Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

Follow an actress's journey beyond Hollywood. The life after a successful 10 year career...

Saturday, April 09, 2016

ACTOR: Your Hobby or Profession?

Acting is fun. 
And for the most part, those who have been bitten by the acting bug will find a way to ACT.  Whether its in their school's play production, community theatre, independent films, or their own youtube channels. 
I have seen a ton of talent in my life.  Both at the small town level, and on Hollywood sets.  And I often wonder about the actor onstage in the local community theatre and wonder what their plans and dreams are... 
When I started as an actor, I absolutely loved it.  I couldn't get enough of it, actually.  I would audition for plays back to back, participate in student films whenever I could, and dreamt about the day when I could actually do it for a living.  That was my goal.  To make a living doing what I loved to do - so that "work" wouldn't feel like "work".
And so I busted my ass to make it happen.  I was focused on a goal and made sure I achieved it.
I'm pretty proud of myself..

But I realized that not everyone who loves to act wants to do it for a living.

Opening my agency last year, I have been scouting talent everywhere.  What I'm finding is that there are many kinds of actors.  One is a wannabe star, who wants to give this acting thing a try with very little effort, or training, or preparation.  They submit to the agency with a selfie with the hopes of "being discovered" - and gawks at the notion of being expected to drive themselves to an audition 4 hours away, or pay money for professional pictures or acting classes.  The wannabe star won't bother with community theatre because that is just "to much work and time - for free".

The other is amazingly talented, experienced, and passionate, but just not business minded, or driven to make this a "profession".  They have a real gift, but no desire to pursue it professionally.  So you see them as the lead onstage in community theatre or local films, but that's where it stops for them.

And occasionally I find actors who know the business side, have done the research, invest in headshots and acting classes, drop everything to head to an audition, but maybe lack the natural God-given talent that some others may have.  But boy, do they wish they did!

And if I'm really lucky, I may find an actor who is driven, professional, and talented.  The trifecta!
But unfortunately, those actors aren't not nearly as many as I would love to find.

The deal is - if you want to do this professionally, you have to put in the effort.

Do your research.  As a professional actor, it is now your job to find out who is casting what, and how you can meet them or let them know you exist.  You are the CEO of your own company, so you need to know how to successfully MARKET yourself.

This career is an investment.  It's NOT about being "discovered".  It's about putting in the hard work, money, and effort into your future success.

So.....Yes, you should enroll in acting classes somewhere.
Yes, you should invest in a professional headshot if you want someone to take you seriously as an actor. 
Yes, you should make sure you have a reliable car to take you to and from auditions.
Yes, you should save enough money to be able to pay for gas if you have to go out of town for an audition.

It's all the cost of doing business.  And yes, it is expensive.  And who knows when you will see a return on your investment...  But that's the risk you take - if you really want it.

And I guess that's what frustrates me most as an agent - is seeing actors who don't want to invest in their careers, but just want it handed to them.

It doesn't work that way.

Luck.  You hear that word a lot in this business - and for some it has been true.  They have been "lucky" that someone discovered them walking down a street, or in a local coffee shop.  But for most, you create your own luck through your hard work and efforts.
That saying goes, "it takes 10 years for an overnight success"....meaning the harder you work, the "luckier" you get.

So please,  do not submit to an agent if you're not ready or willing to put in the work. 

It's not an easy business to get in to, and you don't want to waste both yours and an agent's time if you aren't willing to pay your dues.

Figure out what kind of actor you are - and that will help you choose the path to take. 

It could end up your hobby, or profession.

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