Where To Move For Acting

You no longer have to live in LA or New York to get your acting career moving. You don’t have to be a small fish in a big pond.

Times are changing and TV and Film are now happening in many different places. In fact, smaller cities are great places to start getting credits under your belt before moving to bigger hubs where there is more competition. Choosing the right place can depend both on what type of work you want to do and how big or small you want to start out.

Film and TV Cities

Atlanta
New Orleans
Seattle
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Chicago
Pittsburgh
Albuquerque
Austin
Cincinnati
Boston
Denver
Miami

Theater Cities
New York
Los Angeles/Orange County
Atlanta
Boston
Chicago
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Philadelphia
San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley
Seattle
Washington, D.C.
Austin
Cleveland
Hartford
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
Phoenix
Portland, Oregon
San Diego 

Thinking About Moving To One Of The Main Hubs? There are pros and cons to each.

New York City
NYC is an expensive place to live and affordable apartments are hard to come by. The city is very condensed with a lot of high-rise buildings, and it is also fast paced. It is an amazing city for theater, both on- and off-Broadway. NYC also has TV, film, and commercials being shot. Over the last couple of years many TV dramas have begun shooting in the Big Apple (though not as many as in LA). NYC has strong training for stage and film. There is great transportation and you do not need a car – subways, buses, cabs, and zip cars are at your fingertips – but keep in mind that you will be carrying your belongings from audition to audition. There are fewer auditions than in LA, but also fewer actors competing for them. NYC has fewer acting agencies then LA.

Los Angeles
LA is very spread out and rents are as high as NYC. You also must have a car, as public transportation is there but not as accessible or reliable. Auditions are happening all time all over the city, but there are more actors living there and, thus, more competition. TV, film, and commercial are the main heartbeat of LA. Theater exists in LA, but is not as strong there as in NYC. Built more like a sprawling suburb, LA lacks the “neighborhood feel” that is prevalent in NYC. You can set up an office in your car for things you will need often like head shots, resumes and other supplies. West Coast is filled with agents and managers and there is strong training for TV and Film to be found.

Have A Savings For Any Place You Move!
Regardless of where you move you need to have a savings so you will be able to focus on your acting once you're there.

Keeping these things in mind will help you choose which city works best for you and give you a leg up on your competition.
 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does It Mean When You Have A Call Back?

What does it mean when a casting director calls you back? It means you "showed up" for the audition and gave the audience a taste of what you can do, and how you would act in that character's shoes.

How do casting directors decide who to pick? You can try forever to figure this out, but here's my summary of the factors that count.

What's Your Flavor?
Understand that directors bring back the actors who know themselves, and who feel confident with how they interpret the material within themselves.

Everyone actor invited to a call back is a strong candidate, and each actor brings his/her own characteristics to the read. Go ahead and be different. Think of yourself as a ice cream flavor. Your flavor is like know one else's. Understanding what flavor you are is the key to success. While the call back is in session, the producers, director, and casting people are watching good actors express their uniqueness and your job is to show them that your flavor best represents the character.

Who gets chosen for the part may be out of your control, but you can control what you present. Even though your flavor might not be picked this time for this piece, coming prepared may mean that they keep you in mind for next time.

What is your unique flavor? Bring to the table it could very well get you booked.

 

 

 

Get A Life

Want to be a happy actor? All work and no play makes an actor a very dull and unhappy person, which is not good for business. Understanding and achieving balance between work and your own life is vital part of your career.

The Old Studio System
The industry puts a lot on an actors' shoulders. In the old "studio" system, movie companies would sign an actor to a contract and groom them for work. The actor would take acting classes during the week, and be marketed and branded by the studio and given work. This system meant a lot less "business work" for actors to deal with, which enabled them to focus on the work of acting.

Today's System
These days actors need to be their own studios, and figuring out how to be your own CEO can be confusing. It takes a lot of energy to think only of three things: yourself, getting your work seen, and how you can book a job. This thinking encourages you to spend a lot of time focussing on yourself, and less on the world around you.

Clue Time!
If someone asked you, “how you are doing?” and you gave them the credits on your resume instead of saying "I am fine, bad, great [or something in the realm of what your life state is]," then this is a clue that you have become too self-absorbed. If you only think about yourself and what work you have booked, what do you have to draw on emotionally for your work? Your life must be broader than your work.

Have An Adventure
Go out into the world and try things you've always wanted to do. Go out and play and do the things you love. Your work will be better for it. You will have more things to talk about. You will have an easier time in an interview. You won't become overly invested in each and every audition because you have a life. Each job booked should be icing on the cake of a more full life. If you don't get a part, you may even be able to feel that it's their loss to not have you and all your wonderful life experience in the character and on set. The more you have to draw from within yourself, the better job will do with your work and the fuller you will be as a person.

Tell Your Self-Sabotage To Take A Hike!

How we handle our thoughts is what defines us.

for most of us, self-sabotage is an internal battle every day. Staying positive through the up’s and down’s of your thoughts and emotions can be challenging. Don’t let the old, “I am not good enough” take over.

As an actor, you will experience a lot of nerves and self doubt – particularly in auditions. The inner negative talk and fears appear when we are under pressure.

How do you deal with it, and get rid of it?
First of all remember that know you are in good company. Put on your tool belt and start to chip away at your inner fears. Learn how to tell it to step aside so you can do what you came to do.

How do you set it aside?
No one I know can completely get that negative voice out of their head. It is how you handle it that will define you. If the voice of pessimism comes your way, take a breath, and tell it to take a break. Tell it thanks for trying to join you, but you’r really busy. Tell the voice to go get a coffee, take a bike ride or do anything else except bother you.

As silly as this might sound, this is important because that pessimism is a form of self-sabotage that comes between you and moving your career forward. Don't let it into your thoughts!

Have the courage to let the world see your gifts and who you really are.

Goal Setting

Focus on how you feel during this goal-setting exercise, and get specific.

1. How will you feel when you achieve a goal? Think of this as if you are working from the now. Make it exciting for yourself.

2. Write your feelings down in great detail. Keep this project visible so you can see it every day. It will keep you on track. What are your:

  • 5 year Goals
  • 1 Year Goals
  • 6 Month Goals
  • 30 Day Goals
  • 7 Day Goals
  • Today's Goals

3. Begin with three goals per day to start your energy moving. Within that, start with three to five action steps every day. What you don’t get done that day moves to the next day. Make sure you can get all the steps done within that week. Try this for the next 30 days.

If you are the person who has a hard time seeing the whole picture, then set one goal per week. When you keep achieving your weekly goals your path will become clear and obtainable. It might even have you be able to see the big picture up to five years out.

Your 60 Second Pitch

Have you ever gone on an agent meeting and run out of things to say? Or got so nervous that you forgot what you are all about? All you keep thinking in your mind is that you hope they sign you? if so, it's time to learn your pitch.

Casting, agents and managers see so many people. They are looking for a human connection with a person. Seeing who real you is will help them to make that connection. When you know who you are, and what you have to give to the world, this makes interviewing much easier to do.

Writing Your 60-second Pitch
Think about the fun and unique things that make you you within 60 seconds. Knowing this backwards and forwards will help become more natural and relaxed in a meeting. People will know your credits before they have decided they want to know you. What makes people want to be around you? What makes people want to watch you or get to know you? Make those qualities part of what you project. Be relaxed and true to who you are. Keep your goals in your pocket. Try to make a connection and show them who and what you are about. It can calm your nerves and help you tell the story of who you really are.

Start your 60 seconds right now!

Embracing "Yes"

Sometimes saying "yes" is most important as an actor. To explain, this is not about saying "yes" to things that cross over your values, or disturb your integrity, but rather it is an expression of openness.

Saying "yes" is a way to help you move past your fears and make you expand your craft. Think about when you first thought of wanting to be an actor. That took a lot of courage! How many people were behind your choice? In that moment you didn't care who was behind you or not, you just thought of what brings you joy. You chose it whether or not people believed in that choice. You stood up and said "yes" anyway. You said "yes" to your possibilities.

Be open as an artist to things that don't feel safe. The only thing it can do is grow. If in your acting class your teacher wants you to work on a part and your first feeling is fear, just breathe and do the scene anyway. The fear might be that you are being asked to deal with subject matter that might be too close to home. Or you might feel that it is one that you feel you don't "own". Say "yes!". No one ever grew as an actor by staying within their comfort zone. Stretch your ability – especially in a class setting. Who cares if you fall? That is a part of allowing your "yes" and growing

Are you are an actor scared to do improv? Say "yes". In the Improv world, you are only allowed to say "yes". Saying "no" when doing improv stops the scene. Don't stop your very own scene within your career. When you are open to "yes," great work can happen.

 

 

Taking Head Shots

Before you take that picture, read this!

Two Keys To A Great Head Shot:
1. Make sure you know what you are selling. What is your brand? Brand is not just your physicality it is also what your subconscious brings into a room. You need both elements. Once you have your brand in mind, taking head shots can be fun, relaxing and enjoyable. Each shot has a peruse just like what you want your acting to have when in a scene flowing with purpose.

2. No matter what, your head shot must look like who you are when you walk into a room. Casting directors called you in to audition for a specific character based on this image. If you don't really look like that shot you will blow your audition before you even get a chance to read.

Choosing A Photographer
When selecting a photographer make sure it is someone with whom you feel comfortable and who understands you and your brand. Also make sure they have a substantial portfolio behind them. Look to see if your brand can be represented in their work. Also understand that your pictures will be online next to many others in a row. Your shot needs to be clear, on point with your brand, and pop off the computer page.

Great Places to See Photographers
Often, good photographers are employed by companies that can also duplicate head shots for distribution. Some of the best are in NYC and LA. These companies advertise their photographers with galleries that will also help you see what is new and current in the head shot world. If you live outside of these cities you can review company websites to see what head shots are looking like in the main entertainment hubs.

Choosing Colors and Clothes
Knowing what colors make your coloring and features pop is important to know when taking head shots. Keep your clothing very simple with little or no pattern. The goal is for you to stand out, not your clothes.

What is your best color? There are three ways to find out: Ask people who know you well what they think makes you pop; think of times other people complemented you about colors you've worn; or ask a professional like Jill Kirshcolor. Sometimes stylists can also help you assess colors.

Be On the Same Page With Your Photographer
Knowing – and being in agreement with your photographer about – what kind of shots you are going after is a must to get you the shot you want. It will also create a more relaxing atmosphere for the shoot itself.

Spend the Money
What about hair and make up? You want to be relaxed at the shoot and feeling great. You don't need to be dealing with your own make up and hair on top of thinking of what you want to achieve with your pictures. Make sure your make up artist understands your goals and that your make up is appropriate, but not over the top. If you don't like it speak up! You are paying for what you want and the make up artist is a professional and will understand. They want you to feel your best.

Use Your Acting Skills
Make a list of shots you want with your brand in mind. If your brand has a word like "sassy" in it then think of someone who pulls that out in you. Put them at the lens of the camera and play. You can do this with any words that express your brand.

Have Fun And Play!
With the preparation done you can enjoy and have fun with this experience and get the shot that you so deserve.

Dedicating Your Performance

There are times that dedicating your performance in honor of someone can relieve pressure and refocus your mind on the task at hand. Examples include:

– your mother, father, brother, sister or best friend
– yourself (tell your story!)
– people who have gone through something similar to what your character is going through

When you give a performance or reading that is from a place that is larger than your nerves or your fears, it will be that much more strong and truthful. Your audience will know it, and this will help you build relationships with them and create a loyal following.

By dedicating our performance you give yourself a chance to produce great work consistently show that you've made an authentic choice that could only be yours.

Dedicate your next performance or audition!

Help Make Your Dream A Reality

What is life’s purpose? According to popular speaker and bestselling author Mike Dooley, "It almost never lies behind the door marked, 'just be logical.' "

I just love that quote. I think it really resonates for actors or anyone wanting to go after their dream. No one has ever achieved the unachievable by being logical, practical or playing life safe.

Take a risk, listen to your gut, and go for it.

Knowing who you are and what you have to give in life is such a big key to being an actor. Stay focused with hard work toward your goal. Here are some useful steps:

1. Work hard
You can not just be an actor without any work involved. Working on your craft is a must at all times. Growing your tool built will only help you be open to booking more work.

Also having knowledge of how your business needs to be run. You are a CEO of you business and understanding how to get your hard work out into the world to be seen is vital important.

2. Step away and take a break
Set at least 2 days during the week to have play time and breath and learn to let go of the work you did that week. Letting go of the outcome of that work. After your days away pick back up where you left off with full focus and energy. Keeping your energy toward your goal flowing.

3. Build your support system
Keep positive people around you. Support in the hardest of times needs a solid team built around you. They will help keep you focus and positive.

4. Meditate on gratitude
First give gratitude for what you have, and then imagine your dream as if you already are living it. Being open to new things coming.

5. Create a vision board
Make a vision board. Cut out pictures of things you want to attract in your life. Words you want to hear, people you want to meet. Once it is done if you want you can keep it out in the open as a daily reminder. Or you can put it away and pull it on at the end of the year. Fun to see what parts started to move for you or came to you that year.

6. Change negative "self talk" to positive
Work on catching and changing negative self talk. If you catch yourself doing it try in moment to talk yourself out of it. You might feel a little crazy when dealing with this. It will take some practice. Change it to positive talk. Try and find if you can one thing in the moment that is good. Focus your energy there.

Ask yourself in that moment how has thinking anything negatively with my career or life serve me? Did it help? Did things move forward by me doing this?

Just putting that into thought might help change that thought. Negativity keeps you trapped where you are. In order for a dream to move forward your going to need to keep taking steps forward. You can not stay in the same place.

7. Understand you are amazing!
Don’t try to be anyone but yourself. You are wanted in this career. Your type and who you are is a gift to all that get to see it, if you have the courage to put it out there.

Try these things and walk with courage as you make your dream a reality.