Monday, November 26, 2007

Actors ask: "Is now the right time to strike up a new relationship?" No!

I have heard from a lot of actors in the last two weeks who seem to think that this (writers) strike environment is a good time for them to seek a new agent or manager. Absolutely not!

While it is a positive sign that the writers and the producers have met at the bargaining table today for the first time since the strike began, let’s take a look at what the implications are of the strike time already passed, in terms of actors and representatives.

No scripts continue to mean no (or greatly reduced) production; no (or limited) production continues to mean less and less roles for (union) actors to audition for; less auditions mean less possible jobs, which translates to significantly reduced opportunities for everyone to earn money, from actors’ salaries to agents’ and managers’ commissions.

The result is that many agents and managers (and casting directors, for that matter) are struggling to hold on to what they have. Many have already had to made staff and/or salary cuts to endure the landscape, particularly small and middle-sized agencies. Many agencies are also using this time to review their client lists and are making drastic cuts and changes.

In short, don’t seek representation (or new representation) at this time. Let the dust from the strike settle, as soon as the strike is settled. Then, get pro-active about seeking what you need to help fill the many, many acting jobs that will exist as soon as production starts up again. Instead, use this time to do your research and to prepare the campaign you will undertake as soon as the writers are back at their laptops.

Hang in there, be patient, and let’s see what day one back at the negotiating table brings us all.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

As the writers strike, what next for actors?

Several actors have contacted me yesterday and today to ask about how I feel the strike will impact them specifically and how it might affect the business of acting in general.

All of the major news outlets are providing excellent coverage of the strike and related developments. My go-to sources these days for current and developing strike information are the WGA Web site (, Daily Variety ( and the actor union sites ( and The Los Angeles Times has also been an excellent source of information and perspective (

As for how the strike stands to impact actors, that depends on what kind of an actor you are now (union or non-union) and what kinds of work (commercial and/and theatrical) that you seek and audition for.

You can continue to audition. What will change this is the availability of scripts. If a film or TV show already has completed scripts (and most do, for series television about five weeks of stock-piled, ready-to-shoot material), no problem. Let it also be said that should the number series regular actors honoring the strike escalate (“The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “The Office,” “Back to You” and others have already ceased production due to series stars supporting the striking writers), work will stop quickly everywhere.

In those shows that continue in production, as their scripts run out (and they are expected to before the strike ends) then, one-by-one, production all around town will cease. No scripts means no productions which means no casting which means no auditions. When that happens, we can all apply for benefited jobs at Starbucks (where even part-time employees receive health insurance). That is if half of them don’t close their doors from a serious drop in business, the result of less people in need of their daily caffeine doses and more in need of yoga.

By the way, commercials are not impacted by this at all. It is expected that, at least at this time, commercial production will continue uninterrupted.

Once the writers are done, it will be the directors and actors up at bat next. Let’s hope a positive precedent is set this go around so that further work stoppages and the financial pain they bring can be avoided.

Will the strike be worth it in the long run for industry players at all levels. We shall see. We shall all anxiously see.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The value of a good audition is not in booking the job: A tale about one casting director

I received an e-mail from Mike, an actor and former student, who wrote to tell me about his audition experience two weeks ago for an episode of a new television series. While the name of the show isn’t important, the story about his audition is.

Mike wrote:

"I auditioned yesterday for a new TV show. When I entered the room for the audition, the casting director examined my resume and asked my union status. I told her I wasn't in the union; I’m not even SAG eligible yet. She let me do the audition anyway, which was only a single line. She was pleased with the audition (or so it seemed). However, she proceeded to tell me how she couldn't use me because she had used all her Taft-Hartleys earlier in the season (the audition was for episode 14). She explained (in great detail) how new shows that use young actors often use their THs faster than shows that have been on for a while (she used “CSI” as an example). She was very kind and honest about the situation and asked me to send in a post card when I am union. I've made sure to focus on the positives here and not dwell on my current non-union status and the job I think that that current status cost me."

I have written before about this issue, but it’s worth another look.

Was Mike wrong to go in to this audition knowing that he was non-union? Was the casting director wrong to audition him knowing that he wasn’t eligible for hiring?

The answers, for me, are both “no” and “no.”

An opportunity to audition is a gift to meet, network with and impress a casting director. The actor’s job in any audition situation is not to (necessarily) get hired, but to make a favorable enough impression on the casting director so that the actor will have the opportunity again and again to audition for that person. Getting the job is great, but getting asked back is what careers are built on.

Mike was right to be honest about his union status when asked. The casting director will find out eventually and better it be from the actor in an audition situation than from the union after the casting director has hired him for the job.

The casting director may or may not have known Mike’s union status when she called him in. If you’re in the union or if your SAG-Eligible, it belongs on your resume. It didn’t appear on Mike’s, which was truthful and honest on his part. You would be surprised how many actors lie about this on their resumes only to have it come back and bite them in the ass later.

Casting directors rarely have the time to meet with new actors. Rarely do they have the time to do so. I admire this casting director for taking the time to meet with Mike. Whether or not he was hirable, she did him – and potentially herself – an enormous favor. For Mike, she gave some attention and interest that felt very empowering to him; for her, she became familiar with a new (young) actor she didn’t previously know who she will watch out for later, when he is hirable for her. This is a very good thing. Now, Mike knows a casting director he didn’t know before and one who took the time to advise him in a way that was supportive to his career.

Incidentally, a young client of mine found herself in the same position with the same casting director last week. She got called in for a role she was indeed right for, but later learned she couldn’t be hired for because of her non-union status. So what? She got to meet with a casting director who clearly likes actors and she, because of a great audition, opened the doors to opportunities down the road with this casting director.

Recognize opportunity when you see it and when you get it. It’s not about jobs, it’s about business.

Thank you, Mike. Good student; empowered actor!

If you have an experience in the business of acting you would like to share, please submit a post here or e-mail me directly to


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Casting an impression is more important than getting the job ...

Casting directors are an interesting, new breed these days. In the new landscape that is now the business of acting, there just isn’t the time there used to be for casting directors to get to know the pool of new, undiscovered talent out there. They have enough stress remembering the pool of working actors they already know. It’s not their fault; it’s just the nature of how the casting business has to function.

Time is of the essence, especially for the casting of a weekly series. Casting directors have to rely on three primary sources for information about qualified talent to audition for the roles they have available: the Breakdown Services, existing relationships with agents and managers, and their own files of actors they have met and /or cast before who made a great impression on them during the casting process.

I address some of these issues in chapter 5 of The Business of Acting (“A Casting Director’s Perspective”), but it bears repeating. Actors who get the opportunity to audition all too often focus on getting the job and not on doing a good job in that process.

Let me clarify. The actor who is so focused on preparing for an audition, but who is unpleasant (or perceived by the casting director to be unpleasant) will still get their chance up at bat – this time. But the residual impact of their negative behavior can haunt them long after they have left the casting director’s office.

Anyone can book a job, really. Eventually, you will book. But, getting called back by a casting director who auditioned you for one project and who wants to see you for another project (or another episode) they are casting is a huge deal.

As hard as it is to get a professional audition in this business, it’s tougher to get seen twice – unless the impression you made the first time was one of total preparedness, pleasantness and professionalism all around.

My casting director friends have told me stories of actors who have been pleasant enough in the room with them for an audition, but who were rude or outright mean to their assistants in the waiting room. This kind of behavior doesn’t go unnoticed – and, believe me, at the end of the casting day, that assistant is giving a “bigger picture” view of the day to their boss. Unprofessionalism in the waiting room or to anyone in the process of the audition (whether it be to an assistant or another actor), will get you on the casting director’s always growing list of “Never To Be Seen Again” – and those lists really exist.

Today’s lesson: Booking a job is one thing; building a relationship and a reputation is another. Head’s up on everything associated with the audition process. Even a great actor can be harmed by a bad attitude. It happens every day in the business of acting.

Your comments are invited through a direct posting here or by e-mail to


Monday, September 17, 2007

And the winner is …

While watching last night’s 59th Annual Emmy Awards telecast, memories began stirring back to the 1981 awards presentations (26 years ago!) when I watched my first client and friend Isabel Sanford win her (first and only) Emmy Award as Best Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Louise Jefferson on the then long-running, first run, CBS-TV series The Jeffersons.

Isabel had been nominated several times before, but never won. There had been numerous other important awards bestowed upon her during her life. As appreciative of those tributes as she was, the elusive Emmy was a career milestone she longed for. It wasn’t that the other awards weren’t important. They were – and she proudly displayed all of them in her Los Angeles home. But, the Emmy was special to Isabel. It represented a level of recognition from her peers and the industry that mattered deeply to her.

To a woman who didn’t become a working actress until well into her 50’s, a time (as I write in my introduction to The Business of Acting book) by which most others would have long before given up, Isabel’s belief in her ability to make a living as a working actress never waned.

The first words of her acceptance speech were, “At last.”

That Emmy evening 26 years ago marked two very important milestones: Isabel, at long last, felt as if she had finally achieved career success and, in doing so, became the first and only (to date) African American to win the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy.

While the genre of television comedy has changed significantly since 1981, the goal of television comedy has remained constant since Milton Berle first put on a dress to get a laugh in the early days of television. Laughter heals, laughter brings people together, laughter is good for the soul. These aren’t “Brad Lemack-isms”; studies have proven this to be true.

Television audiences, both young and old, continue to laugh at the humor The Jeffersons serves up in reruns on TV Land. While established fans love to revisit a favorite show from the past, younger people who weren’t born yet when the series first aired are discovering Weezy, George, Florence and company and becoming new Jeffersons devotees in the process.

The endurance of the writing, the appreciation of the performances and the fan mail, particularly from the young, new viewers was important to Isabel. When she died in July 2004, she left behind a legacy that she earned through a lifetime of commitment to her craft and a sense of having achieved what she set out to accomplish. Against all odds, she was a winner.

“At last,” indeed.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Self-Submit and Ye Shall Audition … Sometimes

In The Business of Acting book, chapter 5, I write about the issues associated with actors who get a hold of materials from Breakdown Services and then self-submit on every role they think they are right for.

When this current edition of the book went to print, Breakdown Services had just gone online. With some, but not enough, security safeguards in place at the time, Gary Marsh soon discovered that a number of unscrupulous agents’ and managers’ assistants (and others) were supplementing their incomes by selling the new version of the Breakdowns to anyone who was willing and who could afford to pay for them (the practice also preceded the arrival of the online service when it was easy to simply copy the hard copy packet that arrived every morning).

It was simple enough for these people to violate the copyright laws that apply to Breakdown Services’ material. As individual breakdowns were issued, they were forwarded to the criminal’s “subscription” list.

Quickly and thankfully, Marsh and company created a system that identified each online breakdown with an imbedded code that identifies each authorized Breakdown Services subscriber and each authorized submission that subscriber makes. It’s all traceable.

Three things have resulted from this action: One, theft of Breakdown Services materials and illegal self-submissions by actors is way down; Two, those who have continued to break the law and steal the breakdowns for fun or profit have been caught and prosecuted; and Three, the creation and availability of actor-specific self-submission sites have flourished (particularly the Breakdown Services’ own

When I wrote in the book that I had never known of an actor who self-submitted on a project and actually got an audition from that self-submission, I was specifically referring to actors who submitted on illegally-received materials from Breakdown Services. and L.A. Casting, in particular, have, in many ways leveled the playing field for actors. Casting directors who place casting notices on these sites actually want actors to self-submit on these roles. While not all roles for all projects are posted on self-submit actor sites, many are – and many actors regularly do get auditions and jobs as a result of their self-submission through these sites.

Sarah, an actress in Los Angeles, wrote to tell me her story. She wrote:

I known that you are not fond of actors getting and submitting themselves from breakdowns and I completely understand your stance in this matter. Many actors may not really know how to submit themselves. But there is another side to that. In your book you mentioned that you have never known an actor who self-submitted for a professional project and got an audition as a result. Well, … I have! I have in the past submitted myself and, of course, then gotten an audition through my agent. How do I know that it was my submission that got the audition and not the agent’s? Well, I had some pictures that my agent didn’t like, but I used them myself. When I entered the room I saw that picture sitting on the casting director’s desk. Sometimes I’ve even seen the sticky-notes with my own handwriting still attached to pictures. And I’m talking about major network TV shows and films. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does sometimes. My agent wasn’t mad that I got myself an audition. We’re all on the same team.

Bravo, Sarah! The Business of Acting empowered pro-activity in action! Congratulations.

Do you have a relevant experience in the business of acting that you would like to share with our community? Post it here or e-mail me at


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One "size" doesn't fit all: The search for the perfect agent or manager

One of the questions I am asked frequently is "Can you recommend a good agent or manager?" Beth, an actress in Los Angeles, just wrote to ask me about this. In short, the answer is "No, I cannot." The "whys" and "becauses" are many.

Finding a "good fit" with an agent or a manager must be a personal pursuit. An agent or manager I personally like and get along with could be someone you loathe. It's all about dynamics and chemistry. My advice: Do your homework; do your research.

Ask fellow actors who are represented by people they like and are happy with to tell you about their experiences, but don't rely just on that. Do your own leg work to see who is out there and who is looking for new clients at this time (though this is a tough time of year to seek new representation because everyone is so busy with the demands of a new television production season).

Also, it's not always fair and/or accurate to judge the worth, value or effectiveness of any agent or manager by the clients they represent (who you may know of). Past or current success with any particular client is indicative only of success with that person's career journey and does not guarantee similar success will find its way to you by your signing with that agent or manager.

I have many agent/friends I could call and ask if they would take on a client of mine -- or someone else I recommend -- and I would probably get a "yes" from them. But that answer is not always in the best interest of the client or recommended actor. I am always quick to say that I'm not looking for favors; I always will be clear that I'm not looking for an agent/friend to take on a client just because I have asked them to do so.

I want any agent I approach to only accept a client I refer because it's in the best interest of the agent to add that particular actor to their roster. I want to be sure that the agent wants to pursue a solid business relationship that is in the best interests of all parties involved. For a client to be taken on as favor by an agent who won't really do the work because they are not personally committed to the actor doesn't serve anyone well, particularly the actor.

In this current climate, there is no need for every actor to have an agent; some will choose a manager, instead. Some will choose to pursue both.

Whatever path to representation you decide to take, make it a journey you have mapped out by yourself, for yourself. The opinions of other people you respect certainly do matter, but they should be used only as guideposts, not gospel.

If you have a story about how you sought and got representation that you would like to share, please send us a posting here or e-mail me directly at


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The L.A. Theatre Dilemma: Showcase vs. Art – A perspective from guest Blogger and working actress Pamela Roylance

I have been a big fan of Pamela Roylance for a very long time. From her contract role on “Days of Our Lives,” her regular series role on “Little House: A New Beginning,” to her more recent work recurring on the series “Jack and Bobby” and recurring last season on “Justice,” Pamela defines “working actor.” The fact that she has been a client and friend for 25 years has nothing to do with it. I admire her commitment to her craft; I admire the choices she makes; and, mostly, I admire her enlightened level of emotional fitness that feeds her professional and personal journey every day.

The discussion of the state of live theatre in Los Angeles came about after my attending a performance recently of the critically-acclaimed Elephant Theatre Company’s Equity-waiver, world premiere production of Robert J. Litz’s new play “One Fell Swoop,” in which she co-stars.

Getting involved with any theatre production is a huge commitment – or should be; lots of time, very little (if any) money. So, why then would any serious actor decide to do it?

Here is where the philosophical discussion begins.

As I have seen it, all too often there is a different art to small theatre production in Los Angeles than there is in New York. All too often, Los Angeles-based actors see a local theatre production as the opportunity to showcase their talents to a perspective audience of talent agents, managers, producers, television and film directors, and casting directors. Too often, I have seen too many Los Angeles-based actors use the L.A. stage experience to attempt to achieve something greater for themselves, instead of attempting to achieve something wonderful for the entire production. Doing theatre for art’s sake seems too often trumped by doing theatre for showcase sake, which removes the actor as “ensemble player” and elevates him or her to an “every man for himself” attitude.

Let me quickly say that this was definitely not the case at “One Fell Swoop.” What a terrific ensemble cast clearly committed to project – and the reviews show it.

Nonetheless, Pamela and I began a discussion after the performance about the state of Los Angeles theatre, in general. I found her perspective so refreshing, so helpful, that I asked her to join The Business of Acting Blog as a guest Blogger to share her reflections on this topic with our community.

You’ll have your opportunity to chime in, too, later. But, first, let’s welcome Pamela:

“I was playing a role on a daytime drama when a fellow cast member asked me if I thought it was important for an actor to do live theatre. I remember being so dumbfounded by her question that I couldn’t even find my voice for a moment. It had never occurred to me that an actor would not have spent time on the stage. I thought the theatre was where all actors came from. I wondered if she were either the bravest or the dumbest actress alive to step in front of a camera without knowing the fundamentals of bringing a character to life. Granted, stage and screen are separate art forms, but that foundation of stage disciplines and character development is critical for anyone wanting to act, whatever the medium.

So, that bit of stage philosophy aside, I ponder the question 'Why does an actor who is focused on carving out an on-camera career in Hollywood, choose to get back on the stage during her free time?' Money? Not here. Not Equity-waiver. Fame? Not here. Not equity waiver. So what is the attraction?

For me, there are several lures, not the least of which is the flood of a thousand memories that rushes through me, reuniting my senses with former times spent rehearsing and performing on a number of stages wrapped in the darkness of a theatre, in a variety of locations, with countless fellow actors and directors, wearing closets-full of costumes, handling cupboards-full of props, smelling the “greasepaint,” sensing the pulse of hundreds of audience members and enjoying the applause they offer. One simple footstep on a stage brings back every memory, and I feel like I’m home.

Then there is the challenge of the work that I find exhilarating. It’s the digging in, the uncovering and discovering, the creating and fine tuning of a believable character I can hardly wait to share with an audience. It’s the undeniable fulfillment that comes from submerging myself in the task of unveiling my vulnerabilities to myself, to my fellow actors, to my director and eventually the audiences. It’s the frustrated feeling I get when I’m not quite there yet with the character, and the overwhelming satisfaction that envelops me when I do finally get into her skin and know who she is. Plowing through the work like a farmer gives me the chance to hone my talents, to sharpen my skills, to get rid of lazy habits that may have formed, and to reconnect with the basics. And like the farmer’s harvest, the reward is enormous.

There is an undeniable thrill that comes from performing live. The setting is raw, it’s vulnerable, it’s risky and it has an immediate payoff. I love that kind of card stacking. You would think the instability of the career itself would be enough, but no, I like to keep the stakes raised within the career by exposing myself to this “no do over” challenge. And on a more stable note, acting “live on stage” also offers the experience of performing with continuity. I love the feeling of getting the ball rolling, controlling the energy, taking the audience on a journey, and telling the story from start to finish without interruption.

I also love the experience of building relationships between my cast mates and myself. There is great joy in learning to trust each other. It’s a huge payoff the moment I discover there is no place safer than on stage with these fellow thespians. I’m at an age now where my work is less egotistical than it was in the past. I find myself focusing on the awe and respect I hold for talented, disciplined, professional actors with whom I share the stage.

So, for this actor, yes, it is extremely important to do live theatre. My purpose for returning to the stage is simply to rejuvenate myself. I am fed by the challenge, rewarded by the relationships, warmed by the memories, improved by the practice and like a builder or gardener, satisfied and contented by the results. It’s a great high. What kind of actor would sacrifice that?”

Your comments are welcome by posting directly to the Blog or by e-mail to


Monday, August 13, 2007

The Actor's Lead Role, Both Pre and Post-Union Card

I had a remarkable experience this past week. Simon Anthony Abou-Fadell, Program Director at SAG Foundation, had invited me to present my “Business of Acting” seminar to an audience of union members through the “Liferaft” program he heads.

At the end of our more than two-hour session with a very smart group of actors, I came away with an interesting, maybe even helpful, perspective: Union actors face many of the same career issues that non-union actors face.

Let me clarify. The career journey doesn’t seem to be any easier with a union card than without one (which will be very disappointing for non-union actors to learn; many of them think that a union card is the ticket to a lucrative career in and of itself: it is not).

It’s not any easier getting an agent; it’s not even any easier getting seen for work.

Union actors may have the opportunity to earn more money when they do work (compared to what their non-union counterparts might earn for the same kind of work), but the frustration to find and get hired for this work remains a force to be dealt with for most.

Becoming an empowered actor is becoming a smarter actor. Learning where to put your energies and where not to waste your time is key. As I wrote on the Book Updates page at, there has never been a better time to be either a union or non-union actor. The technology we all have available at our fingertips has made us all potentially better at what we do – and what we want to do more of.

The availability of online services that allow actors to 1) keep up to date on many projects being cast and 2) the opportunity to self-submit yourself on those projects that have roles in them that you believe that you are right for has changed the business of acting landscape. It has also necessitated that you be smart in your assessment of the various sites out there, what these various sites charge for their services, and the value of those services for the money they get.

Clearly, Breakdown Services’ and Casting Network’s are the Los Angeles-based leaders (these services can also be used for actors based in other cities) and every actor needs to learn how to use these services to their fullest. It is one of the many positive things an empowered actor can do every day to avoid the negative feelings that can be stirred simply waiting for a phone call from an agent or manager for an audition for a job that you probably won't get. That's not me being negative; that's just the statistical truth.

I met a lot of terrific people at the SAG Foundation event. What struck me most was the positive attitude in the room. These SAG actors wanted to know how better to help themselves, certainly issues not unique to union actors, but issues and questions at the root of keeping a career journey moving in the right direction.

We talked about the self-submission services; we talked about empowerment in the audition process; we talked about communicating with talent representatives. We talked about the myriad of challenges in the new landscape that is the business of acting now.

I hope that one of the most important pieces of advice I left these folks with was a reminder note: Represented currently or not, never forget that agents and managers who you retain work for you. It’s not the other way around. As such, you have to be the CEO of your business. The product is you. Have a business day every day where you do something positive, some pro-active, in the interest of promoting your product.

It’s a big responsibility. I have met some actors (not at this seminar) who “just want to act.” Really, they belong in some other industry. You must take care of business. You will never have an agent or manager (even if you really like each other!) who will have as much passion for your career as you will have for your own career.

Take the reins and guide your team. Even if you are unrepresented and are a team of one, creating a business plan to follow will help guide you and inspire you.

There’s an entire chapter in The Business of Acting that will help you create your own, personal business plan; you can also read more about it in my Back Stage West article “The Product is You,” available on the Press Room page at

Knowledge is empowerment and the SAG Foundation knows it and is doing something about delivering this knowledge to actors.

I want to give a special nod to the work Simon is doing at the SAG Foundation. His impressive and important “Liferaft” program offers assistance and leadership to members of all three unions (SAG, AFTRA and AEA). More of those who qualify for these services should take advantage of this opportunity.

I also want to send a special nod of respect to those actors who attend these free seminars. So often, actors feel competitive with each other. These events, instead, create, provide and foster a community where actors can come together to help and support each other – not just benefit themselves.

Bravo to Simon and those of you who take the time to become better at what you do through the process of the education and networking these events provide. To all of you who were present last Wednesday night, I thank you.


Monday, August 6, 2007

East or west? How to avoid “coastal anxiety” in the pursuit of a career

Many young, newly graduated American actors eventually are faced with a significant geographical decision to make as they consider how and where to pursue their careers. I also want to include the many new-to-the-business actors of any age who also face a choice.

Although most of these people will, from conditioning or desire, think there is only one choice, there are actually four options. The answer to the question of where to go is rooted in the answer to another question: What kind of actor are you now and what kind of actor do you want to be?

Do you seek a full-time career that will take you wherever opportunity leads? Do you want the opportunity to perform in local theatre, but keep a job or develop a career in another field ? Would you like to be a career extra? Is it theatre that is your passion or do you seek experience and opportunity in every area possible?

How you answer these questions will help determine in which direction you should head, geographically-speaking.

To help you answer these questions, ask yourself:

1. What kind of work do I most want to do?

2. Where do I need to be (geographically) for the best chances at securing this work?

3. What do I need to do to best prepare myself for this next move?

4. Am I financially able to do this now?

Then, read (or reread) chapter 3 in The Business of Acting, “One Step At a Time,” which discusses the necessity to and benefits from creating a personal business plan to follow through this process. You will learn step-by-step how to do this in the book. If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can read an excerpt from this important chapter from an article I wrote for Back Stage West, call “The Product is You,” which appears in the Press Room section at

Having done this assignment, let’s get back to the “Where do I go” question.

Here are the four possible answers:

1. Go to New York.

2. Go to Los Angeles.

3. Go to city-of-your-choice.

4. Stay right where you are.

The “What kind of actor am I now” and “What kind of actor do I want to be” questions inform these answers.

If you want to pursue a professional, full time career in (primarily) theatre, go to New York, but be prepared for the challenges of both greater competition for every role and opportunity and for dealing with the challenges of financial survival in a big city where the cost of living is exorbitant.

If you want to pursue a professional, full time career in (primarily) film and/or television, go to Los Angeles, but, there, too, but be prepared for the challenges of both greater competition for every role and opportunity. Dealing with the challenges of financial survival in Los Angeles is similar to those your fellow actors who go to New York will face, with one major exception: transportation. If Los Angeles is your destination of choice, make sure to budget for a car and the costs associated with driving (insurance, gas, repairs, maintenance). This may all sound ridiculously simple, but you would be surprised how often I hear how bad-planning stories stopped a career pursuit in its path.

There are other cities in America with thriving arts communities and great opportunities to work as an actor (predominantly in theatre), including Boston, Chicago, Seattle.

For the person who wants to pursue acting as a passionate hobby and not as a full time career, fulfillment can be had by staying right where you are and getting active with local theatre productions in your community where great opportunities with minimal competition exists.

In short, there are opportunities to act everywhere. The journey to relocate to either coast to seek a career as a working actor is not a choice or a move to make too lightly or too soon. Many young actors set their sights on relocation right after graduation, but many are not prepared for what else comes with this decision: the ability to survive financially in the process of pursing their careers.

We each have our own journeys to make. Ask yourself -- and honestly answer -- the key questions to help you determine the when, where and why of your next step. Also remember, that any move isn’t forever, and it’s not the first or last time geographic options will present themselves during the span of your career. Do what makes sense for you to do at the time – and always be open to new possibilities along the journey of your career.

Thanks to Ken for e-mailing me about his current career “dilemma.” I told him that he’s not alone in his fear and frustration about where to go next, now that college is done. I hope this helps.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

There are always (at least) two sides to every story; The Non-Union issue, Part 2

I received a lot of correspondence in response to my last Blog regarding the downside of non-union work. Many of those who wrote pointed out that in several places in The Business of Acting book, I talk about the value of being a non-union actor. I was asked point blank, by Michael, a young actor in Manhattan, “Aren’t you being hypercritical?”

Fair question, Michael.

Let me clarify my position.

An actor must first and foremost by a smart, responsible businessperson; an actor must also always be pro-active in the pursuit, growth and maintenance of their career. To do this right, the bigger picture is always the key factor.

I have seen terrific work by non-union (and even some union actors) in non-union productions. But I have also heard first-hand stories of real non-union nightmares: actors having trouble getting the money for their work; long hours, unprofessional crews; other actors who are unprofessional.

In fact, a client of mine just the other day called to tell me that she submitted herself on a non-union film project through – and she got called in to audition.

An actor is the CEO of their business; managers and agents work for actors. It’s not the other way around, as many ego-challenged talent representatives would like to believe. As managers, we are charged with keeping a clear, strategic overview of the client’s career and offering advice and counsel on career matters.

My client asked me if I thought she should go on the audition. I responded, “What do you want to do?” She replied, “I’d like to see what it’s all about – and any opportunity to audition was even better than a class learning how to prepare for one.” Good point.

So, she went, being given the assignment of reporting back when she was done.

The next afternoon, an urgent e-mail arrived from this client. “I would never work for these people!” She continued, “They were so unprofessional at the audition, I can’t imagine what they would be like on a set.”

It’s all a learning process.

Just because a project is listed on a legitimate self-submission casting service doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t perform due diligence every step of the way.

About a year ago, a young man contacted me about an audition experience he had for a non-union project that he self-submitted on through Back Stage West.

He arrived at the designated appointment location (the back booth of a Chinese restaurant in a seedy part of town) where he met three men and a woman. The woman was supposedly the “casting director” he had sent his head shot to. She looked him up and down, then whispered something to the three men. They whispered something back to her and then she turned to this young actor and said, “We don’t need to audition you. You have the right look. We’d like you to star in all three films we have planned.”

She then handed him a paper and said, “Here’s our contract. Sign it now.”

Being a smart actor, the young man said, “I’d like to read it first. Can I take it home with me and send it back to you tomorrow?” “Absolutely not,” he was told. “Either sign it now or come back tomorrow and sign it in person, but we can’t give you an unsigned copy to take with you.”

The actor, fortunately, didn’t sign anything. He told them that he would think about it and call them. Instead, he thought about it and called me.

We had a long talk about this.

The casting ad in Back Stage West seemed legitimate enough. Were these people casting for something more “provocative” than what their ad stated? Who knows. The point is that is must always be “actor beware.”

As in my client’s audition the other day, if you find yourself in any situation that doesn’t feel right, leave – and never, ever sign any document that you haven’t first taken the time to read and understand thoroughly. Then have someone else you trust read it, too, if you can.

I was concerned about the other actors who saw and responded to the Back Stage West ad, so I called my friends at the paper to discuss the situation.

I like the west coast based-Back Stage West and their sister publication in New York Back Stage. They have both long been respected sources of news and information for actors – and they remain so. I have done a lot of business with them over the years.

I was pleased to learn that there is a system in place to weed out fraudulent casting ads. A part of this system is rooted in reports directly from actors who have answered ads in the paper and later found out (at an audition or on a job) that the ad wasn’t truthful or was anout-and-out lie.

A report was filed on this so-called casting director and the so-called production company. An investigation was launched that uncovered that every actor who answered this ad and got an audition (and most did) was never actually auditioned, but was nonetheless offered a starring role with a three-picture deal.

This company and these people have been barred from ever placing an ad in Back Stage West. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t seek (and find) other avenues to get to actors who are simply looking to work.

The young actor was smart enough to never get back to these people – and he learned an important lesson in the process: The opportunity to work is not a good enough reason to do any job. It has to be a safe, comfortable environment in which to work.

Union productions have many safeguards built into them because, as union productions, they have agreed to abide by certain standards and conditions that the union requires of them. This is not the case with non-union productions.

However, many non-union sets are just as safe and just as professional as union sets. But many are not. It’s similar to the bad manager scenario.

Since managers remain unregulated, there isn’t a code of ethics or set of standards we are (legally) obliged to adhere to. As a result, in an environment where anyone can call themselves a manager (and many who are unethical and unqualified do so), it’s not uncommon to hear a story of the evil manager who ran away with the client’s money or the manager who took advantage of the desperate actor by charging a ridiculously high commission.

There are others.

But, suffice it to say that when a story about unscrupulous managers gets out, it’s a quick and easy jump for a lot of people to think that all managers are like this, which, of course, is not the case.

The same is true in the world of non-union work. There are the horror stories, but there are also the glory stories. Learning how to size up any situation you are faced with and then taking the time to make a smart decision on how to proceed is the mark of the empowered actor.

I am a firm believer that a new-to-the-business actor should not rush getting into the union. Building your resume is the ticket to securing great representation because your resume clearly states what kind of actor you are and what your potential in the future is.

For a non-union actor, the only way (generally speaking) to begin this process is by working in non-union and student productions. As my friend talent agent Marc Chancer says, “Nobody is born with a SAG card.” So, go out and earn it by first doing the work to get the experience that will be required to make this happen.

The upshot of all of this is, as I discuss in chapter 7 in the book (“The Art of An Actor’s Resume and Bio”), when you list your credits on your resume, you never list whether the project you worked on was union or non-union, or even whether you were paid for it. Who cares? Certainly not an agent, manager or casting director who is assessing what you have already achieved on your way to working actor status.

In brief, always be a smart actor, always evaluate a potential opportunity as objectively as you can and make every business decision as if your career depends on it, because it does.

My thanks to all of you who shared your stories with me. Comments and questions are always welcome by posting through the Blog or by e-mail to


Thursday, August 2, 2007

A young actress experiences the excitement of getting a job, then the frustration of dealing with the landscape of non-union work

I received an e-mail the other day from Kelly, a young actress who was excited to tell me that she had finally booked an acting job. Then, she was quick to share with me her brewing frustration over the lack of options she seemed to have available to her when it was time negotiate the deal. Actually, she was quick to learn that in non-union work (generally speaking) and for new-to-the-business actors (generally speaking), there is no “negotiating.” You either accept the job or you do not.

There are some important lessons here for all actors, which is why I want to share my correspondence with her with you.

Kelly wrote:

“I booked a national brand product packaging model shoot. It's non-union and for a new hair care line that is branching off of its national brand mother company. At least that’s what I understand. I am scheduled to shoot this Thursday and am concerned about my image being used to their free will without me receiving compensation from it. In other words, because this is a modeling shoot, I am afraid that they will be able to use and reuse my image without ever having to pay me for it or for new shoots.

I don’t know how much you know about these sort of contracts, but I am being asked to sign a rather general consent and release form. I was wondering what your opinion on this is and if you think that are any questions I should ask these people before I do actually sign it.”

I responded:

“This is the danger and the frustration of work in the world of non-union. There are often no limitations as to how the work can be used -- and most contracts that you will be asked to sign include a very specific buy-out clause the includes "use in perpetuity" without any additional compensation to you.

The ongoing problem is that, if this is the case, the buy-out is usually (read hardly ever) enough money to warrant your giving up your rights to further compensation. I would see if the contract has this or similar terminology or language. I would attempt, if it does, to negotiate a limited time use for the payment you will receive, say all media for one year. If your image is to be used beyond that time frame, additional payment would be required.

They probably will never go for it, which means you won't do the job, unless you quickly adopt a ‘never mind’ attitude, that is if you really decide you want this particular work. As far as they are concerned, unfortunately, if it's not you, it will be someone else they hire for exactly the terms they offered you in the first place. There will always be someone to take the job and sign the contract, no questions asked.

The upside for a savvy production company is that they know that there are many actors who never work enough who will always say yes to any contract without reading the fine (or even the bold) print. Sometimes a bird in the hand, as it were, is not enough.

I'm assuming you submitted yourself on this and there was no agent/manager involved? This is mostly often the case when the production company doesn't want to deal with agents and managers who fight for fair compensation for their clients and say no to anything that is not right or appropriate.

Ultimately, of course, this is your decision to make. Be a smart actor in this process, Kelly, weigh your options and then once you have made your decision, proceed with no regrets.”

Most actors will find themselves in situations like this, particularly during the development years of their careers. Has this happened to you? How did you resolve it? How you handled this or a similar situation might be helpful for other actors to learn about.

Your comments and postings are invited, either through the Blog or by e-mail to me directly at


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When is an acting credit really a resume-worthy credit?

When is an acting credit really a resume-worthy credit?

Good question from John, a young actor who recently located to Los Angeles from Connecticut. He sent me an e-mail with an important question that is worth sharing.

John wrote:

“I'm meeting with a few agents next week and I'm very excited about it. During the last few months since I last updated my resume, I have done a couple of acting jobs and I'm wondering if I should update my resume to include these credits. I was in a telephone commercial and I was an extra on a television show.

I looked at the templates in your book and realized that I can't really
put down the commercial because you are supposed to put ‘conflicts upon
request’ instead and I can't put the television show because I wasn't
a lead or supporting role. Should I even try updating my resume or is
it not worth it?”

My response:

Always update your resume and keep it current when you have something resume-worthy to add. Now there’s the really big question: What makes a credit “resume-worthy?”

Did you have speaking part? Were you featured (and I mean really featured, not just an extra part that you pumped up)? The answer to this question lies in the answer to three other questions that only you can answer: What kind of actor are you? What kind of actor do you want to become? What does your resume say about what kind of actor you are now and what your potential is later?

Having said that, as chapter 7 in the book says, never put commercials on your resume (unless you are well known or very recognizable from a commercial you appear or appeared in) and never list extra work on your resume, unless it is your goal to be a professional extra, which many "working" actors happily are.

When it’s time to update and revise your resume, be sure that you do so not just on the version you have on the back of your head shot that you use to submit yourself or the shots you take with you to auditions, but also on the hard copies you give your agent or manager (if you are represented) and on the online versions on your resume for any Web-based submission service you use (like or

I hope this helps.

I have been receiving many e-mails about the value of self-submissions by actors through the various electronic services available. I’ll address that next time.

In the meantime, if you have a question, comment or response, I would like to hear it through your posting here directly or by e-mail to


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Actor Beware: Legimate Agents & Managers Don't Scout For Talent on Craig's List! Read Anne's Story ...

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Anne, a young actress in North Hollywood, California. Both her predicament and her question concerned me enough that I wanted to share her situation and my response with you. There is an important lesson in this for all actors.

Anne wrote:

"I recently interviewed with an agent at a modeling and print agency. The agent, Mark, (I don't know his last name) was really quick with me and gave me lots of positive feedback. He called me the next day and told me that is interested in representing me. In order for him to do so, he said that I would now have to get full body fashion shots for $750 from a photographer he will send me to. He also told me that I will have to pay the photographer in cash. I haven't signed anything yet, but I just have a sort of anxious, nervous feeling about what I may be getting myself into. Any suggestions of signs to look out for or steps I should take so I don't end up in a scam?"

I responded:

"This is a big red flag to me, Anne with SCAM written all over it. The signs are all there. Did this agent require you to go to this photographer or did he merely include this person's name on a list of other photographers he likes who you could choose from?

The price is too high. And in cash? Why? I don't like the sound of it at all.

Check this agent and this company out. Call AFTRA and SAG and see if they have any complaints registered against this person/company. Do the same with the Better Business Bureau. Also, check out the public comment board at where actors post notes about agents.

Lastly, you don't know this guy's last name? How did you get into the office? He should have given you all the time you needed to ask questions, especially in a first meeting.

Put the brakes on this, Anne, until you do your homework — and keep me posted."

The next day, Anne wrote me back:

"The agent, Mark, suggested this photographer by giving me his card at the meeting. I never got Mark's business card because the meeting was such a whirlwind. They had a posting on saying they were a licensed agency looking for new, fresh faces. I submitted my picture expecting nothing. They called me and told me about the company, saying they used to do runway in New York, but relocated to L.A. and now do print, modeling and commercials. So, I went in for just the interview and he said he loved my look and that I'd be great for the fall/Christmas season. That's when he told me to get some full body shots done and gave me the photographer's card. Then he said he'd call me to let me know if the agency was interested in me, which he did the next day saying, 'Anne! Babe! Welcome to the agency!' He's called me every day since to check on my progress with getting my shots done. I asked for his e-mail address and he wouldn't give it to me, saying 'No, Anne, e-mail is so impersonal; it's all about the phone, babe.' The more I write about this, the sketchiness is so clear.

I took your advice and called AFTRA and they aren't affiliated with them. I also checked the Backstage postings and a few people have posted that they share the same unsure feelings I'm having.

I'm going to call the agency and just ask them more questions about who they've represented and who they have marketed to."

My last response to Anne was this:

"Babe? He called you 'Babe?' Case closed, as far as I'm concerned.

It’s your call, Anne, but, I say, if this guy wants you legitimately (which I doubt), then you will have no trouble finding (another) “legit” agent who will also want you, too. Do not rush this process! This is not about the “fall/Christmas season,” this is about the entirety of your career! Let's be honest here. How many warnings do you need? Trust your gut reaction. Be a smart, not desperate, actor.

Walk away, Anne. Don't bother calling this guy again. Instead, focus your time and your energy seeking representation from an agent (or manager) who wants to work with you in developing your career and who doesn't see you as another ticket to his or her commission on a $750 photo session scam. This guy isn't interested in you or your career."

My final thoughts to all of you: Never seek representation from an ad in Craig's List or any other such source. Legitimate agents and managers, when they are seeking new clients, do it the right way. We attend showcases, we ask for referrals from colleagues, we visit professional classes, we review submissions from actors. There's a right way to do this and there is a "never" way to do this.

If you want to use Craig's List to find a place to live or to buy a bedroom set, fine, but to seek an agent or manager -- or to seek a legitmiate acting job, never, please.

Rant done.

If you have a business of acting question or story to relate, post your comment here or e-mail me at


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SAG Foundation Seminar Rescheduled

The Business of Acting seminar for the SAG Foundation, originally scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 2007, has been moved to Wednesday, August 8, 2007, at 7:00PM. This free event is open to current SAG, AFTRA and AEA members on a first come, first serve, advance reservation basis. Seating is limited.

For details, visit


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Two Summer Seminars in "The Business of Acting" Set for Los Angeles

L.A. Casting will be hosting a seminar in "The Business of Acting" for their members this Saturday, June 23, at 12:30PM. Space is limited. For information, call (323) 462-8200 or visit their Web site at

On Tuesday, July 10, at 7:00PM, the SAG Foundation will present "The Business of Acting" seminar for their guild members. Watch your e-mail for details from SAG or visit their Web site at

We'll talk about the ever-changing landscape that is the business of acting and answer questions. I hope to meet you at one of these two events.


Hollywood or Bust? A Commentary in Support of the International Arts

How lucky American actors are to be able to pursue their art and craft in this country. I was reminded of this last month during a visit to Australia and New Zealand where I got to meet and chat with local actors. What an education, which I shared with my students in our first class meeting of “The Business of Acting” summer session class at the Emerson College Los Angeles Center.

The pursuit, maintenance and growth of a career as a professional, working actor is tough enough, but, if where the bulk of the work is located is an ocean and government red-tape away, imagine the frustration.

Olivia Mackenzie-Smith, a young and talented actress living and working in Sydney, explained to me just how the business of acting works down under. While the film and television industry is a growing (and respected one) there, there are still limitations actors have to face all the time. There just isn’t, currently, as much work for actors there as there is in America (partly because there is less product produced there and partly because so much entertainment product from America is readily available there). Local theatre thrives where it can, yet, like in our major cities (and elsewhere) high ticket prices frequently stand in the way of many people who might seek it out being able to afford to actually do so.

What’s a non-American actor to do? There aren’t many options, unfortunately, yet. With an eye on Hollywood or New York, many “foreign” actors simply can’t conquer the U.S. immigration system to be able to obtain the credentials necessary to come here and work. While actors can come here to study (on a student visa; I have had many international students in my Emerson College classes over the years), the opportunity to stay on and work after the post-graduation grace period expires is hard, if not impossible, to come by.

There is always sponsorship (but the regulations about working for one employer can cloud the pursuit of a work for an actor whose career is filled with jobs for many employers); Olivia tells me that Australia has an (albeit highly competitive) lottery to provide (some) actors (and others) with the necessary credentials to come here and work; and then there is the U.S. government’s artists’ visa, which requires that one first have achieved some level of notoriety in one’s home country which will be of benefit to the arts in this country. Of course, there is always marriage-to-a-citizen-route – for love, money and/or the arts (but you won’t catch me publicly suggesting or endorsing that one ☺ ).

This is not meant to be a rant about immigration laws, but rather an recognition in support of how tough it is to pursue this career, with an appreciation for how relatively easier it is here, for those who do so. As the business of acting grows and thrives in other countries (with special appreciation for the longstanding work in England, whose actors have been at this long before the first stage was every built in this country) and as American actors seek opportunities for work beyond our shores (in projects that are not cast here for production elsewhere), we might begin to see a loosening of the regulations currently put on immigration for arts’ sake. The journey is always a challenge; always a learning experience. Both artists and audiences stand to benefit enormously from any creative exchange through performance and expression.

In the meantime, I think I’ll get busy on a version of The Business of Acting for my friends down under.

I welcome your comments and sharing of your related experiences.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Go forth actor and work!

My friend Basil Hoffman (a versatile and important American character actor and acting coach) has written an important and revealing book for actors at all stages of their careers. In Acting and How to Be Good at It, Basil writes about a perspective on the business that can only be gleaned from having spent a massive amount of one’s life actually working as an actor.

So no one accuses me of not disclosing all that there is to disclose here, it is the publishing company I own (Ingenuity Press USA – that has recently published Basil’s new book (his second in the “How to Be Good at It” series). However, my praise for this book is not royalty – or even loyalty-based. This is just a great book for actors who are looking for clues and for some critical perspective in how to be better at their craft.

You can learn more about Basil and his book at By the way, Basil will be discussing and signing his new book at Barnes & Noble, in Encino, California, on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 7:30PM.

So much for the sort-of-self-serving promo.

My rant this time is about what I feel is at the core at Basil’s philosophy – and my own, that actors must always be training and working and learning how to be better at what they do. For you, this means another step up the empowerment ladder that is part of the climb – or ascent of a career journey.

It is always a balance between skills and talent that will breed and nurture your inner self-confidence for the duration of your career.

It’s not just required that you be both skilled and talented, though. You also have to be good at your craft – not just good “enough,” but better than everyone else.

You may know my Business of Acting mantra: it’s not the best actor who gets the job; it’s the right actor who gets the job. In the perfect situation, the best actor is the right actor. That’s why good “enough” isn’t acceptable.

Learn, train and work. “Work” can mean student films, Equity-waiver productions, non-union jobs (if you’re a non-union actor or have claimed financial core status with your union). Maybe it’s a commercial; or maybe it’s the prized (temporary) possession, an actual SAG, AFTRA or AEA job.

Anyway you slice it, work leads to more work. Work also is addictive – and empowering. My advice: go forth actor and seek any appropriate opportunity to feed your soul, nurture your spirit and grow your career.

Next time, I will answer several of the questions many of you have sent in. Got one of your own? Post your question here or e-mail me at


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ethics in Resumes and the Rush to "Pump"

Thank you for the feedback to our first Business of Acting Blog. Some of you posted your comments; many others sent me e-mails with comments and questions.

Before I get to my rant of the week, I want to address the "How do I sign up?" issue that many of you wrote me about. You can read our Blog one of two ways: anytime you visit, you can click on the yellow Read Our Blog button on the home page, but if you would like to be informed when a new Blog has been posted, you can sign up on our main Blog page. When you go there, you will see a quick sign-up box from Google to create your account. If you already have a Google account, then just sign in. If not, create a new account for yourself and be informed whenever there is something new for you to see on the Blog.

Apologies for any confusion there.

Now to the Business of Acting business at hand.

With another school year about to end and another round of seeking-to-be-working actors graduates from colleges and universities, the massive transition from student to professional begins. It's like a great migration. In fact, it is a great migration as so many make their ways from "home" to one of the key bases for careers in the business of acting, Los Angeles or New York.

With this great influx of new, yet unskilled, talent, the rush is on -- and that is not a good thing. Young actors want to make their marks quickly, but like a good wine, a good soup, a great pasta sauce (food analagies always work well), some things take time to develop to their full richness. Careers work the same way. Yes, some will get lucky and reap some rewards quickly. But these wins will be unsustainable in the long run without proper nurturing, ongoing study, continuing training and patience -- which brings me to the topic at hand: Ethics in resumes and the rush to pump one's readiness -- and the dangers that a bit of "creativity" on a resume can bring.

Young actors new to Los Angeles or New York will do almost anything to gain the attention of an agent, a manager or a casting director. Smart actors know how to do it the right way; stupid actors will only set themselves up for unpleasantness and failure. So, let's teach every actor how to be a smart actor, from the Business of Acting perspective.

Creative writing has its place, but that place is not on an actor's resume. I am constantly asked about how an actor can make their resume look "good" when they haven't (yet) had a chance to work enough to build their credits to a point where what is on there would command some attention from a casting director, potential agent or perspective manager.

Chapter 7 in "The Business of Acting" is about the art of creating resumes and bios. The chapter features a horrifying and true story of one actor who lied on his resume and got caught. I know it's a true story because I'm the one who caught him.

More important than being a good actor is being an ethical person. At least in my book. I have dropped clients from my company's roster for acts of unethical behavior. Lying is high on that list.

How do you make you resume look like it deserves serious attention? Work at making it reflect the kind of actor you are now and the potential for becoming the kind of actor you desire to evolve to be. If your credits fall short of spectacular right now, do not underestimate the importance of balance what doesn't yet appear as work experience with training, workshops and classes with credible teachers, coaches and facilities who have earned reputations in the industry for the work they do.

This kind of information of an actor's resume tells me a lot about how serious they are. Smart actors work at building their credits by building their exposure. There has never been a better time for particularly non-represented actors to be pro-active in strategic ways that can help launch, build and sustain careers. Take a look at the Book Updates page on our Web site ( for more opinion on some of the options available.

The final word is "never." Never lie on your resume to make it look like you have achieved more than your journey has given you yet. Opportunities, credits, experience, growth will happen. It's a learning experience. You certainly wouldn't want to find out that the guy giving you a root canal never really made it past flossing 101.

Be proud of what you have already achieved on your journey and let that empower you to continue to move your career forward in ways that serve you and your reputation the right way.

Feel free to submit your comments for posting and/or e-mail me at

We'll explore other related topics in future Blogs.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Welcome to our new Blog!

Welcome to the launch of “The Business of Acting Blog!”

When The Business of Acting book was first published in 2002, we launched our companion Web site at That site was designed to be a source of information and resources in support of both the book and every actor who reads it. At that time, we also introduced our “This Week in The Business of Acting” newsletter, which was created to pass along news, comments and answers to many of the questions I receive about the business of acting.

Each week, I would personally review, compile and write the newsletter. Each week the list of subscribers to our weekly journal continued to grow (there were over 5,000 people who were connected). Each week, each newsletter would always generate a round of rather interesting comments and questions from actors – and people who were seeking careers as professional actors – and I attempted to do my best in passing along the best advice and information I could.

Then two things happened. The responsibilities of actually doing my work for my clients began to interfere with my ability to keep the newsletter coming every week. At the same time, other online services for actors had cropped up and, quite frankly, were doing a much better job with a full line of services they were making available to actors that were (and are) an enormous step up from the advice column I was producing. Credible sources like (from Breakdown Services) and (from Casting Networks) have gotten into the business of services for actors and they are excelling in their endeavors.

I am in the business of managing talent. The book has been a terrific opportunity for me to assist others, but the ongoing commitment of the weekly publication became one we had to, unfortunately abandon.

My brilliant and creative Web guru and designer, Matthew Solari, began talking to me about this thing called “blogs” probably two years ago. It all seemed way to complication for my non-technical brain. Yet, I was missing a platform to be able to communicate with so many people who continue to e-mail me.

So, here we are months and months later and, again, Matthew is right. The best way for me to be able to have an ongoing dialogue with readers – and create a community where news, information and input from industry professionals can be shared – is by embracing this now not-so-new technology. And so here we go.

I thank you for joining our new community. I encourage you to send along your questions and comments. In the process of addressing these items, I will also share with you information and news worthy of introduction and the occasional guest commentaries by and interviews with various industry professionals about the business of acting.

Stay tuned for our next posting, which will address one particular, potentially harmful issue that was recently raised by a student of mine (in my Emerson College Business of Acting class) having to do with ethics in resumes. This is a big one for me. I’ll share my thoughts and comments on this next.

Brad Lemack