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
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
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!
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
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
This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA
Getting acting industry contacts is one of the biggest challenges for a new actors today. Ive seen and talked to many actors, young aspiring actors as well as well as many who have been at it for several years. There is often a common theme, which is the lack of industry contacts. By now, you know me well enough to know that I believe in having a strategy for what you want to achieve.
If someone, in this case an actor, doesnt have a strategy as to how to promote herself and get work and is continuously getting work, then you might say that having a strategy isnt really so important. After all, shes working! Thats what we want right? Why do I need a strategy and plans and vision and all that stuff if Im working? Is getting more acting industry contacts really so important?
Well, first of all, we know how it can be. It could be that you are working now, but next month or next year, you might not be. Then what? I dont want to have to start all over again or have to work off of the only acting industry contacts I made over the last year who are people I met on that job. I also tend to think that even if I am getting work consistently, that maybe if I have a method and a strategy as to how I want things to go, maybe I could get even better results than the ones Im getting now.
Anyway, but if an actor isnt getting much work, doesnt have an agent and doesnt get out to audition much, chances are, there is a common denominator. Not many acting industry contacts.
So what is there to do? Im taking this moment to reiterate what Ive said throughout the book and the website, which is that I am not the expert. Im just a little further ahead of you if you are fully within the target audience of this site, which are people who have decided recently to take acting up as a career and have little or no information.
What Ive learned and what I have found to be particularly effective: Mailings. Not just mailings to every casting director and agent I can find, but targeted mailings. I mail to industry people who cater to my type and who do or cast for things that I could be good for or interested in. Mailings with cover letters a good headshot and a résumé as good as it can be with what you have to truthfully put on it, even with regard to the format. Cover letters must be written in the right way in a short and concise manner, but at the same time with all the right information on it to get your message across and hopefully get an appointment and be effective. I didnt know all that when I first started doing mailings. I mailed to anyone and everyone and then made a crucial mistake, which ended up costing me a lot of wasted time. I didnt follow up!
I waited to get responses and thats the worst thing I could have done. Now I know that at regular intervals of (and this can vary depending on which industry professional you talk to and what they prefer) anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, I follow up with post cards reporting what Ive done since my last correspondence. A great guide for this is Acting As a Business, Third Edition: Strategies for Success, it has examples of how cover letters should be written and he talks in detail not only about how best to use mailing and post card follow up, but also what to say and how to say it, once you get an appointment. He also helped me put together a mailing strategy for the time I would be away in Europe. He told me exactly who to write, based on my experience and what little I had on my résumé, what to say and how often to send the cards. Great help. I went from having two contacts in New York who really didnt seem to care much about me, to being personally called and invited into audition directly by commercial casting directors, photographers, and agents and I even received phone calls from two producers from New York while I was in Italy. I had told them that I would be away and about the time I would be returning, but they called anyway to ask me if I was interested in coming back to audition for their programs. On one occasion I even went back. I didnt get chosen, but I looked at as an investment. They put me on cameral for two hours in different situations and I had a chance to make an impression. If Im not right for this one, I might be right for something else. Plus, it was a good experience. Plus, my financial strategy is what permitted me to be able to take off for a week and go back to New York before I had planned.
Another strategy that I have found particularly effective is attending Actors Connection seminars. Its a great place to meet the industry professionals, pretty much of your choice. There are also classes not in acting technique, but in just about anything else an actor needs, on-camera classes, business, hosting, on-camera commercials, soap classes, prime-time, print, free seminars of various types, marketing. You name it.
I will tell you this, however. To meet those acting industry contacts, you have to pay a small fee. I have had many discussions with actor friends, who dont believe that its right to have to pay to see industry professionals like that. While I can understand why they say that and have to admit that I would also love for it not to have to be that way, I look at it this way. If I dont have any acting industry contacts, havent had any for some time, am not getting sent out on auditions very much and at the same time have the nerve to complain that my acting career isnt going anywhere, then if I have an opportunity like that and dont take advantage of it, then I can only blame myself for my failure. I also have to say that if I had gone to, oh, the twenty-some AC seminars and had never gotten anything out of it and had talked to other actors who have gone there and also they hadnt gotten anything out of it, then I definitely wouldnt continue going there.
The fact is that several of my new acting industry contacts, which consist of casting directors and agents and even one personal manager have called me into their offices after I auditioned for them. Things like that have happened about twenty percent of the time. Anyway, I found two agents and a manager this way and learned a lot of little valuable tips that helped me through auditions. Thats where I met Brian ONeil and Pat Murphy-Stark, who is a very experienced host and actress, who teaches hosting, ear prompter and tele-promter classes. Ive gotten my moneys worth and as long as I need some more acting industry contacts and need to stay in touch with whats going on, Ill continue going back there. They have helped me tremendously in building a list of important acting industry contacts in just a short period of time. The Actors Connection has a couple of other interesting programs as well. Beside all the classes, they also have a week-long session called The LA Connection, that you have to audition for and they take you to LA for a week and you get to audition for lots of acting industry contacts / professionals that they line up for you and show you around LA so you can see what its like. Ive been thinking about that, but I have other priorities at the moment.
Another program they have that I did participate in and which got me some very valueable acting industry contacts and which also turned out to be a life-saver as I explain in my book is something called the conservatory. It was a series of benefits, which include classes that help you build a list of acting industry contacts, a seminar, a consultation with Leslie Becker, her class and the grand prize: an agent guaranteed to send you out on auditions. Thats actually how I booked some of the jobs I booked the last time I was in New York. In closing here, obtaining and maintaining contacts can be important in any field, but for us acting industry contacts and the maintenance of them is crucial! Click here to find out more about the place where I have gotten many of my acting industry contacts.
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I want to say you changed my life. I want to be an actress so bad, but i began losing motivation when I couldn't figure out what to do. And then I found you! Thanks to you, I'm taking my first acting classes next month! Yippee!
Sara, Pasadena, CA
Just wanted to thank you for bringing me in to [audition for the video], meet you and chat this Saturday. I was really excited to hear about your working on actingcareerstartup.com and even took a look at it today - it's awesome! You are very well-spoken, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and it shows through the work that you do! I hope our paths in the industry will cross again and really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks, again and best wishes with your very important work!
Gretchen, NY, NY