Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Truth or Encouragement?

I have always tried to tell the truth to those who seek out my guidance on acting as a career. I have been accused of being less than encouraging and therefore heartless when I tell youngsters who are obviously just dreaming that they are not going to be on Disney and they should come back to reality and perhaps see if they are talented enough to seek a career as an actor as an adult. There is another advisor of aspiring actors that I know that believes all those who dream of being actors should try their damnedest to be one. Here's the problem. By advising the untalented to seek careers is a waste of time and effort and money. It is in the end cruel and heartless to encourage someone to do something at which they will fail. I believe it takes extra ordinary natual talent, a special personality, tons of experience, and know how about the acting business to attempt to become a proessional actor. I teach my advisees how to tell if they have the talent and in my book, The Tao of Acting, I set forth the personality qualities they must have. I always encourage them to keep acting, not to go through long periods of inactivity even if they have to do amateur plays. And finally, I provide them with information on how to network and how to get an agent and how to audition so they can move forward, What they must never do is sit around and wait for the career to come to them. Because that will never happen. They have to go out every day and make some sort of step forward if they are going to succeed. Now once I am mentoring an actor and as long as he or she continues to move forward with their career, I will continue to mentor them. But I really don't like to be a nag and I much perfer the actor to do the work that is necessary without me telling them over and over again, what they should do. Now that's the truth and if is is not encouraging, too bad. There are too damn many people trying to become actors anyway.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why is there just a one in a million chance that I will become an actor?

Here's the problem. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of acting schools and college theatre and acting programs that are lying to their students that they are preparing them to be actors when there are no jobs for them. Tens of thousands of aspiring actors graduate from these schools every year. Do you think there are tens of thousands of acting jobs waiting them? Of course not. There are very,` very few jobs compared to their numbers. Then you add the hundreds of thousands of people like teens and preteens who have yet to enter the job market for actors but who want to do so. Do you think there are hundreds of thousands of jobs waiting for them? Of course not. There are so few jobs compared with the number of people who would like to have those jobs that it is a one in a million chance that anyone will actually ever even get a professional acting job, even a two word one. So what does someone do who wants to be an actor? They have to have more talent, more experience, good training, a better personality for the acting profession, better knowledge on how to become an actor,etc. Then, of course, they have to be lucky and be in the right place at the right time. Being all of the things I listed helps insure that. See my article on Networking for Success on my website at www.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Casting Web Sites, are they any good?

For the beginner who is looking for a quick way to become a movie or tv actor, casting sites on the web are pretty much worthless and will just cost you money. First of all there is no short cut to becoming an actor. Teens who suddenly think it would be great to be on TV or in the movies, but who have no background in acting are not going to become actors via some web site. The web sites promise you auditions, but if you don't live where the audition is being held, there is no point in knowing about it because it is too much of a financial cost to go hundreds of miles to an audition for a part you most likely will not get. These web sites are businesses which make money by promising over eager teens and adults for that matter that they will become stars because of the auditions they offer. LIARS! They just want your money. They have no interest in you and could care less if you are a success,except it would look good in their promotions. They always have a list of people who got jobs or who say how wonderful the site is. But have you ever heard of any of these people? NO. And some of them are just thrilled because they are wasting their money and time sending their photos and resumes to auditions that they will never be asked to attend or they would be unable to attend if they were asked. No, the auditions never pay your way. My advice for all aspiring actors is to stay off the web until they are somewhat established as professionals and then only use the websites that professional actors use.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Negativity and Your Acting Career

From the first time you mention to anyone that you would like to be an actor to conversing with fellow actors twenty years later, you are going to experience a lot of negativity. How you deal with it and how you let it affect you will have a lot to do with whether you are successful as an actor. Acting is essentially a negative career. Most of the work is done by a small coterie of already very successful people, and it is next to impossible to break into that circle of the elite. Oh, do those two previous sentences sound negative? Let's turn them around. Acting is a career like no other if you are lucky enough to break into the pool of the regularly employed actors. Is that a little better? It is diffiuclt to discuss the reality of professional acting without sounding a bit negative. As an aspiring actor, one of two things is going to happen when you run into negativity, such as when you tell someone you would like to be an actor and they say, " That's impossible. You can't do that." Either you will believe them and quit, or you will set out to prove them wrong and get involved as an actor in a play or film. The most effective thing you can do is to sort of ignore the comment and get busy acting. You don't let it affect you and you go right on becoming an actor. But negativity can pile up on you. The time it takes to get an agent, the time it take an agent to get you an audition, the time it takes to do enough auditions until you get a part, the time it takes to become recognized as being ready for bigger parts. These things can seem negative to some people. The successful actor has a personality component that just does not see the negativity. He ignores it and plows forward. Of course he uses every positive thing in his arsenel of attack on a career. Some aspiring actors become inactive in the face of negativity. It just makes them stop trying, and , of course, they never become actors. They are not meant to be actors or they would have the personality traits for success as actors. Much is said and written about developing the proper personality for success in acting. One source I just read suggests the aspiring actor study the personality traits of all successful people. Yeah, might help you to know what they are and try to emulate them. But I think a key factor is missing and that is that the successful individual is born with the personality traits to succeed in his chosen field. Acting requires some different personality traits than being a scientist. While there may be some common factors, there are always those specific traits for each field. I have heard a lot of motivational speakers and was once in a business that trived on motivational training. It really didn't work for me at all. I dropped our after a couple of years.
But I never dropped out of theatre and acting. Getting my PhD was easy for me,and acting was easy for me as well. I think that is due to my having the personality traits for success in academia and at least some of those needed for acting as well. But I was never cut out to be a businessman like my father who was very good at it. The point of this is that if you are the right person to become an actor. the negativity barriers that stop most people from succeeding will not affect you at all. You will just ignore them and go ahead and keep at it. Another kind of negativity you will run into as an actor is that which you hear in conversations about other actors, and about other people in the buisness. If you are going to succeed, give such negative comments little recognition. I found as an actor that almost every negative thing I heard about other people in the business turned out not to be true. What happens is that someone makes a mistake in his or her dealings with a person in the business and winds up with a negative result in those dealings. They blame the other person rather than themselves and so they have only bad things to say about that person. If you foster good relationships with everyone you meet in the business, you will avoid this second kind of negativity and give your self a better chance of success. If you find yourself in a conversation with someone and they start making negative comments about something or someone in the business, just walk away. You don't want to be seen being involved in such a conversation. Having talent is not enough for success in acting. Talent is cheap and plentiful. What is rare is the person with talent who also has the personality traits to remain positive in the face of negativity. Finally, the best thing anyone can do when faced with a negative situation, is to get to work making it a positive one. You spill your coffee, you clean it up. You are told you cannot act, you go and get cast in a show. But never allow anything negative make you stop and do nothing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A plan to become an actor

If you are interested in acting but not the rest of theatre production, then if you do go to college, pick one where you can participate in the plays without being a theatre student. (See Ch. 8 of my book, The Tao of Acting.) Going to professional acting studios while in college, sort of negates the time in college. You have to determine why you are going to college. I recommend it for those who need maturity and/or experience acting. Your plan should begin with earning money for your theatre expenses, then building your resume with acting experience and some classes at a pro studio, then seeking an agent. You will need business cards and post cards for networking at the very outset. Kind of complicated and very difficult to make a plan, but here's an attempt. Step one get your tools together, cards, head shot, resume, step two get a job, step three start auditioning for plays and films and start networking, step three, after there is some success with step two, take a class at a professional studio and keep networking, Step four keep auditioning and building your resume and start seeking representation by an agent. Step five keep doing all of the above.. See Tao and Having a Career in Acting on my web site.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am a great actor

I am constantly running into terrific actors, or people who are sure they 'have what it takes' to be a professional actor. Unfortunately they speak from their ignorance as they have no idea what it takes to be a professional actor and in most cases have no acting experience whatsoever. Isn't this 'fame now' generation wonderful? Today's young people believe that they can be famous with no preparation or special abilities. Or rather they have been led to believe that everyone is equally endowed with special abilites and they are as good as those who are professionals. They have been led to believe that "you can be whatever you want to be." Which is inaccurate, of course. You can't be whatever you want to be. You have to have the qualifications to be what it is you want to be. And everyone does not automatically have those qualifications, though Socialists lead people to think they do. Everyone is different and not everyone can become a professional actor. Even those with great talent often do not become professional actors because they lack some other necessary quality to succeed. Thus, we often see barely capable people succeed as actors because they have other qualities needed for acting success in great abundance. Professional acting is nothing like amateur acting. It is a business that is pretty much closed to newcomers. It is very, very difficult to get into professional acting and more difficult to stay in it or move up the ladder in it. One of the first things an aspiring professional actor needs to do is to lose their ego. Humility is a great asset to the person who wants to succeed in anything. Yes, you have to believe you can do it, but you do not brag about it. You just do it. When you have done some acting and that acting is of roles that are recognizably ones that talented people do well, others will know you are a good actor. That is what your resume is for. It tells those who read it how much talent you may have, so they can determine if they would like to audition you for a part. The roles on the resume may be school and community plays, but there should be plays on it, lots of plays. For it is by participating in plays that the would be film or television actor hones their ability and demonstrates that they indeed are terrific actors.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How do I get started as an actor?

Everyday, I see this question on the forums I participate in as an answerer. It needs readdressing for I know I have done so before. If you want to be an actor, why aren't you acting? Does no one have a brain? Think about it. How do you expect to be a professional actor if you have not been an outstanding amateur actor? No one is going to magically make you an actor. It is not a government entitlement program. You have to go out and do it, except if you are under 18, the only thing you can actually do is to be in the school plays because your parents have to make professional careers for minors who are barred from signing contracts by law. Usuallly, I find that when someone is asking how to do something rather than doing it, there is little chance that the person will be successful in doing what they are asking about. You see, one of the personality traits that successful actors must have is an unflagging drive to succeed that keeps them driving toward their goal. Nothing daunts them, nothing discourages them. They just keep at it. Want to get started being an actor? GO ACT!