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

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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?

Continue reading

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

What Unconditional Support Looks Like

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Support for actors can come from many sources. It can be from family, friends, or fellow actors.

Support can come in many ways. It can be help finding a headshot photographer, getting advice for submitting to agents, or receiving the offer of a ride to an audition.

You will encounter many people who offer some kind of support for you. Most of it will be conditional. Here’s an example: “I’ll like your Facebook page if you like mine back.”

If. That’s the pivotal word. If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

Mutually beneficial relationships are an asset. Everybody wins, in some way. Yet they need not be the only place we draw support as actors.

So where does unconditional support come from and what does it look like? Continue reading

Acting and Politics

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A Facebook friend posted today about Scott Baio getting airtime on Fox and his acting wasn’t the purpose of his interview. It was a political conversation apparently, although I did not actually see the interview. The post itself reminded me of all the times I have heard people, including family members, suggest actors shouldn’t be allowed to add to political or social conversations. Even before I became an actor, I thought that opinion seemed ridiculous and now it seems just plain stupid.

Within minutes I had crafted a post of my own.  Continue reading

What’s Your Story?

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Since joining the staff at an elementary school as a Special Education aide in January, I have found opportunities to reference my work as an actor. It may be an acting exercise or a short story pulled from my career. It’s not a glamorous story usually but it always serves its purpose to enlighten and entertain. Today’s story was no different.

Before I get to today’s story, let me make a point about acting stories. I never use them to glorify myself. I use them to teach a point or correct a myth. Usually the story involves me humbling myself from the beginning until the end. Today’s story was no different. Continue reading