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
The idea of having an actor web site wasnt really a broadly discussed topic until around 2003, the same year that Amy Russ launched her online company ActorWebs.com. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy to talk to her about the services that her company provides to actors and performers and to discuss the benefits of having a web presence. I got all that along with another great story about how she actually started her web-based business. We all know (or we all should know) that the first step to launching an acting career is to organize your life and your finances so that you will be able to dedicate yourself to all the demands of your career. If you dont have the flexibility, both in terms of time and money to be able to concentrate more time on your career and on your career goals, then I think you should read this story.
and ActorWebs.com Founder,
Tony: Hello Amy! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Amy: Ive been an actress for a long time and I temped for a while, doing that gerbil on the wheel thing, just spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere in my career. My experience was that I went to work for a temporary employment agency thinking that it was going to be very flexible work like they said, but what I found was that that is not true at all. You get the job and even though it is temporary, they expect you to be there in your seat from nine to five or six. So if you have an audition, and at that time I was starting to get commercial auditions, it was very difficult to leave or get an hour for lunch and try and arrange your schedule around them. I was just not very happy doing that.
Tony: What kind of temporary job did you have?
Amy: I was temping for a large company in their corporate offices and I actually saw a lot of ex-actors there who started out temping to support their acting careers and they ended up staying, because they needed the money. They werent auditioning, because they needed the money so they stayed there and continued to work full-time.
I told myself that I didnt want that to happen to me! I had a job working as the assistant of a high-ranking official, who was self-sufficient. She did everything herself, wrote her own memos, answered her own mail and made her own appointments so I really didnt have much to do all day for three months except collect my paycheck. That was fine in a way, but I had to find something to fill my time during the day.
I knew I wanted an actor web site for myself, so I went down to Barnes & Noble and picked up a book about web design to find out how to do it and thats how I filled up the empty time at work; studying. I taught myself with the help of the book and I built my very first website. I found that I had a knack for building sites. People told me that they really liked my site and asked if I could build an actor web site for them too. And thats how the idea was born.
I had been working on it before then on my own, but ActorWebs.com was actually born in 2003.
Tony: So did you continue to work at another job while you were building ActorWebs.com?
Amy: Gosh, yes, but it wasnt for very long. It was just a few months before I could quit my other job and focus on ActorWebs.com and my acting career.
Tony: Thats a great story. I talk a lot about that on ActingCareerStartUp.com, because I really believe that if an actor is working 9-5 for someone else, that he/she will not have the time to focus on an acting career as one should and with all the demands it puts on you.
Amy: That is so right! You cant concentrate on your career if you are working so hard for someone else! I know people who have boundless energy and seem to balance both, but you can only do that for so long and stay healthy. I was finding that while I worked for the temp agency, I was really tired at night and I had to do things for my acting career as well. Its not easy.
I always had to run to get to my acting class, which started at 6:30pm. Sometimes I was late, because they needed me to stay longer at work.
Tony: What other jobs have you had to help you fund your career?
Amy: Ive had just about every survival job you could imagine. Ive even been a waitress, which can be tricky. You know, you can get caught up in that, because you make tips and then when you get off work its late and you are wound up and not ready to go to bed yet. Your colleagues want to go out and have some drinks and spend money and they coax you to come along! I would often tell them that I need this money that I just made for my classes and stuff for my acting career. Then they just looked at me in a funny way. So I really see how people get caught up in that.
Its a struggle to find something that you like doing or rather that you love doing. I think thats important. Aside from just making money, its good to have something to do that allows you the freedom to go to auditions and to book a job whenever you get the opportunity.
Tony: So talk to me about the flexibility aspect of doing what you are doing.
Amy: Listen, I have acting work booked from December to February out of town. I take my laptop and I go do my acting job there and I do my job with ActorWebs. Its the perfect set up!
Tony: You know, its funny because if we had rehearsed this interview, I wouldnt have scripted it any differently. I often ask the question to actors, both new and aspiring, Whats the first thing you need to start your acting career? More often than not, I get the answer, I need a headshot, résumé and an agent. What a lot of people dont realize is that before doing those things, there are a whole lot of other things that need to be done first.
Amy: Yes, that is so true! The first thing you have to do is to organize your life so that you can afford to pursue your acting business, because its very expensive. You have to treat it like a business and you have business expenses. Yes, you do need a headshot, but how do you pay for that? How do you take the time off to go to the photographer to get your picture taken? How do you pay for your classes? How do you get time off work for auditions and acting jobs? The truth is that it took me a while to figure all this out too.
Tony: So the moral of this great story that you have just told us?
Amy: Find something that you love to do and that will help you to make the money you need and that provides you with the flexibility to pursue your acting career.
Amy Russ is founder and President of ActorWebs.com , an online company that offers full service website design for actors and artists of all types.
To read the other part of the interview with Amy and to see and hear more about her actor web site business ActorWebs.com click here.
Exclusive Actor Web Site Interview
This is an exclusive interview of Amy Russ, President of the actor web site company ActorWebs.com. No part of this interview may be used or copied without the express written consent of Anthony Smith, President of ActingCareerStartUp.com.
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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