Meeting with a Casting Director and Acting Coach for the First Time

“How’d it go?!”

I am so fortunate to have friends, family, Tweeps, fans, strangers, etc. that want an answer. Let me provide some context to the end question… “You met with a casting agent and acting coach… How’d it go?!”

No, I don’t have representation. And yet, it was a great experience. Here goes…

I learned a number of things in support of and in opposition to the ‘industry’ as it stands today. What does this mean exactly? I’m very happy with the path I’m taking. It works for me and may work for others. Everyone’s path is incredibly unique in this industry.

I’m bucking the system and I know it. I’m not playing by the traditional rules and I’m ♫having a good time.♫ How? I’m staying web focused. This isn’t a surprise to anyone that knows me. Hello web series creators. I want to work with you!

How’s about a review of things I didn’t know, knew and other thoughts.

New (to me) and entrenched things in the market place that will likely be around for a long time:

  • An actor cover letter should be one paragraph with 4-6 sentences – ish. If you know someone that knows the person to whom you’re writing note that. If you’re in or have been cast in something say that. Sell, sell, sell (yourself)!
  • The “meet and greet” – talking to people at events – about what you’re doing aka networking isn’t going anywhere.
  • It’s who you know and who you’ve worked with on set, stage, class, etc. I will talk about the class Vs. set/stage items near the end of this blog. It’s all about community. =D
  • Schools, casting directors, agents, unions, production companies, name it – they all do amazing things for the industry and the people within, also not going anywhere.
  • A résumé is just like your headshot. It should represent you and more. More? Yep, it should have that dash of something ‘Ohh!’ so the person looking at your résumé will say “Huh.”

Here are a few things I knew but were re-enforced:

  • I need a headshot multiple headshots. This is a no-brainer. The number suggested was 3-5. Yep, 5 different versions of me are needed. Cool, happy, stressed, relaxed, etc. The etc. look is hard to pull off. /sarcasm
  • It is absolutely necessary to talk to and get to know a photographer before paying a penny. Also, headshots should not be insanely expensive. $500 is more than enough. If they want to schedule you before or after someone… Go somewhere else. Don’t allow them to rush your shoot.
  • I need a second, shorter, reel. And, as my available footage grows, variations of the reel. For example: comedy, drama, commercial, etc.
  • If you have a unique skillet USE IT in every way possible. I happen to love the web and know a great deal about it. Use what you know to meet people and get work. You don’t need someone to get work. I was almost offered an opportunity to teach a class on technology and how it applies to performers. Compensation? A free class. Promote and use yours skills every and any way you can. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it happens.
  • Unions… Stay away until you’re ready. How do you know you’re ready? You’ll have the money to join and you’re ready. Yep, I know I didn’t explain ‘ready’ and I won’t/can’t.

Other topics – not discussed during the meetings:

  • Money is generally not in the independent world BUT you can meet people, get experience, and credits. Get rid of the catch 22 issue of not having work on your résumé this way.
  • There is no absolute right way of doing things. Everyone’s opinion is subjective. Remember this! Mine included. On the other side of the coin, when you have 10 everyone’s telling you the same thing. “Quack. x 10” It’s probably a duck.
  • The Internet IS your FRIEND. Please don’t let the opportunity slip you by to stand out from the pack. The marketplace has hundreds thousands of creators looking for other creators. It doesn’t matter if you’re on opposite coasts. There are ways to work together.

There are so many things I could add to this last section but will stop with the Interwebs.

Back to another topic:

It’s who you know and who you’ve worked with on set, stage, class, etc. I will talk about the class Vs. set/stage items near the end of this blog.

In every part of life this comes up. Of course! Would you prefer to hang out with a friend or some stranger you just met? Odds are the friend gets the nod. Human beings are all about community. We like it so much that we’ve built digital versions.

What does this mean to you? It’s situational. This is my take… I want to meet people, gain experience, and create. I believe it is important to note that money is not one of my top 3 interests.

I need to wrap this up, the blog has gotten long.

Classes are important. Absolutely. If you don’t have the needed skill set when you get on stage or set you’ve possibly shot yourself in the foot. In my humble opinion classes are good to go back to when you want a break from working. Do we see people in the business world taking classes as often as actors? I wager the answer is “No.”

Do you have the money to take a class every semester/term? If it isn’t helping you to get work is it worth it? Ask yourself these questions and more. Classes cost money. Working on set/stage might pay you money. Option number 2 for me please.

Find work. Meet people. Create your own work. Use your skill sets to show the world what you can do. In a class you will meet people, and possibly your next best friend ;-), but a stage/set will put you in the fire, build confidence, and maybe even get you another job.

I say all of this because classes were pushed a number of times during one of my discussions. Take all of my opinions with the fact that I am not an expert in the industry. But the industry is changing. Watch where you step and ask questions. =p

Take your goals and dreams and make them a reality. Don’t wait for someone else to say your goal or dream is achievable. If someone isn’t helping you, what are they doing?

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