I took a month break from writing but hope everybody’s doing awesome since the last time I wrote on here. So how about that for 2014 network pilot season? Was it everything you hoped it to be? Yes? No? Uh, are you crying in the corner over there? (Shhh, it’s okay, you’re still an actor).
Well no matter, summertime slowness is upon us. This is usually the time when many actors (unless you’re an A-list celebrity) get very sad as they twiddle their thumbs wondering what to do next or get very anxious as they make changes in their career in terms of representation (or have their representation make changes on them by dumping them). Fear not. Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we 🙂
The first thing I would like to address is the possibility that you’re going (or already have been) to be dumped by your agent. After every network pilot season, representations go through their roster and discuss which one of their clients they would like to keep and others they want to let go. Most of the times it is dependent on how much the client booked or the faith they have in the client so it is definitely a case-by-case situation with the client’s potential as well as the size and reputation of the agency. If you’re with ICM, for example, and you haven’t booked anything with them for a year, there’s a massive chance that you’re going to be booted out the door. It sucks, but that’s just how the business works.
If this happens to you, whatever you do, don’t panic. It just wasn’t meant to be and it does NOT mean anything about your talent as an actor. It just simply means you need to pick up your thrown luggage and start finding a new agent. Make sure to check out this guide to help you on that process. And if it’s the other way, where YOU are the one who wants to make changes in their representation, now is the perfect time to do it. Once again, I’m going to point my lazy fat fingers upward to click on the guide to get you through. Trust me, it’ll help. This also goes without saying that this is the BEST time to find theatrical representation, period. So if you’re an actor who doesn’t have rep, this is the best time without a doubt.
Summer also brings about a major dragging point for many actors as the number of theatrical (and commercial) auditions dwindle down significantly. For most of us, the lack of activity, especially in the audition world, will make us morose/glum/depressed/anxious/nervous/restless. Here are some ways to combat this:
1. Before you decided to become an actor, you were and always have been a human being AKA go do things that is beyond just the actor-typical self-absorbed “is my career going to launch at any point/will I book 5 guest stars this year” crazy mind games we do to ourselves. So go do just that. Enjoy life and all its little things. Go out on the date with that cute girl/boy you just met (preferably not an actor, but that’s IMHO). Go call your friend you haven’t seen in 8 months and have a lunch catchup. Write that email to your mom and dad and tell them you love them. And so on and so on.
2. Be active as an artist, even if you aren’t auditioning as much. Put up more scenes in your acting class, kick ass on them, and become a stronger, more confident actor. Write that short film screenplay that’s been sitting in your head for years. Collaborate with like-minded actors also itching to do something and most importantly, have fun with it. For the time being during this summer, don’t concern yourself so much whether the product you create will be film festival/viral worthy, but create it for the sake of creating. The most important thing to take care of is the potential mood slump you may find yourself in when things get slow.
3. If you must take a vacation, make it a very short one. While this coincides with point #1, this is a separate one all in itself as I don’t recommend taking vacations that are longer than a few days. While summer time is pretty slow, there are still theatrical and commercial jobs to be had. You can book a good lead in a SAG modified low budget film with a star name attached to it. You can book a commercial that flies you off to Spain for 5 days. Not to mention, there’s a good number of cable shows casting right now. The opportunities still exist so it would not benefit you if you decide to take a month long break. But a few day trip to Joshua Tree? By all means, knock yourself out and become one with that sun-beaten cactus.
4. During this time, this is a great time to come up with a game plan for episodic season once the TV industry comes back July. What shows do you want to go out for? What kind of roles? Do you have any existing relationships with casting directors/writers/producers/directors/showrunners? Now is a great time to reach out to them and keep their memory of you fresh in their minds. Whether this means doing a casting workshop or not is ENTIRELY up to you but the most important thing is to stay connected and keep yourself relevant.
5. Whether you have reps or not, do you have all your social media outlets in order? This is the day and age where having a website/Twitter account/FB fan page/Linkedin/YouTube page for your reels + clips is especially crucial. It is actually preferable you have ALL of them and keep your accounts updated. It should get to the point that if people Google your name, your website and other social media outlets should come up at the very top, rather than some dentist that works in Omaha or Seoul.
On a random note, a shoutout to this blog article that I found as I was able to claim $100 in Verizon refunds due to the sole fact that it was unclaimed. You know that feeling when you find a $20 in your pocket? This is even better. There’s a high probability there’s a $20 or even $216 just left waiting for you to claim it before it goes back to the U.S. government.