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