How to Make It as an Actor
1. Always have excellent professional photos with multiple laser copies.
Your agent needs several copies and the actor should always take copies to EVERY audition. The photo should be an 8″xlO”. There are several reputable photographers in town; I consistently like the work of John Leighton at Precision Photographic, Sue Siri, Lifestyles, Hal at 521photography.com.
2. Create multiple copies of a one page acting resume.
Your agent needs several, as well; you will need to take one to EVERY audition.
3. Keep in touch with you agent.
Make sure they always have your current address. Send updated resumes several times each year. Let your agent know if you will be out of town.
4. Be professional on auditions.
a. Be prepared, have scripts memorized have resumes and current photos with you.
b. Ask questions of your agent if you are unclear about the materials.
c. Do not be pushy.
d. Be prompt, no one likes to wait for you. Also, directors will assume you are unreliable.
e. Don’t expect feedback. Casting directors can see up to 100 people in a day. They only remember those who they are calling back for a second audition. They will call you if you get the part.
5. Be professional on the set.
a. Do not bring other people with you to set.
b. Do not touch anything unless you are directed to do so. This includes food, wardrobe and equipment.
c. Bring along things to entertain yourselves on set. It is a long, tedious, process, expect much down time.
d. Carefully read anything you are asked to sign. Check and make sure they have the agent’s name and phone number. If you have any questions at all, ask the production company to fax it to your agent. It is always better to be safe than sorry. If the contracts do not have your agent’s approval, make sure your agent sees it before you sign.
e. If a problem arises, call your agent immediately. Let them sort things out, this will help keep you from being labeled as difficult.
6. Be professional with your agent.
a. Pay commissions promptly. The checks will come payable to you. Before you spend the money, make sure you pay the one who worked so hard to get you that job. Agents work solely for commissions. Not paying fees promptly can have negative effects on your working relationship.
b. Please do not call on weekends unless it is an emergency. (For example: You have to be on set Monday morning and it is now Sunday evening and no one has called you.) I personally try to keep normal office hours, Monday through Friday between 9 and 4.
c. Write down any information your agent gives you about an audition during the initial conversation. Repeated phone calls waste everyone’s time.
d. Be patient about remuneration. Union shoots are paid within two weeks. Non-union work can take 4-6 weeks. I will forward all monies on to you as quickly as possible.
e. If a producer approaches you directly. Please refer them to your agent. Agents know the acceptable rates for a given project and they will work with your best professional interests in mind.
f. If you have questions, ask them.
7. Be Professional
Join the ACTRA union when you are invited to do so. Usually you have approximately six weeks to take advantage of the offer,
a. Silent on Camera—Commercial Term only. If you appear in a Union commercial and are SOC or above you are eligible to become an apprentice member of ACTRA.
b. A speaking role in a film, or television program will also make you eligible for Apprenticeship.
c. Benefits of Union membership include:
- Preference of Audition, members are considered first.
- Free exposure on the ACTRA web-sites
- Higher pay for Background
- Participation in Fraternal Benefits
d. Six credits are required for full membership. With full membership you will no longer be required to pay permit fees. Annual union dues will still be required.