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Tony
Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia

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Hi Tony!
Most people don’t even take the time to tell a person how to reach their goal. I want to thank you for everything and for responding to my messages. Sometimes I just test people to see if they really care about my career and you do. You can continue to send me some tips on how I can accomplish my goals, because you inspire me a lot. Thank you for caring.
Jeffrey, Dallas, TX

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Hi Tony!
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada

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Hi!
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Mischa, UK

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Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress

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Tony,
I did what you said and…I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you…how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA

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This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA

A Working Actor: One Story

There are two parts to a working actor and his/her life: The part in which he/she is looking for work and the part in which he/she is actually working. I’d like to share with you what it was like for me working on the set of an independent film I shot in Italy over a period of a couple of weeks.

The Storyline

Two young and very talented directors ask me to be part of their science fiction creation, which took place in the year 2040. In the year 2024 it had been discovered that the human soul actually had physical qualities, which completely turned people’s thinking and beliefs upside down. Due to that startlying new discovery and due to the fact that because of it, it was now possible for the human soul to be injured, it became necessary to have doctors trained in a new form of medicine. Crimes against the human soul were also now a reality and required specialized attention on the part of the police force. I was cast to be the captain of the new police division.

Tony as the futuristic police captain

How a working actor got cast

I received a call one day from one of the teachers at the school where I had studied theatre acting for a year. They told me about this opportunity and thought I would be right for the part. I sent in my headshot and résumé and was called in just a few days later. In preparation for the audition they sent me three pages to memorize, which I did. I felt ready. Two days later I was welcomed to the audition by the two directors and the producer. I did the audition for them and they gave me a few adjustments. I could tell they really liked my work. As a matter of fact, something happened which I don’t think has ever happened before or since then.

They asked me immediately if I was interested in taking the part. I said yes and we had a deal. I was to become a working actor once again!

A Working Actor On The Set

The production and camera crew and the director were usually on set between 7am and 8am. We actors, who were in the first scenes to be shot of any given day were told to be there by around 8.30am or 9:00am for make up and costumes. For this particular film “The Silver Rope”, which by the way just ran on the national Italian cable channel just last week, I had to shave my head bald so that they could place a thick wire around it to make it look like a futuristic implant. There was a lot of waiting around! It was also cold outside as it was December, and fortunately there was a trailer for all the actors who could fit inside to keep warm.

A Working Actor & Preparation

First of all, I was sent the script two weeks before, even though I didn’t have a lot of speaking roles. I still read the whole thing, because I wanted to understand what my role was in the context of the entire script. I studied my lines using a technique that I was taught in my technique class. I used to think that studying my lines was just as simple as memorizing them until a few years ago when I began to study. I use a method called by-wrote, which I learned during my Meisner training. Once it was time to shoot, I felt prepared. The time in the trailer would have been a great time to prepare for my scenes mentally, but with all those people it was difficult to concentrate, so I asked the directors to let me know ahead of time when I would be shooting and I left the trailer to go be alone to warm up, prepare mentally and run my lines if I had any for my scenes.

But even the mental preparation and running lines is still only part of preparing for the character I was playing. My technique teaches me to create all the circumstances around the character, even if the directors don’t give you that information. So I had to create in my own mind who he was, where he was born and lived his life and what his life is like, how he feels about his work, if he walks and talks like me or if he is different. And there was much more. In addition, being that he is a police captain, I had to think about and practice how to hold the weapons, how to enter into a building which represented a dangerous environment. Not holding the weapons like a real and properly trained policeman, for example, would make my performance not look real. I didn’t want that to happen obviously.

When we were called to the set, the directors explained the scene to us again and we did a rehearsal or a first run-through as well as to check the sound and lighting. We were given adjustments, that were at times very specific and then we would shoot the scene; usually anywhere from two to five takes.

A working actor during the shoot

I received a call one day from one of the teachers at the school where I had studied theatre acting for a year. They told me about this opportunity and thought I would be right for the part. I sent in my headshot and résumé and was called in just a few days later.

In preparation for the audition they sent me three pages to memorize, which I did. I felt ready. Two days later I was welcomed to the audition by the two directors and the producer. I did the audition for them and they gave me a few adjustments.

I could tell they really liked my work. As a matter of fact, something happened which I don’t think has ever happened before or since then. They asked me immediately if I was interested in taking the part. I said yes and we had a deal. I was to become a working actor once again.

Some directors give very specific direction and tell you exactly what they want you to do in a given moment, even down to certain gestures they want you to make. Other directors leave you a lot of room to express yourself, based on how you feel as part of the character you are interpreting and that you, using your acting technique, helped to create. Having a director give you too much direction can be frustrating. I found it interesting in that once you work with a director and get to know him, you click and you know what he wants, sometimes even without him having to ask.

The two young directors I worked with on that film gave most of us actors a lot of room to maneuver, which I liked on one hand, but to be honest, when I saw my performance on film, it was easy to see, that it was one of my earlier ones. I wish I could shoot it again, but I can’t. You can only learn from what you did and go forward. At this early stage in my own acting career, I have learned that this is one of the things being a working actor is all about.

A Working Actor: The End Result

The two directors were happy with my performance. They’re presenting the film in numerous film festivals all around Europe and have asked me if I would be interested in working on their next project. They are creating a role just for me. Now that’s satisfaction.

Do you have a story to tell about your most recent experience as a working actor? Do you think it might provide some useful information to young actors trying to understand what it’s like to act? Send it to us on the stories page of this website. Look at the menu to the left.

See another story of what it's like to be a working actor looking for work!

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