I always loved the image of the plucky mid-westerner stepping off the bus in NY/Hollywood with nothing more than talent and a dream to make it “big” in show business.
And with perseverance, hard work and of course, talent, success was always right around the corner. That ideal hasn’t diminished as much as it has evolved.
I was watching an interview between a casting director and a fellow manager discussing and advising actors on best tactics for moving forward in this current climate. The basic consensus is that no one can care until you give them something to care about. So there in lies the dilemma of being a struggling actor, how to get someone to care? I mean it's nice that your acting coach likes you and that your friends and co-workers think you were good in that play. But how do you take the next step and get an agent, manager, CD, producer to take notice?
Back in the day (I am showing my age here) I would recommend actors get out and join theatre groups and or appear in plays, simply get out and be where they can be seen. I still agree with this, I think the theatre is a wonderful vehicle and a great base from which all actors should grow. However, in those days, casting directors and reps would troll the theatre looking for new developmental talent…not so much anymore. The word these days is New Media.
Networks, Studios, CDs, for good or bad, are all looking online for talent. The blessing and curse of new media is volume. The curse: there is so much out there, it is important to make yours stand out. The blessing: there is an unlimited amount of eyes seeking new content, so it's important to make yours stand out. The ideal is to create/collaborate on material that plays to your strengths. This helps whether your video goes viral or if you are putting together a compilation of scenes for your reel.
The beauty of new media is you have more control over your branding and it is in your hands how you highlight your talent. Just make it good.