Be the Change You Want to See in the Industry

A little note inspired by some convos yesterday….

How cool is our industry!  I don’t know of any other jobs where you can feel like family with your coworkers the way we do when we work on a project.  There is so much LOVE that we have for the people we have worked with.  I see actors LIGHT UP all the time talking about past colleagues, favorite directors, inspiring scene partners and so on.

SO really… everyone you come to find in auditions including the people you feel like you are “up against”— they are just one project away from being FAMILY.


What does that thought do for you?

You will get the roles that are meant for you

if you bring your whole self into the room, continue to grow your craftand stay grounded and authentic through it all.

And you can do this like you are FIGHTING the other artists, or you can do it with LOVE AND RESPECT for the other artists.

WE are in control of how our industry feels.  WE ARE the industry.  If you feel like the audition scene has been feeling tough and beating you down, the guy or gal going in the room after you may be feeling that too.  BUT WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THAT.  We need to start radiating the love we want to feel in our audition scene to ONE ANOTHER.

What is meant for us is meant for us.  How we pass the time is up to us.

Our world today showcases ways that we are at odds with one another, and living that way is exhausting.  Let’s show other industries how it is done starting with each other.

There are 45,000+ New York actors that will receive this email.  If you want to make our competitive audition scene a more wonderful place…

it’s going to start with you.

We got this.

Much love,

Three Sunday Prep Tips For a Great Monday

Hey AC clients!  I know it’s hard to live a Sunday without thinking about Monday so I have some thoughts on what you can do today to help you more successfully attack the week ahead. 

1) Write out your schedule for the week.  Set aside blocks of time to check for auditions, research projects and build your own content on social media.  If you are working on a bigger project, like writing a screenplay or a series, make sure you schedule writing time in as well.  Hold yourself accountable to this schedule.  Schedule in social media and then keep it closed while you are getting your other tasks done.

2) Write a mantra for the week that will help you feel motivated and energized.  Make sure it is written in a positive form and read it to yourself at different points during the day.  Think of this as a quick tune-up to help you keep moving towards what matters and aware of all the little hidden opportunities you may have been missing before.

Here are some examples:
I am creatively and effectively accomplishing my goals all week long.
I am finding and taking abundant opportunities.
I’m constantly taking action for my career and celebrating my successes.

3) Imagine your week going by PERFECTLY.  What do you do?  Who do you see?  How do you feel?  What actions are you taking?  Go thru the who/what/where/when/how.  Imagine it all in your head like it’s the part of the movie where EVERYTHING is going right for the main character (YOU!).  Many Olympic Athletes practice positive visualization techniques during training and science tells us that firm visualizations in full detail on a constant basis DO IMPACT PERFORMANCE.  Are you visualizing your auditions yet?

Actors Connection President

How to Close Out 2018 and Jump-Start the New Year

What should you REALLY be doing before 2018 is over?  We have a few thoughts… I love a good list, so here is my 2018 CLOSE OUT list for Actors– filled with my top suggestions on what you should be doing before the year is out.  These aren’t the only things– but this is enough to get you moving during an already busy holiday season.

2018 Close Out List

  • Order postcards for the new year– announce something!  A new gig, a new picture, a quote about your work- something exciting.  Nothing to announce?  Create something!  Get new headshots!  Launch a podcast!  Stop waiting for life to happen to you and start HAPPENING to your life.  Our friends at Reproductions can help you with this one.
  • If it’s time, schedule your next headshot session.  New hair, new look, grew a beard, been a while, last headshot not getting you in the door, you’ve got smile lines now– all of those reasons are good ones!  If you can shoot before December is over– all the better!
  • Write the list of CD’s you want to know your work.  You hear me say this a lot but it really is THAT IMPORTANT.  Know who is casting the shows you are interested in right now.  See if we have them on our 2019 schedule and sign-up for class ASAP so you don’t miss out on learning from them.
  • Practice your self-tape game.  This part of the industry is NOT going away.  Luckily– we are here to help so you never have to do it alone– but you still need to know how to get a good shot in the shortest amount of time possible.  Work that muscle.
  • START WRITING.  The emerging trend we are seeing in NY, ATLANTA and ESPECIALLY LA, is the rise of the ACTOR/WRITER.  Start writing work for yourself to fill in those moments between jobs. Use the holiday to collect some ideas for episodics, shorts, films– just get out that laptop and start typing away!
  • Write down your goals.  ALL OF THEM.  Professional, personal, physical– get ’em all on paper and put it in a place you can look at all year long.  This needs to be done before that ball drops– so you can start your momentum Jan 1.

Where to Go From Here

The work that happens behind the scenes and between the gigs is staggering– we know it well.  For some, we know the holidays can be tough because you may have family members who don’t understand truly how hard you work and how much you hustle.

We know what it is like.  And we have your back.

We are creating more tools to help you grow and plan and CRUSH 2019.  This career path is in your heart for a reason.  You’re supposed to be here.  The way you are going to close 2018 is going to have 2019 dying for you to waltz on in like you own the place.

Because you DO own it.  Now go tell it what to do!

Always your cheerleader,
Colleen Kahl

What’s a Win List and Why You Should Make One Today

Most actors I know are really tough on themselves and while striving to grow and improve is really important in this field, the way you think about yourself is also important.  Whether you realize it or not- your thoughts about yourself follow you EVERYWHERE as a part of your energy and a part of YOU– and if you are thinking ugly things about yourself– well, you might as well be that Peanuts Character, Pig Pen, with the cloud of dirt circling your every move- making it pretty hard for anyone to see the real you.

During those times when you aren’t booking like a Boss, you might struggle with feeling unsuccessful.  That is when your WIN LIST needs a min in the spotlight.  WIN LISTS are helpful when you need to appreciate ALL the steps you are taking to build a great career- not just the bookings.

A WIN LIST is a short list of things you accomplished (in a day, in a week or in a month) that you should take a step back and give yourself a little credit for.  Some examples of what could go on your win list could be:
1) You learned a new side/monologue
2) You updated your website
3) You finished a draft of your web series episode
4) You applied to a better survival job
5) You saved money to go towards your new headshots
or even You got an audition appointment.

This is a great task for a Friday afternoon when you need to take stock of what you did to propel yourself forward, feel good about yourself, and stay motivated to keep building your dream career.

Monday you’ll grind.  But today is Friday– so celebrate. (Champagne optional)

Colleen Kahl

Gratitude as A Business Technique

As Thanksgiving approaches we remember the importance of gratitude in our everyday life– but often forget to weave it into our career!  Here are 5 ways to bring gratitude into your acting business this month.
1) After an educational event, write a follow-up thank you card to the educator/industry guests.  Get special thank you postcards with your headshot on them (and Reproductions can help you do that!).

2) Who have you worked with in the past that made a lasting impact on you?  Maybe someone gave you advice that changed the way you saw yourself, your process or your psychology in this field?  Use gratitude as a reason to reconnect!

3) En route to an audition, pull your mental state into one of gratitude and joy.  Gratitude for the appointment.  For your health so you can make it to the appointment.  Gratitude for the materials created to land you the appointment. Let that energy fill you up and give you confidence.  Many things aligned so you could get in that room— you deserve to be there!

Show Gratutide and Kindness

4) Gratitude for Fellow Creators!  In order for more and more actors to receive jobs– more and more work must be created.  We are lucky to be living in a time where internet TV is bringing forth many new opportunities for actors.  Know an up and coming creator?  Support their project!  Donate to their Go Fund Me, sign up for their email blast, or volunteer to help on set/in the theatre/with the launch.  Your kindness may lead to many new opportunities.

5) Show kindness and gratitude for ALL members of the project.  I heard a story a few months ago about an actor who had a small role on set but was so beloved by cast and crew due to his perfect graciousness that they KEPT WRITING HIM BACK IN.  There are so many ways we are connected to others in this industry, and a wonderful attitude noticed by any member of the team could have beautiful ripples in your career.  Everyone matters.

Hope you enjoyed this small list.

In gratitude for YOU,
Colleen Kahl

Laughing on Set by Martin Bentsen, NY Photographer and Filmmaker

set clapper with couple in backgroundHaving a good laugh when you’re on set can be fun, but every once in a while it’s not appropriate. It’s important to know when you shouldn’t burst out laughing not only because people could get offended, but worse, they could think you don’t care about their production.

In general, when you’re first starting out on a production and you don’t know the crew well, it’s best to let things happen and try not to show too many emotions (unless you have to for the scene). The more emotional you are in real life (whether it’s laughter, annoyance, anger, or sadness), the more people will form opinions about you. And because you don’t necessarily know whether those opinions will be positive or negative, it’s better not to get too involved until you get used to everyone and know who they are and how they think.

I’ve worked on set where new actors can’t seem to get a line right and just burst out laughing in multiple takes. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it can say to the director that you don’t take their project seriously.

Also, be very careful of laughing when someone on set messes something up. I’ve been on set where a steadicam operator ran through a field grabbing shots. He tripped and fell over a root. It was absolutely hilarious, but the camera fell and one of the lenses was damaged. A couple of people found it amusing, but the director and primary crew did not at all.

The behind-the-scenes videographer captured the fall and replayed it for people to their amusement. However, the steadicam operator asked him to delete the footage. His career could be completely killed from a mistake like that getting out!

All of this isn’t to scare you into never laughing on set. It is to get you consciously thinking about when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. Truth is, you’ll never know for sure. Instead, avoid laughing during the first few shooting days unless you see the director or a higher up laughing. If everyone else is cracking up and having a good time, by all means, feel free to join. If the crew seems somber and quiet, it’s best not to be the laughing one in the group.

Martin Bentsen has spoken numerous times at New York University. He has run educational seminars at Actors Connection and other acting studios as well. These seminars focus on branding and marketing strategies for performers. Mr. Bentsen has written an informational book called Get Cast™, as well. It focuses on marketing tactics actors can use to find more consistent work. He is a member of both the National Association of Sales Professionals and Sales & Marketing Executives International, two highly acclaimed marketing organizations in the United States.

Martin graduated in 2011 with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Film and Television program. Naturally, his focus was directing. City Headshots®, which he founded in 2010, is the top headshot studio in New York according to Yelp. Martin’s long term goal is to run major business and actor marketing seminars across the country while expanding his City Headshots brand to go international