7 Ways to Make Cover Note Writing More Fun and Easy

As much as we want the reader of our cover note/letter to “get us” and call us in for an audition or possible representation, for many actors writing the cover note/letter is a chore.  Here’s 7 ways to put some joy into your fingertips.

1. Take a few minutes to write about what’s on your mind first. When you sit down to write, clear away anything that’s floating around in your head by writing about it. Is your acting class a drag, your next door neighbor cute, your mailman creepy, your coffee delicious? Not only does writing about these things help get them out of your head, but you easily and naturally get into the flow of writing.

2. Write from a picture that inspires you. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Take any picture that relates to your goals and dreams and use it as your inspiration. Meryl Streep your favorite actress?  A beautiful house on the beach where you’d like to be?  Someone walking the red carpet? What about the picture of the actual industry professionals are writing to?  Google images is a wonderful resource…find them, then either print them out or have them on your computer screen as you begin your note/letter.

3. Use a writing prompt. In grade school, teachers used written exercises to get students writing. You can easily create a prompt by imagining you’re in the office of the person you are writing to and that they are asking about YOU and what you offer.  Then write your answers as you would speak them out loud. One of my favorites is, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” You could also respond to the prompt of “Who else in the industry knows your work?” Just respond to the prompt, and see what comes of it. Like using a picture, this technique opens another door in your mind that allows you to think differently, and perhaps see options that weren’t there before to include in your note.

4. Just get it out. Remember that the first draft of anything written is NOT going to be perfect, so have fun with it! There’s no reason to struggle over your exact phrasing or sequence when you’re just going to go back over it and edit anyway. Stop critiquing your work so much, focus on getting the idea out, and play with the words

5. Try emulating an actor you admire. Think about why you like his/her work and then model what they might say in a note.  Does he/she write and speak beautifully?  Does he/she entertain when being interviewed on Letterman? Many actors have authored books and articles and post on the internet and have a great way with words.  By pinpointing the things that you like you are able to bring these elements into your own writing.

6. Write out your plan first. It’s easier to outline what you’re going to write about rather than the actual writing of it.  Are you going to write a quick note with bullet points of recent projects?  Are you introducing yourself with a letter that includes reviews and bio information?  How much is too much and how much is not enough? By planning first, you get more excited about the task, spurring the birth of more ideas. It also helps if you remember WHY you’re writing in the first place.  What’s the ultimate outcome you want to produce?  What exact ACTion on the reader’s part do you want them to take?

7. Reward yourself. This is a huge one! After writing out your plan, decide when and how to reward yourself. For example, after writing 6 cover notes/letters you can go out and get yourself a treat (whatever it is that makes you happy). Not only does this serve as inspiration to get those notes finished, but by rewarding your own successes you are establishing an invaluable system that can only generate more success!

Take these tips and try them out for yourself. See which ones work for you, and toss out the ones that don’t. And remember, when you’re frustrated or things aren’t flowing, let yourself laugh, and breathe.

I’d love to hear from some of you any tip, tricks, or techniques that you use to accomplish the “task” of cover note/letter writing.  Please share them with the rest of our community by posting a comment!  To your success, Lisa

6 Ways to Conquer the Fear of Rejection

The going price for any worthwhile win is 10 setbacks. If you can handle that failure rate, you have what it takes to succeed.

Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Burton never won an Oscar.  Babe Ruth was never named Most Valuable Player.  Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson all lost elections for the presidency before they won one.  Losers?  No. Legends.

Early in my career, when I was struggling actress, I made a list of all the roles in musical theater I wanted to perform.  Some, I admit, were far out of my reach, (to young, too old, not enough dance skills, wrong color, not the right chops, ugh!), and I wasted tons of time wishing and hoping it weren’t so.

If you’re in the acting game you better get used to hearing the word “no.” If thinking that becoming a successful, heck (really?), even wealthy and famous actor was easy, everyone would want in (ooops…sooooo many do! ). Rejection helps knock out the weak. In my case, those early rejections forced me to really listen to my potential in the marketplace and find out what I needed to do and change in order to transform the “no, thanks” to “where do I sign?”

You can’t escape rejection.  You can only let it go.  Here are some exercises that paid off for me big time:

  • Dissect thoughts under the microscope. When faced with a challenge, what do you tell yourself?  “I’m no good . . . this is too hard . . . I’ll never make it . . .?”  Don’t let negative self-talk sabotage your attitude.
  • Identify realistic fears. Whom do you fear?  What might go wrong?  Who has the power to reject you?  Why would that person say no?  The answers will help you prepare your best, and facing them will help you keep your composure.
  • Focus on the moment. Keep your perspective.  Rejection lasts only a moment, and once it’s over, you’ll be able to move on to the next opportunity.
  • Be more assertive. Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people.  Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.  Learn to express your own needs (appropriately), and say no when you genuinely can’t be of value or when you know you can’t fulfill.
  • Analyze every failure, but never wallow in one. Harry Truman once said, “As soon as I realize I’ve made one damned fool mistake, I rush out and make another one.”  Failure is a condition all of us experience.  It’s our reaction to our failures that distinguishes winners from losers.
  • Don’t rationalize away the hurt. Turned down for the gig? Didn’t get the contract?  No call back, or even a call period?  Lost out to your biggest competition?  Don’t let your worth be defined by others.  Get back in the game.  It’s not a permanent condition; it’s a short-term setback.

Ten setbacks are the going price for any worthwhile win. I LOVE statistics so look at the major league baseball standings at the end of any season: Out of 30 teams, only eight make the playoffs, and only one winds up winning the World Series. Out of all of the guys on the team (by the way, no women!) how many can you name?  There are the players in the Major Leagues and then there are the STARS.  In the end, the annual standings show that there are 29 losing teams and thusly hundreds/thousands of losers?  Hardly.  Really?  Come on!  Are you in the GAME or not?  In my book the only way you’re not is quitting, and YOU’RE not a quitter, are you?

Lisa’s Moral of the Story:  Don’t get dejected if you’ve been rejected. Just get your skills perfected!

10 Simple Ways to Earn and Save MORE Money

In case you thought I was going to include winning lottery numbers in this post, I’m not! (aaawwwww!)  The answers I have for you all take work, discipline and good old fashioned ACTion!

I love sharing ways to end the “starving artist” conversation.  So if you want more money, take a good look at these 10 simple (not easy) actions that you can take today that will, in the end, make AND keep money in your pocket.

1. Reduce the number of opportunities you pursue. Focus, focus, focus.  What are your goals? The more opportunities you’ve got, the more likely you are to make mistakes with investing your time (time is money, right?)  If you can’t give ONE opportunity the attention it deserves, you’ll lose money in the end.  This is usually the case pursuing unpaid “opportunities”.

2. Increase the percentage of time you spend marketing yourself.  Let go of the “little” stuff that occupies your mind and efforts.  Reduce the time you spend on paperwork, trade some “craft” time for “marketing” time, and give up other busywork you’re seemingly always involved with. Use the extra time to get yourself in front of as many people possible that can hire you via direct mail, email, social media and in-person networking. Read more

No More New Years Resolutions

2011So here it is, another year. Funny how we make such a big deal out of the turn of the calendar page. Really, what’s different? Today followed yesterday and precedes tomorrow…just like usual. I guess it’s just the global agreement that this is a chance for us to start over, begin something new or improve the things that could be enhanced a bit.

Lots of actors make resolutions to do the things they didn’t the year before so that THIS year they can really get out there and work! Well I’ve noticed that the actors that have this attitude on March 7th, August 21st and October 16th are the ones that really get it. EVERY day is a chance to start again, take on new practices and get in or stay in action. Read more

5 Minute Overview Answering Many Questions

Hi all you fabulous ACT-ion oriented actors. Take a peek at this wonderful interview I did several years ago with ForTalent.com on the Business of Show.  It stands the test of time and I look exactly the same today, LOL. Though the events mentioned at the end of the interview are no longer running, so many new things have been created since the interview first premiered and even more amazing things are ahead.

Actors have all kinds of questions and several of them are answered in this quick 5 minute overview of what the industry is REALLY looking for when seeking talent for their projects.

Get the insider scoop and return to this blog often for many tips, hints, beneficial info and how to further your BUSINESS as an actor.

If you have questions, particularly about getting an agent or manager, I’d love to have you put them in the comments below.  I’ll do my best to answer as I’m always wondering if I’m covering the bases of what you want to learn most.  Thanks!