A few simple rules:
1. Never Pay to Audition or be in a production (they should pay you...if you produce you had best have creative control for your money or solid points on profit).
2. Check out your classes. Audits should be allowed. Judge the coach, the students and the facility. The best may be in someone’s home if it is real, the instructor knows how to coach and the students all want to learn and/or are as good or better than you are. If for college credits, check to see people working in the industry judge that schools program.
3. Take classes. You must keep studying. Doing theater may substitute for a while, but you need the stretching of your talents and skills to really grow and keep a sharp edge.
4. Invest in the tools. Here there is debate, as Hollywood is full of people asking for your money who may or may not actually help you. The basic tool remains a solid headshot, both print and able to be emailed or transmitted on Internet sites. If voice over work is needed, a solid audiotape showing what you can remains the primary tool. After that you must to research and make your own informed decisions. As an example IMdB is not what it is cut out to be, but remains a place everyone should have a presence (how much is a personal decision, I would say less).
5. Be willing to go where the work is or to create your own work. Today NYC, and Hollywood are the key cities, with NYC for more serious actors and Hollywood for those who can afford it and are willing to take the time it takes. Production is strong in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Georgia, Florida and other states. Theater is strong in Minneapolis Chicago and many other cites across the country. Commercial industry centers in NYC, LA and Chicago, with some work elsewhere (the Internet has had the impact of decreasing work in other cities, but that may change).
6. You do not need an agent or manager, but finding an agent may require good management and finding a strong agent remains ideal. This takes time, talent and the tools agents wish to see.
7. Far down the list from photographs lies another needed tool....solid video of actual projects with scenes or shots that focus on you and your talents in a demo reel or demo reels. Once you have this research how best to pay to place it online or in certain peoples hands. The answer varies by market, by agents or manager whose advice you may seek or by the experience of actors you network with,
8. Network with other actors. Parties are fine, but people go there to party not be bugged. Best to meet people one on one as advice of friends and people you trust and listen, lots of listening. You will learn about auditions, what classes to take, what casting directors are like and who they prefer, what skills you should learn more about and how to develop your own personal career plan. Reading, paying for seminars and Internet video surfing help, but do not replace, listening to other people. Listen...only take if you have a question or to keep a valuable conversation going
9. Be in it for the right reason...Fame and fortune do not come to you because you want it, they come because you earn it or because you luck out. You should be in this for the art, the craft, the joy of doing what you do, because there is nothing else on earth that you would rather do.
10. Keep reading and referring people to this blog (only half kidding...your readership, the links you and I provide for others using this blog and the like count all matter in our being able to keep helping you, and all of us helping others.
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