ADVICE ON THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE ACTING INDUSTRY, BUT THAT NO-ONE WILL NECESSARILY TELL YOU. I WILL BE DOCUMENTING WHAT I LEARN ABOUT BEING A WORKING ACTOR AS I GO ALONG, SO THAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES/SUCCESSES AND AVOID SOME OF THE PITFALLS I MAY HAVE LANDED IN WITHOUT KNOWING BETTER. THIS IS NOT THE HOLY GRAIL - SO I WELCOME COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK THAT ARE HELPFUL TO THE NEW OR EVEN SEASONED ACTOR OUT THERE
Hi how are you? I just discovered your awesome blog today. I am a native new yorker and I started acting when I joined my college’s drama club in freshman year back in 08 and began to take lessons there. I graduated last year and I’ve been acting professionally ever since. In the span of 3 years I’ve performed in a number of productions for my club, and 2 off-off broadway plays.This past fall I began acting in student films for NYU and I just wrapped up a thesis Columbia short 2 weeks ago. To date I’ve done 4 student films. I’ve also began writing my own screenplays. I’m actually working with a friend’s production company to film my short screenplay. I plan on doing 1 more short film and then get my reel together so I can look for roles on Actors Access. Do you think I’m doing alright so far?
If you’re not, then we’re ALL doing something wrong!
Congratulations on your achievements. Keep it up and you’ll be golden.
Hello Tumblr followers, Twits, and Facebookies alike.
Can any of my actor friends give some insight into this question? I don’t have a manager, nor do I have any idea what NYC management companies to recommend, but I know so many of you have great management so I’m hoping you’ll be able to help out this reader with a solid list. Also, if anyone knows anything about Avanti (I’ve never heard of then) then please share, too. Many thanks!
Hiya, Doing the big move and have a few questions. Can you give me a short list of who you think in your opinion are good management agencies (already have the agents list covered). Also have a meeting with Avanti Talent Management NYC. Heard mixed things about them asking for money.
I’m not sure that I’ve said do not ever do mailers.
But I have been very candid about how blind mailers are received by the industry. Mailers are not necessarily the way you will get an agent or a job. Having worked in a busy casting office before I can tell you that most of the time mailers get thrown away. Some agencies and casting houses even have a strict “No unsolicited mail” policy, so, if you are going to do a blind mailing, you have to know which agencies are open to it to begin with.
Mailers are best received if you already have a relationship with the agent and/or casting director. Sending a postcard to update them on jobs you are booking as a way to remind them that you exist doesn’t hurt. But it’s a very small piece of the puzzle. So, as always, I recommend actors be a lot more pro-active about getting agents than mailers alone.
I personally don’t do mailers anymore. But that’s just me.
In my experience, meeting with industry people in person is the best way to get their attention. You can do that by working on showcases, going to one-on-one castings (Actors connection, One on One, etc), networking parties, and by booking/creating great work that showcases your talent.
Nowadays, thanks to Actors Access, NYCastings, Casting Frontier, etc, an actor doesn’t need an agent to start booking work on great projects. So, again, that is my advice to actors overall: get into the habit of booking/making your own work. A great reel, or a great resume will do a thousand times more good than a blind mailer.
If you are signed with an agent it is in good taste and extremely important that you are upfront with them about the work you are getting on your own. You should have a candid conversation with them about their commission - which you owe them even if they didn’t book you the job! If you’re booking small jobs that pay $100 here or $250 there, they’ll probably tell you to keep it. But you have to be having that kind of conversation with them all the time. Also, if you’re booking work then your agent needs to know this! They need to see that you are someone who books work! By sharing that information the two of you can work together to make sure you’re going out for the right roles. If your agent gets “mad” at you for booking work then they are not the agent for you. Although, as a mini caveat to that statement I will say that you absolutely must keep your agent informed of all work you are considering doing because it’s possible that it may conflict with something they are trying to get for you. They should be involved in all your career decisions and will advise you on any questions you have.
If you are not signed, then disregard all the above. They are not your agent yet and therefore you have not made any kind of comittment to them - neither have they to you. So keep booking work but do keep them updated on it. Seeing you booking a lot of work might encourage them to sign you and a self-motivated actor is an attractive one.
Now, if you’re agent isn’t getting you any auditions and all the work you are going out for is from your own initiative then it might be time to dump them. I can imagine being extremely frustrated by paying out 10% of your hard-earned money to someone who is literally mooching off you.
But, let me clarify.
If your agent is sending you out on auditions and you’re just not booking them then that doesn’t mean your agent isn’t doing their job. They are literally there to get you auditions and to advise you on career decisions. It’s your job to book it.
A lot of people are intimidated by the actor/agent relationship and I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be! If you’re unsure what your responsibilities to your agent are then you should re-read your contract and have a conversation with them.
Ultimately, that’s the best advice I can give you: talk to your agent.
You’ve asked a question that I don’t know the answer to I’m afraid!
I will repost this question in a way that can illicit outside response from my community of actors and see what they say. Check back here for updates, and if I discover a definitive list I will surely share it with you and all of my readers on a dedicated post.
As for Avanti, they check out with the Better Business Bureau, but I’ve never heard of them. You’re right to do some due diligence on them before you get here.
Bill Cosby (via quote-book)