What are some things that actors can do
to put their time and efforts to better use?

By Brian O’Neil

Performers acting in New York City think in a very linear way.  They subscribe to online casting services (which is fine), but aren’t learning to create quality audition opportunities for themselves, which is an important step towards your goal to perform in NYC.

One very important thing that actors need to do more of, especially in New York, is to be going on to the websites of the top off-Broadway theaters and learning when these theaters will be presenting readings of new plays and attending them.

To gain access to actually taking part in a reading, volunteer to read stage directions for any upcoming “developmental projects” as these readings are frequently called. (None of this is to be confused with being a “reader” in an actual audition situation which is an entirely different thing altogether).

Be a Reader for New Plays

I am speaking here of being in a reading of a new play which a given theater may be considering for their mainstage.  These readings are usually open to the public and are presented for the theater’s artistic director, the theater’s staff, and potential backers as well.

Being in a reading is a wonderful way to network and get to know the serious players in the New York theater scene—some of whom are also in the  process of developing independent film works as well. Plan on making your attendance regular, saying hello to those involved (often refreshments are served) and staying in touch with the staff by mail.

In my files, I have many photos and resumes of actors who are signed with major agencies who have placed a reading at a good theater on their resumes.  So if they can, you can.  I say the latter because some actors have been told not to put readings on their resumes, but if the reading was at a good theater, you really should. Over and over, I’ve seen one or two such readings on a resume  change the entire perception of an actor when those credits are viewed by an industry professional.

Brian O’Neil will be teaching the six-week course I HATE MONOLOGUES, beginning January 15 at Actors Connection.

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