Do You Have Stinkin’ Thinkin’?

“It is always your next move.” – Napoleon Hill (author of Think and Grow Rich)

If you’ve never read the book Think and Grow Rich, please do so as soon as possible because even though it’s not a book on acting per se, it is the single most highly recommended book by not only me, but every other successful person that I know.

Since Napoleon passed away several decades ago, the way I found out about it was through a referral.  When networking with like minds, the subject of this book (the original author to mention the secret) always comes up. Get it? No mass advertising, Instagram ads or Snapchat flash sale, just plain old fashioned word of mouth.  And now I pass it on to you…

Your outer “manifested” world (some would call this reality) is a direct reflection of your inner world and I read his book at least once a year as a reminder that everything I want in my life begins with my thinking. You too! You can get it on Amazon and also see and listen to Napoleon Hill on YouTube.

“You are what you think”.  I have no idea who said that but I just did and believe it’s true!

Napoleon Hill, a true inspiration leader, wrote what follows in his highly acclaimed book Think and Grow Rich originally published in the 1930’s.  Millions and millions and millions of readers (and book sales) keep it on the shelves today.  Go NOW to your local bookstore or download it on Kindle and heed these wise words.  Hey, the language may be a bit dated, but you’ll get the drift…Napoleon writes:

“Here are the real enemies that stand between you and noteworthy achievement.  You will find not only the symptoms indicating weakness of persistence, but also the deeply seated subconscious causes.  Study the list carefully and face yourself squarely if you really wish to know who you are and what you are capable of doing.

These are the weaknesses which MUST be MASTERED by all who accumulate success and in turn, wealth and happiness.

  1.  Failure to recognize and to define clearly exactly what you want.
  2.  Procrastination, with or without cause. (Usually backed up with a formidable array of alibis and excuses.)
  3.  Lack of interest in acquiring specialized knowledge.
  4.  Indecision, the habit of “passing the buck” on all occasions, instead of facing issues squarely. (Also backed by alibis.)
  5.  The habit of relying upon alibis instead of creating definite plans for the solution of problems.
  6.  Self-satisfaction. There is but little remedy for this affliction, and no hope for those who suffer from it.
  7.  Indifference, usually reflected in one’s readiness to compromise on all occasions, rather than meet opposition and fight it.
  8.  The habit of blaming others for one’s mistakes, an accepting of unfavorable circumstances as being unavoidable.
  9.  Weakness of desire, due to neglect in the choice of motives that impel action.
  10.  Willingness, even eagerness, to quit at the first sign of defeat. (Based upon fear.)
  11.  Lack of organized plans, placed in writing where they may be analyzed.
  12.  The habit of neglecting to move on ideas, or to grasp opportunity when it presents itself.
  13.  Wishing instead of willing.
  14.  The habit of compromising with poverty instead of aiming at riches.  General absence of ambition to be, to do, to own. (Lisa adds “insert self described starving artists here.”)
  15.  Searching for all the short-cuts to riches, trying to get without giving a fair equivalent, usually reflected in the habit of gambling.  (Lisa adds “waiting for the big break.”)
  16.  Fear of criticism, failure to create plans and to put them into action, because of what other people will think, do, or say.  This enemy belongs at the top of the list, because it generally exists in one’s subconscious mind, where its presence is not recognized.”

People refuse to take chances in our business, because they fear the criticism which may follow if they fail.  The fear of criticism in such cases is stronger than the desire for success.  And I’m not talking about taking chances in your craft, I’m talking about marketing yourself, networking, and yes, selling yourself to the movers and shakers out there who you want to work with.  You don’t take enough risks here because you’re afraid to fail.  I say fail your way to success!

Sooooooo, I hope you got the drift here.  If you identified with any of the above weaknesses in your thinking, there’s some internal work for you to do.  And there is no shortage of ways and means to do it.  Start by reading Think and Grow Rich, or download my video workshop based on Napoleon Hill’s teachings – Think and Grow Rich Acting.

As always I welcome your delicious comments in the section below.

Your Industry Contact List

You know the old saying “it’s who you know” in this business that will really get you ahead? Well that’s half true. My take on it is “it’s who knows you!” How many industry professionals are on your list? How many industry professionals have you on their list? Are you asking yourself “what list”?

How do you create a network of influential people that know you, like you and are in your court? Glad you asked. Well you didn’t really ask, but it’s time you understood that without a huge network of people that have you on their radar, the chances of really having the BREAKTHROUGH, kick-butt, acting career of your dreams are very narrow. You odds increase dramatically with the number of people who are in your network, thus your list.

This includes casting directors, agents, managers, producers, directors, your mom (seriously!), friends of your neighbors, acting classmates and the many other people in the world who are ready and waiting for you to get connected and stay connected. You never know
which one of the many will be KEY in your forward movement. This is why I’ve always advocated having some sort of database to keep it all straight, preferably online. There are several to choose from and regardless of which one you do choose, the point is to START that list now!

If you’re reading this right now, you’re online. If you submit yourself through any of the myriad of casting submission platforms, you’re online. If you read or post on social media, you’re online.

Like it or not, we live in an online world and show business is no exception. “First contact” with agents or CDs usually occurs online these days, with the ultimate goal to move the relationship off line and into the real world.

I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, but as an actor you’re also an online marketer! My workshops and seminars, though done live for years, have now basically moved to online programs. This goes for my coaching services too. Why? Because we can reach a larger audience and connect to people we would not normally have access to as in the “old days”.

I took an online workshop a few years back that taught me if you’ve got 10,000 names on your email list, you’ve got a million dollar business. Now I know this isn’t quite the case in show biz, but I’m using the comparison to illustrate a point.

Networking at live events, coupled with consistent networking online via posts and social media, email blasts, personal email check ins and other various forms of online marketing are all required of you these days. “Out of sight, out of mind” is another cliche but true statement and in this constant barrage of information and marketing coming at people day in and day out and moment to moment, if you’re not doing it too, well, you’re out of (your) mind!

I’ll use these blog posts as an example.  In 2015 and 2016 while traveling to begin a new project in the Dominican Republic and then tour the country the following year in an RV, I was in touch here and there.  I sent a few emails and did not write blog posts at all.  My income for those two years was significantly lower than in years previous or since.  Meaning I was “out of sight and out of mind”.  Now I’m dedicated to consistency, creating useful and relevant content, and staying connected.

I’ve coached actors who have email lists, send hard copy post cards, know the names of the players in the industry in their area and are working and making money. Of course they’re talented too…that’s a given. If you’re not working at the rate you’d like or making any or enough income as an actor, this is the essential place to start. Do it right now…get out a paper and pen and go “old school” and start making your list today. Then create a calendar and an action plan to be in constant contact. Hey, now there’s an idea!

As always I welcome your comments and feedback!

Does Your Resume Reveal Your Age?

In my previous blog posts on the subject of your resume I hope I’ve convinced you that this document is NOT a list of everything you’ve ever done in your life as an actor, but a road map or “vetting” doc of determining whether you’ll get an audition, meeting or other appointment.  It’s only job is to get you in the door.

The reader of your resume is a human being (for now – watch out for AI in the future) and has their own set of “glasses” or perspective they are reading with/through.  That being said, without actually having a number, or even range of numbers, printed on that doc, the format and contents of your resume say a lot about your age.

Age discrimination is a fact of life in today’s everyday job market and there are numerous articles in the trades that confirm it in our business of show too.  This goes both ways for the young and just starting out, and the older professional, been in the game for years, actor.

Home Address

For many years, we sent our resume and cover letter through the mail.  Even then we knew not to put our home address on the top, however many did. Fact is, there has never been a need to put your home address on the resume.  It often excludes actors who live a distance away from the “action” and also shows that you’re either very young and green or older and out of touch.  Thank goodness there’s no field for this in online profiles.

There are other reasons not to include your home address:

  • Economic profiling
  • Length of commute (especially in LA)
  • Personal safety

If anyone needs your home mailing address, they can ask for it.

E-Mail Address

One sure sign that you are over 50 is to have a aol.com e-mail address, or even an e-mail address from your cable provider like rr.com on your resume.  Yes, I confessed in a previous post that I still have an @aol.com address, but it pulls into my @gmail account and is only used for log-ins and other personal matters.  For those just out of school, the same thing applies for your @______.edu address.

Either sign up for a gmail address or get your own domain, i.e.  Jane@JaneDoe.com.

Your email address says something about your professional brand.  I see too many “cutesie” email addresses that don’t “ring” professional actor out there or long, complicated, hard to remember/read/spell addresses unrelated to YOUR NAME.  If possible I recommend using a separate e-mail address for your acting related business.

Home Phone Number

Who under a “certain age” still has a home phone? I ditched my home phone about 10 years ago, and I am a bit older than you may think! If you still have a home phone and do not want to give out your cell phone number, get a Google Voice number. Put it on your resume as your cell number. You can set it up so that it will ring on multiple phones (both home and cell). It can be configured to transcribe the message, and then e-mail and text you the transcription. Sometimes the speech to text function of the transcriptions can be really funny. When I was at the agency, I had a separate Google Voice number and one actor left me a message and her name was transcribed as stressed out waters.

Double Space After Period

I am going to go out a limb and declare that putting two spaces after a period is obsolete. It is how most of us were taught to type on a typewriter like I was in the 7th grade!  I’m super grateful for that education and definitely still guilty of the automaticity of two spaces but am working on it. This shows up mainly on the web where formatting in blog posts like this one and other forms and profiles have certain templates making two spaces after the period have it look “off”.  Therefore, most of us who do this are over 50 years of age.

Special Skills

Limit the skills you list on your resume to current and relevant skills. I have seen many actor resumes that list every sport they’ve every played but would no longer get cast doing. This also applies to the younger actor listing what “older” actors would be doing or tasks they’d be performing.  Anything regarding technology systems, like “proficient in MS-DOS” is obsolete.  By the way, putting any skill on your resume that anyone can be filmed as if they are doing it (working at a computer, painting, cooking) is not needed in the first place.  That’s the magic of the movies!

Look at your resume—what does it say about your age? Show it to others and ask them what it says about you.  And please forgive any and all double spacing after the periods!

I welcome, as usual, any and all comments below…

5 Reasons Networking Isn’t Working for You

Networking

You hear and read repeatedly that networking is one of the best ways to grow your acting business not only from me but, well, everyone! It’s true and I have created many such networking opportunities/events over the years for actors to practice this essential skill.

However, sometimes even when you try, the time you spend on it doesn’t lead anywhere. Makes you wonder if everyone is lying (not me, of course!) or you’re doing something terribly wrong (hummm?). Networking IS a great way to grow your show BUSINESS, if you do it right. In my last post I gave out my top 10 tips on proper networking. So check out some reasons why what you’ve been doing may not be working for you, so you can make a change that will likely make a big difference.

You Don’t Talk to Enough People

Networking events are about meeting as many people as possible. I’ve often said to go with a number in mind.  How many people will you meet as your goal? You shouldn’t stay with one person too long because that will take away the time you have to meet other people that could lead to great opportunities. Make a connection, hand a business card to the person or collect their contact info, and then move on to the next person.  Don’t stay in a conversation with your friends instead of meeting the new folks you came to meet.

You’re Talking Too Much About Yourself

This is big one and I’ve seen way to many actors make this mistake. There’s a unique exchange of information that happens at networking events. The key is to LISTEN more than you SPEAK. This is how people find out if they can help each other. When you focus on yourself too much, you won’t be able to help people because you won’t know anything about them. By helping people I mean being the solution to their problem…a role that needs to be cast or an agent looking for new clients.  Sometimes it’s a fellow actor looking for a great acting teacher. The more you help, the more people want to help you.

You Don’t Do Your Research Before an Event

I usually put out a “scheduled to appear” list for my events. Why? So you can do your research!  Many actors who don’t find the Research ladyvalue in networking will say that they never meet anyone who is worth pursuing after an event. This is probably true because they didn’t do adequate research either before or after meeting people. You must find networking events that cater to the audience that you’re part of. If you’re also a writer, go to writing networking events.  Want to produce a film? There are a ton of filmmaker events.  And if you’re an actor, go to them all, but beware of ones that promise HUGE industry professionals as guests, without an entrance fee, free food and booze.  In a world where everything costs something, I smell a rat.  Get referrals and attend trusted events with good reputations.

You Don’t Reach Out After the Event

This is my biggest pet peeve. Just going to a networking event isn’t enough to grow your business as an actor. Showing up is one thing but following up is the key to the Kingdom. You need to make contact with people afterwards. This is your chance to get to know your contacts much better, and figure out how you can work together.  Staying connected is essential.  You might not work together for years, but if you have been building rapport with folks you met via networking, over time it’s amazing how much fruit your biz will bear.

You Don’t Go to Enough of Them

Going to one networking event won’t boost your business to the level you want it to be at. I used to run my parties monthly until I became bi-coastal and now run them only as special events when time permits.  Don’t wait for my party to come back to your neck of the woods (currently NY and LA). Those successful at using networking to grow their acting business will attend a few events a month.  They are much more common now then when I started producing them over a decade ago. The more you go to, the more opportunities are available. Before you say that networking isn’t working for you, make sure you are going to enough of them to make that judgment.

It’s time to make some changes in how you approach networking. Get out there, meet as many people as possible, help them, research the events you go to, reach out to people afterwards, and keep going to events until you start to see results. It can seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it’s worth it!

Let me hear from you in the comments section below about any results, relationships and other magical manifestations you’ve created from growing your network!

Lisa’s Top Ten Networking Tips

Networking-Know-How-300x2251.  Be Prepared –  Great networking begins with great preparation. Bring your business cards, flyers, postcards for shows, etc. and have your “30 second elevator speech” about what you offer (instead of what you want) as an actor prepared.

2.  Arrive Early – Arriving early allows you to relax and focus on learning about the people in the room.  Calmly gather your thoughts and concentrate on your intentions so that your time spent networking will be of benefit to you and your goals.  First impressions count and showing up late isn’t a great way to start things off.

3.  Have a plan – Always have in mind your goal for each event you attend.  Know before going what your intended outcome is that you want both for yourself and the people you meet.  Do you want to meet 10 people and then choose 3 to focus on and get to know well?  Are you looking for an introduction to a certain person in particular?  Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information?  When you have a plan, its easier to stay focused and achieve your expected outcome.  A plan also allows you to be generous with your knowledge and connections and help others that you meet.

4.  Be a Giver and/or Connector.  When you focus on “giving” and being helpful to others, the “getting” will come later…and it will come in magical and unexpected ways.  No one likes a “taker” mentality.  When you are generous with information, introductions, and resources people will notice and respect you for your kind nature.  We love to work and do business with people we know, like and trust.  Act like the host of the event by connecting and introducing other people you meet to each other.  This simple act allows you to focus on others and grows your social capital in the room.

5.  Leave Your Troubles Behind.  Put on a happy face at the door and remind yourself that it is “SHOW TIME”.  Just like the curtain going up or the director shouting “action”, this is your time to sparkle and shine.  People will look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you are energetic, positive and outgoing.  Be a person that others will like.  Don’t bore people or burden them with your problems or dislikes.  Everyone has enough of their own and trust me on this, they don’t need or want to hear about yours.

6.  Listen with Focus.  When someone is speaking with you, give that person your entire focus and attention.  LISTEN and really hear what the other person is saying.  Keep your eyes and ears tuned into what they are saying instead of the “self-talk” inside your mind that you’re about to say when it’s your turn to speak.  The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what they are saying.  You’ve heard this before but it bears repeating…”you have one mouth and two ears so listen twice as much as you talk.”  If you do this, you’ll be the most memorable and liked person in the room!

7.  Be Genuine.  Sounds obvious but even though you’re “on” you still need to be authentic.  This is directly related to building trust so that folks are comfortable in their decision to work with you, refer you, etc.  There is a big difference between being interested and trying to be interesting.  Being interested in learning about someone else and their career simply for the sake of learning about them, instead of how it benefits you, will leave a lasting GOOD impression.  It’s energetic.  Conversely, if you are interested only for what you think they can do for you, you’ve slipped into the category of “creepy” and people can feel that a mile away.

8.  Teach/Don’t Sell.  Even though you are ultimately a salesman of your own “acting services”, immediately launching into what you do and what you want isn’t powerful and shouldn’t be a goal.  Proper networking is about building relationships with people who will be happy to connect you to others who may need what you offer.  I like this phrase and keep it in my mind at events – “First YOU, then ME”.  By the way, every person you meet is NOT a potential someone who can help you directly but IS a person that can create a path to others who can.  Word of mouth is the best kind of “advertising” and definitely the best in our business.  A referral is GOLD, pun intended.  When speaking, be really clear on your focus and goals as an actor but don’t be pushy or insistent on ANYTHING.  Allow and receive, instead of force and press.  Your listener may turn into your best ally and your reach will become expanded far wider than simply the person directly in front of you.

9.  Follow up.  Many of the people you meet at a networking event will require no follow up, but for those that you have identified as either a great direct contact or someone who will lead you to someone else down the line, you’ll want to stay in touch.  In your follow up message, you’ll Watering peoplewant to mention something from your conversation that will be a memory jog for them.  Remember you, and they, probably met a ton of new people and keeping them all straight isn’t easy.   The timing should be fairly short between your meeting and the receipt of your follow up as more people, circumstances and content will have filled their senses.  Clearing through the clutter of it all will be easier the more timely your follow up.  Email or hard copy, the point is how you can help THEM.  You’ll really stand out by offering a piece of info, a referral or connecting them with something they need instead of asking for what you want.  Remember, the point of networking is building rapport and ON-GOING relationship.

10.  Follow up Some More!  Remember statistics say it takes anywhere between 8 and 15 “exposures” to something before a person makes a decision on something.  That’s buying a brand of toilet paper, choosing a restaurant, or in this case, calling you in for an audition, meeting or referring you to someone else in the biz.  If you’ve met someone at a networking event and done your immediate follow up (that’s two exposures!), you’ll want to keep track of them in a database of some kind to stay in contact over time.  It’s more likely you’ll have at least an average of 10 more times that you will need to be in contact with someone before a “result” is produced.  Networking isn’t an audition.  It’s an opportunity to plant the seeds of relationship and watch your garden grow!  Building strong relationships takes continued effort and doing so will ultimately be the basis of a long-lasting and viable career.

BE A NETWORKING STAR FROM START TO FINISH:  START BY SHOWING UP AND FINISH BY FOLLOWING UP!

I’d love to hear about any stories you can share with the community about your own networking breakthroughs (or breakdowns) so we can learn from your experience. Please comment below!

25 Questions. Your Answers May Be A Surprise.

qaWould you like to know a little more about who you are and what you truly believe? Well here’s a simple test that only
takes about 2 minutes. Just answer yes or no to each of the 25 “Do You Believe” questions. Your answers may surprise you!
1.      Do you believe that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference?
2.      Do you believe that we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take?
3.      Do you believe that our aspirations are our possibilities?
4.      Do you believe that projects don’t succeed…people do?
5.      Do you believe that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give?
6.    Do you believe that those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves?
7.      Do you believe that many times… less can be more?
8.      Do you believe that in the middle of every difficulty comes opportunity?
9.     Do you believe that you’re always one choice away from changing your life?
10.   Do you believe that when you’ve done your best you can wait for the results in peace?
11.    Do you believe that sometimes in the winds of change we can find our true direction?
12.     Do you believe that laughter is sunshine in any life?
13.     Do you believe that the most important things in life aren’t things?
14.    Do you believe that a leader’s job is to look into the future and see things not as they are, but… as they can be?
15.   Do you believe if you throw your heart over the fence, the rest will follow?
16.   Do you believe that customer service is not a department… it’s an attitude?
17.     Do you believe that the price of leadership is responsibility?
18.     Do you believe if you change your thoughts you can change the world?
19.     Do you believe you can burn brightly without burning out?
20.    Do you believe that the greatest principal in the world is… the things that get rewarded and appreciated get done?
21.    Do you believe that after the verb to love… to help is the most beautiful verb in the world?
22.    Do you believe that whether you think you can, or you can’t… you’re right?
23.     Do you believe that gratitude can change your life?
24.    Do you believe that its not the things you get but the hearts you touch that will determine your success in life?
25.    Do you believe that if you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left an estate of incalculable value?

Your answers to these questions will help you determine what you truly believe. For me the answer to each of these questions is… YES. I believe it! My mission is to inspire people who share these beliefs, particularly creative artists.

As the founder of Act Outside the Box, I’ve created over twenty-five seminars/products/courses illustrating these beliefs. The content is about what you need to know about your acting career – the logistics.  The context is what you believe and how to persevere in a very lop-sided business arena.

This Q&A test was derived from my friends at SimpleTruths.com – repurposed for our community.  Please feel free to share YOUR beliefs in the comment box below!

Are You Interested or Are You Committed?

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when time and circumstance permits. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; you take inspired action, and create miraculous results!”  ― Art Turock

This is one of my favorite quotes because there are too many “interested” actors in our business.  The kind of actor I can make the biggest impact with is possibly reading this message right now. “Committed” actors find a way over, through, or around any obstacle.  (Time and money being the two most prominent in our field, with overwhelm a close third.)

So which one are you?  Read this post all the way to the end and take ACTion, or you will, by default, be in the “interested” category…see ya.

It’s my up close, personal experience of working with so many actors over close to two decades now, that I’ve unfortunately seen way too many folks simply not show up, chase the next “shiny object” and stay stuck in a holding pattern doing the same things over and over again. I think this is a product of interest and not commitment.

So I ask you to take a really deep look.  Are you COMMITTED to an extraordinary career?  

Here’s a little to do that if you actually do it, will help you get what you want for your creative life much faster!  Go back and read, all the way through to the end, my last 3 blog posts regarding your resume.  Then make all of the suggested changes to your online casting profiles and hard copy versions.  

Give your new marketing piece a chance out there in the world, track your new and improved results, and get back to me in the comments. Here are the titles with direct links…I really can’t make it any easier for you than this…  

So COMMITTED actor, get into ACTion!

  1. Your Roadmap to Your Success
  2. Rescue Your Resume
  3. What’s In A Name?

Even before you take on this task, give me a taste of what’s to come.  How do you feel about actually doing this and reporting back?  Inspired? Resistant? Feeling empowered or thinking too much about it all? Comments please and thanks!

What’s In A Name? Should It Be On Your Resume?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the psychology of your resume and the effect of names, or in fact the words in general, that you put on it.

Of course your name should be on it…big and bold and at the top of a hard copy or PDF version along with your contact info.  Your online profiles place your name prominently by default. But what about names of directors, teachers, or even stars that you’ve worked with?  Should they go on there too?

In a word YES, but ONLY if they are just as, if not more, recognizable as yours and give influential meaning to the reader of your resume.  I’ve seen in the last few years the trend of adding a 4th column or replacing a production or theater company with a director’s name.  Why?  Because someone told you to or because everyone is doing it?

That’s called the blind leading the blind.  Mass mentality.  Not knowing how to market yourself correctly.

Why would you put student director, Joe Blow, on your resume?  Wouldn’t Columbia Film School or USC Grad Film seem a better visual and psychological connection for an agent or casting director to view and evaluate you on rather than an unknown person that has no meaning to them?  Industry professionals appreciate work done at the University level and of course these schools have a credibility and history so it explains more about YOU to see the recognizable school names…so take Joe Blow off.

What about Steven Spielberg?  Do not put his name there unless you had a speaking role in a recent feature and were actually directed by him.  The industry can certainly tell based on your union status and other credits if you were a background actor and putting Steven’s name on your resume now doesn’t enhance your status it hurts it.

In fact, agents and casting directors connect more to production companies and theater companies/producers because of their (most likely) multiple and prominent projects over years.  The more well known the name of the person, company, network or school is, the better for you!

The same thing applies for stars.  If you worked with them in a speaking role but the play, webisode, indie film, or other work title isn’t well known, putting the star’s name raises the visibility of the project, and you by association.

How about those teachers?  Absolutely…and it’s even better if those teachers are known and respected by the industry.  Take this into consideration the next time you’re looking for a great class and skill set to add.  Your talent agent (or perspective rep) would certainly like to see an audition technique class taught by a working casting director as that then becomes a connection for them to leverage in a submission for you on their next project.

And if you want to get to the nitty gritty of the psychology of words in general, consider the example of an @aol.com email address these days. You know immediately that anyone using one is over 40! (Yes, I still have one!)  It’s all about the immediate and automatic psychological connection we make between the words we view and our thoughts about them.

The names of the characters or kinds of roles you played can have a great impact.  For example, if your brand and product is an innocent/ingenue and you played a character named Gladys, that’s a disconnect, as we stereotypically think of Gladys being an older person’s name.

If you’re a leader type and you’re carving this perception with the credits on your resume, seeing the words (roles) Lawyer, Politician, Judge will have the reader of your resume understand this.  This does help in the beginning of your career when you have background credits or non-speaking roles in projects.

This is not to say you will be making things up that aren’t true on your resume, it’s saying that you can position your credits, take things off that don’t belong, and have complete creative control over the perception and product you’re selling.

There’s a ton of marketing psychology in play when industry professionals are reading your resume and looking for that “gut check” (at a glance most of the time) so the more you know about proper placement of words and name value, the better odds you’ll have of getting in the door to show your stuff.  After all, your resume is the tool that, along with the picture(s) that they see first, will get you that audition or not.

Have any comments or stories to tell?  I’d love to hear from some of you that I’ve worked with and hear about the adjustments we made on your resume and how they’ve impacted your audition rate.

Rescue Your Resume – Before It’s Too Late

Rescued from what you ask? A HUGE and most common mistake! Thinking that your acting resume is nothing more than a compilation of all of your previous work is folly. Why? Because that’s not how casting directors, agents, or anyone else in the industry view it.

Yeah, I thought I might get a “huuuhhhhh?” on that one.  Your resume is a living, breathing document that, at a glance, needs to tell agents, managers, casting directors and ultimately the creative team that will be hiring you, exactly what you’re capable of…now or in the immediate future!

Getting the right info on exactly how to position yourself for the roles you want can be tricky, but there is a strategy and system that works.  The first step is to change your thinking. You need to look at your resume from the reader’s point of view and realize it is simply the marketing tool that gets you in more doors, garners more auditions, and identifies what you uniquely have to offer.

Every resume will be different of course so you’re going to have already done the work of determining what you are “selling”.  Your resume (along with your headshots and media clips) are simply the “brochure” that gives the industry professional you want to attract, the “first look” to determine whether they want to “taste” (audition) the real thing in person.

Your talent agent knows that this is the same tool, the one you’ve created, that they will be using as well.  The casting directors they submit to are looking for first and foremost a few things to connect to and you’ll need to make these easy for them to find.

Psychologically the resume is a “mind map” – images for the reader that identify the roles you’re right for but haven’t played yet.  Remember, they are looking to see if you’re a match to the future role and looking for evidence that you’ve done something similar or have the training and “industry proof” via other people that have hired you in the past.  Everyone out there is reducing risk, valuing time, and need exactly what they need when they need it.

Your resume has to give them this info fast, clearly, and also create a big gut reaction that says “YES”.  Because if it isn’t a “hell yes”, it’s a “hell no”!

Here are a few tips for you to apply to your resume today that will help you immensely:

  • Do keep a separate electronic version 40K or less in a Word or PDF doc ONLY
  • Do put your NAME in file title extension
  • Do keep it easy to read, 3 columns, not 4 – forget those directors no one has ever heard of
  • Do put degrees earned even if not in theater studies
  • Do make sure it’s only 1 page, fits 8X10 should they choose to print it out

 

  • Don’t reference any years or dates EVER
  • Don’t put credits no longer valid (like Matlock or Annie when you were 10)
  • Don’t put non-special skills (you must do this better than 90% of others)
  • Don’t put your address on your resume
  • Don’t use funky or fancy fonts to stand out

Though we typically submit for representation and work through online casting sites, for now you’ll still need the old fashioned printable version that you can also email separately.  Make sure these have the same credits and are consistent.  Though some platforms limit you to the actual structure, try to keep the experience, people, and training the same.  You may want to move credits of your focus to the top to make them easier to find quickly.  The example here would be to put commercial credits at the top of the resume on LA Casting, though you may only put “list upon request” on the pdf version.

I’m sure I’m ruffling a few feathers here and may even illicit some contrary comments, but would love to hear your thoughts.  I can tell you that actors who have employed some of these simple changes have seen fabulous results!

Your Roadmap to Success – Your Resume

It seems like it should be much easier to convey your artistry and skills as an actor than through the process of submitting a picture and resume online among hundreds, if not thousands, to even GET THE CHANCE to show what you’ve got in person to get work.  A lot has changed with technology and the primary use of the internet as a vetting process before you can show off that great talent of yours.

It used to be that your credits were confined to one single 8×10 piece of paper attached to your headshot (electronically or hard copy no matter), but even with online casting profiles being prevalent, no matter the format or delivery system, exactly what and how much to put on your resume is a topic of consternation, frustration and/or mystery.

So how do you inform the reader of your resume “at a glance” (’cause that’s what it’s gonna get at best in the rush of this biz) that you are the RIGHT ACTOR for the job?  Or, if wanting representation, what is your future talent agent or manager looking for (again quickly) that speaks clearly, concisely, and most importantly stands out and shows you off as as potential income producing possibility?

Most actors have been taught to list everything they’ve ever done on their resume…especially when just starting out. Then, when there are many credits to choose from, you can start eliminating some of them…but which ones?

I have news for you.  “They” are wrong.  When  looking for a guide, consider your resume to be road map.  Do you take out a map to see where you’ve been? (OK, there’s a few in every crowd!)  Or do you take out a map to see where you’re going?

The first thing to consider is that your resume is the road map to your success.  What kind of success?  YOU get to say, and that’s the beauty of  it.  Instead of putting every darned thing on it that you think someone might possibly be interested in, who needs an actor for any given project of any and every kind, what are the projects that you want to be in?

How about being the designer of your future success, and creating the resume that reflects that instead of confusing the reader of your resume.  They are always  looking for a specific kind of actor for a specific role or addition to their talent stable.  Honestly, you can’t be all things to all people as you’ll end up being nothing to no one.

The first step is to cut out all of the things you’ve ever done that don’t reflect what you can currently do (get cast in).  Take off all of those roles that no longer support your “brand” or archetype you’re most likely going to be paid to play.  You do like that word paid don’t you?

In show BUSINESS, your talent (the product) is purchased to fulfill a need (acting role) and this is not a one size fits all business.  What “size” are you?  You can’t be all of them (though your acting teacher told you you could – and that’s your problem!)

Figure that out first – what you have defined as the type/product you’re going to market and then your resume (brochure) reflects that!  Actors that do take the time and lay that groundwork initially make far greater strides faster than those who continue to insist on the ability to “be and do” anything.

What’s you’re take on the subject?  Still have point 8 type on your resume so you can fit it all on a page?  Still listing unknown directors?  Still have the starring role of Annie on your resume but you’re 28?  Stay tuned for more info in coming posts about everything that should and should not be on your RESUME!  Love your comments below as per usual!