By Jennifer Rudolph
Every actor is their own CEO. To work in this industry an actor must take control of their career and think like a business person. That means making sure that their "product" is solid, well-packaged and communicates the message/brand that they are trying to sell effectively. In every business it is essential to build relationships and to learn from your "marketplace" (the casting directors, agents and managers). Without knowing what it is you need to build towards or which way the tide is moving, there can be no trajectory. Opportunities do not happen in a vacuum. An actor can have all the talent in the world but without putting oneself out there, no one will ever know. In every business there is competition, ours is right at the top of said businesses. With over 100,000 actors in NYC and about only 1% actually working, it is essential to take a smart approach and not rely on passivity to get you ahead. Forget mailings and doing a show and praying that a casting director will come and see it. (if you do a show it should be because you are passionate about the piece) Unless your show is a huge hit with great reviews or a casting director has an attachment to it, chances are your work will go unseen. If less than 1% of the acting community is actually working, how do you become one of those people? If over 1,800 actors are submitted for a Co-Star and only about 20 get called in, how do you get to be one of those 20? The answer: By making sure you are a top-notch, well-packaged camera-ready actor who knows EXACTLY what each casting director wants and how to deliver. By creating relationships. By treating this like a BUSINESS. By listening to your "marketplace" and the advice that they give you. This is how you become one of the 1%.
Meet AGR'r Jeff Solomon. Jeff started off by doing a lot of sketchy comedy, live and on video. He decided to get some training and went to Stella Adler. While at Stella Adler, he came to me for a Career Consultation. We scrapped his then headshot (left) and he got new ones. We talked "type" and I gave him scenes exemplary of what we nailed down. I told him which casting directors to work with and learn from. Jeff was ready to begin.
"As much as the Adler training was important, The Actor's Green Room taught me to take those techniques and translate them into clear on-camera work. " - Jeff Solomon
Jeff started coming to The Monday Night Class and and immersed himself in AGR. He was getting great feedback and honing his technique. Jeff came to our Agent Night and caught the attention of Bernadette McBrinn from Avalon Artists. Although he didn't have credits, he had relationships with casting directors. Since an agent only does 10% of the work, Jeff was doing the other 90% which layed the foundation for Bernadette to start working wit him Jeff got an audition for Netflix's ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and booked the role. Shortly thereafter Jeff got called in by Chrystie Street Casting for NBC's THE BLACKLIST a few times and went to producers. Jeff had a Guest Star audition for HULU's DEADBEAT and although he wasn't right for the part, Casting Director Cindy Tolan pitched him to the producers for 2 other roles and he eventually booked a Recurring without auditioning again. At this point, Avalon Artists signed Jeff and he also signed with Bohemia Group for management.
"In my experience, agents and managers definitely expect you to keep working for yourself after you sign (since they only do 10-15% of the work) so I never stopped taking classes and learning which led to booking CBS' PERSON OF INTEREST, ABC's FOREVER and NO HOOK UPS PLEASE. This past December, I booked my first feature lead in the sci-fi thriller ABYSM, something I could have never done without this experience. On the commercial side - I freelanced and self-submitted for a long time, a lot of hustling. After booking a Virgin Mobile ad and a national Bing commercial, Lisa Rubenstein recommended me to Stewart Talent and I signed with them for commercial and VO. " - Jeff Solomon
Episodic Season is about to begin. It's going to be the busiest time of the year. Are you ready to become part of the 1%?
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