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

New Orleans
Minneapolis/St. Paul

Theater Cities
New York
Los Angeles/Orange County
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Minneapolis/St. Paul
San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley
Washington, D.C.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
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!

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.