If you’re an actor, chances are you’re working too much. In the beginning, you’re working three jobs, by default: the job of training yourself as an actor; the job of working as an actor (which includes auditioning, performing, and attendant/appropriate business activities you have, such as marketing and networking); and, unless you’re independently wealthy, the job that puts food on the table while you work the other eight or so jobs you have of “being” an actor.
With all of that working, you somehow need to free up time to play, relax, and stay fresh. (Or not, but trust me, it’s going to be hard to keep that acting fresh if you’re a scattered, nervous wreck.) You likely don’t have much wiggle room in that day job, so it’s up to you to learn to manage your time and energy on fronts performance-related. That’s going to mean saying “no” as well as saying “yes”: simple in principle, but never easy when there are carrots being dangled or guilt trips being booked for you.
For many years I went to improv shows to be entertained, laugh, and discover the work of clever, quick-thinking actors. I have always said, improv is important—it loosens you up, gets you ready to think fast on your feet, and strips away the self-censorship that blocks creativity.
There is More to Improv Than Being Funny
Improv is important to the art of acting itself. Improv enables you to open up the door to your creative power and is a conduit to better dramatic acting.
What other people think of me is none of my business. – the beloved Wayne Dyer
QUESTION: I’m never really confident walking into an audition because I really have no idea what the casting director is looking for, so I think I try too hard because I am not booking or getting callbacks.
ACTORS: If you don’t know who’s walking in the room, the casting director will definitely not know.
Everyone knows the motto of this biz: “Fake it ’til you make it!” This can be applied to most situations in life where you gotta pump yourself up and tap into your own inner Sasha Fierce! Accepting we’ll be told “no” way more than “yes” is important to grasp when you enter this star-studded game. So grow some thick skin and an even bigger pair of balls, because you’ll need both. In the meantime, I’m going to prep you with ammo to hit the casting side hard with the strongest and healthiest version of you, from heart to head.
1) A bit of pressure is great for motivation. However, a ton of pressure can leak into self-sabotage. We have control over a number of choices, what we eat to fuel ourselves, the amount of preparation, being in the right mindset, and rocking that self-confidence. But when we don’t get the job, the gig, or even just the audition, it’s utterly important to deal with the disappointment in a healthy way. Accept that rejection is part of being an entertainer and entrepreneur—and know you aren’t the only person who wasn’t picked. A thousand others didn’t even get the opportunity to audition, and hundreds did audition and were turned away also! Don’t make assumptions as to why they rejected you—maybe your beautiful long hair reminded someone of a jerk ex or you were just too damn good looking to stand across from the already-cast lead.
Do you find yourself shrugging your shoulders as you head off to your commercial audition? Do you hope to find out what’s going on once you get there, with little to go on beforehand? Sometimes precious little information is given to the actor before their arrival at the audition—sometimes being the key word. Often times, I believe actors are uninformed because they have neglected to read the given information carefully, if at all. Other times, there are important clues that may not be so obvious, but are extremely helpful when preparing for a commercial audition. When you get five minutes in the room, you don’t want to spend that time finding out what you should already know.
Commercial actors should never ignore the clues given before an audition.
Everyone knows what it feels like to be frustrated and angry, but not everyone knows how to handle those powerful feelings. Contrary to belief, not all “bad” feelings are bad for you. Most people are afraid of their anger because it is connected to the fear of losing control or being disliked. Yet it is anger that can be your greatest protector, enabling you to speak out when you are not being treated well. It can help people back off when they have crossed over the boundaries you have set. Releasing anger helps you regain control. The inability to manage powerful emotions hurts your relationship to yourself and to others. It also interferes with your effectiveness at work, as an actor.
On Tuesday, 16 May, the incredibly successful JB Shorts returns to 53Two and this year Casting Networks are proud to be a sponsor of the 12 night 6 x short play extravaganza! So what exactly are the magic ingredients fed into the mixing pot to able to brew the delicious stew that is JB Shorts?
We spoke with Peter Kerry about what happens behind the scenes of this successful northern series. So . . .
How does the planning process for a season of JB Shorts begin and how does it evolve into the finished plays we, the audience, eagerly look forward to?read more
If there’s one thing I’m seeing cripple actors’ success right now, it’s their fear of what other people within the acting industry might think of them. I use the word ‘might’ very specifically here, as most people’s fears are entirely fictional and never come to fruition.
In positive psychology, we term this phenomenon ‘Fortune Telling.’
Fortune telling is where a person presumes he or she can predict the future and outcome of a given situation. Most actors choose to opt for negative fortune telling and thus predict the worst possible outcome for their actions, life, and career. The amount of emails I receive asking me to proofread an email or a tweet, before it is sent to an agent or casting director, is ridiculous. In 99% of cases, what has been written is absolutely fine, yet the actor has decided to predict a disastrous outcome, where the recipient of that email or tweet hates what is written, blocks the sender, and thus never sees them for a casting or meeting.
Comedy is big. This isn’t a new thing. It always has been, hasn’t it? We have a long history of wanting to laugh, apparently. There are many options open to you as a comedy-seeker when you live in LA. Pretty much any day of the week, you can catch an 8 or 10PM (even on a school night) stand-up show in multiple locations in the city. You have improv shows in abundance, again, every night of the week. And now storytelling shows like The Moth or Mortified have gained in popularity in the City of Angels as well, which more often than not at least lean comedic. How do you weed through them all? You got me. I say hop around town and enjoy yourself while supporting live performance. But if you need a nudge in a certain direction, I’ve got a recommendation for you.
Welcome to His & Hers, in which an entertainment industry business advisor and actress/mentor give their take on the latest topics that come up when they’re mentoring and coaching actors.
This month John Byrne, an entertainment industry business advisor who writes for The Stage and coaches actors around the globe, compares thoughts with Angela Peters, actress and acting mentor with clients in the UK, LA, and AU, on the topic of the balancing act between being sensible with fitness vs unwarranted obsession.
John Byrne: In addition to working in the acting world, I have several clients in the music industry. While the myth that every road musician is a combination of Ozzie Osbourne, the late Lemmy from Motorhead, and all four members of Spinal Tap (including the self-destructing drummers) is as untrue as saying that all actors are like Stephen Toast. I have come across my fair share of wild men and women over the years.