"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Prove It

Want to see your favorite Struggling Actress lose her shizz? Then keep reading:
HI! I'm [redacted, so let's say it's "Amy"] I just turned 17. I have been dancing since I was six and I am on the USA national champion [redacted] dance team. I started acting when I was 15 and I just loved it so now I am totally obsessed with becoming an actress! Yet, I have only been to a few auditions, mostly dance related and really haven't gotten any jobs (just dance things). So I think I really need an agent. I figured that my dancing experience could some how contribute to my acting career? By the way I absolutely love your blog, I just have a few questions.
First you said that when you signed with your first agent that you didn't know how to properly write a resume but what I was thinking was how did you get the agent if you didn't have a resume?? Second do you have any advice for me to find an agent? I am not with SAG or AFTRA but do I need to be at this time? 
Thank you and let me know!
Hey, My name is [redacted, so let's say "Lisa"]. I read your struggling actress blog, I need your advice on something if you are willing to give it. I am living here in Baltimore, Maryland. I am a struggling actress. I am so passionate about it. I have been doing theater for years, and I have done a few commercials and modeling here in Maryland as well. I dont know what to do. I find myself everyday googling the same things running into the same scams, trying to find stupid things on craigslist. I dont have an agent. I dont know how to get one. No one is helping me. I need advice. I am 22 years old and I feel like I am getting too old to do anything. I have been looking at actors access or backstage.com. I dont know what one to choose. Can you point me in a good direction? 
AHHHHHH! You guys! You seriously make me want to rip my hair out! What is wrong with you?! I don't want to give you the benefit of the doubt because of your ages, because honestly, COME ON. I know you're smarter than this.

I have spent FIVE YEARS writing about how to do exactly what you're asking. I even included a Google search bar so you can find answers to your specific questions within this blog. Ugg. Why didn't you try reading the archives? Honestly? Why not? Because you think you're the only one with your particular problem of not knowing what to do next?

Amy - you first. 
You have gone out for acting auditions but only book the dance auditions, so you think you need an agent? HA! No! You need an ACTING class! Let's say you're choreographing a huge musical at your school and you need your leads to be fantastic dancers. So you audition 30 kids. Out of the 30, 5 are just as good as you, and have been dancing since they were 3, and placing in national competitions. Are you going to cast the 3 girls who required your time and attention for 5 minutes to learn a box step? No. Cause they need dance classes. And you have no time to teach them anything. You're gonna hire the 5 dancers who already know what they're doing, already have ribbons and trophies at home for their dance work, and who you know you can teach in seconds flat. Now imagine you're casting a commercial or television show. SAME THING. You hire the people who show you they know what they're doing.

Acting is a business. And no agent is going to take you on if you have no work experience. Not at your age while you're still in school.

Could you find a dance agent? Probably very easily! (And there are some out there, but I'm not going to tell you who they are.) Could you book commercials and music videos and theatre with your dance experience? Oh yeah. Of course! Do you need to take an acting class? Obviously. Just like you took jazz, tap, hip-hop, ballet and whatever else, in order for you to work doing what you love, you also need an acting class. It's just another facet of using your body to express emotions.

And now for your first question: How did I learn how to write an actor's resume? When I was an itty bitty girl around your age, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, I didn't have this thing called the internet. I didn't have Google. You know what though, YOU DO. And I am absolutely floored that a person of your age doesn't know how to use it to answer EVERY AND ALL question you have ever had. I mean, seriously.  "Actor Resume Template" "Actor Resume Sample"

And you know what makes me angry? I'VE COVERED RESUMES IN THIS BLOG A FEW TIMES. Cause that is a very basic thing new actors need. So it shows me that you're lazy. And that you expect help without doing the basic research yourself. The problem with that attitude is that NO ONE will want to help you if you continue that first impression.

I mean, you want me to give you advice on how to find an agent? How about going back ONE GD POST and seeing that I gave out information on how to submit yourself to a manager who was looking for clients in your age range?? You understand why I'm upset, right?

And come on. You didn't even look up Sag or Aftra because the unions merged Two Years Ago!

Okay, okay, I know, I'm being super harsh but that's the real world. People will take advantage of your naivete. You can get yourself into very unsafe, expensive situations. I'm really mad at you because of that.

Okay, Amy? Do your effing research.

And now Lisa:

Hi. I get your frustrations. But you're only 22. You feel like you're too old to do anything? Barf. Then quit NOW.

But see, I know you don't really want to do that. That's fine. But for some reason, you're not researching very well either because when I googled "Baltimore Talent Agencies" several names popped up.

And if you look at the left sidebar on this very blog, you'll see my top posts are about how to use Actors Access. So here's the deal.

STRUGGLING ACTORS EVERYWHERE:
 
Do your research. Do your gosh darn mother frigging research and stop being lazy. I have PERSONALLY spent DAYS writing information on how to put your tools together to get representation and work all because I want strangers who were lost like me to have a free resource; an online mentor. And nothing hurts me more than getting emails like yours where you find my blog, find my email, and then prove to me that you honestly don't REALLY love acting enough to truly need it in your life. If you did, you'd have read this whole entire blog I've been writing since 2000-Freaking-NINE so you could get as much info out of it as possible.

You want to be an actor?

PROVE IT.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hey 2014 Grads!

Are you a high school or college student graduating this year and moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting? Looking for a manager?

A little bird told me that Bridges Entertainment is looking for 18+ to Play Younger, and they especially need ethnic actors, although all may submit.

Send a link to your headshot, resume, reels, yadda, yadda, yadda to
bridgestalentasst
@
gmail.com

Good luck!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Eat Food

Mom eating food.

It's Mother's Day. A holiday you used to refuse to celebrate on principle because your mother wasn't a mom. Her brain was chemically imbalanced and rendered her incapable of demonstrating love. Having your mother around was like having your surly neighbor who thinks you always have the music on way too loud living with you.

As a child, though, you don't understand that it's a chemical imbalance. You just understand that your mother doesn't like you. No hugs, no touching, no "I love you"s. You blame yourself. You definitely did something one day to make her stop loving you. What did you do to make her stop loving you?

And that's a question you will ask yourself of everyone in every relationship you'll ever have. Your breakups with boyfriends will hurt even more because you did something to make him stop loving you. He'll just never admit what it was, and you'll reel, you'll spin, you'll obsess over every possible little thing far longer than most people need to mourn.

Eventually, you'll get therapy, you'll understand some things, understand your negative behaviors you developed as defense mechanisms. You picking fights with people you love to gauge whether or not they would leave you if something happened to mess up your brain chemicals? Defense mechanisms!

And you'll grow older. And you'll accept that certain things were not your fault, are not your fault, will never be your fault.

And you'll feel like an asshole for not celebrating Mother's Day. Your surly neighbor could not help thinking your music was too loud. The chemicals in her brain push the music so loud that in her head, it's unbearable.

So you live. You adopt your best friend's mom as your own and you allow yourself to be loved by someone who understands what you went through because she too lived with her surly neighbor when she was growing up. It's hard at first to accept the love, but you find a way to do it.

And you adjust. And you get better. And you accept.

You're the closest child to your mother's care facility so you visit. You visit because now you want to. The roles have changed. She is older, frail. You are young, strong. You take her hand and guide her, describing any changes in the flooring, or where a threshold is, because she has cataracts now and can't see and she'll trip if you're not specific. You want to take her out for Mother's Day, but crowds make her uneasy, so you take her out the day before.

She prefers to stay in the car.

You talk to her like you always do, updating on family, life, things in the world. You get her a grande cinnamon dolce frappoccino with whipped cream and a spoon because that's how she likes it and it makes you wonder if it's a sense memory of her eating milkshakes with her dad at a drug store before he died when she was 13.

You know your mother didn't have the easiest life either.

So she is filled with wisdom, and despite her off kilter chemistry, some of it makes sense.

You always ask her advice. It's the best bonding you can do, because for a very brief time, her brain is balanced and she is wise.

"So what advice do you have for me today?" you ask.

"Be happy."

"Okay, and how do I go about doing that?"

"Eat food."

And you smile, because of course, food is delicious!  But you also think about her advice long after you drop her off back at her care facility and say goodbyes.

Eat food.

Eating food is a family event. You go out to eat with your friends. Food is always prepared when you visit someone.

Eating food is sharing food is taking in sustenance is living.

Eating food is cooking food is smelling food is tasting food.

You will be eating food tonight with your friends.

And you will think, Thank you Mom, for your advice. You are profound.

And you are happy.

And you want to tell everyone, Hey! It's easy! You too can Be Happy!

All you gotta do...

Is Eat Food.