Saturday, May 29, 2010
It is really appalling how many young teens and preteens want to become professional actors!! (I will use this term for both sexes throughout). What makes it so appalling is that there are hardly any jobs for the millions of aspiring youngsters, and most of those jobs are going to go to kids who are already experienced perofessional actors with agents and so on. Another thing that makes these aspiring, teeming teens appalling is that they have no idea what it is like to be a professional actor. Believe me, it is nothing like the school play nor what you see on the tv screen or at the cinema. Search back through my previous posts in this blog and you will learn much about professional acting that no one in school ever tells you. Now. How do we turn this appalling situation into a positive one for the aspiring actors? Parents. No teen ever became a professional actor without the active participation of their parents paving the way for them. Your parents don't have to be famous to do this, but famous parents of course know the people to contact before they start, and your parents will have to find out who they are the hard way, through networking. There is an article on networking on my web site, so we will move on. It probably takes less time for a famous parent to open the doors to professional acting to their kids than it will your parents. Therefore, the next thing that makes teens actors is time. It takes years in most cases to be a success a promoting one's kid into professional work. You will read elsewhere in this blog about many actors who spend their entire lives trying to become actors, but they always have to support themselves by other means. It is a cruel and heartless business. Business is the keyword. It is no longer fun and games, though acting itself is always fun, but being an actor is terribly difficult and always takes luck along with all the other attributes needed for success. So, good luck, aspiring teens. I hope your parents help you achieve your dreams.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
There are lots of questions about age and acting. Am I too old? too young? How old do I have to be? How old do I look? What is my age range? None of these questions are really important to acting since you are never too old or too young ( as long as your parents are really, really for your being an actor, because you do have to be 18 to sign a contract with an agent or to sign a contract to play a professional role; and if you are not then a parent has to sign for you). A parent also has to apply to an agent for representation for you until you are 18. But talent knows no age boundry. You can start at any age from 1 to 1o1. Another thing that eveyone needs to know about age and acting is that age nor age range ever goes on a resume or anywhere in correspondence about your acting. Nor does it go on your photo. Age range (a completely subjective and aritifical thing which should be eliminated from all references to acting) is something that agents and casting directors decide about you from looking at your picture and hearing your audition. Lots of people look younger than they are, much to the delight of film and tv producers who would much rather work with a young looking adult than a teen because of the restrictions of child labor laws. Also, there just are not many roles for kids, pre teens and teens. I know it looks like there are gobs of them if you watch Disney and Nick, but compared to adult roles the number is really, really small. So the younger the actor, the more difficult it will be to get a professional acting job since there are so few of them and so many young aspiring actors. Producers also want young actors to have lots of experience so they can be sure of their abilities before signing them. This little rule of thumb also holds true for all actors up to about 50 when a director is more likely to trust someone to come through for them because of their maturity. Age, is it important? Not a whole bunch. Experience, now that is important!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I hope I am not boring anyone with a rehashing of an old idea. The concept of a couple attempting to become actors together may seem romantic and exciting. Unfortunately the early years of struggling to become a professional actor are usually anything but romantic and exciting. They are usually driven by poverty and rejection and desperation. Then one of the couple will progress in his or her career faster than the other one. This causes resentment and evy and will destroy the couple. I don't care how much they swear to one another that they will be supportive if one makes it and the other doesn't make it, the one that doesn't make it will exit quickly. In The Tao of Acting I caution aspiring actors not to fall in love with anything or anybody except acting. If you want comfort and a big screen tv, don't try to become an actor. If you want a nice home with new appliances, don't try to become an actor. If you need the attention of a significant other to be happy, don't try to become an actor. Acting is a demanding obsession and requires your full focus. When you get into a brief relationship, avoid pregnancy! Acting professionally is something a person has to do on his or her own. It is so hard to do that any distraction must be avoided.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Boys and girls, because I use the term actor for both... boys and girls, it doesn't matter what you do, you may never, ever become an actor. This is especially true for the young lady who wanted to know how long it would take her to climb the ladder of success as an actress from local tv commercials to stardom, because there is no ladder to climb. Some people just to directly to stardom. Some people never even get on a local commercial. Some people are in plays and films acting opposite big stars, have training with the very best people, and still never earn a living as an actor. Acting is not like any other job. You can start as a part time furniture assembler at Walmart and work your way up the ladder of success to being a store manager or into a job at corportate headquarters. But everyone who acts is an actor, whether it be a background actor, a day player with two lines, a featured actor with several scenes or a star with his name above the title. They are all actors. How did they get to be actors? Well via several paths. Mainly somebody who chooses actor for a film or play was made aware of them, called them in for an audition or interview and hired them as an actor. That's how to become an actor, but some of the actors will have been working on becoming an actor for a long time and some may not even have thought about it. A person doesn't choose acting, it chooses the person. It's like agents. The actor doesn't choose the agent, the agent chooses the actor. Well, then, ok, Doc, I see what this is all about: it is diffiuclt to become an actor and somebody needs to choose you. RIGHT! So what can someone do who wants to be an actor? They can start being an actor. They act in everything they can find to act in. They read a little and take a couple of classes. They make themselves known in the industry via networking. They don't care how long it takes. They just keep at it, even if it takes their entire lives, because they are actors.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Last time I wrote on the question, 'How do I jumpstart my career?' I continue to think about such topics even after the post has been published on this blog. And so to answer a question with a question, "What's better than acting?" You want to be an actor, then get acting in everything and anything you can find. The acting world is very small and the professional side and the amateur side often overlap. So to be a success, keep at it. Act all the time. Besides, what is better than acting? Nothing. If we thought something was better, we would be doing that instead of acting. So take measure of yourself. Are you acting in something right now? No excuses. Remember any reason you can give as to why you are doing something to move your career forward is a reason why you are going to fail. Are you living the actor's life? Which means: have you forgone all things except acting? Aw, gee, that is really hard to do. Yes, I know. But becoming an actor is the hardest thing in the world to do--unless you are always working on it. Really working on it. You aren't waiting for the right time to come around, I hope. Because that never happens. Now is the right time if you are ever going to succeed. Surely you are not waiting until acting come to you, because if you do that, nothing will ever happen. Yeah, yeah, I know you have to finish school, but you can do that and keep active as an actor. Among the dozens of contacts I have had this week, I have had communiques from some interesting advisees. Three of them are actively pursuing their careers every day. One by auditioning and reheasing every day. The other by auditioning frequently and booking some jobs,and by working with young kids who want to be actors. They are very busy with acting all of the time. the third is enrolled in a high profile acting class next month, is eligible for union membership, and has a day job as a voice actor, so he is involved with acting every day. A fourth one reports that he has had some auditions, but because the directors did not agree with his character interpretations, he did not book anything. He also argued with them about it. He is giving up acting to be a producer, and that is probably better for him than to continue as an actor who always argues about characterization with the directors. The fifth always has a project in the future. He will get around to doing something when something else happens. He is comfortable in his everyday job and will get around to taking a class someday.. But he is not doing much more than surfing the web occasionally looking for auditions and classes. He is not taking any risks and is pretty much in his career where he was six months ago. Three are really into acting; one has decided arguing with directors is better than acting; and the last has decided what he is doing right now is better than acting. Which of the them do you think is going to be the next to book a paying job? I think it is one of the three who are involved with acting every day, becasue that is what will jump start their careers. In fact being a good self starter is what will make or break careers. So ask yourself, "What is better than acting?" And if f there is nothing better, then get acting.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Now here's a question from someone who is not at all ready for professional acting. Why? 1. Because they do not have the knowledge and experience for it or they wouldn't ask the question. And 2. Because they think there must be some little trick to becoming a professional actor. To deal with the second reason first, there is no short cut to becoming a professional actor. You wouldn't expect there is a short cut to becoming a brain surgeon, would you? Of course not. You would need years of experience, training and know how to dare to become a brain surgeon. Acting is the most difficult of all professions to make a living at. The competition is unreal. How could a beginner expect ot compete for roles with the best actors in the world? They simply can't. And as far as reason one is concerned, acting is a unique profession. It is essentially closed to newcomers because the casting directors want to use the same experienced well-known actors in every production. To crack the wall surrounding this profession requires that you know how the profession works, how people get to be known, how to promote your self, and how to be the kind of person the casting directors are looking for. Even with all the experience and training of reason two and with all the knowledge of reason one, many super talented people fail to ever get a professional job, or if they do, they fail to parlay that into steady work as an actor. Why? Again because of the nature of the business. Film, theatre and tv productions are enormously expensive. Millions and millions of dollars are invested in each film or play or tv show. Those that invest the money want to make money on their investment. Thus, they want to go with the sure thing, the experienced, well known actor. Beginners are pretty much shut out from this process. You have to have enough experience and training and know how to get someone to take a chance on you in a small role, do that well, and be offered another and then another until you are known as a reliable, talented actor. That might take a life time. The roles don't just follow one upon the other. You will not be cast ten or fifteen or twenty times for every one time you are cast. Perpare, get youself ready. Build that resume.Put in the years and learn. You might get a jump start after having been in the business a long, long time.