Wednesday 3 March 2010

The business of acting

Now, I am new to the game of acting and apart from a $50 expenses payment from a one-day film shoot where I worked as an extra, I have never made a cent off acting in my life. Acting is an art of course but if you don't want to starve it is probably a good idea to understand the business of it.

I have yet to read Brad Lemack's book The Business of Acting but I've had a snoop around his blog and it is all very interesting. Even though Lemack is based in L.A. and writes primarily for Hollywood actors, his advice can be applied elsewhere. A lot of Lemack's advice is based on common sense, which after studying law for a while, I have come to appreciate immensely. Other things I would not have known or wasted one thought on by myself.

One of the latest entries is a review of the economics of acting in times of economic downturn. In a nut shell, here is some of the advice Lemack gives on how to survive and thrive in times like these:

- keep building your resume whether a job pays or not
- new actors learn to manage your expectations of your early years in the business; more established actors reassess and re-evaluate your priorities (I guess this one is to learn not to despair.)
- learn to understand casting agents' needs, i.e. if you are currently represented learn to become a great client - build a relationship with your agent, stay in training, don't just rely on getting a call but seek opportunities; in other words, BE PROACVITVE
- get an understanding and appreciation of the work involved to get even ONE audition for you
- be an actor who is willing to accept their responsibilities beyond just acting in the pursuit of a career

Lemack concludes, 'Finally, remember, at any age, at any stage, it’s about the journey. Be planned, be prepared, be smart, be financed to support your journey to the best of your ability – and then have faith in your talent, your ability and your potential – and do the work. Finances are always an issue. Do what you can do and be patient and determined in your search for supplemental income work. You may not get paid to do the kind of job you really want right now, but it's a means to an important end.'

I'll be sure to take this to heart!

[Also, check out Lemack's interview series with Sharif Ali of Aimee Entertainment on the business of acting from a talent agent's perspective. They give great advice for both new and working actors.]

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