I signed up for background work, but they’re not calling me

QUESTION: I signed up with an agency in Toronto for background work, but they aren’t calling me. Do you know why not?


If you signed up with that agency for background work, they would know if there is any available. You would have to contact them directly and ask. If they are not calling you, there is a reason. It could be that there is no work for your type, maybe no films are shooting or your headshot and resume are not sufficient or haven’t been received. Try and understand why you are not being contacted. BUT, first let some time pass. You should wait at least a few weeks. And then, the question is, “What’s your plan for keeping in touch with them?”


Good luck to you!

Advice for mothers of child actors

QUESTION: Do have advice for the mothers of child actors?


The more I do what I’m doing here on ActingCareerStartUp.com, the more I realize that these young kids who come here to visit need the support of their parents. That’s one of the reasons why I put together pages like these:

I am just about finished building a home study program in which I will walk new actors and their parents through the steps I believe are necessary to be successful. It will be ready soon. If you agree, I will put you on the list so you can see what it is like.

Also, you might find these two video interviews helpful that I did with a youth talent agent and a teen acting teacher, both in Hollywood:


And finally, have a look at this page:

I hope this helps. Would love to know how and if this information is helpful to you and/or what other type of information you would find helpful. Thank you and good luck with your child actor!

What should I be doing to start my acting career?


What advice can you give me with regard to starting my acting career to make sure of having a good chance of succeeding?


My best advice is that you do research, so that you really and truly understand what you are getting yourself into. Start here.


I’ve been answering this question for the last three years and I realized that the best possible answer I could give is what I have just created. It’s a home-study course that goes over 24 weeks and that, with videos of me explaining and showing new actors EXACTLY what they need to do and EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT. It is designed to have people already working as actors even before the course is finished. It will be ready in about two weeks. I’ll put you on the list so that you know when it’s ready.

I hope this has helped you.

Acting in New Zealand


How can I become an actress in New Zealand? There aren’t very many opportunities here like in America…


1. I don’t have a page yet on my site yet about talent agencies in New Zealand, but if you do a search for “talent agencies in new zealand” I found some that you could check out. Such as this one for example: http://www.talento.co.nz/ I don’t know it, never heard of it, but it’s a start. Do the search and you will find more. I will put together a page for New Zealanders soon!

2. My top 5 for what I look for in someone who says they want to be an actor?
a. presence and personality: I look for someone who pops out at me, which doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be bubbly, but they have something special that I don’t normally see and that I think would be “interesting” to see on film or on camera”.

b. passion: I want to work with someone who wants to be an actor, not because they want to be famous, not because they want to make a lot of money, but because they really and truely love acting and can’t imagine doing anything else.

c. some base talent: to become an actor, you don’t have to know how to act right away, but you have to have some base talent. As they say, you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. You can’t make an actor out of someone who doesn’t have what it takes.

d. someone who is teachable: that means someone who is humble, who takes feedback, takes direction and applies what they are told without rebuttle.

e. if the person is under age 18, then they must have the support of their parents. That’s critical, because without their support, it will be virtually impossible to have a career.

3. Agents typically look for actors to fill holes in their client base and also actors who can give them what they want, which is to help them make money. The more you can book work off of auditions they send you out for, the happier they are. That’s the most important thing for an agent. You can have your own opinion, but they will send you out for jobs/auditions where the description fits your profile and look. That’s how it works.

Look at these two interviews, one on video and the other to read:

4. I would recommend having a professionally done headshot taken, when you are ready. I always suggest that you should first be taking acting classes before you think about getting an agent. If you would get an agent and don’t know how to act, then how can you think that you will be able to beat out your competition? Looks are one thing. Knowing how to act and feeling comfortable in front of the camera or on stage is another. You need to know how to do that first. And when you know how to act, then you will be able to take a better headshot, because your training will have taught you how to “take command” of the camera.

So don’t spend the $200 just yet until you are ready. I agree with mom on this one.


5. Yes, unfortunately there are a lot of scams out there and you must be careful. One thing you should do is beware of people who say they will make you a star. Or people who tell you they will be your agent if you just pay them first or take one of their classes. Usually that’s a bunch of bull. Agents get 10% of what you make AFTER you do the job. They get paid and give you 90% of what the job paid. That’s the way it works.

One of the best ways to avoid scams is to be knowledgeable. My website is a great start, because it has literally hundreds of pages of information. Use it. It’s all free.


6. With regard to dressing for auditions, it depends. If they audition is for a casting director, then you might want to wear something that will help you be remembered for that part you are auditioning for.
If you are interviewing/auditioning for an agent, then just wear something that is comfortable and be yourself. Don’t try to impress. Just be yourself.
That’s all they want to see.

7. You also said something that touched a chord in me. You said that since you and mom live alone together, that $200 is a little much to spend right now. I totally understand. Tell you mom to have a look at this page on this website link:

It is a great, honest website that helps you to turn a passion into an online business and work from home. I’m doing it. It’s NOT about getting rich. It’s about making money in an honest way by helping others. Sort of like what I’m doing right now.

You seemed very determined young lady to become an actress one day. If that’s what you want, then I wish that for you and wish you the best of luck! Keep mom close and have her read this mail too. Remember that the more she knows about all this and the more information you can help her to have, the more she will be able to help you.

Very soon I will have a new home study course in which I will walk people through the steps to starting an acting career. Each week I will be on video for you and you will have downloadable course materials and everything. It is a course to DO and not just to watch. I’ll put you on the mailing list so you will know when it’s ready.

Good luck to you and mom and let me know if you have any other questions!

How can I make money to pay for acting classes?


How can I make money to pay for acting classes? I’m looking for residual income opportunities.


I can highly recommend your having a look at this video. It could literally change your life. Have a look at this page and then the video:

1. How to make money to pay for acting classes.

2. The system I used to build ActingCareerStartUp.com that is rapidly approaching 100,000 visitors per month now at the beginning of 2011.

Good luck!

How do I know if an acting school is a good school or not?


How do I know if an acting school is good or not?


I never heard of the acting school you mentioned. I did visit their website, however. There is basic information, but difficult to tell if they are a good acting school or not. Try contacting them and setting up an appointment together with your parents or one of them. Make sure you have a look at this page first that talks about how you can choose an acting school that’s right for you:

When you talk to them, ask for some names of some of their students that you can talk to privately together with your parents and let your parents and theirs talk too.

Also, here is an interview I did with actor an acting teacher Jeff Alan Lee who has a Hollywood acting school for teens. It might help you in your decision on choosing the right school and help you to understand what you can expect:

I hope that answers your question.

How do I send mailings to casting directors?


First of all, great website thanks so much for this info. I would like to sent mailing to casting directors for my two children but now sure what to write in the cover letter. Also is it fine to send to production companies as well or do they get upset. One more question, thanks about the thank you letters never thought of that, but I will get started, is it okay to say something like: Thanks for the great experience it was fantastic meeting you/

Thanks again for all your help!


First of all, here is a guide that I put together for parents of actors. You might have already seen it, but I’ll give it to you again anyway.
Have a look at these two pages:


Secondly, have a look at this page with regard to cover letters:

And absolutely yes on sending mailings to production companies! That is something that many don’t think of. You can use my 12-Steps for that too:

Thirdly, here is a video interview with a Hollywood youth talent agent that you might find interesting:

Lastly and again with regard to the cover letter, I would say that comments and thank you notes from you are good, which lets casting directors know that your children are well looked after. I would also say, however, that once your children are “old enough”, which is something you have to decide, you might want to involve them in these things as well and have certain messages and thank-you’s come directly from them. Why? For one it helps them begin to understand what they will have to do for their own careers. Secondly, in the eyes of the casting director I would think that it shows them a certain maturity in the child/teen, which could be an extra added bonus. It might influence them even if just a little bit more than the audition performance that they will be professional once the book the job. That will make the casting director look good in the eyes of the director.

I hope that answers your question.
Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

What is the audition process like for actors?


What is the audition process for actors like from start to finish.

I like the way you think! That’s a very intelligent question. I asked this very same question about the audition process five years ago in a question and answer session with a noted casting director in New York.

Last year I went to LA and interiewed a casting director and I asked her the same question. Here is the entire interview for you!

I hope that answers your question.

Good luck!

How can you get auditions without having proper acting training?

QUESTION: Hi I was just wondering, can you get auditions without having proper training as an actor? thanks for your help:)


You can get auditions without proper training, but there are some things for you to take into consideration. One thing is that in order to be able to do a good job auditioning, you will have to know HOW to audition. Another thing is that unless you are just a natural talent, the casting director will be able to see that you are not trained and if so, there is a good chance you will not be chosen for the job. The third thing to know is that before you get called in for an audition, the casting director will want to see on your resume either that you have experience and/or that you have been training as an actor. If they don’t see either, there is a good chance that you won’t even be called in for the audition UNLESS it is for an extra job.

Here are more than 20 reasons why you should consider taking acting classes:

I hope I have answered your question.

Good luck!

How can I start acting?


How can I start acting? My mom supports me and I know I have what it takes. My friends tell me that I should be an actor, because I make people laugh and because I can change my body language easily. Please help me.


The best advice I can give you is about to come. I’m putting together a home-study program. It will allow you to have me as your personal coach with video instruction and in which I tell you exactly what you need to do. The reason I have put this program together is because so many visitors to ActingCareerStartUp.com have asked that very same question.
Within the next few weeks I will be launching it.
Until then, have a look at this page:
There’s a lot of great information on that page that will give you some good ideas as to what you can do first.

Also, you might want to have a look at this page:

Stay in touch with ActingCareerStartUp.com and I will have more things for you.

Good luck John!