A great deal of this work feels totally out of our hands. Knowing we lost a role to the directors babysitter is fucking devastating. Not knowing when is the right time to cut your hair or move to Atlanta or get a blue polo for a Best Buy commercial is exhausting. Finding reps in a “mutually excited about each other” relationship feels damn near impossible. So what do we have control over? Anything?!
Yes. We do. And pretending like acting is a big wheel of fortune instead of a business will truly make life harder (and make you crazier) in the long run. Businesses check in on their departments. They have meetings and look over paperwork. They have yearly reports and goals/deadlines to hit. Why? Because money is on the line. So let’s create your departments and get their proverbial shit together!
It took me me first 3-4 years to get my shit together on this one and I don’t want you to be like me. You have to have footage. Make it, pay someone to make it, pay someone to pull what you have done from its perspective place, whatever you have to do. It needs to be quality, meaning fantastic acting, sound, and from a great camera. On the plus side unlike when I moved here, the camera in most current iPhones is EXCEPTIONAL, so you can film reel material cheaply (but make sure you check all the boxes). If you have nothing whatsoever, then have 2-3 incredible self tapes. However I would suggest this as merely a placeholder while you get your own shit together.
We over-talk about headshots so I’ll be concise, they should look like you, on a good day, in a cast-able way, and acting into the camera. They should be updated when your look changes or if you are younger, every year. 3-5 good ones and you’re golden. Your resume should also be really clean and concise. I am working on a resume template for my email subscribers so keep an eye out for that, but keep it simple and readable. And be honest, in all area, but especially in special skills.
Using the above items, you should have a quality Actors Access and LA Casting. These are the most important sites. I include some editorial as well on LA Casting, still keeping the total number around 10 (I think I have too many right now). You can see my AA profile here to show a quality resume set up that Brian Pataca helped me set up a few years ago. It is pricy to update photos but we gotta do it, keep this puppy updated.
Being “ready”. Whatever that means to you. An ongoing class, working with a coach so you have a go-to for auditions, finding zoom classes to perfect your new-casting-world skills, whatever. You GET to work on acting…we just don’t know exactly when you will be paid for it. So invest in your training. Athletes between seasons may take a week or two off of working out, but you better believe they come right back to the gym even when they have no games coming up.
A YouTube channel, a photography Instagram, your own podcast or website (cough) these are the things that keep us excited and fuel our creativity. If you’ve even dreamed of being playful and fun on set and then gotten there only to realize your scene was 7 hours of waiting and 7 minutes of shooting, you know this business doesn’t always cater to our creative spirit. You have to fill your own tank, Hollywood will not do it for you. Not it mention, sometimes these are the things that give us a tiny edge, an experience, a connection that ends up being more than just fun.