Monday, June 8, 2009
How to be a successful actor-Actor research
How to be a successful actor-Actor research
It’s important as an actor to take our job as serious as any profession. We need to know all aspect of the job so that we know what type of working environment we are getting involved in. A lot of times actors get so caught up in our “Craft” that we fail to look at being an actor as an actual job. Yes we love it and it is fun but when it all comes down to it acting pays the bills. We must research and educate ourselves so that we can fully be aware of this industry. The entertainment field is not easy it’s tough. You have to know who to network with and how to do it. With that in mind I did some research just like I would do with any job so that I could get more information on how to be a successful actor.
The career I am researching is an actor and director. It was interesting researching what aspects are needed for a career as an actor. Most people think of acting as not being a legitimate profession. According to the US Department of labor, Acting is not the most stable career to choose. Some key points were that actors tend to endure long periods of unemployment, intense competition for roles, and frequent rejections in auditions. This is very true being an actor. This can make the earnings in this profession very erratic and most actors have to have a second job to support them. After you become a working actor the earning potential is extraordinarily high and is worth the wait. Acting sometimes can be a coin toss if you do not have a plan of action. You cannot expect to just go out in the field a think you will be a star having a plan is key to becoming a successful actor.
Ninety percent of auditioning is rejection. If you cannot handle rejection and you don’t have tough skin then get out of the business because the acting world is harsh. Casting directors have no problem telling you if you can not act. They also have no problem telling you if you need to lose weight or that there are something wrong with your mage. Hearing these comments can really mess with you mentally so you have to prepare yourself for it. The best way to prepare for rejection is to expect it. Know that these things are going to happen so that when they occur you can deal with them correctly. The thing that helps me out when I am being told something critical about my appearance is to critique the casting directors. NOT ALOUD of course but in my head but in some funny way it always makes me feel better. Just go into your audition and do the best you can and don’t think about getting the part. I feel a lot better even when I don’t get a part when I know I still did my best. Acting is about networking and although you may not get that specific part you never know what may come about in the future. Always be on you’re a game. I will admit it’s tough when you know you did awesome and you do get the part but preparing yourself for rejection eases the blow. Just think about it this way if you prepare for rejection when you get the part you’ll be so ecstatic! This is not to say don’t be confident. I am a firm believer in you can achieve what your mind can conceive but still be mindful that acting is ninety percent rejection and you are on your way to becoming an actor in Los Angeles.
Most actors begin their training at a university or acting conservatory. I attended a two-year acting conservatory. I also minored in Theatre and trained at Playhouse West theatre in North Hollywood. Although anyone can learn the craft it is hard work and not everyone has the talent to take them to the next level.
Knowing the business
The culture of this work environment is networking. If you don’t network you will never be a successful actor in LA. It is all about whom you know and how they can help you in the entertainment industry. Some ideas I have is to arrange informational interviews by attending events. The best way to talk to people is to go to major events that are full with people that you can connect with. You are most likely in a laid back environment which opens the door for you to talk to that person. After they are comfortable you can begin to talk about your career. Another way to get information is to go to seminars and talk to people who are working actors. You can ask them how they got started and what your particular steps should be. Attending plays and industry night in Hollywood are beneficial as well. You can talk to professionals in the field one on one and create connections that can lead to you being invited to more exclusive events. It is all about creating business relationships and networking is how this is done.
The professional organizations that are important in our career field are the Screen Actors Guild, the Associated Actors and Artistes of America and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Becoming a member of one of these unions allows me as an actor to use the resources that are available in other careers. This includes healthcare, medical, dental, and credit unions. Getting into the union is not easy because you cannot just sign up. Most actors have to get a job that has a union contract and then are able to apply for the union. The most common way to get into the union is to get vouchers. This can be done by doing extra work. An actor has to get three vouchers and then is able along with other requirements to apply to be a member of the union (Please see my how to join SAG post for details). These organizations were formed to stop the exploitation of actors when they work. The Screen Actors Guild’s mission statement explains what the union enforces. SAG's Mission Statement, the Guild seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members
Take a look at the SAG's Mission Statement, the Guild seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members to choose a career you love. Being an actor can be unstable but if you have a clear plan you can do very well in this field. Hopefully this information was helpful and you will use it to shape your career path and learn how to become a successful actor in LA.