Before I start commenting on the difficulties of a career in the entertainment industry, let me just say: I love being an actor. I love auditions, I love leaving for a job on a moment’s notice, I love working long days, I love being in front of the camera, I love being on stage, I love getting paid to explore a character. I do honestly think that there’s no better job on the planet. It’s almost become a mantra amongst actors: ‘This business sucks.’ But I don’t believe it for one hot second. This business is awesome.
But it’s hard. The hours are long, rejection is inevitable, the pay starts pretty low (and all too often stays there), the business side is hard to navigate, and getting your foot in the door can feel next to impossible. So, knowing that it’s hard, I’m going to use this blog to occasionally throw out my $.02 on how to make it a bit easier.
Contrarily, my first piece of advice is to take all advice with a grain of salt, and mine is no exception. My perspective is informed by my own experience in this crazy business, which includes a stint working at a New York City talent agency, and the input of a few friends in casting, too. My experience on the other side of the table was incredibly enlightening, but one thing it taught me is that this is nothing if not a subjective industry. Agents like and look for different things. Casting directors do the same. Two people can watch the same performance, and come away with polar opposite opinions. By that same token, some industry professionals will find it gutsy and bold when you reach out to them, and others will find it an annoying imposition in their workday. My advice can, at best, inform your choices, and hopefully give you some insight into what happens behind the table.
That said, if my advice subjective and not failsafe, neither is it bad. In fact, what made me want to provide business advice for actors is that there is a lot of bad advice out there. For example: you can Google just about any casting director’s address now. What Google doesn’t tell you, though, is that many casting directors work from home–if they haven’t published an address in Henderson’s or The Call Sheet, they probably don’t want you to track theirs down and mail your head shot to their home. Another example, one that I hope is self-explanatory: unless you want to be the sort of actor that primarily works naked, when you mail your photo to talent agencies, please make sure to send a photo in which you’re clothed. Intuitive advice, you say? I hope so. But unfortunately, I know from experience that it’s not intuitive to everyone.
So, if my perspective interests you, stay posted for more to come. Remember that my take on this industry is subjective, and as with all advice, it falls on the listener (or reader, as it may be) to use his or her discretion. But hey–if I can discourage one person from sending nudie pic to a talent agency, I’ll consider it a job well done.