As actors, performers, musicians, comedians, or artists of any sort, you all have one thing in common.
You are in the business of creating your art, mastering it, getting it seen, promoted, and ultimately sold. You need to continually work on your craft, take chances, risks, and be willing to fall on your face and fail. We all know that stretching yourself is the way to grow as an artist and in your work. You need to push your limits, and take chances to expand your performance and emotional range. That is how you develop confidence as a performer. Experience is the key.
Also, you need to promote yourself and get your “art” seen.
That means you need to get industry people to see your work. I see many actors trying to do both things at once, and they can cancel each other out if not handled properly. This is a particular issue for Los Angeles actors as those two ventures and venues can coincide. Therefore, they need to be handled differently. That’s why I say you need to have two “guest” lists and strategies, meaning - who do you invite to see your work?
Yes, two lists and I’ll elaborate here.
- You need to have a group of your supporters, your “tribe”, people who love and respect you and appreciate the mission and journey you are on to fulfill your dreams. That can be family, personal friends, class mates, co-workers, and other colleagues that are on your team and in your camp. Include fellow actors, writers, teachers, directors, your church group, clubs you belong to, sports friends, and those who are doing the same thing in their field. These people should be those that will support you, and give you appropriate feedback. You can also be on their list as well, as you can be a support to them in their ventures and dreams.
- Secondly, you need to have a list of your “industry contacts”. These are people who are in the business of hiring you or getting you to people that can hire you. Agents, casting directors, producers, people connected to the industry and have connections are on this list.
Many actors try to do the same thing at once and I’ve witnessed it to be professional suicide for some. Don’t let this happen to you.
Here’s an example I’ve seen too many times. A new actor comes to LA and studies acting. After training for 6 months to a year, they are cast in a production, a play. Maybe it’s their first time on stage. They are pretty good in it, well done for where they are in the work. Is that the time to bring in Steven Spielberg? Is this actor that good? That actor might need to do 30 plays before they become “great”. By the way, “good” isn’t enough - not to compete and stand out in this town. When the time and talent is right, then yes, get Mr. Spielberg in to see you.
So, so, soooo many actors blow this. They do one play and try to get agents in to see them. They do great networking work and an agent is impressed with their personality and drive, so they come. The actor is “ok” in the show. Not a lot of experience but has potential. The agent sees that, and moves on. I’ve seen this happen so many times to wonderful actors that have great possibility.
So, for those following me, I have homework for you. Create your lists. Make a list of your “tribe”. That is those who are on your side, in your “community” and support you. These should be people you respect and respect you and can support you. Then make a second list of those industry contacts you have. It is possible that they can overlap, like an old college friend that is an agent in the business and supports you, or an industry mentor.
Make those lists, write them down, create a document. Make it specific, and actually do it. Include their emails and phone numbers. Count the people on the list, because as you go forward you will be in the business of expanding both of those lists. Don’t feel bad if your lists are small. It probably will be if you are new or new in town. It will make you feel good as you watch that list grow. Don’t do this in your head, write them down, create a database. Make both of these lists and next month
I’ll continue with Part Two – What you can be doing with them.
Till next time, enjoy the process, it can be fun.