Who Gets Punished for Being Proactive?

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I recently made a post on a Facebook page, one for filmmakers, asking for Directors of Photography to share their work so I could assist an Executive Producer in identifying local candidates for a film project. Many DPs posted links and other people tagged DPs so they might see the post and add their links. But, something else happened that reminded me of how some professionals get rewarded for being proactive and others get punished.

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What I’ve Learned from Being Too Informal

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Ask anyone about how to get work as an actor and they will emphasize the importance of relationships. So, we network in order to create those relationships with an eye on how they will impact our career. Secretly, many of us want to skip the hurdles and get cast directly for every role and there are definitely benefits to skipping past formalities but we should be aware of the risks, too.

Lack of formality can create unnecessary risk for the actor who commits to a project before careful evaluation. You should know all the terms and conditions of your accepting the “backdoor” offer of a role and there should be no surprises. Even in independent projects with non-paying roles, there should be a clear agreement between the parties involved and a transparency to the relationship.  Continue reading

10 Mistakes for Actors to Avoid

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I recently came back to Texas after nearly four years away. Seeing familiar faces and locations provided some comfort, but it also brought to the surface many reminders of why I didn’t create the success I aimed to when I was acting professionally here from 2005-2015. So, my reflection on that decade has led me to create a list of do-overs for myself and mistakes for other actors to avoid doing in the first place.

10 Mistakes for Actors to Avoid

  1. Failure to train weekly
  2. Failure to effectively update marketing materials
  3. Failure to research resume formatting and terms
  4. Failure to research content creators
  5. Failure to earn adequate income
  6. Failure to identify suitable roles 
  7. Failure to conceal commercial work
  8. Failure to create specific goals
  9. Failure to research success stories
  10. Failure to ask for help

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Crisis is a Crossroads Experience

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I know few actors using social media who appear to be soaring. Many seem to be suffering. Not enough auditions or bookings. Making no money. No representation. So much “no” in each person’s situation that it feels like virtually all the actors I know are in crisis.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE IN YOUR CRISIS.

The truth is, we all experience personal and professional crises connected to acting. Some of us experience it more often by failing to remedy the problem effectively the last time. So, we continue to perpetuate it and suffer for a prolonged period of time.  Today I want to help you see how to end the perpetual crisis. Continue reading

Frozen in Place

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I got an email this morning from the Office of the Registrar at the university I attended more than 20 years ago. The woman who sent the email informed me I cannot get an official transcript due to “financial obligations” to the school. In short, a debt from the early 90’s follows me to this day and limits what I can do.

What does this debt have to do with acting?

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Relationships over Roles

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I sat at the computer thinking of what I could call a fresh blog post for a blog site I have pretty much neglected for months. It’s not like I can talk about work I have done as I haven’t booked any roles in that time in Milwaukee. I didn’t want to mention auditions as the ones I typically do get involve signing an NDA. So I pretty much ignored my own blog. Until now.

A lot has changed since I last posted here. I’m in a new state and a new city. Culver City, to exact. I pass by Sony every day so I am reminded of acting, even if it’s not my first priority here.

WHY LA?

To clarify, I didn’t move here to act. I moved here to be with my daughter whose mom got a broadcasting job here. Also, I didn’t get much time to plan for my move. I found out in November my ex-wife was offered a job in LA and responded accordingly. Continue reading

10 Ways to be an Actor of Service

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Many people are devoting Labor Day weekend to rest or recreation. Not me. I thought investing some time to talk about work right now on the verge of a holiday to honor social and economic achievements of American workers made sense. So here on a Sunday, I’m going to share some ways my fellow actors can find opportunities to be of service in the coming week.

The messages in this space tend to speak to newcomers to acting but this time I am expanding my reach. This topic is far more inclusive. It’s especially important for veteran stage and screen actors to remember they’re here to serve their local, regional, and national communities, too.

I came up with a list of 10 ways any actor can be or become an actor of service. That’s where service to others is an intention, not a by-product of your career. You will see how you can begin doing any of these 10 on the list, one at a time perhaps, and start to incorporate them into your daily schedules.  Continue reading

New Name, New Mission

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Goodbye, Acting Made Stupid Simple.

Inspiration occurred today and led me to change the name of my blog. Despite not actually blogging the last two months, I have been giving a lot of thought to the future of this space and what I want to accomplish with it. Service frequently became the keyword in those thoughts and I believe service to others is the basis to everything we do as actors. Continue reading

No More Winging It in Improv Auditions

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I know actors who hate improv auditions. Common complaints I have heard include, “I don’t feel comfortable” and “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “I don’t know what they want.” I’m sure some actors bring remnants of that negative self-talk into the audition room.

All three comments are valid reactions to having to walk into a room and perform a scene unrehearsed. It can seem intimidating to face a casting director when you don’t know what you need to say or do in the moments that follow. Coming into it with a sense of anxiety is perfectly natural for many actors.

The trouble for those actors is they think they have to “wing it” every time. They approach the improv audition as a test of their ability to think quickly on their feet and look at the audition as a Pass/Fail situation. In setting the same standards for themselves they do with scripted material, it’s likely they will feel they fell short of nailing it, as they say.

Let’s agree that “winging it” isn’t helping you right now.  Instead, let’s approach the audition as a storyteller would. You are a storyteller, after all.  Continue reading

Faster Ways to Get an Agent

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Usually when actors ask me about how to get an agent, I quickly assess they are not ready for an agent. It has nothing to do with their talent. It has nothing to do with their looks. It has everything to do with their lack of preparation.

Preparation for an agent involves being ready to go on auditions the moment you’re signed. The moment you’re signed. Not a few weeks from then. The moment.

Imagine if some kid wanted to sell you lemonade as you’re walking by on a hot summer day. The cost is just a buck. You say, “yes.” Then lemonade kid says, “ok, it will be ready in an hour.” Would you linger an hour for a cup of lemonade? Probably not.

In this situation, you are the lemonade for sale. You are the product. You are the commodity.

So how do you know if you’re ready to have an agent? You have the skills, the marketing materials, and the professionalism for it. Let’s break down what each element means. Continue reading