Question: I’m on a budget and need to get good headshots. Where can I get them?

Answer

If you are at the beginning of your career which it seems like you are, you might find that getting pictures taken at this moment, is not the best thing to do. If you don’t have a good photographer and you couple that with no acting experience, your pictures could very well turn out to be not very good, expressionless and blank.

First thing I would recommend is for you to start getting some training as an actress. Get into a good acting school or get a good teacher and stay there!

Secondly, have a look at this page on my site for new and aspiring actors. You will find a lot of information about head shots, how to find a photographer, questions to ask and how to get really good shots.

And lastly, just remember that you get what you pay for. If you want head shots for free, don’t expect a lot.

Good luck!

Tony

Question: I have 3 agents, but I’m not getting much work. What should I do?

I really love my agent and don’t want to leave him.

Answer:

My suggestion is that before you drop your agents, to try and figure out why you are not getting much work?
Learn how to analyze your BUSINESS, because that’s what it is.

Loving your agent is not a reason to stay with her/him.

Have you had a discussion with your agent?
If you have, did you learn EVERYTHING you need to learn about why you are not getting work?
What does your acting teacher tell you about your acting ability and about your readiness to audition? Especially if you are not working a lot, what ELSE are you doing while you are waiting for agents to call you for auditions? There are so many other things that you can do!
What ways are you using to promote yourself and get your work seen?
When’s the last time you were in a showcase?
Did a targeted mailing?
Submitted yourself online?
Tried to get some experience in community theatre, just to keep your skills sharp?
Taken classes?
How would you evaluate your auditioning skills?
Your cold reading skills?
Your monologues? How are they?
How are you with the camera?
How do you keep track of your auditions and what information do you keep track of? How often do you analyze it? What conclusions have you drawn recently from your auditions?
Which ones do you do the best at? What kind of auditions were they?
Which ones did you do the worst at? Why? What was the situation? What kind of audition was it?

Especially now at the beginning of your career, you really need to become analytical so that you can figure things out for yourself.

I have a whole lot more information about how I analyzed my work in the beginning and still do.

Good luck!

Tony

Question: I am so blessed that I have found such an informative site like yours, but I have some questions about where to start.

I do have specific questions such as upon chosing an
acting class gaining experience how do I create a resume. Also I am
considering getting headshots done but should I get headshots before I
get experience? After gaining experience and headshots, and creating a
resume what specifically should I do?

ANSWER:

Your question has confirmed an idea I have had for some time now about
helping people to know exactly where to start and how to make that clearer
for them.

Here you go. I will give you a series of pages to go visit that should help
you get started.

1. Go to this page on a squidoo lens and read:
The Top 10 Reasons Why Most Aspiring Actors Never Make It!
www.squidoo.com/start-an-acting-career/

2. www.actingcareerstartup.com/an_acting_career.html This page has 7 steps
to get started including 23 benefits of taking acting classes.

3. www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_classes.html – on how to choose an acting school.

4. About a resume: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/professional-actor-resume.html .
There you’ll find 10 things you need to know that will help you create a resume.

5. How to write a cover letter: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_cover_letter.html

6. With regard to headshots, part of your answer you will already have if you read
the squidoo lens article about The Top 10 Reasons… . For the rest of the answer,
I’d like to you go read an interview I did with a Hollywood Acting Coach. See what
he says about headshots. You’ll find it about half way down this page link:
http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting-career.html

7. Here you will find everything you need to know about how to make sure you get the headshots
you want, choosing a photographer, etc. www.actingcareerstartup.com/headshots.html

8. What to do after you have some experience and have headshots?
www.actingcareerstartup.com/get-a-talent-agent.html

Ashley, that should get you well on your way to your dream of becoming an actress.

By the way, when I talk about studying the industry, I mean researching some of the links
you will find on this page:
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_industry_information.html

If you sit down and go through this ‘mini course’ that I have outlined for you, I’m sure you
will make progress. You must be diligent though.

Question: How can I become an actress in the U.S.A.?

ANSWER:

1. you English must be very good. Not necessarily without accent, but almost.
If you still have a strong accent, you will have to work on accent reduction while
you are in the states.

2. You will need your parents to be involved as you will need to have someone
to stay with in the States while you are studying.

3. You should do a lot of research first. Find out about what it means to be an
actress…really, especially at the beginning. It’s tough Manuela. Not impossible,
but very tough. http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_careers.html

4. Figure out what kind of actress you want to be:
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting-careers.html

5. Study the industry and gather as much information as you can so you understand
the arena in which you will be playing.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_industry_information.html

6. Read. Read. Read! I wouldn’t advise you to start with my book. Start with
two other books first and then read mine. Those two are:
Sanford Meisner on Acting
and
Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success

7. Sign up for the rss feed for my blog on ActingCareerStartUp.com, so that you receive
updates every week when I put up a new page.

8. Here is a complete guide for how to plan your trip to New York to study and/or
work as an actress.
www.actingcareerstartup.com/acting_classes_in_the_usa.html

Good luck!

Question: I dont know what to do to get started in acting.

Ive always wanted to be an actor. Like an actor in movies, and I always wanted to give that a good shot and if I fail at least i would know…but I want to be a doctor if not an actor…but by the time I graduate medical school I’ll be like 30….and I don’t know how I could try acting at such an old age…=( Most big actors start while they are younger…so I just don’t know what to do..whether to give up on acting…cause i need to go to medical school, if I would do acting I would need a fall through…but I almost feel like acting would be a pointless endeavor…basically I’m asking, would be pointless under the circumstances to try to be an actor?

ANSWER:

… if you read your question again to yourself, you just might find the answer in it. It sounds to me like you have already decided what you need to do.

One important question to ask yourself once you decide whether or not to start an acting career is whether you chose acting or whether acting chose you.

In your question it sounds like you are choosing acting, but that wanting to become a doctor has chosen you.

What I mean by something choosing you is that you just feel that it is something you MUST do. You can’t not do it! You simply have to do it! That’s the way it seems that med school is for you. It doesn’t seem like acting has that power over you. In the long run you will be happiest doing something you are passionate about, something you really love.

To help, go through this exercise on my website for new and aspiring actors. It will help you clarify your goals. On this page link you will find a series of goal questions and then a link to other questions. This is just for starters, but my hope is that you will begin to understand why you want what you want. Once you clarify that (and it will probably take some time-in other words, don’t think you will just read that page once and then it will be settled. My advice is to continue to ask yourself those and other questions until you feel 100% sure of what you want.) you will be at peace with yourself and with your decision. Here’s the link:
http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/long-term_acting_goal.html

You can also take those questions and adapt them to your medical career as well.

Good luck in your future.

Tony

Question: I want to start an acting career. I’m feeling a little lazy and bored today.

I spent a lot of time over the last two days looking up famous actors.
I’m not sure what I need to do to get started. Can you help?

ANSWER:

One question you will want to answer sooner rather than later is, “Did I choose acting, or did acting choose me?”

Why were you looking up famous actors? Was it because you would like to see what kind of life they live? Was it because you hoped to see what kind of path they followed to get where they are today? If that’s the case, it might be a little soon to be declaring that you want to start an acting career. If you are already trying to become an actor, then you should already know they answers to those questions.

But you are on the right track for starters. It’s important to find out what it really means to become an actor FIRST.
Getting back to figuring out what your goals are, it might help if you ask yourself some questions:

Why do you want to become an actor?
What will that do for you?
How will it make you feel?
What kind of actor do you want to become?
How far are you really and truely and honestly willing to go for your acting career?
Do you know what it’s like to work as an actor?
Do you know what actors do when they are looking for work or in between jobs?
Do you know what kinds of different acting careers you could have?
How hard are you willing to work? Honestly. (I ask that question, because you openly declared that you feel lazy and bored. If you become an actor, your days should never be that way.)
What do you think having an acting career entails?
What do you think an actor does day to day, when he’s not working?
Do you know anything about business? Do you realize how important it is to know how to promote yourself and to be able to get your work seen?
Have you taken any acting classes yet?
What method are you studying?
What other methods are you aware of?
Do you know what the benefits are to taking acting classes? In other words, do you know what they can do for you, other than teaching you how to act?
Do you know how you can tell if a class is right for you or not?
Do you know how to choose an acting school?

Do you know of at least ten different ways that you can promote yourself as an actor?
Do you know how to go about finding a talent agent?
Do you know what agents look for in an actor?
Do you know your type and why knowing that is so important?
Do you know how to do a mailing?
Do you know how to use post cards?

How about head shots? Do you know what the disadvantages are of getting head shots taken before you are ready?
Do you know the right questions and what to look for when selecting a head shot photographer?

Do you know what the industry formats are for an acting resume?
Do you know one of the first places agents and casting directors look when they look at your resume?

If you were further along, I would ask you other questions like:
How did you get your agent?
What do you do while you are waiting for your agent to call you for an audition?
Or
How did you choose your monologues? Do you know the most common mistakes actors make when performing a monologue and how to avoid them?
Or
How do you prepare for your auditions?

What method of acting are you studying and why does that method speak to you?

Do you know how to build a character?

You shouldn’t be bored any more now. If you really want to be an actor, then get to work and answer all those questions and look for others to answer as there are many more. If you start with those, you should have a pretty good idea what it means to become an actor.

Good luck

Acting Career Question: Talent Agency in NY?

Talent Agency in NY?
I am considering getting an agent, I have had a lot of experience, and next week I am getting head shots. I have made up my resume and so far it’s really good. My mother and I just can’t find a decent talent agency in NY.

What do you suggest?

I am not saying I’m going to to get an agent, but it’s worth the try.

ANSWER:

Well it sounds like you are doing the right thing by keeping your mother involved. That is especially important as there are a lot of creeps out there preying on young people. They will tell you anything.

I just recently received a story that I will be posting soon on my website for aspiring actors. It is from a girl, sounds like she’s about your age. She and her mother were almost victims of a scam at some agency.

One of the things you will want to think about doing is making sure that you know what your type is.

You have two choices. You can either go after any and all agents or you can go after an agent in a targeted and methodical way. Needless to say, the second way will get you better results.

First of all it’s important that you know what your type is. If you are not familiar with that concept, find out. See if your acting teacher can help you figure it out. Type is important because it will help you to make sure that your head shot, your résumé and your cover letter are all giving off the same message. That will get you some extra points, because you will be not only projecting an air of professionalism, but you just might make it easier for an agent to decide to bring you in for an interview.

I can recommend to you a way that I used to personally get my first agents in a relatively short period of time.
http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/how_to_get_a_talent_agent.html

Don’t forget then that you will want to prepare for the interview itself. One of the best resources to help you do that and to help you be able to prepare for some of the questions that an agent might ask you is Brian O’Neil’s book, Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success. I know Brian personally and he has many years of experience in the industry as an agent, actor and personal manager.

Lastly, another thing that you must never forget is that agents are in the business to make money. They can make more money from, and will be willing to invest more in people who are well-trained, prepared and who have a better chance of booking work.

In order to be all those things to an agent, you need to be trained…well. You should be taking classes continuously.

I wish you the best of luck!

Tony

Acting Career Question: I want to get into television hosting. How do I get started?

You have two main possibilities in my opinion; both of which I would pursue. First of all, I am an actor, author, motivational speaker and seminar leader and I have done some hosting of live events and presented on video for companies.

Get yourself some hosting training. Learn how to use an ear prompter and a tele prompter. If you want to be a host you will need those skills. You can find people who teach classes on those things like Pat Murphy in NY www.mediaimagecoach.com . She’s very good.
So, first and foremost you will want to be trained!
You will need to be good at marketing yourself to production companies and casting directors who cast hosts.
You’ll also want to find out which agents or agencies have hosting departments and contact those people directly.
I wrote an article on the site about 12 steps to getting an agent that you can check out if you want.

Something else you should take into consideration. That is become an expert at something and create your own show! With today’s technology, you could create a program of your own and shoot it all over the internet, youtube, myspace, facebook and there are so many other sites like that. You could build a website and become a point of reference.

Remember that something else that is important and that will help to increase your possibilities of getting booked on jobs is how big your fan base is. What I just suggested is an excellent way to create a fan base or a following of people who can’t wait to see your videos or the next episode of your show.
Here’s another page on my site with videos on it that I took off youtube that show how some actors and entertainers are making their own videos to promote their careers.
http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/job-in-acting.html

To follow the path of creating your own show or website you will need an extremely high dose of PASSION. If you have passion you will want to work on your project all the time and doing things for it will not be a chore. If you are thinking more about what people want and less about your passion, you will find that the things you have to do for your site or for your show will be a chore and you won’t enjoy it.

Lastly, when you do create your videos and your show, you will then have more things to show your agent or to casting directors interested in your skills.

Good luck!

Tony

Question: I WANT TO BE AN ACTRESS SO BAD I CAN TASTE IT!!!! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE. I CAN SING AND DANCE A LITTLE…

…My problem is that I don’t know where to start. Can you help?

ANSWER:

First of all, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t fulfill your dreams. You can do it if you have a method. I changed my life completely from corporate manager to actor/voice-over artist, host, author, motivational speaker and I’m loving it. This change took place three years ago and I’m still not where I want to be, but I am enjoying the journey and most importantly, I’m making some serious progress! I have agents working for me. I have productions companies and casting directors and agents call me either for work or for auditions. But this didn’t happen over night. It takes time and lots and lots of hard work.

It will take time to build your career and set yourself up for long-term success. I conduct a lot of interviews that I share with aspiring actors and one of the most recent ones was with a noted industry professional who owns an acting school in New York. She said that, “You should plan on at least 2 – 3 years in the beginning, preparing your base so that you can get to the point of being able to compete with well-trained actors who are and have been working regularly.”

Most aspiring actors never make it for several reasons.
1) They think that it is just a matter of getting an agent, no training, no classes, just get an agent! False!
2) They are not motivated enough to ‘see it through’ and to do what is necessary to be successful.
3) They have no business and marketing skills or what’s worse, they don’t realize that they themselves are a product that they must sell and have no clue how to do it.
4) If they do get an agent, they believe that the agent should do all the work and get them all their auditions. Let me take an historical quote from John F. Kennedy and twist it for the purposes of my communication: “Ask not what your agent can do for you, but what you can do for your agent!”
5) They neglect training, because many people around them (family and friends) tell them that they are cute, beautiful, make people laugh, are talented and should go into acting.
What they don’t realize is that most if not all of those people are not qualified to say whether or not you are talented enough or have what it takes.
6) Most aspiring actors neglect probably the single most important show-stopper: Money. They don’t plan to be able to have either enough money set aside to really be able to pursue an acting career full-time or they have not set up at least one or more streams of passive income so that they will be able to concentrate fully on their careers.
7) They have no clue what’s going on in the industry, what the trends are, who casts the types of projects they are interested in.
8) They don’t know what their type is and thus don’t focus their efforts on getting that type of work. Their headshots, résumés and coverletters don’t speak the same language. And the industry professionals they contact are not the right ones.
9) Lack of focus and method and strategy to get what they want.
10) They don’t know themselves well enough. The market is so saturated with well-trained actors AND with people who think that they have what it takes to be an actor. It is ESSENTIAL to find that something special about yourself that will set you apart from all the other actresses out there who are of your type. Otherwise, you will get lost in the crowd! Once you’ve figured that out, you need to find a way to get to the people who could be interested in what you have to offer. Here’s my approach to how to figure that out: http://www.actingcareerstartup.com/actor.html
11) They start out approaching their acting career by asking themselves the question, “I wonder what an acting career will get me?” instead of, “What am I going to bring to my acting career? What do I have to offer?”

So, what to do? If you are really serious about pursuing an acting career, there are several things to do in my opinion.

First: Research: Find out as much as you can from people who are already doing what you want to do.
Learn about the industry: Read Variety, Backstage for starters.
Learn about the different acting techniques.
Research different schools. Interview teachers about their teaching methods, techniques, audit classes if they so allow.
Figure out how much time you will realistically be able to dedicate to an acting career.
Figure out how you will make money so that you don’t have to work 9-5 and don’t have enough time to pursue your career.
Then get into a good acting class with a good teacher and stay there…forever! What I want to say there is that your training never, ever stops.

If you want to in the meantime, you could check with your local film commission to see when Hollywood films will be coming to your area to shoot so that you can put in for some extra work. Check this page link for 17 things you could do today to get started.
Also, you could sign up with some extra casting agencies. That’s great experience at the beginning of your career to learn how things work on set and make a little money at the same time.
You could also get into some community theatre.

Lastly, if you really are serious about becoming an actress, you will find these things to be easy and you won’t be able to wait to do them. If you are not motivated enough in the long run, you will find all these things to be a chore and tremendously difficult.

I know this was a long post, but I get passionate about this!

One last quote from a Hollywood acting teacher I recently interviewed named Bernard Hiller: “The elevator to success is broken. You’ll have to take the stairs.”
Good luck!

Tony