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The Business of Acting Checklist

This workshop was taught by the amazing Barbara Hauptman, an industry veteran. Here were my biggest takeaway's from this:

1) Finances

2) Survival jobs. Alright. Time for a little anecdote from your girl Lucy. I've had two opportunities since graduating college less than a year ago to join more corporate but reliable fields. One was in real estate and one was for a corporate tech company. However, both of these jobs would have taken up 100 percent of my time and emotional energy, which would compromise my ability to give strong auditions/search for my next acting job. A survival job needs flexibility. Good options include nannying, being a personal trainer, teaching yoga, being an event planner, personal assistant, tutoring, medical patient (play a sick person in medical instructional videos), script reader, audition reader

3) Further training. Find a teacher or coach. Never stop training even if you don't go to graduate school. Prestigious regional theatre companies love actors with MFA's, and it can help you stand out from the herd.

4) Branding/type. So type can be hard to asses on your own. I recommend getting a variety of opinions. Unfortunately, you can't control your type entirely. You can't control the genetics you were born with. However, branding is something you 100 percent can control. Doing things like having a website, an active social media if that's your thing, a Backstage profile, etc. are all within your control and fall under the umbrella of "branding."

4.5) If you're unsure of what your type is, ask yourself, "Is there a pattern in the roles you're playing?"

5) Headshots:

  • They need to look like YOU but on your best day. If you have straight hair like me, don't have a headshot with curled hair unless you're willing to commit to that look EVERY TIME YOU GO TO AN AUDITION.

  • Headshots need to have a white border. Headshots should emphasize your eyes. Don't wear big, bold jewelry, and always wear solid colors.

  • Your theatre headshot can look more serious, but your commercial headshot should be more smiley.

  • Always speak with headshot photographer prior to getting your headshot taken.

  • It is imperative that your headshots are done by a professional who knows what they're doing.

  • Headshots only need to be retaken if you've had a major hair change, unless it's been more than say, 10 years since your headshot has been taken or there's been a major change in the industry standard for headshots

6) Resumes. You need them for every audition, stapled or glued to your headshot. I have an entire separate blog post about this!

7) Cover Letter: Include your business email, date, snail address. Dear____ (Never write "To whom it may concern"),

Include "enclosures" (headshot, resume, 1-2 paragraphs)

Sincerely (Your Name)

If you're writing to an agent, get a referral. Mutual friends can be referrals. Most agencies are small. Write "enclosed are my materials in response to your website." NOTE: CASTING DIRECTORS DON'T USE LINKEDIN. Never compare yourself to other actors in cover letters.

8) Monologues/songs. Monologues must reflect age and type.

9) Demo reels (I recommend having at least both a live performance/theatre reel and then a film reel). Note that regional theatre's often ask for this. Can use services like Actor Intro (for film reel) or Tim Grady Films (for live performance reel) to get assistance in making a reel. Link reel; don't attach it in audition emails.

10) Website. This should include headshot, photos that are production quality, demo reel, etc.

FINAL NOTE: If you're serious about a career in acting, try to do at least one thing for your career each day.

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