A Sign of an Acting Scam

One of the biggest acting scams in the industry are those unsavory bandits who try to sell actors on the losing proposition of finding their “niche” or “type.” It’s like attempting to steal your personality and sell you back a second-rate version of yourself. The pursuit of niche/type is the occupation of the Sunday driver actor, as it revolves around trying to find what pre-prescribed stale box(es) you could neatly package yourself into—all for the purpose of pleasing! It’s herd mentality crap, and it’s sold to the stampede of actors who believe there’s one pre-prescribed path to industry success.

The higher art form is to do what's taught at Harvard Business School and distill your "singularity," or "value proposition"—it's your wow factor and the DNA of your branding! It's the unique combination of attitudes and behaviors that make you an original and set you apart from the herd. It's showing the industry what they never saw before and desperately must have because no one else can do it. I help actors discover their unique singularity, and help them use it to launch their careers, on their own terms.

This article was originally posted on Backstage

Why You Must Always Be at Your Olympic Best

The brutally competitive L.A. and NYC film and TV markets represent the Olympic level of the game for actors. It’s a very small industry, in that actors who audition for major film and TV roles end up meeting most of the top casting directors in any given year. If you’re not at your Olympic best—in shape and on your A game like an elite athlete—then you run the very real risk of closing more doors than you open in this industry. This is the equivalent of waking up one morning and deciding you love the tuba more than life itself, and after taking lessons for six months, decide it’s time to get on stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall to audition for the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic.

In my work with actors, I help them reach their Olympic best every session, so they’re ready to go into the audition room, mark their territory, and either book the role or the room!

A New Year’s Resolution for the Successful Actor

Actors need to get that anything capable of being accomplished can be done, including launching a successful acting career. Stop undermining yourselves by dreaming up obstacles to your success: memorizing lines, not having a reel, no representation, no major credits, etc... are all bullshit excuses for delaying your career a day longer. Our actors get that nine-tenths of the performance is the personality of the actor. If you can truly fathom that 90 percent of the heavy lifting is already accomplished, then you’re going to have the best year ever.

This article was originally posted on Backstage

The Harshest Truth All Actors Will Face Throughout Their Careers

The hardest lesson an actor will learn throughout his/her career is that success will never be handed to them, or magically fall into their lap. And, having representation is never a magic pill, as 99 percent of agents and managers will not pitch their clients over the phone. They will send an online submission. This is the equivalent of pulling the lever of a slot machine, as the submission disappears into an abyss of thousands of other clicked-on online entries.

No industry professional (agent, manager, casting director, director, producer, etc.) will bestow a career upon you. You must actively, aggressively, and strategically create your own opportunities (writing, directing, producing, singing, comedy, etc.) to create a platform for yourself to be taken seriously. Career success is consistent with the amount of focused work you put in and with your ability to build and maintain relationships with other industry professionals.

In my career coaching program, I help actors get noticed faster and launch their careers—on their own terms—by forging game-changing relationships with major directors, writers, and producers. 

This article was originally posted on Backstage

Can You Start an Acting Career Later in Life?

My belief is yes, you can absolutely start an acting career after 40+. I help clients who are much older launch their careers; it’s all about creating your own content these days and not waiting for permission to market yourself. Last year, my clients over 40 were booking as many roles as the younger actors at my studio.

I find that in many cases, older actors have certain advantages when it comes to starting a career over 40. The most obvious advantage that they possess is that they’re more settled and have the wisdom of life experience to bring to the table. They’ve loved, they’ve lost, they’ve raised kids or are currently doing so, and they’ve made major financial commitments, all while experiencing deep levels of joy and disappointments. They’ve fought battles and won, and fought battles and lost. I’m in no way asserting that younger actors have not had many of these experiences, it’s just that older actors have had more: It’s a simple fact of life. They are able to bring a more multi-colored richness to the table. They often have better inter-personal skills which can be invaluable on set, developed from years of nurturing families or working in offices. 

One could argue there’s also a smaller pool of competition in the over-40 age group. It’s common knowledge that not all the hot young things that move out here stay in the business. The over-40 group of actors is inherently smaller because the business is so tough. Many younger actors end up pushing “the dream” to the back burner in the name of starting a family or going off to pursue goals that seem more accessible, like law school, nursing school, or starting a business. That said, the competition is tough in the over-40 pool. The actors that have stuck with the business have nice credits and formidable acting chops. They’ve been acting their asses off for decades and have sunk their hearts into the business, making them truly daunting opponents. 

With actors of all ages, it’s important to define “career” as new media has changed the game. Older actors who are new to the game have to be feverishly proactive, not just in study and in developing the craft, but in creating a strong web presence and making memorable content. 

Age, or feeling too young or too old, should never be a deterrent in preventing you from doing what you want to do in any arena of your personal and professional life. It might be more or less of an obstacle given what you want to do, but it should never pose a blockade.

This Article was originally posted on Backstage

Why Extra Work Won’t Jumpstart Your Career

Building and maintaining relationships with producers, directors, writers, and casting directors is the surefire way to carve a path for your career. While working as an extra may give you a sense of working on-set, it is not your “in” to a career. The concept of “getting noticed” is a recipe for disaster, as it’s so passive—it’s putting your success in the hands of a “notice-er.” While we might each know a few stories of extras who became recurring characters on sitcoms, or who ended up delivering lines in major motion pictures, they are by far the minority.

Doing extra work in the hopes of someone noticing your look or your abilities is the opposite of hard work and sharing your talent. You get noticed when you create your own work or add something of value to the equation. Getting noticed is proportionate to the amount of work you put into it.

Back in the day, extra work could be a good path to getting SAG vouchers—nowadays it’s way more effective to create a Web series, or some form of original content. I’m not devaluing extra work; it can be valuable in showing new actors the inner-workings of a professional movie set. However, there’s a dangerous element to it as well. It can be too comfortable and too safe for the developing actor. You don’t want to grow too accustomed to being an extra, and unfortunately far too many actors do.

This article was originally posted on Backstage