Following the Oscars I figured it was appropriate timing to discuss the acting industry, how to get started and how to not going insane trying to stay in it.
I recently received a super sweet email from a curious follower asking a bunch of questions about how to break into the industry (& survive when work is slow). Now, I do NOT have it all figured out yet, I have pretty much just spent the last 2 years trying to figure it out. I have called in every favor from every contact I have, I have had some luck in the industry but I'll admit, it's not always easy and i certainly don't have all the answers.
That said, I am happy to help others who are thinking about making this journey out in any way that I can- so here goes.
1. How do you get contacts within the industry?
I was lucky here, A couple of my good friends from college had already been out here for a while when I made the move. One was working for a talent agency the other was working in entertainment news. They were kind enough to introduce me to my now manager & every PR person I know & it has sort of just spiraled form there. I am slowly learning that it is ok to ask your more successful friends for favors and introductions.
2. How do you find out about auditions?
My manager gets me the bigger ones, but a lot of auditions are posted on casting websites. For starters, LA Casting, Actors Access, Backstage West, Now Casting, & Casting Frontier. All of these are around $10 a month which kind of sucks, but they are an investment in yourself- & THAT is important in this industry.
3. What's your audition prep like?
I am a big fan of not over thinking auditions. I will run through the sides 5-10 times the night before the audition, I will do some research on the character, and then I will relax. I do better in auditions when I haven't spent a whole day practicing- I tend to overact if I do that, but to each their own. I don't drink the night before, I get a good night's sleep, and I eat a healthy breakfast.
4. What do you do in your spare time?
I write, I go to yoga class, I hike Runyon Canyon, I relax on the beach, I used to paint a lot but I haven't had much time recently, I love to go get drinks with my girl friends, I cook, but mostly I am sitting in traffic haha.
5. Do you pay the bills solely through acting; if not, what do you do when you don't have a job?
This varies from month to month. & I think this is a really tough balance to find. On months when I am working on a project my bank account is flush and I feel on top of the world, then the next month will be slower and I find myself FREAKING OUT. I suck at money management, I won't even lie. But on the side I do a little bit of PR work with my friend's company, I will take random cocktail serving jobs, or do background acting (being an extra) if I need to, and blogging helps as well.
6. What made you interested in acting?
Oh Geez, I hate this question because the answer seems so silly but I have wanted to act since I saw the Sound of Music with Julie Andrews & then Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus when I was 6… I loved musicals. Since then my cousin and I had plans for me to be an actress and her to be my hair/makeup artist. We are both in those careers so I guess it's nice that we both always knew what we wanted!
7. What do you do in an average day?
This again, depends on the day- there will be days where I have 5 auditions, days when I am filming for 20 hours, and days when I have nothing to do. The day always starts with coffee. On days when I have no auditions that is when I find time to blog, sometimes when I'm lazy i'll do it from home, other times I'll go sit at a coffeeshop.
8. What kinds of parts do you enjoy playing the most?
I really enjoy complex comedic roles. I love that there are more and more roles for women that are REAL women, not just sex objects or girls sitting around talking about boys 24/7.
9. What are the kinds of things you do that set you apart from the endless mass of other people gunning for the same thing you're gunning for?
Oh gosh good question! I think that every person has their own "thing" that sets them apart and makes them unique. I hope every single person that wants this dream and works hard for it makes it. There is no sense in comparing yourself to others and wondering why someone else got a role and you didn't. My friend Jenny and I are exactly the same "type" (redheads with pale skin and a "hipster" vibe) so we are up for the same roles A LOT and we actually help each other prep for the same auditions. I think it is SO IMPORTANT to support my fellow actors because it really takes a lot out of you to put yourself out there in such a public way. But that said, I guess what sets me apart is that I will never give up. I don't care if it takes me until I'm 40 to get a lead role, I'm in this to win it.
Other advice that wasn't addressed in these questions are as follows:
* Invest in good head shots - head shots can cost anywhere from $200-$600, but this is an investment in yourself. It's what Casting directors use to decide whether they want to see you for an audition
* Get into a GOOD acting class, when you are seeking representation it really helps to show that you are dedicated and in a reputable class.
* Get a reel- even if you haven't worked on anything yet, film scenes with your friends and have SOMETHING to show.
* Let go, stop doubting yourself, don't be afraid to fail, don't let negative feedback get you down, and don't give up.
ALRIGHT well, thank you Aaron for the questions! & if anyone else reading this blog has additional questions feel free to shoot me an email in the contact section! I always try my best to respond!