In case you missed Part One, Two, and Three of prepping for episodic season with the right mentality and mental health, be sure to check those out first!
But, moving along to the tangible prep, this tends to be the stuff we actors LOVE. The homework.
Why is that?
Maybe because we can sink our teeth into it a little more and cross it off a list, unlike a lot of the rest of this career? Or perhaps it’s because we are creative and active participants in our work and this feels a lot more steady than “dealing with negative self-talk”. Although you probably know by now how incredibly important I think the ladder is — we dash on. We are covering two main portions of this today: Your Craft + Your Materials.
The most important thing in an actor’s arsenal is their ability to actually act. As silly as that sounds, sometimes we want to skip the hard work because it takes so damn long. But at the end of the day, if you have killer headshots yet can’t handle the sides, something’s gotta give. So let’s evaluate your craft.
Get really curious about what you need to work on. If drama sides are something you can do in your sleep but comedy irks you every time, this is an epic piece of data that needs to be utilized! Swap in a comedy class like Improv or other specific training. Talk to your teacher/coach about swapping out the class material for a while with a strict comedy diet. Even more fun: make comedy-watching a second job! Pack it in your weekly schedule during your actor time (and check out this podcast about watching TV like an actor).
If you haven’t been regularly training or your class has gotten a bit stale, consider swapping teachers, trying a new coach, or checking out a new class entirely (either at the same studio or a different one). The point here is to get yourself in a steady and regular practice. Bonus points if your teacher lets you bring in materials from auditions when you get them!
Headshots/Resumes/Reels should all be in tiptop shape. If someone says “send me your stuff” and you balk at the idea of copying/pasting your Actors Access link…time to tune it up!
The best headshot photographers book out months in advance so this may not be the easiest time to book a session (Something to stay ahead of from now on) but you better be prepped if that does come up. Know exactly what you’re trying to capture in your session to fill holes in your materials.
Resumes just need touching up now and again. I implore you to add an “actor admin hour” to your calendar once a month to check in on your sites like Actors Access (aka Breakdown Services) and Casting Networks to make sure they have all your recent credits, new photos, special skills, and latest training. Or perhaps it’s time to delete some old short films as you have gotten new and better credits.
Same goes for your reel. It better be solid because we now have the ability to self-tape incredible acting and add it to our reel without the wait times for projects to air or harassing the student films department for your footage. In fact, I did a whole Patreon podcast about just that!
And don’t let this overwhelm you. There is no such thing as being “done” with training or having the “perfect” materials. Do the best you can with what you have now to showcase who you are and what you offer!
Oh! And also… bring your reps in on this convo if you have them. Or your actor admin group (like the Patreon Study Hall or Small Groups Coaching if you’re interested in mine). Making all your decisions solo in this career is way too freakin’ hard. Use your available guidance and community to make it a little less lonely.
Stay tuned because we are going to talk about building out your actor lifestyle over the next few months as well. Because even if you don’t feel any traction this year, the next audition is literally around the corner and I want you to feel ready and willing! Wanna get ahead on this working actor life? Check out the last Working Actor Workshop of 2022 right here to reserve your spot!