how to get started?

 

      New people starting a career in acting should put all their energy into getting an agent. However, do make sure you are ready to approach an agent. If you have had drama in school, acting workshops, or a drama coach leading you to the point where you feel you are ready, then proceed. What is important is that you feel you know how to act. A good acting book to read is "Acting Without Agony, An Alternative to the Method" by Don Richardson. Everybody in this business wants experience from their actors and agents are no different. You may have the talent, but a bad presentation of your talent can ruin you with any agent. Learn the skills of acting.

      What does "all your energy" mean? Do not waste your time with parties, galas, or "I know somebody who knows a brother of a producer". I'm not saying knowing a lot of different people in the industry is bad, just don't get caught up in B.S. You can 'network', but just put most of your time and money into finding an agent who will send you out as a non-union actor or even better as an actor with a SAG card. They have 90 days to get you work, if not, you can legally find another agent.

      All you need: It helps to live in the Los Angeles vicinity. As an actor, you have to be available when your agent calls you to be at an audition the next day at 11:20 am, 2:15 pm or whenever. If you have to work, your day job has to be flexible enough for those odd times for auditions during the day. An audition could also mean up to 1 or 2 hours of driving and waiting in the casting directors reception area. There are a few times when your agent will call you that day to be at an audition in a couple of hours.

       Valuable advice given by my teacher Don Richardson. "If you want to be an actor do not forget the survival part". In other words, don't quit your job to become an actor.

      Photo: You need only an 8 X 10 black and white glossy head shot. Your head shot should be exactly that, a frontal head pose and looking straight into the camera with a nice smile. The photo must look like you. Nothing should take away from your face. Items like big ear rings, big hair, or an over bearing shirt or blouse are no, no's. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a portfolio of different colored photographs of yourself. The 8" X 10"  black and white photo-resume is all you need. It is your business card in the acting world. The head shot of you is used by agents and casting directors to keep track of who's who in face and name.

      Resume: The resume page will be of the same size as your photo (8' X 10"). It will be stapled to the back of your photo. It is best to staple it once at  top center and once at bottom center. If you have done anything, do list it on the resume. List your credits under Film, T.V., and Theater. However, do not list your Commercials individually, just put "upon request".  Under Education have acting schools, acting workshops, drama coach's, etc. And the last item is Special Skills; dancing, singing, accents, etc.

      Agents: You are allowed one or two agents. You can have one agent who does theatrical and commercial for you. Or you can have one agent for theatrical and another agent for commercial. You can't have two or more theatrical agents or two or more commercial agents at one time. There are a number of booklets on agency listings. The one I have found to be good is "The Agencies: What the Actor Needs to Know". It is stapled pages updated every month. You can find it at Samuel French Bookstores and Larry Edmonds Bookstores. If an agent isn't listed in the booklet, they may not be a licensed agent in California. So, forget them. When you do find somebody and they want to sign you as a client, only sign the standard "SAG Contract for Agents." It can be for one or more years and the agent can only collect 10% of your gross earnings. No up front money is to be given to any agent.

      "How do we do this?" In this business the two biggest things to start your career will be "to be persistent" and "learn how to reject rejection".