Ah, but for the days of the old Hollywood movie studio’s. Young actors were put under contract and received money while they were learning. Those were simpler times with much less competition.

So what have we today? Let’s start with the phrase “Talent needs to be seen” and I add to that “when you are ready” Although development is a life long process, there comes a time that you are ready to work. Now you need to distinguish between Acting Jobs and Acting Work. Acting Jobs you are paid to do. Acting work can have little or no pay. You do it to practice and strengthen your craft and be seen by industry people that can hire and pay you and meet people. And you will have the opportunity to meet Directors, Producers, Casting Directors, Writers, Managers and Agents. But do not open doors until you are ready to walk thru capably. So on one hand I always teach actors to take risks, however in this circumstance I say “be ready to deliver, at whatever level you are at”.

Begin with what is right in front of you. Who do you already know that is in the profession that you can talk to.. Get a picture and resume to them. Perhaps they will audition you, or know someone that might. (The more you audition the better you get). Buy your local trade publication, do mailings to Agents and Managers, Do student films at major Colleges and Universities. Try to get Theatre work in showcases, join a theatre company, create your own show then find an available space and show it.  Some Cabaret’s allow scene nights, and plays as well as musical Performers. Do mailings on line at places such as Actors Access and NY Casting’s. It’s great to start with background work on films and on the Soaps and the good news is that they pay you for your work. You also get first hand experience of what is expected of you on set.

Keeping in motion, is the name of the game. And keep your eye on the ball of working and being seen. Just as   Anthony Rapp talks about in his brilliant 1 man show “Without You” After having stared in the first workshop production of “Rent” he worked at a store that sold a variety of coffee. I remember that, as at that time he was in my acting class.  After that came the mega-success of “Rent on Broadway” I bring Anthony up as an example because of his amazing career. Broadway, off-Broadway, Off Off Broadway, major films, and Indies, Readings, Staged Readings, Records, Cabaret, Touring, Regional theatre. He does it all.  Anthony is always visible.

Happiness needs to be shared and misery loves company; that equates having PEOPLE in your life. Buddy up with members of your acting class, people at work, (regular job) and those you meet when you audition and at jobs you book, the gym, networking events (listed in trade papers and on line) also casting events which you can also learn about online. For some it’s much easier when you have a small “mailing party” for sending out pictures and resumes, than doing it alone. Pizza, beer and encouraging friends, or you can definitely upscale the menu if it’s more suitable to Crepes and wine.

You have 365 days a year to take a small step and make a lot of progress; unless you’re better with quantum leaps, which is great too. Often it’s a combination of both.  Without the old Hollywood system your career is all in your hands…that’s the good news! No one owns you.  You’re a free agent. I invite you to look for jobs with a larger view of building a career.  Enjoy the process while you work towards fantastic results. With this work mode and philosophy the money jobs might very well look for you!

Looking forward to your huge success.

-Sande Shurin