Monday, 15 September 2014

Proactive Actors: 5 Things To Do Right Now To Take Control Of Your Career



In this industry, there are so many things that are completely out of our hands. We can stay up until 2 in the morning to practice lines, perfect our CW curls, get that one single tear half way down our cheek at the exact right moment and make an entire casting office laugh at our sitcom audition...and still not get the job. Because...well, who knows! I once heard of a woman who was second choice for a part, and didn't get it because - get this - she reminded the producer of his ex wife. Yeah, for real.

So while the fact that, often times, despite how hard we work, our fate is ultimately left in the hands of the acting Gods and LA execs...there are still things we can do to make sure we maintain as much control over our careers as possible! Get ready...they all have to do with being productive, and not lazy, and...ugh...reading. But give them a try - it can only help!

1. KNOW YOUR LOCAL INDUSTRY

Seriously guys! If nothing else, at least know what's going on in your city. Get to know the shows that our filming in town, who is casting what and then watch those shows and learn their general moods. For example, don't walk into a Package Deal audition and do your scene as if it were for The Killing (if you don't know what I'm talking about here...stop everything and go watch an episode of each!).
In Vancouver, we're lucky enough to have a supportive community and people out there giving us the resources to make this easy! Check out Jeb Beach's brilliant production list that literally lays it all out for you...you don't even have to try that hard for this one!

2. SELF SUBMIT

If you're feeling like you're in a rut, and getting drunk on week days and complaining about how "your agent just isn't sending you out at all" (which is probably not really true...), then it's time to take matters into your own hand. Get online and take a look at all of the student and independent productions happening right in your back yard, send in a head shot and resume, and at least get your audition work out for the week! Take a look on Vancouver Actor's Guide Audition List or sign up for the VPL Audition Email List (for you theatre folks out there). You never know, you may find yourself starring in a feature film with a fabulous director...ahem*SpacesAndReservations*ahem

3. TAKE A CLASS

There are countless acting schools and independent coaches here in Vancouver! Everybody has their favourites, and some teachers work better for some then others. But they are out there, and you don't always have to spend a fortune! And if you don't even have a small fortune to put together for inexpensive classes, then get together with friends, pick a play off your book shelf (if you don't have plays on your book shelf...get some) and read it together in a park. Or work some scenes together. Just get your actor exercise in some way; it'll keep you fresh, and on top of your game and inspire you again when you need that little push!

4. GO TO THE MOVIES

See? They're not all boring! Take yourself on a movie date - head to the theatre, pick something that interests you or has an actor who's work excites you. Rent that movie that everyone has told you to watch for the acting, and check it off your list. See what independent projects are being shown in town and go support locally produced work! Or - better yet - get out and watch some really great theatre! There is always something playing, and there are some very talented people making beautiful theatre right now. Check out the Vancouver Fringe Festival - tons of fun and exciting plays happening September 4th - 14th. No excuses!

5. START A JOURNAL

This has proven to be a fantastic tool for me -especially when I'm in a rut and things are quiet. It allows me to reflect on my day, prepare for future work and remind myself that I am accomplishing something in the in-between moments. If you stay on top of your career with this list, then you deserve some credit. Your agent isn't going to call you and thank you for going out and seeing Scarlett Johansson kick ass in her latest film. You need to give yourself your own pat on the back...give yourself a gold star and inspire yourself to keep going. This is your career and you're doing it for you.

Alright actors, you have your syllabus for this semester. I know you are all going to go out and be the best you can be, and I can't wait to see you in your new short film at VFS, or in the audience at the Fringe Fest, or sitting in a Starbucks reflexively writing in your journal, or in your living room watching Arrow. You know, scratch the last one...I won't be spying in your living room. If you invite me over then I guess I will - in which case, please have some chocolate ready for me.

Ok actors, ready? Set...GO!