Sunday, December 27, 2009

An actor writes about the Business of being an actor

I am pleased to present here some ideas about what an actor must do to succeed that were sent to me by a former student of mine who has been an actor in NYC for over 35 years.

" The overwhelming majority of actors here in NYC will miss the point that this is a business. The business requires extensive marketing by the actor. The onus falls upon the shoulders of the actor himself. He learns his craft and makes every attempt to bring this to the attention of anyone who is in the position to help his career. He sends postcards. He sends his 8x10 photograph to anyone and everyone who might help his career. He tries to appear in as many plays as possible. When he is cast in a play, he invites agents to his performances. He is oblivious to the admonitions that he should not contact these people except by specific invitation. He gets on the phone. He tries his best to sell himself. He will have to compromise his obligations to his straight job. He may have to leave the office to attend an audition which has come up at the last moment. Or he may have to appear on set on a weekday that he is not technically authorized to take off. He has to take big chances. Acting is his first priority, and this is more significant than his parent's opinions or his girlfriend or anything else. He has bet his life, as Gene Frankel would say. Your students must be dead set in these regards or they may as well forget an acting profession, to begin with. Believe me. When you have selected this profession you have agreed to become a snowball in hell and you had better be extreemly determined. There are no ifs ands or buts. You are either committed to these ideas or you are not. General desire for success will not work by itself. Everybody in the world has the general desire to become movie stars but everyone of these people or most of them will not supply the requisites that I have listed above. I do not care about what their innate God given talent may be or where they have studied or who they know. Take it from a veteran. I know whereof I speak."

This actor continues his quest for roles in the most difficult of all careers. It takes the kind of life-time devotion and adherence to ones love for the work that he embodies. As he says, if you are not ready to take on this lifestyle, forget about becoming an actor.

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