By: Jordan Ancel
Sometimes we look at all the things we want to achieve in life and we can become debilitated by the amount of work it would seem to take to reach our goals. We see the path to these goals as an enormous mountain we have to climb, and more often than not, we shrink away, never taking more than a few steps. Most people give up when they realize that success is not instantaneous. Along the way to giving up, many will only take some action some of the time with only minimal commitment. So let’s change that, shall we?
As artists, we are ruled by our emotions. And it’s wonderful to able to access those feelings for our craft. But as actors pursuing careers, there is no room for emotions because once we pursue a career, it all becomes about business. There is no emotion in business. Period. No one cares how you feel, they only care about what you can deliver.
The entertainment industry is just that— an industry. It’s called show business for a reason. It is a business like any other, and as artists, we need to learn to navigate it and manage it as such.
If we look at where we’re at in life, the state of our careers, the size of our bank accounts, all that we have are results of actions we’ve taken. If we take massive consistent action, we get one set of results, if we do very little, we get results consistent with that level of commitment.
The actions we take are based on how we feel. When we feel like crap, how much action do we take? Not much. When we’re super-psyched up, we get shit done like a boss!
And how we feel depends on the thoughts we have. We can tell ourselves life is hard and that we’re not good enough or not good-looking enough, or we can tell ourselves that life is easy and exciting, and that we’re awesome and whatever we touch turns to gold. Either way we’re going to be right.
What we tell ourselves is how we end up living because it informs the kind of actions we take, the quality of them, and our commitment.
The only way to achieve anything in life, as we all know, is to take massive consistent action over time, but most of us don’t. We often wait to be inspired or be in the mood to take action. “I’m not feeling motivated right now,” or “I’m not in the headspace right now.” The longer we wait to be inspired the less we’ll achieve and the more we’ll beat ourselves up for not doing what we need to do. When we beat ourselves up, how motivated do we then feel then? Not very, right?
What we need to realize is that if we take action in spite of how we feel, we will get motivated, we will get inspired, because when we feel productive, we feel good about ourselves and what we’re doing. If we can act despite our negative thoughts and our feelings of dread, we will feel better, and we’ll be inspired to take even more action.
Have you ever not feel like working out or going to yoga or going for a run? But then you drag your butt out and do it anyway? Then afterward you feel so great and so happy you did, and now you can take on the world?
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s extremely difficult, but the more you practice taking action toward your goals while you may actually feel like you want to crawl under a blanket, the easier it gets. And the easier it gets, the farther you will get on your path toward your goals and dreams coming true.
Being in the entertainment industry, we, as artists, must get good at the business side of it. The first step is doing whatever it takes all the time. The only way to get shit done and achieve your goals and dreams is to just take action, no matter how you feel, and keep practicing that. The moment your feelings come into play, well, that’s when we binge-watch House of Cards or Walking Dead.
And wouldn’t you rather be on those shows than sitting there watching them? Exactly.
About the Author
By: Jennifer Rudolph
AGR'r Bobby Kruger has been coming to The Actor's Green Room for a few years now. We have gotten to know each other and have had a few Career Consultations. Bobby has always been a hard worker and understands the "hustle" of the industry. He has solid training and continues to work his acting muscle in scene study/on-camera classes. One of the things that I imparted to Bobby in our sessions is the notion that he needed to create his own "luck." To build relationships with casting directors by getting in front of them, working with them on-camera and delivering like a pro time and again. Bobby knew his "type" at this point after us working together and he was ready. Unrepresented, it was time to build some heat on himself and start getting in front of casting directors.
There is a quote I like to reference frequently:
"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca
Bobby was going to create his OWN luck. He was prepared and he was seizing the opportunities in front of him. He wasn't going to wait to get "discovered" or for casting directors to magically call him without ever meeting him. Mailings and pitches weren't going to work. It was going to have to be casting director workshops.
Bobby came to The Actor's Green Room and started getting great feedback. One of the classes he ended on a regular basis was our Monday Night Class. He had mentioned that he enjoyed our Signature classes and format which top out at 8 actors per section, allow actors to work privately on-camera with our industry guest while the rest of the class watches one another on an HD television from the main room. He said it allowed him to do his best work, feel supported and nurtured by our staff, the industry and his fellow actors.
One of the casting offices he met along his journey was Avy Kaufman Casting. With a strong knowledge of his "type", killer sides which I had given to him in our consultation, a fantastic headshot and total preparation, Bobby sealed his fate with one of the casting directors. Not long after, Bobby was called in for the NBC Miniseries THE SLAP and ended up booking a role in the Miniseries. Next, said casting director called Bobby back in for the independent film MANIA DAYS (which just went to SXSW) starring Katie Holmes and he booked a role in that as well. This past week, Bobby emailed me to let me know that he was called back in by Avy Kaufman Casting and just booked a role in the upcoming Jodie Foster/George Clooney feature film MONEY MONSTER.
3 roles. All from the same casting office. Why? Because Bobby built the relationship, proved himself to be a contender and casting directors are on your side. They want you to get every job they call you in for. It makes their lives easier and also looks great on them.
Now that Bobby has some heat on him, he got signed by a manager. He continues to do 85% of the work and his manager does 15% which is what the contract is.
I am excited to see what is next on your journey, Bobby.
About the Author
By: Jennifer Rudolph
Every actor who comes to The Actor's Green Room has a dream. The dream is to become a working actor and eventually make it big. It's as if every week a new bus rolls in and I get to see the smiling faces of new actors raring to go and ready to attack their careers with tenacity. I tell AGR'rs that it takes time. That nothing happens overnight despite what the industry may have you believe. (minus the 1% who are akin to those winning the lottery) For the rest of the lot it's about hard work, honing your "type", working on your craft, and molding yourself to what the casting directors are looking for. It's about creating relationships and marketing yourself like a hot ticket product. If everything adds up...you've got a blossoming career on your hands.
Meet AGR'r Mark Noonan. I first met Mark a few years ago. He was a bit of a wild child. Kind of all over the place. He was using an unprofessional headshot, would show up to AGR a bit unprepared and was shooting himself in the foot by not getting in front of the CD's he needed to. After a couple of years of floundering around, he came to me for a Career Consultation. We talked about the necessity of him upgrading his headshot to be industry standard, what his "type" was, about how he needed to believe in himself, get out of his own way and to coach and work with someone to be 100% prepared. I referred him to AGR Senior Staff Member Kim Ramirez to work with. Mark worked with Kim for a few months, came back to me with a new headshot (new head shot just above taken by Jordan Matter) and then I gave him a "hit list" of which casting directors to get in front of. Mark started coming to AGR full force and began meeting everyone on that "hit list." While pursuing casting directors, Mark also studied with AGR Senior Staff Member Canedy Knowles and took our 4 Week Film/TV Class taught by Canedy and myself. tAt this point, he wanted to get a manager on board. Mark still had a light resume BUT he was a strong type and had something to bring to the table. He knew EVERY major casting director in town and had gotten good feedback. A manager gets paid 15% so naturally they should only be doing 15% of the work. Mark was going 85% and had a lot going for him. He came to the Manager Night using sides I had given him and caught the attention of Nicole Astell from Prestige Management. Nicole ended up signing Mark. Not too long ago, Mark auditioned for the CBS pilot LIMITLESS that Tucker/Meyerson was casting. Mark BOOKED the role of the lead's brother. He appears in the pilot and will most likely be back in subsequent episodes.
So you see, my AGR'rs...it takes time. Time and hard work and getting out of your own way. Mark finally got out of his own way. "If you build it, they will come."
About the Author
By: Jennifer Rudolph
The name of the game in any business is building relationships. With relationships come trust and familiarity. When your favorite barista at Starbucks throws you a free coffee one day just because - it's because you have built a rapport with them and your smile probably makes their day a lot brighter. And who doesn't love a free Soy Vanilla Latte? (my drink of choice) In any business, one must build a rapport with people - especially in ours.
When a casting director comes to AGR, they are looking to impart their knowledge and help actors grow to be "set ready" by giving good direction and seeing if an actor can take said direction. Actors grow to understand what each casting director is looking for, what their style is, quirks are and ultimately what their "bar" is set at. Sending in a headshot or hoping they will come see your show is not the best approach. It is kind of like going to a slot machine and hoping you will win. It's all about face time, developing relationships and showing them that you can "work." Casting directors do not have time to call in people they don't know and trust. It's generally a waste of time as most actors don't know how to audition for film and television or what the "bar" is. It's too much of a crap shoot and casting directors have to provide choices to their producers by the end of the day for each role they are casting. On average about 1400 people submit for a Guest Star role and only about 20 get called in. That's less than 1%. So why is it that AGR'rs often make it into that 1%? Because they build trust, are marketing themselves optimally and know how to hit the "bar" because of our Signature workshops. :)
Meet AGR Staff Member Kim Ramirez
Kim has been working at AGR for about 7 years and is still a "student." Although she works for me, she meets and works with casting directors too. Kim has grown and changed quite a bit over the years and has gotten new headshots when needed to match the changes. We have had a few Career Consultations over the years and I told her that one of the offices she needed to target was Chrystie Street Casting. Kim has gotten in front of Jessica Kelly, Rebecca Dealy and Kate Geller a number of times over the years with different sides and always upped her game every time she worked with them. Because of how solid her work was, what a strong "type" she morphed into and how she learned and knew what they were looking for...Kim started to get called in for Co-Star roles. She probably has gotten called in a dozen times for various roles and actually booked a small role on NBC's THE BLACKLIST which ended up being cut. She was devastated. I told her not to worry and that it meant that something bigger was coming. Kim became one of Chrystie Street's "go-to's" for her type. Lo and behold, Kate Geller called Kim in for a Guest Star role for THE BLACKLIST (NOTE: Kim only has one other Primetime credit) and she BOOKED it. She made it past 1400 other people and 20 people with more credits. Why? Because she's really good at what she does because of how much she studies and knew exactly what to do when going into the room. Kim proved to be reliable and strong EVERY time she went in. She built trust, familiarity and now...a Guest Star credit.
About The Author
By: Jennifer Rudolph
Pam's journey at AGR began a few years ago. She came to meet with me for a Career Consultation as she felt stuck in her career and wasn't getting seen for the projects she wanted to be seen for. Pam is an actress with solid training and a magnetic presence. When you're around her you can't help but feel good and just want to watch her. The problem was that she wasn't marketing herself effectively and didn't understand how the "marketplace" (casting directors) were seeing her. I clarified that for her and told her she was the "vulnerable, quirky, neurotic, repressed/crazy girl next door who couldn't get it right." She was very 1/2 hour but could also do drama but would have to scale it back a bit for that. I told her to talk to her manager about what we discussed so that they could be on the same page and work together more effectively. She did just that. Pam's goal was to book a Broadway show. She had so much great training and some good regional theater credits but nothing was happening. She wanted to book a zany/emotional deep character in a hit show. I told her that it would take time but to do the next right thing in front of her that aligned with that. Now that we had her type down pat, she would be pitched properly and would manifest what she wanted.
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" - Seneca
Pam auditioned for the Tony Award Winning Broadway show A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER and booked it. She ended up understudying most of the female leads and ended up going on several times. The roles were right in line with the type we lined up. It was a dream come true. While working on GGLAM, Pam reignited a passion project that she co-wrote with her good friend/colleague Todd Almond called PEOPLE LIKE US. They put it up this summer at 54 BELOW. Todd hired director Moritz von Stuelpnagel and Moritz took a liking to Pam's work. Not long after, Moritz got tapped to direct the new play HAND TO GOD which ran Off-Broadway and was going to Broadway. He asked Pam to audition for the show and Pam ended up booking the lead U/S for both the female roles. I saw the show Saturday night and it is going to be a HUGE hit. It's dark, intelligent, hilarious and disturbing. It's Avenue Q meets Book of Mormon with a twist. The role she is destined to play? The EXACT type we layed out. Pam will no doubt get to go on and get the ovation she deserves. This will be the career defining moment for her.
So you see AGR'rs...it's all about knowing your "type", bringing your A Game, forging relationships, following your heart and taking the next right step in front of you.
You can't go wrong.
About The Author