Sunday, August 24, 2014

Putting it Together

Helen Gallagher said to me recently "I wish you'd been around in the good old days.  You'd be working non stop!"

Times have certainly changed and I would love to be living in a different era in so many ways. I am old fashioned. But, in some ways, I am not. I was born in 1975 and I came to New York in 2008. My apartment may have a murphy bed from the 1930s but that is as close to I get to the old New York lifestyle. We are not living in a Gene Kelly movie and we are not going to be discovered sipping a milkshake in a diner.

It is expected now for us to have an online presence. I recently met a broadway actress for a drink. We had been in touch via email and were meeting to discuss a new project. She said "Oh, I know you're an actress: I googled you."  Online presence is a given now (especially if you're starting out). Facebook, twitter, IMDB, YouTube, Actors Access, Backstage, etc.: these places are your friends and part of the puzzle to help you get in that room. That said, you cannot just post willy nilly everywhere and expect that to make you a star.

You can't divide art today
Into categories neatly
What matters is the means, not the ends
That is the state of the art, my dear,
That is the state of the art.*

You need to be smart online and make Smarter Online Submissions: 

It's not enough knowing good from rotten
You're telling me-
When something new pops up every day
You're telling me-
It's only new, though, for now-
But yesterday's forgotten
And tomorrow is already as passé

That is the state of the art, my friend,
That is the state of the art. *

We might not like it, but if we want to audition, we have to accept the changing times.  Of course, there are people who do not tweet, do not use facebook, have not accepted the ice bucket challenge and do not submit on Actors' Access. And, yes, some of them work all the time. But they are not the norm. We can wonder how fellow actors might get a lucky break and then we have a choice: be bitter or be pro-active. Agents and managers can help, of course, but we are our own best advocates. Yes, there is luck involved, but we cannot rely on that in either the good or the bad sense. Do everything you can for yourself so that when the luck comes your way, you're ready.

No matter how good your representation, if casting directors do not know you, there is not much they can do for you. 

Knowing Me, Knowing You: How to get to know Casting Directors and how to get them to know YOU!

It's all promotion, but then-
It's just impersonal, but-
That is the state of the art,
Isn't it? Well...*

And it does not have to be impersonal. You need to be professional, of course, but Casting Directors want to see a real person. And, even actors who have done Broadway shows and been on T.V. are finding new struggle with the business because it is always changing.

Art isn't easy -
Even when you're hot.*

So what can we do? I am an actress. I have the same successes and struggles you do. Most of all, I try to practise what I preach. I submit regularly.  Sometimes that can be several submissions in one day, sometimes just one or two in a week. You have to learn about what to submit for and when. What is right for YOU? I sent in 2 submissions this week on Actors' Access and received 2 cmails. 

2 for 2. Pretty good odds. Why? Because I know how the system works. I have spoken to so many casting directors and the great people at Actors' Access. I can give you strategies to help you stand out from the thousands of other submissions. I'm not saying I can book you a Broadway show tomorrow. I am not saying I work all the time, but I think that is what makes my class work. I am real person with the same issues you face. I have faced them and continue to face them but I have set in place practical tools that can help actors submit successfully and with confidence. I started teaching these classes because I saw a need for them among my circle of friends alone. As I talk about in "Here's to us..." And now it has grown and grown and I am thrilled to share. Everybody needs a friend out there.  

Bit by bit,
Putting it together...
Piece by piece -
Only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.
Having justa  vision's no solution,
Everything depends on execution:
Putting it together -
That's what counts! *

You have training and you have talent. What piece of the puzzle is missing?

Learn from someone walking in your footsteps every day.
Any way you look at it.*

Your friend,

*Putting it Together from "Sunday in the Park with George"
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

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