How to Stay Enthusiastic in This Crazy Business

by: Suzanne Lyons

I think the first thing to look at is, what are you TRULY COMMITTED TO ACCOMPLISHING? As Bob Proctor points out in his “Create Your Own Economy” program, get clear on your purpose. Let’s start with the BIG picture. I think why we lose focus and become uninspired is because we have forgotten why we’re doing what we’re doing. Getting in touch with the bigger picture can help get you back on track. In fact Proctor takes it a step further and suggests that when you define your purpose, “it will be the compass that keeps you on the path.” “Purpose,” he says “leads to your vision (what you do with your life)” and “you accomplish your vision by creating short term goals to keep you on course.” Sounds simple doesn’t it?

I believe what happens to most of us is that we get so caught up in the day-to-day action, we forget our purpose and vision. So spend a little time right now and take a serious look at what that is for you. Write it down and put it on the wall by your desk.

Above all, have fun. Don’t take actions until you’re having fun doing so. Remind yourself daily why you’re here. Remember we are in the entertainment industry. We’re here to provide entertainment! How cool is that. We get to bring joy, pleasure, escape and fun to people. What a great job! What an amazing ride!

The Chair: Taking Control of the Audition Space

By: Holly Powell

I always say that part of the fear an actor experiences while waiting in the lobby of the audition room before the audition is, “the fear of the unknown”. They become anxious because they don’t know what lies beyond the audition door. What does the room look like? How many people are in the room? Is there a camera in the room? Are the powerful people behind that door in good moods or bad?

A chair is the one familiar object that carries over from your living room, where you were rehearsing the audition, to the actual audition room itself. The auditors usually have a chair in the audition space in case the actor would like to use it during their audition. While rehearsing the scene at home, the actor decides whether to use a chair or not. They’ve visualized the “place” in the scene and it either involves the need to sit in the scene or stand. Either way, the actor knows that most times they will walk into the audition room and there will be that chair…their choice to use or not. This is the “make-it-or-break-it-taking-control-of-the-audition-space-moment” for the actor. There will be two options.

TAKING YOUR POWER OPTION:
The actor walks confidently through the audition door, saying “hi” to the people in the room looking each of them directly in the eye…and then they spy the chair. That’s the grounding moment. Touching base with the chair, the one familiar object from your living room to the audition room, helps the actor claim their power and the audition space. It’s now “your room, not theirs”. If chit-chat happens and then it’s time to “start”, the actor turns to the chair and moves it exactly where they want it. They can move it away out of the audition space, because they are not going to use it. Or they can leave it in the exact location it is in. But, it’s the actor’s choice and decision. The auditors can see that the actor is prepared, having made a choice. On the auditor’s side of the table, we relax a little and look forward to seeing what the actor prepared. And this is all before the first line of the audition scene.

GIVING YOUR POWER AWAY OPTION:
The actor walks tentatively through the audition room door, looking down and occasionaly glancing up shyly at the people in the audition room, apologetically eyeing the audition space for invading the auditor’s territory. “Would you like for me to stand or sit?” they ask, making sure they don’t make a wrong choice or offend. In response, they get an answer back: “Ahhh, just sit.” Instant power give-away. As the actor sits in the chair they are thinking, “Why did I ask that? I had rehearsed it standing when I was in my living room!” The auditors jump to the conclusion that the actor has not prepared properly and needs to be told what to do or that they are green and trying to please too hard. Even before the first line of the scene, they are a bit anxious thinking the actor will give an audition that feels more like winging it than an audition with prepared choices.

Of course there will be times when the actor’s best laid plans and preparation will not always go the way they want. They may have made the decision to sit in the scene and when they walk into the audition room the Casting Director is putting them on tape for Producers and asks them to stand and not move much. Always try to find out ahead of the audition if you are being put on tape. This will often make a difference as to your standing or sitting and the Casting Director may have a strong opinion about how things should go. But, usually, if you are auditioning “live” for the Casting Director, Director or Producers, you have more freedom of choice as to sitting, standing and how much you can move during the audition.

Touching base with the chair in the audition room, whether visually or actually, is the building block that helps ground an actor in the audition room. The actor has now made it “their room”. It’s their 3 minutes. And, “You Can Do Anything For 3 Minutes”.

Tapping Into Your Creative Power

by: Kimberly Jentzen

A large budget can enhance the quality of the filmmaker’s story, but the budget has nothing to do with the actor’s talent to deliver the performance. In acting, it’s not about the venue, it’s about the freedom within to access character and emotion.

You can put an actor on an empty stage with a single light and the actor’s gift will emerge — because an actor needs only access to their imagination.

In fact, the more limits or boundaries you put on an actor, the more creative the actor will become. This is how great direction works. The director will give you a new way to act the scene and it is your freedom that will allow you to deliver it in such a way that the direction becomes genius. A great actor understands this flexibility. Your freedom allows you to inspire greatness in others and which brings the project up as a whole. This is true for writers, artists, poets, musicians and any artistic expression born from the gift to create.

All that an actor has is the sense of their own internal freedom to express; this freedom delivers confidence, depth, and the euphoria of a process that happens because it comes from you, and is held by you from within.

So how do you tap into your own freedom to create?

When you release judgment of yourself and your process, you are free to tap into the creative process. The less judgment you put on yourself in the process, the more freedom you will gain. The less you judge the script, other actors, or the direction, the more inspired you will be to deliver a performance that makes an impact.

Over the next two weeks, observe your judgments and begin allowing yourself to be more neutral to your process. Forgive your judgments and put them aside. Focus on the enjoyment of the process itself, and take the risks necessary to experience that source that lives inside – let the internal light within you, your instincts, be your guide.

Spending Money on Mastering Your Craft

by: Carolyne Barry

One of the more challenging realities of becoming an actor is that it can and will get expensive. The cost of classes, pictures, marketing, demo reels, scripts, theater company dues and union initiation fees and dues, showcases, etc. etc., etc. adds up big time. Even participating in graduate films and small theater will necessitate spending some money on wardrobe, make-up, and props not to mention gas and parking fees.

The sobering news is that almost any other profession you choose will probably cost you much more, however, with most other professions you would have a somewhat better chance of earning a steady income, -unless you are in the 5% who can make acting a career. When embarking on other professions, you would have a good idea of all the necessary expenses for your training, start up business costs and the money you would need to get you through the first few years.

Unfortunately, most new actors don’t stop to consider all the costs involved with the necessary training and marketing or have a plan to finance their career. Often that means major obstacles are in place before they even get started. Some get lucky and fall into situations and opportunities that help make it easier. Some have rich families or influential friends.

Nevertheless, new actors must “get real” and go into this business as if it were a business. (It is easier to get lucky when you are knowledgeable and have a plan). I STRONGLY suggest that you put together a financial structure.

For more detailed info on Spending, Saving and Earning money for your acting and performing career, check into my book HitTheGroundRunning.

Carolyne Barry Commercials

Money

By: Carolyne Barry
 
One of the more challenging realities of becoming an actor is that it can and will get expensive.   The cost of classes, pictures, marketing, demo reels, scripts, theater company dues and union initiation fees and dues, showcases, etc. etc., etc. adds up big time.  Even participating in graduate films and small theater will necessitate spending some money on wardrobe, make-up, and props not to mention gas and parking fees.   The sobering news is that almost any other profession you choose will probably cost you much more, however, with most other professions you would have a somewhat better chance of earning a steady income, -unless you are in the 5% who can make acting a career.   When embarking on other professions, you would have a good idea of all the necessary expenses for your training, start up business costs and the money you would need to get you through the first few years. Unfortunately, most new actors don’t stop to consider all the costs involved with the necessary training and marketing or have a plan to finance their career.  Often that means major obstacles are in place before they even get started.  Some get lucky and fall into situations and opportunities that help make it easier.  Some have rich families or influential friends.  Nevertheless, new actors must “get real” and go into this business as if it were a business.  (It is easier to get lucky when you are knowledgeable and have a plan).  I STRONGLY suggest that you put together a financial structure.

For more detailed info on Spending, Saving and Earning money for your acting and performing career, check into my book HitTheGroundRunning.

Tips for Aspiring Actors

by: Diane Christiansen

Here are a few tips for aspiring actors. My intention is to provide information that will save many of you time, money and heartbreak.

I love helping actors in any way I can, in fact, my personal goal is to guide every actor I meet to success, with the skills, discipline and techniques they will need to be a professional working actor. If you read everything here, you should have a good foundation upon which to get yourself started. You have to do the rest. No one is going to get your career started like you, because no one can jump-start you.

It’s interesting that since I began teaching over 20 years ago, I have received countless emails from young people, most often under 18, asking all sorts of questions about how to accomplish their dreams, and how to tell their parents they want to be actors, and which course of action will take them to the quickest road to fame. Since these questions are so common, and since I can’t answer them all individually, I’ll post a general answer here:

Fame, fortune, and celebrity, from my perspective, are the wrong reasons for choosing acting as a way of life. Real actors are artists first. They make their choices based on living acting as a way of life, not as a career. For most, it’s a struggle of monumental proportions for which there will be no reward. That fact does not concern the real actor, who has no choice but to continue to find ways to illuminate the life of the human spirit through art, because it must be done.

For the artist, acting is like food, a provision that must be ingested to fully LIVE. Without it, we could not exist. For the true actor, the artist, life is about finding the most fulfilling outlet possible. So when you set forth on this path, I always say “Keep your eye on the Prize, and adopt Acting as a Lifestyle”. Remember, this is a Noble profession and you cannot allow anyone to tell you differently.

Gerry Katzman

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY – What to do when you feel like giving up

by: Gerry Katzman

There comes a time in everyone’s path when the road ahead seems long, and we wonder if it’s really worth going forward. A time where we’ve heard the word “no” so many times that we’ve forgotten what it sounds like to hear “yes”. Where the only thing you can see is the areas that you fall short and the difficulties in your way.  This is usually them moment right before something great is going to happen, but the only way you’ll live to see that moment is if you stay in the game and keep yourself inspired.  The following technique has worked for my students and I, and it can help get you out of any rut and back onto the road of success. 

Tip #1 Reconnect to your dream. 

If you start to feel discouraged- ask yourself (and answer) the following questions:

When do you remember first deciding that you wanted to become a performer, artist, etc.?  What were your first inspirations? What were the things (albums, performances, etc.) that got you excited? It doesn’t matter how silly they are- they could be cartoons, kids’ shows, movies, commercial jingles- but something, no matter how silly it seems now, lit you up inside.. What was it?

Tip #2 Connect to the feelings.

Describe in writing or recollect out loud what it was that inspired you to try your hand at this profession. Describe in detail what it was that you saw, felt, and experienced that motivated you to get involved. Recall your first fun experiences when you got started in this craft- what made those early performances or experiences so delightful?

Tip #3 Go back to your roots.

As you feel your inspiration start to grow, go back to some of the source material. If a certain album or movie (no matter how silly or bad it may now seem) inspired you, find it online and listen to it or watch it.

Go back to the seeds of your inspiration. Warm yourself from the fire that first sparked your heart. Going back, understanding and reconnecting to your original reasons and purposes can provide some of the valuable inspiration we need to get through the temporary doldrums in any career.

For more tips, sign up for my newsletter at www.Standupcomedyclass.com

Remember, you’re just one action away from changing the world with your art- make a move, make a difference! -GERRY KATZMAN