Parents of a young aspiring actress. How can Parents help their actor kids?

My 10 yr old daughter is wanting to be an actress. We are starting out at the beginning right now–she is doing a 4wk course of theatre which teaches the basics. After that, we are somewhat lost as to what to do to keep her going to help her resume. Leads are very scarce in our area (Kansas),so that makes it a bit more difficult.
> We are hoping to be moving out to California or Arizona in 3 yrs, so that will help, but until then, what can we do as parents to help her? Thanks

ANSWER:

The first and most important thing that I see you are already doing is to
get her into some really good acting classes and keep her there. She
can never get too much experience. Ever! Keep her in classes…continuously.

Another thing is for you to stay close to her when engaging in contacts in the
industry. Now it’s pretty much a no-brainer, but even as she gets older, don’t
let her out of your site. There are a lot of people who will prey on kids like her
and tell her everything and anything to make a buck. Don’t buy it!
For example, some will tell you that they will represent her, but that you have to
pay for that service. That’s Bull! Agents get 10% of the take generally (in a few
cases maybe 15%) but AFTER she has actually done the job. First the audition,
then she would be hired, then she does the job, then the agent gets paid by the
customer and THEN she will be sent 90% of whatever the pay was for that particular
job and the agent will keep 10% for him-/herself. That’s the way it works.

There are three other things I would suggest you do:

1. Have a look at my latest video:
The Top 10 Reasons Why Most Aspiring Actors Never Make It!

2. Have a look at this page on my site. It’s dedicated to teens, but you will certainly find some helpful hints and practical things to do that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career such as:
How to get an agent
23 benefits of taking acting classes
17 Things you can do to start getting acting work
29 ways to promote yourself as an actor
How to choose a school
Audition tips
All about head shots
Industry resources
Also, you could read the pages about convincing your parents and tell me what you think! 🙂
The cost of an acting career
Thoughts on becoming famous (that you might want to have her read)
and more.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html

3. Invest $19.95 in a copy of my book: Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success. You can buy it on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.com or order it in your local book store. To see what it’s all about, have a look at this page.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_career_start.html

Just remember that it is a business you are getting your daughter into.
A store owner must make sure that her store is attractive and inviting, but first
and foremost it must have really good quality products. But then, the owner
must make sure that people come into the store and that people even know about it.
Otherwise it is all in vain.

Many aspiring actors don’t make it, because they don’t have the concept of business
in their minds. One of the things you must do in my opinion if you really want to help your daughter is “make sure her product (of being an actress) is top quality, because the competition is fierce. And then you must make sure that the right people see her work.

I did an interview with a Hollywood Acting Coach named Bernard Hiller who said,
“It’s not about who you know in the acting industry and it’s not about who knows you.
It’s really about who WANTS to know you!”
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting-career.html
Make sure that the right people want to know your daughter. You do that by starting from scratch of build a good, solid base of acting talent and skill, while you Mommy, bone up on your business skills. That will be a winning combination down the road!

Good luck to you and stay in touch with ActingCareerStartUp.com!

Tony

Question: Is NYFA (New York Film Academy) really a good acting school to go to?

I am very sorry to bother you but I feel lost. I am a 23 year old student from Vienna and I signed up for the one year NYFA acting for film program. Since I have very little experience I also signed up for a one week intensive in vienna. Now I start to panic asking myself if the NYFA was a good choice. It costs a load of money and EVERYBODY can get in. Since I cannot look around for acting schools myself I have to do it over the net and I keep finding tons of other acting schools which seem far better and less expensive. Even for the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York there doesn’t seem to be an audition required. I would just like to know how professionals react when they hear, that’s somebody’s been gaining experience at the nyfa. I know that I am starting my “career” late, but I feel that I am going to die if I don’t try right now, that’s why I want to have a good education in acting, and I doubt that the NYFA can provide it.
> Thank you so much in advance

ANSWER:

In the end what matters is what you can do, whether you are a good actress
or not. It is true, however, that training is important for what it does for your
acting capability, but also as it appears on your resume. One of the things
industry professionals look for is 1. that you have been training, 2. what kind
of training, and last but not least 3. where and with whom you have trained.
The better the reputation of the school, the more likely they are to want to
give you a chance.

I agree that if you are serious, nyfa isn’t probably at the top of the list, but if you have already committed and can’t get out of it, try and look at it from the positive side.
One thing I would recommend is for you to find people in your classes who are as
committed as you are. NYFA has a lot of young kids (not only), some of whom just think it’s cool to be going to school for acting, but they really aren’t committed. So find and latch on to the right people.

The same is true for the kids in the director’s school there. One great advantage of going to NYFA is that you will have a chance to do a lot of student film projects, which will give you experience and practice. That’s something that you wouldn’t have at some other schools.

The main thing is for you to find the right people and hold on to them.

It seems like you are really serious about starting your acting career and that’s good, because that seriousness you will definitely need to be successful. Only if you are really serious though, you might want to think of investing an additional $19.95 for my book: Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success. It will help guide you through moments like the one of indecision that you are having now.

Good luck!

Acting Headshots???((Retouching))?

I am taking a photoshoot next week. Im a beginner. The rate im paying is $125 for 1-hour session, 50 shots, and 1 image lightly retouched. I want to add other headshots. About how much more images out of the 50 shots should I Retouched. I need some advice please!

ANSWER

Headshots can be tricky if you are not guided in the right direction.

Two questions I have in my mind are:
1. Have you had any acting training at all yet?
2. How good is your head shot photographer?
3. What will you use the pictures for?

The reason I ask is, if you haven’t taken any acting classes yet, then it might be too early to think about head shots. Why? Because (and now moving into the next point) if your photographer isn’t good enough or professional enough or is only interested in making a buck, then you risk having pictures that are not very good, emotionless and that don’t bring out the best in you, because you don’t know how to “own” the camera.
The third point is, if you are truely a beginner and are going after a legit or commercial agent, what will you do if you get called in to meet them? Are you ready for that?

If you already have the pictures, which it seems that you do, have a look at this page on retouching. I interviewed a New York retouching specialist for my site for new and aspiring actors who talks about the retouching process and how much retouching is too much.
http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/photo_retouching.html

Also have a look at this page!! http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/headshots.html
This is a whole section on head shots, how to get the best ones, how to make sure that you get the right head shot photographer for you, the right questions to ask, how to evaluate which head shot photographer to use, and so on.

Good luck!

Tony

Question: Do you know of any interesting ways to get an acting agent?

ANSWER:

The first thing I started to do before I even thought about getting an agent was to start training. I realized that if I started contacting agents before I was ready, that once I got an interview and they asked me to do a monologue, that I had to be ready. I had to know how to act, at least a little.
I also started finding out what agents really look for in an actor and why agents are in business, what they would expect from me once they decided to sign me.
I also knew that it was important for me to understand what my type was, so that all my marketing efforts were funneled in the same direction.
Once I started to do those things, I then began to find out which agents cater to my type, which agents were actually looking for someone like me. I looked at the Ross Reports and another publication called New York Agencies and found everything I needed.
I learned how to write a good cover letter, learned how to put together my resume and how to get really professional looking headshots taken and then I started systematically mailing the agents I was interested in working with.
In this way I ended up getting three agents to work with me in a short period of time.

If you are one of the many young kids going directly from “I wanna be an actress.” to “How do I get an agent?”

STOP!

That’s not a winning strategy. Make sure that when you spend time and money to make all your materials, that someone will want to actually look at them!

Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has 23 links to different pages that have to do with aspects of starting an acting career, including how to get an agent, how to get really good head shots, how much your acting career will cost along with other things you might find helpful. www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html

To go directly to a page that gives you a 12 step method to getting an agent, click on this link below:

www.actingcareerstartup.com/get-a-talent-agent.html

Publish Post

Question: I am writing a book that I want to have made into a movie with myself as the start. How can I make it happen?

ANSWER:

I’m not sure where you start except that you will need to have a good, solid story line. You might need to take a workshop about the key elements of story telling. Stories have certain qualities and elements, that make them compelling and interesting to read or watch. If you don’t know what they are, you might want to figure that out.

Otherwise, I would say that you are on the right track by looking for information, but don’t underestimate the importance of knowing exactly where you want to take the entire project. Be VERY, VERY SPECIFIC AND DETAILED. The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely is that you will be able to make it happen.

Don’t be in such a hurry to rush off and get something done to achieve your goal without spending the necessary time, to do these things that I mentioned above FIRST.

Without a good story, your whole project crumbles.

Anyway, congratulations! This is a great idea. One of the reasons why many aspiring actors don’t make it is because the only way they know about to get acting work is “get a head shot, resume, write a cover letter and try to get an agent.” What they don’t realize is that there are many other ways to get acting work and get your self set up in the industry.

Your project is ambitious, but if you really and truly want it and go about in a smart way, you could very well achieve what you are looking to achieve. But you will have to work really, really hard.

Good luck!

Tony
www.actingcareerstartup.com

Question: What to expect in an open call with a talent agency?

There is an open call for a talent agency that is registered with SAG that I will be going to. Anyone know what they do when they call you in/ what should I expect while having this interview with them?

ANSWER:

You can also check with the Association Of Talent Agents to find out if the agency is registered with them.

At any rate, you will probably be in a room waiting with a lot of aspiring actors and people who really shouldn’t be there, but who have a dream and think that even without training they are qualified to get an agent.

As far as what to expect when you get your turn, it really depends on the agent and what they are looking for. They could very well ask you to do a monologue 1-2 minutes. You should have two or three monologues to choose from anyway when you walk in.

They might ask you to do commercial copy. You might want to practice that as well.

Haven’t heard of too many agents asking you to do a cold read, but you never know.

And then again, they just might want to talk to you to see what your personality is like and what your motivations are for wanting to become an actress. In that case, with their training they will look deep into your soul and try to figure out if in the long run, they can make any money off of you. In other words, they will be trying to determine whether or not if they send you to auditions, if they think you will have a good chance of booking something. If not, they will most likely not be interested in you.

So if you don’t have training, then just go for the experience, but don’t get your hopes up too high.

Don’t pay anything, no matter what they say!!!
Don’t go to any photographers they suggest!!!
Those are indications that they are trying to scam you.

In fact, decent agencies don’t usually have open calls. They have no need to do so. So I’m skeptical already.

Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I hear of so many kids who talk about that ONE open call or that ONE friend who said they would introduce them to that ONE agent or that ONE casting director and they put all their eggs in that basket and then just wait…and wait…and wait… and most often (99.999999%) of the time, nothing every happens after that.
That’s not a strategy.

A strategy first starts with your true and deep desire to pursue acting because it’s something that makes your heart smile and because you just can’t live without it.
Then, you first start trying to become the best actor you can possibly be. And THEN you start thinking about an agent.
Putting the cart before the horse, you are thinking short term and not long term.

Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has links to 23 different pages that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
Including much better ways to think of getting an agent rather than going to an open call!!! Ugh!

Anyway, good luck!

Tony

Question: What’s the best way to get discovered?

ANSWER:

The best way to get discovered is to POSITION yourself to get discovered.
Train. Train. Train.
See if you have the talent.
Develop your networking and business skills. (One of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make is underestimating their importance. It could have you end up with most aspiring actors that never, ever make it!)
Be determined, patient, persevering, inquisitive, PASSIONATE.
Make sure you create a circle of friends who can help you, encourage you, give you tips, mentor you, help you along, whom you can model after.
Don’t believe the hype, that all you need is a good look and your natural, God-given talent and that taking acting classes isn’t so important. Get someone to tell you those things who is qualified, like your acting teacher for example.

First thing?

Take some classes and start training.
If you worry too much about getting discovered, it’ll probably never happen.

Remember, it’s not about who you know.
It’s not about who knows you.
It’s all about who WANTS to know you.

Make sure you do something that is so different and so unique that you make people WANT TO KNOW YOU.
Otherwise, you’ll be just one of the crowd.

Have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has lots of links to pages that have to do with different aspects of starting an acting career. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html .
It might also help you to figure out how to make this happen with what you called your “crazy life.”

Good luck!

Tony

Question: Stage fright!!!!!!!!!!!? Okay, so I made a speech compition, like the top 2. Now, I have to speak…

…in front of all the grade 7 and 8 students, and all the teachers too!!!!! I am in grade 8, I am shy, but somehow, I was not so shy in my first speech presentation. What should I do?? ALSO, I AM NOT POPULAR, AND EVERYONE HATES ME.

ANSWER:

First of all, read over your message to us and see if you can find the things in it that are only pulling you down further.

Did you find them? They’re there.

First your title:

“Stage fright!!!!!!!!!!!?”: Now does that sound desperate or what?!!!

1. “I have to speak in front of all the grad 7 and 8 students and all the teachers too!!!!!!” : Sounds like you are really scared.Plus you used the words “have to”. Do you have to? Who is making you do it?

2. “I am shy…”: This is talk that isn’t helping you at all if you have to speak in front of a lot of people.

3. “What should I do??: 2 question marks for me is starting to sound desperate.

4. “I AM NOT POPULAR…”: A negative phrase in all caps is a double whammie.

5. “EVERYONE HATES ME.”: Another double (negative) whammie.

All that is talk that isn’t helping you at all, so stop telling yourself those things and thinking about them! It’s not helping you at all. Think positive things!

Now let’s look at the positive things, the things that you said and that some part of you at least must believe or feel that can help you.

A. “I made a speech competition, like the top 2.”: That’s great news! Be happy, pleased and proud!

B. “I have to speak in front of all the grad 7 and 8 students and all the teachers too!”: Notice how I took out all the exclamation pointw. To me, the way I wrote it means excitement!

C. “I was not so shy in my first speech presentation.”: You see, you even said it yourself that it is possible. Try and remember how you felt and what made you feel so comfortable. Re-create that feeling of confidence. If you did it once, you can do it again!

D. Instead of “What should I do??”, how about “Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help me relax?”.: It’s more cool, calm and collected, which is what you will be if you prepare well.

Stay away from the negative things and stick with positive things. If you want still another explaination, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It has to do with how to get over stage fright: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/how_to_get_over_stage_fright.html

One last thing. Be prepared. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you practice, the more you will feel comfortable when you are in front of the group. That feeling that no one know this speech better than you, will give you a lot of confidence.

Good luck!

You will be great!

Question: I need an actor’s agent anywhere in the uk. I have been in hundreds of theatre productions but i need an agent?

My experience tells me that if you are here asking us this question, then even if you get the names of different agents, you will still have a difficult time getting one to sign you.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but rather to give you an important message that you won’t forget and that will hopefully help you.

You see, it’s all about your approach and even that is no guarantee that you will be successful.

How long have you been looking for an agent?
Why haven’t you found one so far?
Aside from the productions you have been in, have you been training as an actor?
Do you know what agents look for in an actor?
Do you have all your materials together and are you prepared for an agent interview?
What’s your type?
What roles do you think you would be best suited for?
What kind of acting career would you like to have?
What kind of people do you hang around? My guess is that they are not all the right kind of people who are already doing what you want to do or you wouldn’t be asking this question.

On my site for new and aspiring actors, I have an actor quiz. One of the questions is, “How long have you been acting?” Another question is, “Do you have an agent?” More often than you might think, there are people who fill out the entire quiz and who have been into acting for more than 5 years and who still don’t have an agent. The question I have is, “Why not?” After a few weeks or a few months, the answer, “I don’t know how to get one.” is acceptable, but not after five years! Not after 6 months even!
If a person doesn’t have the approach that if they don’t know something they have to figure it out, then they will never be much of a success, not only in acting, but in anything else they choose to do in life.

Change your approach. Change your way of thinking and I’m willing to bet that you will start to see positive results in your acting career as well.

Have a look at this page on my site. It talks about different aspects of an acting career including how to get an agent. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/teen_acting.html
Even if you are not a teen, read some of the titles you find interesting anyway.

One last thing. You said you need an agent anywhere in the UK. Are you sure? What if you live in Manchester and your agent is in London and most of the auditions they call you for are in London? Are you really going to want to be trekking down there frequently for auditions? That will cost you time and money. Do you really want to do that?

Good luck!

Tony

Question: Stage Fright! Please Help! I have an acting performance in a couple of days in front of 300 people.

ANSWER:

Not too long ago I conducted a seminar for 300 people. The person who organized it asked me to do the seminar for the entire second day of the three day event. It is true that I do that regularly, but this guy was so worried about the three day event going well, that he really tried (probably not intentionally) to put me under some serious pressure. He told me that there were big expectations for my day, that the speakers and seminar leaders in the past were all very good, that some of the people in the group were very tough critics. He even called me the day before and asked me if I was ready and that the guy before me was doing a great job.

I thought to myself that if I were insecure, I would be worried, but I wasn’t! I thought to myself that this is MY seminar and I know this better than anyone else. No one knows this material as well as I do. I also had done it before and knew what to expect. I TOLD MYSELF THAT I WOULD BE FANTASTIC! And guess what? They loved it. Fortunately I had the whole thing taped and I’m having a promo video made up.

So how does this relate to your situation? Maybe you haven’t done this before, but just like I was, you have to BE PREPARED! Practice over and over and over again and know your lines, know your character, know everything about her, know the lines inside out, backwards and forwards and upside down, know why she is saying them. BE your character and remember when you’re on that stage that it’s not about you!!! It’s about your scene partner. Put your attention on him/her. Really listen to what they say and then respond with your lines in a natural way. Sounds easy, but tell yourself positive things before you go on stage.
Be ready and you will feel better.
For a more, somewhat technical explanation, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. It talks about how to overcome stage fright.

Good luck! You will be fantastic!!!

Tony