By: Jennifer Rudolph
Good evening AGRtists,
I'm coming home to you (New York) on Saturday. I've had a fantastic month in Los Angeles but I miss my New York babies :)
While in L.A. I got wind of an incredible success story that I have to share. The first lesson of it all is nothing happens overnight. The actors who you think "ohhhh they are an overnight sensation" are really not. 9 times out of 10 they have been pounding the pavement for years, meeting CD's, honing themselves, bookings things here and there and then they get a break. It all takes time. Building relationships takes TIME. Casting directors call you in and try you for different things. They observe. There are a million variables. Only so many people get called in per role. You become a favorite. You become consistent. You become someone who books work over and over. You become...a Series Regular.
Meet AGRtist DeWanda Wise
DeWanda and I met close to 8 years ago. She had just graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and was about to hit the ground running. I immediately saw a "seed" in DeWanda. It was something that needed to be nurtured. She was innately talented but was new to the business and was working on translating her theatrical training into the realm of film / television. She was compelling to watch and had fantastic instincts. She began working with a manager and as a CD at the time I would call her in for nearly every project I worked on. She became a favorite and was consistent. I knew it was a matter of time before she would start booking work. DeWanda developed relationships with casting directors. She hustled. She understood the way the business worked. She got into the groove and kept at it. She worked on herself. She was on the journey. I encouraged her to make bold choices. To access all of her parts and do what it took to make it happen. (we now offer these holistic tools at AGR in the form of C.R.E.A.T.E. Workshop). DeWanda was brave. She went there. She became business savvy and immersed herself in AGR. She started booking work. DeWanda booked a lot of low budget / unknown films and started booking episodics (approx 1-2 jobs a year - each job being 1 episode). DeWanda imparted herself to the CDs and they loved her. They would call her in again and again and she would book work as often as the universe allowed. This is often the trajectory for AGRtists and actors in general who then strike gold. It's a slow build. It's a result of the sum of steps taken.
8 years later? DeWanda booked a Series Regular role in a new FOX series. She went from 1 episode roles to Series Regular. How? Because she worked on herself on a continual bases, she was able to access ALL of herself, (check out Acting and the Chakras) because of her relationships with the casting directors, her sessions at AGR that helped her crystallize and keep her technique in shape...and because the right role came along at the right time and she was ready. Everything led up to that moment. All of the preparation. It met opportunity and BOOM.
DeWanda...I am so proud of you.
AGRtists...this too can happen for you. But you must take the steps and be consistent. If you don't see results, look in the mirror and ask yourself what self-limiting beliefs you may have and check out C.R.E.A.T.E., perhaps your packaging is not en pointe, perhaps you need more training, perhaps you are staying on casting director's radars. You must be memorable and you must be patient.
If you build it, they will come.
"There are folks in the industry who have been exceptionally supportive & vital to my process for years. I don't think I would have continued without them. I remember auditioning for Jen Rudolph & attending sessions at AGR. She encouraged me to jump out of my comfort zone even in the audition room, and go to the dark places I would be require to go on set or onstage. That approach is especially vital to the kind of work I do, and want to continue to do." - AGRtist DeWanda Wise
About The Author:
By: Jennifer Onvie
Last year was filled with a lot of ups and downs for me but when you really look at it, it is all ups because everything is a stepping stone, building block, part of a slow forward momentum--if you are in the right mind frame to see it as such. But sometimes it gets hard to see it that way, we get clouded by doubt, negativity, a why aren't we 'there' yet mentality. There is no 'there,' there is 'here,' and 'here' is now.
I got close to a handful of projects last year. So close it hurt. But then I didn't get it. I signed with an agency. And then things got quiet. Panic set in. Just stay busy, do whatever is in your power to do. Energy carries over, positive or negative. Sometimes it takes more time than we would prefer, but eventually it does.
I had to reframe my my mind, I looked back on all those auditions I got close to getting. One could see them as failures, and I'll admit a part of me saw them that way. But then I started to see them as successes--I got in those rooms. And I crushed those auditions, regardless of whether or not I got the parts, I showed up and I showed up hard each and every time.
I recently had an AGR intensive with Adrienne Stern she asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves and say if they were union, represented, and why they were here. Everyone went around the room and most were non union, unrepresented--where I was just a couple years ago. It came to me and the person that was speaking said they were union and represented, by multiple people. It took me aback, I am slowly but ever so surely becoming the actor I wanted to be. It made me realize sometimes we need to stop, just stop, and acknowledge where we have been, how far we have come, to be able to see the possibilities of where we can go.
Today I am writing to you because I have an offer for a recurring character in the new AMC show Feed the Beast.
I'm in the pilot and one other episode and it's open ended of whether or not they'll develop my character.
Star Trek love.
About the Author
By: Lisa Dobbyn
I just had to share some awesome news with you. Some months ago, I watched your webinar with Danielle Eskinazi - from that I learned that she pays attention to her actors on social media, so I began a Twitter relationship with her - keeping up to date with her workshops, retweeting valuable insights she shared etc.
I'm not sure if you remember, but back then YOU went to bat for me by suggesting and recommending my work on Twitter - solidifying and progressing that relationship. Weeks later, Danielle met me at a workshop for the first time and we discussed you and The Actors Green Room. I read some copy, Danielle gave me really positive feedback and I felt confident that I "brought it" and looked forward to getting called in to her office.
Then...nothing. Crickets. For a split second, I wondered if maybe I hadn't done my best work in the room. I wondered if maybe there was something I'd missed, or if I'd been too pushy. But from everything I've learned in The Green Lounge, I reminded myself that I had to be patient and keep moving forward. "If you build it...", right??
Cut to this morning. My commercial agent calls me. He says, "Get ready to go STRAIGHT TO PRODUCERS tomorrow morning for a commercial spot with...wait for it....Danielle Eskinazi"!
HUGE reminders for me - CREATE the relationship. TRUST in the process. DO the work. MOVE forward. BELIEVE.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the MAGIC that is the Actors Green Room. Now, excuse me while I go squeal and pirouette around my kitchen. :)
Can't wait to see you in LA!!
About The Author
By: Jonas Cohen
I booked my second co-star role. Power was back in November as you may remember. And today I'm shooting Blue Bloods after a great class with Kim Miscia AND the amazeballs coaching of Jessica Blank and the strategizing of Jordan Ancel. I mean, seriously? Why isn't everyone coaching with Jess? Lucky for me she has availability.
I also want to say I made a DECISION for TV this year. In particular, I had 3 theater opportunities for January. It was hard but I had to turn them down. It was hard because theater is known to me and going out of town is what I've always done. This time I said no. Jordan said to me, "you say you want TV. What kind of message does it send to your agents if you tell them that's what you want but then take the theater gigs? When I turned down a gig in Indiana my agent said, "I can only put things in front of you. I won't tell you what to do unless I think you're gonna do something stupid. But I think you are absolutely 100% doing the right thing!" Everyone was right. If I'd taken the theater gig I'd be freezing my butt off in Indiana right now instead of writing this to you from the Blue Bloods costume shop where I'm having my fitting. This afternoon I shoot a scene with Dakin Matthews and Bridget Moynahan....um, yeah!
It's so important and Jordan has hammered this home. Success = DECISION + Action + Commitment
About the Author
By: Michael Silberblatt
Hey Jen and the AGR team!
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you guys do for actors here in NYC. I've been to all the major networking studios here in NYC... and AGR is the only one in which I feel that the staff truly goes out of its way to care for its team members and the people involved in this business. From Jane Dashow's hilarious opening shpeels, to Jen's consistent industry vetting, to the fellow AGR'ers in the online Facebook page... everyone really does seem to be working together. I don't know how you managed pull it off so successfully, but I'm so glad you did.
I'm happy to share a couple exciting success stories - one from the AGR voiceover night last October, and one from this December's AGR Agent Night!
1.) AGR Voiceover Night (October 21st, 2015)
--- Voiceover has been a part of my life since age 13. Although I already had VO representation, I signed up for this event because I wanted to get in front of the major casting directors that were in attendance. Sure enough, after the event I was called in to read for a commercial at SoundLounge! The agents in attendance provided excellent feedback (both in writing and in person), I now have a slew of casting director relationships to boot, and I'm finally getting into those coveted audition rooms!
2.) AGR Agent Night (December 2nd, 2015)
--- I was called in to discuss representation with two of the agents in attendance and was offered to sign with one of them on the spot. I'm thankful to finally be pursuing TV, Film, and Theatre auditions outside of the limited options available for unrepresented actors via self-submission. 2016 is off to a great start.
Seriously, you guys are the best. I've been a regular AGR'er this past year and have done my diligent homework developing relationships with key CDs for show's I'm right for. I paid close attention to your (very many :P) emails about making sure your 'type' is honed-in (in my case, the "intense, dark, intelligent, brooding, troubled young adult"), your marketing materials are up-to-date and in order (www.michaelsilberblatt.com), and you have a killer headshot and resume. It seems to be working well so far.
I haven't been lucky enough to meet Jen yet but perhaps that'll change! I hope to maintain a long-term relationship with you guys.
Thanks again for changing my life; I mean that sincerely and without irony.
By: Frances Brennand Roper
I am writing this at the beginning of the year in the hope that I can inspire whoever reads it, that staying open and focusing on the "long game" as Kevin Spacey puts it, will always win in the end.
At around this time last year, I got a phone call from Jen, (Whom I have know for a very long time and love!) At the moment she called I was in the gym getting "ready" for Pilot season...I didn't however have an LA agent or manager at the time and believe me those rooms are very difficult to get into unless you have help!!
She said, "Ross Meyerson needs help in LA with a pilot, are you interested?" "Let me call you back asap," I said. I immediately picked up the phone and called my then manager in NYC and asked him what he thought, considering working on the pilot would take me out of being able to audition for any jobs for at least 6 weeks...he said "why not?" and he was right!
"Yes, I'm in!" I said twenty minutes later. "Great, I'll email Ross." Now let me say at this moment that I had never worked as a casting assistant before on a pilot. I had helped cast commercials, yes, and a couple of movies, absolutely, but nothing and I mean nothing prepared me for the whirlwind that was about to move into my life.
When Ross emailed me I won't lie, I was terrified, having known nothing about what project I would be working on when I said yes, I then found out I would be working on CBS'S Limitless with Bradley Cooper and K/O Paper Products producing, and Marc Webb (500 days of Summer and Spiderman) directing the Pilot. I mean talk about getting to be in one of the most exciting casting rooms in Los Angeles...and believe me, it was.
I just kept saying to myself, I am going to get the absolute most out of this experience and work as hard as I possibly can to help Ross find the best cast!! I tried to learn on my feet as quickly as I could, while being totally in awe every morning as I drove onto the Universal parking lot. It was like a dream come true, to work with this amazing casting director, to watch him work with actors, to be in the producer sessions and to truly see how the other side of pilot season works. I took time to talk with everyone, from producers,and writers to assistants, interns - while not getting in their way!! And I did everything I could to try and make Ross's Job easier. We sometimes worked from 9am till 11pm, but we laughed as often as we could and ate lots of m & m's!! After 6 weeks and a vigorous search of the world, Limitless was cast and I cannot express how proud I was to be a part of it.
Let me just say at this point, that Casting Director's are incredible and I have nothing but the upmost respect and appreciation for the amount of work they pour into making what we see on tv and in films compelling. They are genuinely the unsung hero's of the entertainment industry and we should all be aware of that every time we get the opportunity to audition for anything no matter how big or small it is. #castingdirectors4oscars
Working with Ross and the rest of the team at Tucker Meyerson, was one of the most extraordinary experiences I have ever had and this was only the beginning. He introduced me to a few of the agents he thought would be appropriate for me in LA, and personally recommended me. After emailing lots of different agencies and taking meetings I was thrilled to sign with Monica Barkett at Global Artists Agency. She then also introduced me to the wonderful woman who is now my manager, Kelly Tiffan at KTM Artist Group. Both these women have worked at one the top three agencies (you know the ones) and moved later in their careers to develop talent. They are amazing, and I have to pinch myself most of the time that in just one year I went from 0 to 100 and now have a team who believe in me, and who I trust entirely.
I began almost instantly to audition for bigger jobs, and since then I have consistently been sent to producers for recurring guest stars, series regular roles, and auditioned for lots of amazing movies. I also kept in touch with many of the producers from the show and drummed up the courage to pitch episode ideas to the show runner, Craig Sweeny. He and I had many long conversations about network television and telling stories. He even at one point suggested I should be a writer, and I am proud to say that having pitched my ideas as a freelance writer, Episode 109 of Limitless entitled "Headquarters!" this season was mine. I even got a full "story by" credit and my own title card on the episode, and am now a member of the Writers Guild of America.
Even in writing this it is hard to fathom that I did all of this in one year, but it all started with me saying yes to someone that I trusted and doing something completely unknown. I took a risk, stepped outside of my comfort zone of just "being an actor" and learnt more than I could possibly write in this message.
My intention in writing this is only to encourage everyone who reads it to do something that normally terrifies you and stay completely open to the challenge. As artists we have no idea what might happen from one day to the next, no idea at all. But, if you can keep your heart open and your head up, then life is literally a canvas at your fingertips.
Having a team of people who believe in you, who you are grateful for and trust is like having a family you built yourself. The Actors Green Room is the first place that I learnt that, it's the first place I ever felt at home and accepted and there is a reason why it is such a success. It's because Jen runs it from her heart, from her passion, her love of actors and all the things we can create as a community. And to this indomitable woman I am abundantly grateful! #jen4president
Let me finish by just saying, oak trees do not grow overnight. Anything worth having takes time, effort and patience. But, I truly believe that whatever you put out into the universe will be reflected back at you and I know that if you put your heart and soul into everything you do, and be kind and gracious along the way, that in time, when the moment is right and you are truly ready, whatever you dream of will manifest. For the first time in my career as an actor I am looking forward to having a busy and exciting pilot season, and "fingers crossed" writing more stories for the show where it all began!
To 2016 - I hope everyone of you has the most amazing year and that all your dreams come true!!
Winterize Your Skin
By: Elana Safar
That goes for you, too, men!
Northeastern friends, are you running around with dry hands, a tight and uncomfortable-feeling face, or cracked lips? If the onset of freezing temperatures makes you all feel like crying “SOS!” (save our skin) then it is time to ‘winterize’ your skincare routine! Grab your holiday bonus and stock up on some hero products that will help you retain a healthy complexion throughout the brutal winter months.
First, the news isn’t all bad. Cold air actually harbors less bacteria than warm air, so your face will be less oily and see fewer breakouts. However, the unfortunate effect of a dry climate (and forced heat) is dehydrated skin, which appears tired or takes the form of temporary fine lines. That means your on-camera close up may be misleading. To quote Michelle Tanner, “How rude!”
Here are my skin-salvation must-haves, with my advice on where to save versus splurge.
About the Author
By: Erik Mueller
What a rush! I just completed my first C.R.E.A.T.E. workshop with Tony Award nominated director Kristin Hanggi and actress and yoga instructor Natalie Roy at The Actor's Green Room in New York.
Last Wednesday, I needed a pick-me-up, so I logged into the AGR webinar on “Embracing Your Imperfections” featuring actor and acting coach Clyde Baldo. I had heard him speak in a previous webinar and loved his approach to life and acting. During the webinar, Jeff Mitchell, VP of AGR Los Angeles ran a poll to find out where the participants were. Usually, most are in New York or Los Angeles, but this night 22 percent listed themselves as "Other." "Where are you?" Jen Rudolph, owner of AGR, asked. I and several others typed "Washington, DC." She said, "I'm going to do something crazy. Who in DC is free on Saturday?" I typed that I was free. And she said, "Alright Erik, it's you. You're coming up to New York, and I'm going to pay for your bus and hotel.” Awesome!
Saturday evening, a bunch of happy, expectant actors flowed into AGR. There must have been fifty of us. About half were at C.R.E.A.T.E. for the first time. Kristin and Natalie welcomed us. The theme for the night was "dreams." The first activity was to write down the answers to three questions: (1) What is your goal for the night? (2) What do you want to happen tonight? (3) What great thing has happened to you in the last week? For (1), I wrote “To soak it up. This is the dream being here with these like-minded actors, all here to support one another.” For (2), I wrote “I want to get to know some of the people here. To discover my future direction. To be excited to make it happen.” For (3), I put, of course, “Being invited to attend C.R.E.A.T.E. all expenses paid.”
Kristin presented the main messages for the night: Life wants to give us our dreams. All we need to do is take actions toward them, however scary those actions may be. Things will happen. We can’t predict exactly what they’ll be, but they’ll be good. We’ll experience challenges and clunkiness, but we have the means to push through these difficulties and achieve our dreams. Kristin also told us, “The world is in bad shape. It desperately needs artists to help it heal. Do your acting for the world!”
Natalie told us not to be too focused on the results, like winning an Oscar. Only focus on what you have to do right now. Small steps are the only way to big results. In response to a question about the difficulty of changing one’s habits, she said, “The only way to make change is to do it and do it and do it and do it and do it and do it.” Kristin added, “Show up every day and say yes.”
Natalie led a guided meditation. I closed my eyes, and she created the most amazing white cloud cover, as if it were “neither day nor night.” I climbed up a tree and stepped onto the surface of the cloud. I bounced around on it. I walked toward a moon in the distance until I was in front of it. There was a door on the moon. I opened it, walked in, and saw a beautiful state-of-the-art soundstage. I walked into my office adjoining the large and colorful set of the TV show I’m going to create. People were buzzing around me, so happy to be collaborating on our wonderful show. Natalie asked us to identify the most important object in the room. I saw a script.
At the end of the workshop, we formed a large circle. One by one, each of us went into the middle of the circle to say our name and our “power statement.” I loved watching the spontaneity and variety of the participants. When I went in and said, “Hi everyone!” the response physically knocked me off my feet. They echoed back, “Hi everyone!” Then I said, “My name is Erik Mueller!” “Your name is Erik Mueller!” “My dream is!” “Your dream is!” “To write and act the truth!” “To write and act the truth!”
Kristin closed with the message, “Don’t keep your dream at a distance. Believe in yourself. Your dream is right in front of you.” Totally! I’m ready to get to work on those small steps toward big results!
About the Author
By Jennifer Rudolph
The subject of this blog is "if you want to give up". I'm chiming in "don't." If this business is your passion - meaning you wake up in the morning and your first breath is full of a dream, you want to be a working actor with every ounce of your being - DECIDE to do it. My mentor Jordan Ancel taught me the meaning of the work "de-cide." From Latin it means literally "to kill off". So when you DECIDE to something you are KILLING OFF the possibility of doing anything else. When you make a DECISION, the universe conspires to make it happen. That means...if you are operating from that place of true desire, you will back it up with action and the energy will go out there. You will get out of your own way, face whatever is holding you back, and take the next right action. By doing this...things will come. In FIELD OF DREAMS, Ray receives messages from a mysterious voice and knows there is something behind it. It's his innermost dream. He follows the directions and takes the next right step. In the end...it all makes sense and his dream is realized. This is how it works. This can happen for you too.
I am going to share something personal. A few weeks ago I made a decision. I decided it was time to expand my reach in terms of AGR and let the greater entertainment world in on what I am doing for actors, how I am helping them succeed, how the soul of an artist is equally as important as the shark inside them. I decided it was time to fully practice what I preach and begin showing up EVERY Sunday night to the CREATE Workshop series to manifest this. After 10 minutes in the class, I truly realized why I hired Kristin Haangi and Natalie Roy to come aboard. Because they have the power to help every actor (and non-actor) look inside, question limiting beliefs and reveal their own greatness. They have the power to help actors manifest whatever they want by themselves. Within 3 weeks of taking the workshop regularly...I was introduced/signed with an A-List publicist and tonight...was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter for a big feature coming up. I had put this out there...and it came. I am going to continue to go to this workshop every Sunday night. I strongly encourage you to check it out. It's $20 and will change your career.
There are 2 moving stories about AGR manifestation that happened that I would like to share with you. Both are AGR'rs who were very disgruntled and wanted to give up. I said no.
MEET AGR'r JONAS COHEN
"Remember just a couple of weeks ago when I emailed you all frustrated and wondering about when it was gonna be "my time?"When I last wrote to you I mentioned how frustrated I sometimes get by the AGR email blasts. I read about the success of other AGR'rs and while I'm happy for them I wonder, 'when's it gonna be my turn?' I THINK the answer is...things happen when you're truly ready for them to happen. That means building it of course with on-camera training, marketing, and having a solid package ready to show the folks in casting. It also means putting out the right energy and vibe. We reap what we sow. We plant the seeds in our minds with either positive or negative thoughts and we get back what we put out there. We have to visualize ourselves as already having the thing that we want. Our lives are a perfect reflection of us and of what's going on inside. As you know I've been working on all these things and am still working on them with the help of you and Jessica Blank (acting coach genius) and Jordan Ancel (amazing get out of yer way and get it done guy) The opportunity came, I was ready, and I was there. I recently booked and shot my very first co-star on the STARZ show POWER and shot a scene with Fifty Cent (or is that Fitty? Or Mr. Cent?...anyway). It was amazing and everyone was so great! From the amazing trailer they gave me to the warm and welcoming cast, I had a terrific time." - AGR'r Jonas Cohan
MEET AGR'R JUSTIN COLON
(who also was a surprise guest at the end of our webinar with Emmy Award Winning CD John Frank Levey)
WATCH THIS MASTER CLASS WEBINAR
VIA THE LINK BELOW AND HEAR HIS STORY
"I came to you at a point in my young acting journey where I was on the verge of abandoning something that for me is like oxygen. Others see the success of the success story, but success truly is a string of failures. Before finding my way to The Actors Green Room I hustled (incorrectly) for four years. I graduated an excellent college and a top-notch conservatory (bailed on law school), continually trained as an actor, and attended every pay-to-play studio in NYC, meeting agents and casting directors on a nightly basis for several years. It was a recipe for disaster. Rejection after rejection turned into being burned out and feeling bitter and resentful. Every time I came close to representation contact suddenly ceased and I was back to square one. Drop offs, mailings, calls, showcases, even referrals all resulted in the same sense of rejection. Castings were no better. It became emotionally and mentally taxing to help others and watch them succeed only to be even more in tune with your own lack of accomplishments. I struggled to find the missing piece of the equation, but every time I found what I believed to be that missing magic the fire never started; I couldn’t even ignite a few sparks. What I was missing was a proper guidance and an advocate. That’s where you come in.
I came to you after hearing of your success stories, reading your posts, and seeing your job posting on playbill.com. Secretly I hoped to work with you so that I could still be somewhat immersed in the industry without fully abandoning the dream. And I wasn’t ready for my Plan B – the agent/casting direct route. From the moment I met you I wanted to work with you in some capacity. You were straightforward, confident, and positive. And I was honest in return. I wasn’t meant to abandon acting and you sensed and knew it. That’s when you opened the metaphorical door for me, referring to my “great type”, wanting to take me on as a client, and closing with the catcher, “You haven’t been to AGR yet”. Though defeated and burned out, I needed to believe in you and your words (which you really turned into action). When our interview ended, I didn’t walk out of our interview feeling even more defeated. Instead, I went home and registered for a consult with you, and I waited seven to eight months for that consult. You gave me honest guidance at the consult, and I went home and put it all into play – headshots, private voice lessons, AGR workshops, AGR Online. The rest is history…. On Friday I will be shooting my first co-star role without even having an agent (my next goal I’m going to bring to fruition!)! !! It’s been an uphill battle (as it is for many) ,but I am here, the door just opened, and there’s no looking back.
You instilled me with hope when I first met you. You gave me guidance and lit a real fire under my a** when I met you for a second time, at our consult. And this week especially, you have transformed somebody who until recently felt rejected, unaccomplished, and hopeless to somebody who feels reaffirmed, positive, hopeful, and ready and deserving of a career doing what he loves. I feel a sense of camaraderie with the actors in the Green Lounge, where there is an immense amount of support. And with you, I feel (we all do) that we have a remarkable advocate. You have started my journey and for that I am eternally grateful to you. I’m looking forward to connecting even further, having more experiences on Cloud Nine, and taking this thing to the top (one step at a time of course)! THANK YOU! - AGR'r Justin Colon
It's time to listen to this iconic CD John Frank Level talk about casting. AND...Justin Colon comes online and tells his entire story with Jeff and I talking to him. It was one exciting webinar. Listen here:
About the Author
By Jennifer Rudolph
Last night I was reading a post in our very active support Facebook group The Green Lounge from one of my dedicated AGR'rs that brought tears to my ears. It's a real testament to the power of persistence, the importance of finding an advocate and forging relationships with everyone who crosses your path. I am a firm believer in the power of the universe - that the universe puts signs and lessons in front of us until we get them. That once you make a DECISION that the universe conspires to make it happen. That only YOU have the power to make it so and it's your job to find your power within to manifest everything you want. This is what we do at the CREATE Workshop on Sunday nights at AGR (I attend every Sunday as well).
AGR'r Sal Rendino is celebrating his 25th "Anniversa-ME" as he is calling it. After several years of hard work, Sal landed his dream job. Read his journey in his own words. "If you build it, they will come."
"I am celebrating a milestone (I’m calling it an anniversa-ME): 25 years (10 years as an AGR'r) doing daily this "thing we do" -- Orlando to L.A. to N.Y.C. Other than extra work, it took me over 2 solid years of pounding the pavement, auditioning and working on my career every single day, until I got my first professional paid gig. Just prior to that, I distinctly remember genuinely believing I would never -- NEVER -- book an actual job, and I had to come to terms with that -- do I just keep plugging, working to improve, tightening up my resources, and trust that the chips would fall where they should? -and then, maybe I still wouldn’t be able to build a career at all. Even through the persistence of working through that, I honestly thought I was just "different", "missing something", "not charismatic", "uncastable" for whatever reason (maybe they saw easily through to my insecurities, or maybe I was just undeserving because I didn't go to Yale or Juilliard, because I didn't believe in myself strongly enough or follow "The Secret" faithfully enough, or maybe ‘God’ was preventing success because I'm just kind of a jerk sometimes). I've taken innumerable classes, workshops, agent/manager nights, intensives, younameit's, and had the ebbs and flows of mentality, from soured by the pay-to-be-seen oddity and its seeming lack of effect, to powering ahead positively, KNOWING I'm proactively forwarding my career, meeting decision-makers, and at the very least, putting myself OUT there, honing my skills, and networking. I’m not among the most vocal or active, but I can tell you, in my time meandering from coast to coast and actor community to community, I haven't seen a more positive, supportive and valuable group than AGR and Jen Rudolph. My motto has ALWAYS been "Keep Building", and I've seized every opportunity I can to play and work productively. It only takes ONE well positioned and/or powerful voice to go to bat for you, and you can't know where it might come from or how it might enter your life. I used to work at a nice bar/restaurant whose lovely owners encouraged me to show my acting footage on Monday nights while I worked (one TV screen in the corner, hooked up to my VHS/DVD player that I lugged in and out every Monday, because, yeah, some of my stuff was still on VHS from The Dark Ages), and that TV oftentimes played for just the waitress and me. That was fine; I kept it up for a couple years, and finally planned to discontinue “Sal’s Movie Mondays” (because it seemed stale and repetitive) when into the restaurant walked a middle-aged gentleman who generously watched and tolerated all my set-up stories and behind-the-scenes tidbits, and then when my “show” finished, he asked me to change channels, because an episode of a major network primetime series was about to come on, and he wanted to “see what they did to my script”. We watched HIS show, he graciously accepted an actor’s business card from yours truly, and we shook hands goodnight. I maintained contact with him for a couple years, and, earlier this year, he gave me the heads up on an “interesting new show on that Netflix thingy”.
At his request, and independent of any agent or manager, I got called in for “The Get Down”, for a “possibly recurring” role. As is often the case, I only had the night before to prep, so I busted my tail and did what I always do: work until I feel I’m totally prepared and confident, and then work an extra hour.
Well . . .
I’ve never had to go through the gruel of network approval in front of rows of stoic suits — all unimpressed with dollar-sign eyes. -and that's something I’ll never be able to say again, because it happened.
After months of hush-hush NDA-this and gag-that, a table read nose-to-nose with Jimmy Smits and Kevin Corrigan, and a 2-hour one-on-one callback with Baz Luhrmann screaming crazy direction in my ear immediately followed by “ACTION!!”, the role I went in on morphed from “Possibly Recurring” to “Recurring” to “5-Episode-Minimum” to “Top of Show 7-Episode-Minimum-Guaranteed”.
(for the first time in 25 years,) An EX-bartender,
now in the middle of Season 1 — of the rest of my career.
Happy 25th Anniversa-me to me, and to ALL who work tirelessly for something greater . . .
I built it. They came." - AGR'r Sal Rendino
.........Come CREATE with us this weekend and develop the foundation within to "build it" and never give up.
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