Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to be a Success

I have been criticised for being negative about becoming a success as a professional actor, so today I am going to be positive and let everyone in on the secret of success.  I am deeply indebted to the Reverend Les Brown for the motivation for this post.
Okay, let's assume you have the talent, the look, and the personality to be an actor, or is that even possible to assume?  Because this is all about personality.   We will assume you have scads of experience and maybe even some professional training.  Those are basic.  What I am going to tell you now is how to parlay those into becoming a professional actor.
1. You have to have a fire in your belly.  You have to be so hungry to be an actor that nothing else has priority over it.  You have to want it BAD.  And you have to be willing to give up almost everything else to get it.  Please read Career, a play by Lawrence and Lee.
2. You have to do the most difficult things connected with being an actor.  If you have to move to another city or state, you do that.  If you have to work horrible jobs to support yourself, you do that.  If you have to study long hours, you do that.
3, I have said this in other posts, I believe, but you have to hang out with only quality people.  If your pals are losers, negative, do-nothing people, lose them.  If you are the most successful person in your group, you are in the wrong group.  Only hang with people who are doing professional acting.
4. You MUST develop communication skills.  You have to be able to walk  up to strangers and introduce yourself. You have to meet agents, producers, casting directors and directors, as well as other actors, and be able to present yourself in an educated, clear, and forceful manner. The power of excellence in speaking to others so they know how able you are is everything.  When you open your mouth, you tell people who you are. You MUST develop proper English skills, lose your dialect or speech impediment, and have a great vocabulary and literary knowledge. You have to be an educated person.  In almost all cases this means going to college, but it is possible to read at least several of the Great Books (see Wikipedia for clarification).  And it is possible for you to read plays and writings on theatre and acting.
5. Make  yourself a special individual.  We are all unique, but to make it in acting, you need something very special.  Watch the films of  the greatest actors, Bogart, Gable, Guiness, Olivier, Wayne, Eastwood, Widmark, Palance, etc. (sorry I am male and i thought of men first. There are as many women of note.)  Find your big difference and learn to show it and use it.  You can't be a success if you just go around saying, "I'm just me."  NO, you are not just you. You are SPECIAL and you have to be special to be a professional actor.
6. Finally, as I have said many times before, you have to network. Network, network, network. That is how doors are opened.  (See "Networking for Success" on my web site, The Tao of Acting.
So some of these  have been neglected in my other writings, and some even said they weren't needed. But they are needed, all of them, and you have to do them. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How long after an audition will they let you know if you are cast?

There is no set time for notifying those who have auditioned if they have been cast or not.  It varies a great deal from production to production. Some companies have a policy of notifying everyone within a couple of days.  Some companies never notify actors if they have not been cast.

The best thing to do after an audition is to forget about it  and get on with your acting experience and training.  If you don't get it, they will probably not contact you. And if you get a call back, it will be a great surprise and you can go from there.

An actor should never put all his or her eggs in one basket. That is to say that it is foolish to count on getting a part even if your audition went very well and the casting people were enthusiastic about it.
The next actor that walks into the casting session may be exactly what they are looking for and have that one little quality that you lack.  I think it is important for an actor to always be acting in something--even amateur theater.  It is always a positive thing if you can say you have just finished such and such a role, or are currently appearing in such and such a play. That makes you an actor.

The  great struggle every actor has is to keep trying, even in the face of rejection after rejection when in spite of a really good audition, he or she is not cast.  For the beginning actor getting one in every fifteen or twenty parts auditioned for is a high level of success.

By combining your efforts at networking with your agents' efforts to find auditions for you, there is a good chance you will be getting some roles.  But remember, never make too much of an opportunity that you have.  It may well amount to nothing.  That happens a lot in this business of acting--things just fizzle out. 

Always remember that in this business the only thing that counts is what you have finished doing.  What you plan to do or what you have an opportunity to do means nothing.  It is the mark of a seasoned actor to only talk about his accomplishments, not his possibilities.