HOW TO STAY PROFESSIONAL WHEN SELF-PROMOTING

The tools you need… without looking like a tool

Before I get onto discussing how to use social networking tools for professional advancement, I need to wade through the quagmire that is ‘self-promotion’.

When I say ‘self-promotion’, I’m talking about websites, Facebook pages, business cards, mass mail-outs of headshots, or any sort of advertising that is produced by you solely for the purpose of promoting you as an actor.

Suffice it to say: I’m not a fan.  I don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary when you first start your career – and I’m not the only one.

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TIME-SAVING TRICKS FOR ACTORS

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Ahhh, the balancing act of life. Everybody has to balance the many aspects of their life, no matter whatprofession they’re in, but it may come as quite a shock to you to balance quite so many things straight out of high school. You will probably be working full time or part time, taking classes of some sort, going out to see shows, reading whatever seems interesting and relevant, looking for auditions, practising whatever needs practising, and… the rest of your life. Cleaning the house, maintaining relationships, chilling out where you can. I hate to be a party pooper but I’ve got to tell you now: as an actor, this never changes.  You will ALWAYS be balancing a million things. Even if you succeed at becoming a big movie star, the balancing act will only get worse, not better.  Successful actors work incredibly hard to become successful and incredibly hard to stay that way.  You need to learn to work hard and smart, and learn to deal with stress and tiredness in a graceful way. Read More

HOW TO GET THE PERFECT HEADSHOTS (PART 2)

3In my first post, I gave you the most important things you need to know about headshots before you go for your shoot. If you haven’t checked that out, you may want to check that out here. Now that we’ve covered the essentials (that everybody seems to get wrong), here is some practical insight into what the shoot will be like, how much it will cost, and what you can expect to get out of it. I also have some tips for DIY headshots for you as well.

Finding a photographer

A professional headshot is an important investment and doesn’t have to be super expensive, but sometimes finding a photographer can be tricky.  Photography studios don’t always advertise whether or not they do actors’ headshots, and independent photographers who often do headshots may not have an online presence where they advertise what they offer. It’s worth doing your own research before you choose someone, and it’s definitely worth reading up on what makes a good headshot before you go to your shoot.

It’s best to work with people who have done headshots for actors before because they’ll know what works and what’s expected, plus they’ll give you the rights to the material so you can reproduce the photos as needed.  As I explained previously, you can’t use glamour shots from companies where you are expected to buy prints directly from their company; those companies have strict copyright on their shots and you will not be able to reproduce or distribute them as needed.  Invest a little bit of time asking around and looking at websites before you decide on a photographer.  It’s also a good idea to check out the headshots of professional actors (have a look on imdb.com for the real pros) to get an idea of what makes a good headshot, what’s popular and acceptable and what you would like yours to look like (poses, colours, clothes, hair and makeup, etc).  There are trends in headshots as much as anything else, so it’s a good idea to be aware of what’s ‘fashionable’, Read More

WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR CASTING TYPE

191I promised I would talk about headshots, but there’s something important we need to discuss before we get to that: casting type.  If you want your headshot to actually get you work, it has to look like you – but it also has to bring out the right elements of you.  If you get a headshot that brings out your sexy side, but your casting type is not sexy at all, then your headshot won’t help you in the long run.  So let’s get to know ‘type’.

Typing is good for you

A lot of actors resist their type.  You have probably heard whinging or bitching about certain actors being ‘typecast’ as the same roles over and over again – generally considered lazy, unlucky, or a result of no talent, whereas the reality is quite the opposite.

It’s very common for actors who have just graduated from a training institute to try and resist their type, because they have probably been cast against type during their training, to challenge their abilities, and therefore think they can play anything.  This may be true, they may have the ability to act a large variety of roles, but no actor is EVER cast like that.  You will get, at most, Read More

PREPARING FOR AN AUDITION (PART 1): YOUR ACTING CV

Whether you’re applying to an agent, or submitting freelance for auditions, at some point you will need an acting CV.  Your acting CV (or arts CV, or resume – same thing) obviously needs different content to a CV you would give to a retail or hospitality employer, but often it’s hard to know what to include and how to format it, especially when you feel like you don’t have much to include yet!

Let’s start with format.  There are a zillion different ways to format an arts CV, so the smart thing to do is check your agent’s website before you submit to them Read More

DIY ACTING TRAINING (PART 1)

So now that I’ve chewed your ear off about training, I’ll leave that for a bit so you can think it over.  In the meantime, I’m sure you’d appreciate some ideas about what you can do to train yourself – whether you’re attending classes or not, there are always little things you can do to get ahead.  So I’ll start with the simplest and possibly the BEST of them all: reading.  Yes, this blog will be a very nerdy celebration of the written word.

I’m going to talk a bit later about some drama theory you might like to get into, but let’s start with something easier – plays and screenplays.  Film or stage, if you are working within the Australian industry, it usually pays to spend some time reading and watching whatever’s coming out of your own industry. Read More