make the follow-up call on a Thursday.

“If I’m initiating the contact through a recommendation I’ll usually send an email with the recommender’s name in the subject line and an attached PDF resume and headshot and say ‘I’ll follow-up in two days.’”

Hendrickson is an actor after my marketing-whore heart for actors. He gets that he is a business. Owner. Operator. Marketing Director. Public Relations Spokesperson. Employee. And he’s digitally savvy. Yes, he complies email lists of industry (directors, casting directors and alike) and then sends out his campaigns via a mass email marketing service. But Hendrickson goes a step further leveraging the Internet that raised this marketer’s eyebrows. “I started using Google Alerts,” he begins, “creating one for every director I had a personal connection with. As a result, I get an email alert whenever there is a press release announcing a new project associated with a particular director. I can look at the alert and if I think there might be a part for me, I’ll shoot the director a friendly congratulatory email with an “Oh, by the way, if there’s anything I might be right for, like Capulet or Thomas Stockmann, I’d certainly be interested… I don’t think a year has gone by without getting an audition or outright offer as a result.”

Impressive. His smartly promoting himself without gimmicks is what offers him the rewards of work and, “Living a fairly stable life,” says Hendrickson. “…making a living doing what I love, developing professional relationships that have been fruitful for upwards of 25 years, enjoying the respect of a community of talented peers.” And Hendrickson like Battles, Matthews, Martin, and McVey (an excellent law-firm letterhead) enjoys the benefit of his Twin-Cities based career. “I have been able to earn a steady, if modest living as an actor” he states. “This is due in large part to the low-cost of living in Minneapolis. Actors own houses here!”

Luck Be A Lady…

Kate GordonMaybe you’re an actor who seeks sizzle in your life beyond the cement canyons of New York or the crowded actor-cater waiters of L.A. Las Vegas is more than production shows as actor Kate Gordon states. “There’s work here! We are getting more film work, TV work, commercials/industrials, modeling…” Gordon admits that there’s not much theatrical work but there is an outlet for the stage actor-singer-dancer via production shows. But Gordon states that not all shows shine on the Las Vegas strip. “Las Vegas is known as the land of the 4-wall. [Meaning]… that in order for a show to go up, the production team is responsible for all of the costs in maintaining, producing, marketing, hiring, etc. It’s a disastrous system that needs to end. In the Rat Pack days, casinos/hotels were supportive of shows and would do almost anything to make them successful and to keep entertainment at their business. Now, properties are landlords and nothing more. Shows open and close faster here than anywhere else. We lack support… It’s challenging.” Gordon does balance nicely though the pros and cons of an acting career in Las Vegas. “A great benefit is the cost of living in Las Vegas, she states. “I’m successful and earn all of my income from performing, but there are also those times I’m waiting on checks to come. I love that I can save here.” Financial benefits are not her primary comfort. “Personally, the freedom to control my schedule, more or less, is beautiful. I work a lot, but I also have a lot of free time. It’s a nice balance.”

Breaking Gridlock

Carolyn AganWant a career closer to New York City while not relying on the thespian congested sidewalks to make your audition rounds, yet still yield that option? Actor Carolyn Agan has found that acting in and around the Washington Beltway is not only for politicians. “I love this city for its ability to foster many passions,” says Agan enthusiastically. “I have been fortunate enough to work fairly consistently at a LORT A theater in town, which has led to a sustainable income for 5 years. D.C. is a smaller market and theatres tend to rely on actors they know and trust when it comes to casting.” The D.C. market also offers Agan screen-time appearing in national and regional commercial campaigns including CarMax and Wellspan Health. With over 80 professional theaters in her region hiring actors Agan states, “There are certainly no guarantees but there can be more consistency in the work. Casting season begins around February and concludes around May for the following September – June season. When you know that far in advance what you will be doing, it is easier to fill in the holes and budget your year.” And as a bonus New York City is in her backyard. “I am close enough to New York (a four-hour, $10 Megabus trip) to audition when I really feel passionate about something. Otherwise I feel really fulfilled artistically here. On a personal level, I enjoy the shorter building heights and green space available in D.C., as I am sure my dog also appreciates!”

How to Get Acting Jobs Without NY / L.A. / Chicago

How do these 6 actors-without-borders generate work beyond Hendrickson’s digital savvy? For Battles when living in The Deep South he recommends “StageClick, New Orleans…for staying on top of theatrical auditions in the area (that and word of mouth or just following companies on Facebook).  Securing an agent is crucial for film/TV/commercial work.  Coming [to Louisiana] with a reel (even a small one) is helpful in this quest, as there are a lot of actors flocking to the region.”

McVey while busy at Barter incredibly wedges in other acting pursuits. Admitting that there’re not many casting directors or agents in his rural region forcing he network directly with artistic employers. Commercials and industrials can be found in nearby commutable markets of Charlotte, NC, Atlanta and D.C. He’s been in several independent films, two of which he produced FREEDOM (2007) for which he wrote and directed and THIS WORLD (2013) of which McVey co-wrote.  “While not financially rewarding,” McVey admits, “they both were extremely satisfying on an artistic level.”

Former neighbor to McVey, Martin Thompson in North Carolina generated his commercial, television and film work through his local agent, and by just being “known” by the handful of casting directors responsible for casting features and episodics in his region. As Thompson admits, “It wasn’t necessary for me to market directly to those CDs. In a small market everybody knows everybody! And usually the CDs would simply request me through my agent.” His theatrical work was self-generated. “I would submit headshots and resumes, or make appointments for general auditions at the professional theatres in the region myself. I would also check the audition listings on the AEA website to find auditions in my area for specific shows. And, I would also attend the larger regional theatre auditions, such as the Atlanta Unifieds, The DC League Auditions, and SETC, in order to network with the folks from all the professional theatres in the region.”

Gordon wins her work in Las Vegas mostly, “…through my agents or through audition websites,” she states. “I network as much as possible and try to keep in touch with the quality performers I meet as well. Beyond Las Vegas, I don’t work much. Occasionally, I travel to Chicago for a quick gig, but that’s about it. I am lucky to keep busy in Las Vegas.”

Hendrickson working screen and stage nationally while living comfortably in Minneapolis has built for himself a foundation for finding work that every actor need follow his blueprint. “I believe the most important factor for a long-term acting career is creating and maintaining relationships,” Hendrickson states. “As a result, anytime I come in contact with a director or casting agent, the first priority (even if it’s an audition) is never to get the job but to improve the relationship and grow my network.” He also does build bridges to industry gate-keepers. “I work exclusively with one commercial agent in Minneapolis and with a theatrical agency in Chicago. My relationship with my Chicago agency is roughly 25% their arranging auditions for me in Chicago and 75% their negotiating contracts for work I’ve found on my own.” It’s Hendrickson’s building personal relationships that forges him long-term bonds of artistic wealth.

Give & Take

Are there drawbacks to being an actor-without-borders as there are drawbacks to being an actor mired in the cement of New York City or asphalt of Los Angeles? For Hendrickson, “The hardest thing I had to let go of when I decided to leave NYC was the possibility of becoming a star. There’s work to be had outside of the big three but you pretty much have to forfeit your chance for the brass ring.” Hendrickson has chosen sustainable work, home and family over the far-reaching odds of becoming a celebrity. Celebrities often do go bust after the entertainment machine and audiences have shred and discarded the actor. Hendrickson will continue working.

For Gordon in Las Vegas the market’s shortcomings for performers remains the casinos playing dispassionate landlord to production shows.  For Matthews and McVey at Barter too much work is hardly a shortcoming they don’t complain about; one that every actor dreams of and desires. For Thompson in the Southeast he thrived as an actor but backed by a resume strong with screen credits that the Southeast graced him, he believed he could move into the larger market of L.A. better equipped than most actors who come to Hollywood empty handed. For Battles in Baton Rouge the drawback he discovered was the commute from the red stick city to New Orleans. But more painful to his heart, being that he loves the stage, was, “There was a lot of work, but being Equity was a challenge.  Just not enough contracts to go around and those contracts were usually pretty slim (money-wise).” Battles did work though often on screen with film and television production based in New Orleans.


Final Judgment?

When all 6 actors-without-borders were asked for advice they’d give to an actor considering a sustained career that needn’t rely on New York City, Los Angles or Chicago—Hendrickson offered a global caution. “In a smaller market one pissed-off agent, director or stage manager can inflict a lot more damage to your reputation with one email. Be. Very. Nice.”

The 6 actors-without-borders display that an actor needn’t need New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago to have a sustainable acting career… or to be healthy and happy. How and where you define your success… is the answer.

My best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
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 & OrderUnforgettable)
“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.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

 

Share Answers for Actors:

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StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

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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, Elon and Wright State University. 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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