Do Actors Need a Business Card? | Answers for Actors

This week: Getting Acting Job Opportunities via an Actor’s Business Card…

One Christmas I and my partner (the talent agency owner) were on a plane heading to my parent’s Florida home. Because of booking the flight at last minute I was sitting next to a jock-type who was watching football on the Jet Blue in-flight TV while my partner was sitting one row behind watching, as is his custom, The Girls Next Door (Oh good God… he’ll never be CNN material).

When we got off the flight my other half and I began speaking about a work issue at his agency as we walked through the quiet, yet swank, Sarasota terminal. While at the rental car desk, behind us came a voice.

“Excuse me; I heard you were an agent?” There’s no escape even in Death’s sunny waiting room.

We turned ‘round and it was the football-watching, jock-type who I had been sitting next to for the past two hours. He was a New York based actor visiting his snowbird Sarasota parents as well.

He ignored me, not knowing what I do for cha-ching, and focused on my other half. He was polite, introduced his smiling folks… to my partner. Again, I was ignored. Which is O.K. I’m basically shy (yes, believe it) and love my anonymity. But I’m also a bit of a devil and love to play with human behavior. So after he presented to my partner his business card with his picture and turned to leave I couldn’t help but be mischievous and casually mentioned, “You know you were sitting for the last thousand miles next to a director and casting director.” Ping! I suddenly gained his attention, a parental introduction and of course deemed worthy of his business card.

Opportunist? Yes. Wrong? Yes and no.

This actor knew that here was an opportunity to introduce himself to gate keepers (agents and casting directors are nothing more than glorified employment agencies and human resources). He was right to begin a conversation. Where did he go wrong?

He would have been smarter had he had his picture and resume with him. A business card with a picture may work for funeral directors and car salesman (you always want a trust-worthy face handling your car and dead) but it has little relevance to agents, directors, casting directors, producers, and writers, anyone who provides work opportunities. It doesn’t help us getting to know the actor as an actor.

I’m surprised how many actors do not carry with them, at all times, some form of their picture and resume. That’s your business card! You never know who the hell you’ll run into and where. Just this past week I was walking in my suburbia neighborhood on my way to Whole Foods for my morning muffin and yogurt when someone called out “Paul Russell!” It was an actor who had read my book. He went to offer me his contact info but came up empty. Now you may argue, “Well Paul, I can get the person’s contact info and e-mail or I can hard copy them my resume.” Good luck in getting a personal e-mail. Double the good luck chances that the e-mail will be opened or that you’ll be recalled.

Now caution note here about running into someone who can help advance your work goals: Talent reps., directors, writers, producers, choreographers, stage managers are the same as you when on the street or at a Starbucks. We’re people. People, possibly like you, who enjoy privacy and anonymity. If you get into a conversation with an industry person who you think can help you in the future in obtaining work, be extremely tactful, polite and respectful of space. And treat us not as objects of use to you but as someone to get to know as a person. Don’t forget that we’re all people, not opportunities. That is so often forgotten. And when we’re treated as a doormat, it’s a big turn-off. I know talent reps who have been accosted by actors as the agents were shopping for underwear, getting their Sunday morning coffee, or sweating in a sauna.

If the person you run into asks for your picture and resume, of course give it to them. Don’t ambush. That happened to Alan Alda once in a hospital by a nurse who believed herself to be an actress. It pissed off Mr. Alda so much that he used the occurrence for fodder in a later movie. On my book tour I encountered, in each city, actors who could be runner-ups to Mr. Alda’s nurse-actress. I’d give the free, one-hour seminar on the business and then sign books that attendees generously purchased. People would wait in line for their turn to speak with me and have their copies of my book signed. And without fail, in each city, there were several actors who would wait in line without a book, come to the table hand me their picture and resume then ask me to keep them in mind for future casting. Excuse me?

What is most important in the message here is this: Try at all times to keep a picture a resume on you. One that is up-to-date, the picture and resume are stapled together and clean in appearance. Have it in some form; full or reduced to an over-sized postcard easier for constant carry. You may not run into an industry person on the street but there will be many times when you’re needed to be at an audition with very little notice. Sometimes only an hour’s notice. This happens often with film and TV casting.

I teach. Students at NYU, privately and as a visiting guest to campuses across the country. In every situation one of the first things I ask (including my weekly NYU students) is, “Who here has their picture and resume, stapled together, ready to hand to me or anyone in the industry you meet on the street who can get you work?” I’m lucky if one hand goes up. And forget about the stapled together request… that would be asking far too much.

Not having your business card (i.e. an updated picture and resume) with you as often as possible means that you are losing out on opportunities for future employment. It’s your career. Your opportunities for work lost or won.

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:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

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.

Bookmark and Share

E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

Get One-On-One:

Get New Insights:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace
ACTING: Make It Your Business

Jobs Available

This Week: Sources for Survival – Overlooked jobs available now

I’ve been keeping quiet (at least publicly) about the economy a.k.a. The George W. Bush Legacy. As someone who is a news & political junkie I didn’t want to add voice, of what I know privately about some endangered producing entities both clients and non-clients, to the already depressing, non-stop, talking heads on MSNBC, CNN and that other cable network which my father faithfully watches.

Being the media addict that I am I listen and read intently for, what may seem to some, obscure indicators of things to come while digesting the parsing of Reuters, Olbermann, Matthews, Scarborough, Cooper and others. I also look to my e-mail in box. There is hope that we’re nearing the end of economic darkness. And now that pilot season has ended, casting is done for stock and regionals, and studios shutter for the summer; additional sources of income are needed for the entertainment workforce. Desperately.

I’ve recently been receiving a fresh influx of long ago familiar e-mails, which tapered off last fall, to one of my far too many e-mail addresses. Notices from senders from when I used to occasionally straddle the civilian world with my present career path. (If you think being on this side of the audition table garners big bucks can I sell you on the idea that Tim Gunn’s school-uniformed, sex-slave is Karl Rove?… shudder.)

Marketers seeking help are writing once again via missives to my AOL alias. Like cockroaches, marketers never go away… permanently. Marketing is one of the few areas of employ that neither firewalls or the Bush Legacy can kill. I used to be a part-time marketer. From writing ad copy for beers (which I never drank) to being, what you may or may not recognize as, a Brand Ambassador a.k.a. a promo model. The latter of which I’d never think myself to be but was.

There are civilian, survival jobs folks. And you don’t have to be pretty or intelligent (I think I just insulted myself… and the populous of Alabama).

If you can walk, be reasonably polite, follow instructions you can be a Brand Ambassador which can entail anything from giving free test drives in a new Caddy to strangers on the streets (did that in Philly for six weeks) to handing out Cliff Bars in Times Square (did that for a day). The hours are easy, the pay reasonable but not always immediate. But there’s pay. And best of all you don’t have to live in New York or LA to get involved. Repeat… you don’t have to live in NY or LA. Though I no longer do marketing (other than my own) I get offers of work from all over the country as I did this week for events in Connecticut, Florida, New York and elsewhere across the country.

Now, as I penned in that monster of an acting book I wrote, you do have to be careful of what marketing-staffing companies you get involved with. Below I’ve listed a few of the better companies for you to investigate.

OK, so you might be saying, “Paul, I ain’t no model.” or “I hate dealing with the public.” Fine. There is a side line job perfect for you presently hiring. Government.

The 2010 census is hiring. Now and next fall. All across the country people are needed to help with the census. Part-time and full-time. Take advantage of one of the few, at present, growth industries (albeit short termed). Following this missive is a link for finding more info on jobs with the 2010 census.

In ACTING Make It Your Business I, and the actors I interviewed, talk about a number of other civilian jobs opportunities available to get by. Now more than ever those jobs are vital to the survival of anyone involved in our industry.

I won’t go into doom and gloom here. I’ll keep what bad industry info I have and instead share some positive news that is beyond our community. Signs of hopeful growth and confidence are increasing. Slowly. While not at digital age speed impatience, present indicators are better than they were from several months ago. All of us need to follow that trend. Personally, I see June/July as a time when the indicators of better times ahead become more apparent. Those indicators are there now, but they’re faint whispers. Better a whisper than silence.

COMING NEXT SUNDAY: Deceitful Producers & Scam Exposed

Besos,

My Best,

Paul

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.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul  Russell on Facebook Paul  on Twitter Paul on  MySpace

 

Bookmark and Share

 

E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

Marketing Job Links:

NOTE: (None of the following companies receive a commission or fee from the talent. If you come across a marketing staffing company that asks for a fee or commission one word; RUN)

Mirrorball (Based in NYC; they are a progressive, hip company. They also happen to be the company I wrote copy for many of their clients):

http://www.mirrorball.com/main.html (click on contact page for job info)

GMR (One of the event marketing leaders in the field and a company I worked for): http://www.gmrmarketing.com/

U.S. Concepts: http://www.uscpromomodels.com/

Event Pro Strategies (A sub-contractor that provides staffing):  http://www.eventprostrategies.com/index.php

GC Marketing Services (A sub-contractor that provides staffing): http://www.gcmarketingservices.com/home.html

2010 Census Jobs Link:

http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs/

ACCESS to AGENTS

Paul’s Book for Actors

Subscribe
Archives

Career Coaching

Access to Agents Seminars

Audition Technique

Marketing Make-overs

Prepare for an Audition


Signed Copies
avail. only @
PaulRussell.net