if i were an acting student somewhere in LA or NY, how will i jumpstart a film or tv career?

im planning to take acting lessons nights, while working as a nurse by day (you know, to keep things afloat). but im wondering, how will i break into the business?

2 Responses to “if i were an acting student somewhere in LA or NY, how will i jumpstart a film or tv career?”


    Networking is vital. It’s not who you know, but WHO knows you!

    In L.A. a good price range is $250-500 (for the session only, this doesn’t include touch ups or reproductions). Anything over that is usually by some quack who does no better than a photographer who charges $250.

    If you’re in LA or NY go to http://www.reproductions.com and look through their books. Find photographers that photograph people like you well ie. Skin tone, hair color, eye color, ethnicity, age range, physical structure, etc. Choose your top 5 and meet with ALL of them! You want to get their philosophies and their personalities. You certainly don’t want to work with someone whose personality sucks for you.

    Usually you DON’T get your headshots until you’ve taken some classes that help you determine the type of roles that you can play. Your best way to determine your type is to ask agents or casting directors. Casting directors especially! They’re the ones that are paid to imagine you playing multiple roles based on ONE GENERAL headshot.

    With regards to looks, you DON’T want character shots ie. literally dressing like a cop, doctor, etc. NO PROPS EITHER! This is an insult to the casting directors and will get you laughed out of this business. You want 3-4 GENERAL LOOKS! For example, a business suit look can suggest FBI, detective, secretary, business person,etc. A casual look (jeans and t-shirt) can suggest high school, college, blue collar. An upscale j-crew/Banana Republic look can suggest young parent, preppy, white collar, etc.

    Also, when you meet with your photographer make it clear that you don’t want the following in your headshots:

    -Landscape cropping. When a landscape photo is posted online on LA Casting or Actors access, it’s appears very tiny compared to a photo that was cropped portrait. CDs get submissions as really tiny thumbnails. They might miss your photo if it’s smaller than the majority of photos that are cropped portrait.

    -Chopping off the top of the head. When too much of your head is chopped off, it makes it a little difficult as to what your really look like. Cropping off a small part of the top of your head is forgivable, but not to the extent where you look like Hannibal Lecter or Sylar from Heroes’ victims.

    -Too close. Don’t get it cropped too close to where people can’t see your body. At least your upper torso should be visible in your shots so CDs/Agents have a fair idea of what you look like physically.

    -Silly poses. Headshots are supposed to be as natural as rain. Making stupid poses will just make you look stupider. Such common poses include, but not limited to:
    1. Sitting on the toilet. This is where you’re sitting down but leaning a little forward.
    2. My head is too heavy. Don’t do a headshot where your hand is under your chin or even touching your head.
    3. Look at me, I have a sexy back! I’ve seen some headshots where people are in contorted poses, looking over his or her shoulder. It’s not natural.
    4. I’m a mermaid! This is where you’re laying on your stomach with your feet up.
    5. Leading with my shoulder

    I believe that the first three classes that you should take before even engaging in a scene study/acting class are: Cold Reading, Commercials, and Improv.

    Why a cold reading class? How do you get the role? By auditioning! Auditioning and acting are two DIFFERENT worlds! In L.A. especially, the majority of your auditions are cold reads. You’re lucky if you can get the sides the night before. Cold reading teaches you how to make sense of the script within a short period of time and also with in a limited space (you don’t physicalize as much on auditions as you do when actually do the scene). After you get the part, you can always get an acting coach.

    Why commercials? Because those are the money jobs. Build your foundation with commercials so you can afford the best training and materials needed for a successful acting career. Commercials also don’t require you to bust out your Meisner or Strasberg techniques. The commercial cds and clients just want to see real people.

    Improv is a must period. It teaches you how to not be self conscious, us your imagination, and make bold and quick choices. It also goes great with commercial auditions for a lot of them are improv.

    Agents have access to breakdowns that you alone do NOT have access to. They’re the ones that submit you and pitch you to the casting directors who are the ones who say you can go to the audition and are responsible for choosing you to go to the callbacks where the producers/clients ultimately make the decision if you get the job or not.

    Agents are also the ones responsible for negotiating your contract and making sure that you get the best deal. They also have to build rapport and good relationships with Casting directors. When looking for an agent, you want to know how strong their relationship with CDs are.

    LEGIT agents DON’T take upfront fees. They only make money wh

  • OMG WTF ROfL!:

    Won’t happen you have to only do acting ONLY. And you are probably going to be stressed in tired because you are going to need way more then acting lessons.

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