Should You Move to Los Angeles? Or New York? Or Atlanta?

Should You Move to Los Angeles? Or New York? Or Atlanta?

Should You Move to Los Angeles? Or New York? Or Atlanta?

So often we run into actors who are considering a move to another major market. Right now, our biggest entertainment hubs are located in NY, LA and ATL and deciding which location is right for you is VERY important. Here are the most important questions you need to ask yourself when determining if a move to another market is right for you.

Have you grown out of your current market?

Have you already explored everything your home market has to offer? Maybe you are in a city like Chicago, Philly or DC where there are lots of opportunities in entertainment that can be explored BEFORE a big move. Have you hit a plateau in your city, or are you still building your resume and learning everyday? Do you feel like you have done everything you could have done to grow in your city but you aren’t getting to the next level?

Are you looking to build initial credits or build upon recent success?

Some markets are harder to build initial credits than others. Are you having a hard time getting initial credits in a larger market? Maybe a smaller market will help you beef up your resume before focusing on a larger one. Have you been crushing it in your city? Maybe you NEED a move to be able to go in more consistently for bigger projects and reach the next level.

Where are your “best fit” shows filming now?

What shows can you see yourself on? Where are THEY casting? What directors/writers are stylistically complimentary to the styles YOU are drawn to as a storyteller? What cities are THEY based in? The movies, series and shorts you are loving— where did THEY film?

Where are your support systems?

This is a tough career and support is IMPORTANT. Where do you know people who can help you along your path? Where are the training centers and teachers you trust located? Where do you have family and friends who can keep you positive and motivated? Identifying support systems where you live (or where you WILL LIVE) is KEY to success.

What kind of life do you want OUTSIDE of your career?

Think about the work/life balance that would make you happiest and explore the financial blueprint you need to get there. Now explore living expenses in the city of your choice. What do you need to do to obtain that lifestyle in that city? Where do you need to work? How many hours? Do you need a roommate? What type of living situation suits you the most? Do you want a dog? A car? A yard? Access to public transportation? Access to restaurants and shops? Which city can you fully visualize yourself in?

These questions are intended to focus you on which city is your best fit for you— and keep it mind, during your career, your answer may CHANGE!  There are many opportunities to build a successful career– and finding the best path for unique you deserves research, observation and careful consideration.  Good luck as you make your decision!

Photo Kindly by Joey Kyber on Unsplash.

From Hobby Actor to Professional: Here's 5 Tips to Help you Get There

From Hobby Actor to Professional: 5 Tips to Help you Get There

From Hobby Actor to Professional: Here’s 5 Tips to Help you Get There

So many people begin their love of the industry thru school or community theatre and it just blossoms from there… but making the jump from hobbyist to professional is not an easy step for many actors. Enjoy these 5 helpful tips when making the leap into paid performance opportunities as an actor.

 

#1- KEEP TRAINING

The work of an actor is NEVER done. You need to constantly expand your skills and practice what you have learned time and time again. A series of community theatre or school productions does not equivalent real training with experienced educators. Find a teacher who is passionate about the craft that challenges you to be better. And don’t be the best person in your acting class… aggressive learning and training doesn’t happen when things are easy. Allow yourself to be in a classroom where it feels HARD!

 

#2- HOLD OFFICE HOURS FOR RESEARCH and MARKETING

Professional actors spend hours each day working on moving their career forward. I suggest protecting hours each day to do this. During this time, you should be researching industry trends, opportunities, potential partners, learning new materials, marketing yourself, tending to emails and more. You need to be an expert in what types of opportunities are out there for you, who you need to know to get them, and how to start building those relationships. This requires a daily commitment.

 

#3- DRAW THE LINE and PHASE OUT OF FREE WORK

In order to be seen as a professional and get paid for your work, you’ll need to get REALLY picky on what work you decide to do for free. You can’t expect others to value your work if you don’t. Giving things away constantly does not create a sense of value. I’ve seen this be a hard step for actors– but it is very important. Only take on free projects that could have MAJOR impact on your career thru connections or big resume credits— and even then— be really really picky. Do you need another role like this on your resume? Or does your resume already show you can do that type of part? Will the time you put in be worth what YOU receive for doing the project? Draw a line for yourself and hold yourself to valuing your contributions and performances. If YOU don’t do this for yourself, NO ONE ELSE WILL.

 

#4- GET PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOTS

Maybe your sister-in-law is a good photographer and does a fabulous job at your family photos– but that doesn’t always make her a good choice for a headshot photographer. It is very worthwhile to select a photographer who is experienced in this area. Notable headshot photographers have an understanding of what types of shots help actors get work and how to creatively obtain an organic shot from you. You should have a photographer who understands characters and storytelling so they can help you achieve pictures that clearly broadcast the emotions of the most common characters you can play. Headshot photographers also know the difference between a good picture of you and a good HEADSHOT of you. Just because a picture is flattering doesn’t make it a good headshot. You need to look just like you on a good day– not an over airbrushed magazine cover model.

 

#5 FIND A MENTOR

There are tons of information on how to go about the path of becoming a working actor and it can feel overwhelming at times. I strongly suggest that all actors find a mentor in the business; someone who is working professionally who has learned the ropes and can help you avoid mistakes and missteps along the way. As you go about your journey you’ll have questions about unions, contracts, pay rates and representation. It is enormously helpful to have a go-to person (or people) to help you learn professional protocols and standards along the way.

 

Looking for more help getting started along your career path from hobby actor to professional actor? Actors Connection is here to help you access the training and information you need to get to the next level. Sign-up here for a completely FREE program consultation to learn more about what we suggest as your personal next steps.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and learn how to take yourself from from hobby actor to professional, by watching our InterAct Q&A Webinars series with industry professionals. 

Skill-Adjacent Income Ideas for Actors

Skill-Adjacent Income Ideas for Actors

Skill-Adjacent Income Ideas for Actors 

Even though the entertainment industry is working hard on adjusting to the health requirements of a pandemic, we are still seeing so many actors out of work.  Now, more than ever, is it important for performers to utilize their creative capabilities in new ways to build income generating opportunities for themselves. Skill-Adjacent Income Ideas for Actors

There have always been locally driven opportunities to make money from your entertainment skillset in your community— and it doesn’t even have to be an actor gig– just skill adjacent.

As a performer, you have cultivated MANY skillsets in both arenas of creativity and interpersonal relationships.  Don’t underestimate YOUR VALUE when using these secondary skills out in the world.

Here are some examples of services you can offer for extra income at this time using your actor skillset– but don’t limit yourself to these ones!  Use them as a jumping off point for your own ideas during this time!

Authenticity Help for A Sales Team  

Did you know that many sales organizations use scripts?  There are many teams out there with their lines, improv-ing when necessary.  As a performer, maybe you could help them adjust their scripts to their audience, bring more authenticity to individual presentations and show how salespersons can employ “intention”  and “actions” to be more riveting in their performances.. I mean, sales pitches!

Social Media Video Consultant

Everyone has local neighborhood brands they love.  Is your brand doing a good job educating the public about their product and generating excitement?  Do you have commercial training that can help them fine tune their language and messaging?  Maybe you would be willing to self-produce a few videos or a podcast on your own for their page (and for an appropriate fee!)?  How can you partner with local businesses you love so you both can reach new goals?

Online Storyteller

Schools, non-profits and families are looking for safe new ways to engage kids right now. If you are a tremendous story-teller (especially one that can improvise) maybe you can connect with schools, YMCA’s or even local families as a new service to engage kids in stories that have a goal or an impact point.  Can you creatively teach about bullying thru a story?  About kindness?  About Math?  Can you do a Q&A as a famous literary character for a local school?  Can you adapt a story to your exact audience so a group feels like the whole thing was just for them?  How can you use your story-telling skills to support local individuals who are struggling to find fun new ways for their kids to learn right

I hope these ideas got you thinking about how you can use your years of experience to bring in additional income at this time.  You are valuable… and so is what you bring to the world. Think about your skills outside of the confinements of plays and tv shows and enjoy what doors may open up for you.

Hopefully this gave you inspiration around skill-adjacent income ideas for actors . Be sure to check out our online acting classes, intensives, and special events

Photo Kindly by Randy Fath on Unsplash.

My Favorite Bravery-Building Networking Tip For Actors

Bravery-Building Networking Tip For Actors

My Favorite Bravery-Building Networking Tip For Actors

Once upon a time, on New Year’s Eve actually— a group of friends and I got together to prepare goals for the new year, sip champagne, and celebrate our expected successes for the coming year.

Being the absolute dork that I am, I prepared some pretty little sheets to help us get focused during our little goal setting party. I’ve also included a game I made up called THE 50 QUESTIONS GAME.

The questions game is the PERFECT exercise to remind you that so many possibilities exist for you in the world if you go looking for them. It is also the perfect way to get used to asking for what you want and building up an immunity to the word “No.” A “no” is just another step closer to a “yes”— and if you look at the laws of probability… you WILL get some “yes” answers to some of your questions.

Here is how you play.

On a page you write out the numbers 1-50– each number on a different line. Then for each number you need to come up with a person and a question/request for that person. You can ask ANYONE but all questions should be things that would either cultivate great joy for yourself, open up an opportunity, or make a new connection.

I think the game is most successful when you have a mix of personal questions that would make you happy, new things you’d like to learn about, and career focused inquiries.

In your 50 questions… ask people you admire for a coffee… or 5 mins of their time for a specific reason (the key to an answer is be specific and don’t require TOO much time of the person). Ask for someone to make an introduction for you. Ask for a backstage tour of the zoo. Ask to be a free set of hands to watch how they work and help someone you admire for the day. Ask for an audition for the upcoming season. Ask someone if they’ll donate to your project. Ask someone if they need volunteer help on their project. Ask someone for advice. Ask someone to read a chapter of your book or a few pages of your script. Ask someone for feedback on your reel. Ask someone for something– anything! Ask someone out to dinner. Ask someone what books have inspired them. Ask someone how they got to where they are. Doesn’t matter what you ask or who you ask– but you NEED to ask 50 questions.

When you commit to doing this, you will get some surprises. Some people won’t answer…and others will. Either way, you will get something you didn’t have before. Part of the fun is waiting to see who responds and what new relationships are cultivated during those responses. Nothing lost by asking!!

So get out there and get asking!

Practice this Bravery-Building Networking Tip For Actors online, from the comfort of your home, by getting social and networking with us on Facebook.

Also, be sure to check out our Acting Classes now available online! Not sure what classes, seminars and special events you’re ready for? No problem. Actors Connection offers one 15-minute complimentary program consultation to guide you into the appropriate programs for you at this time in your career. 

Photo Kindly by Dee @ Copper and Wild on Unsplash.

 

Biggest Mistakes Actors Make When Looking for An Agent

Biggest Mistakes Actors Make When Looking for An Agent

What are Some of the Biggest Mistakes Actors Make When Looking for An Agent?

Trying to figure out how to get an agent?  Maybe you have started the process but aren’t sure where you are going wrong.

 

Whether you are looking for a talent agent in New York, a manager in LA or a commercial rep in Atlanta, there are some pretty common mistakes that many actors make.  Save yourself the time and energy and get your search off on the right foot when you stay mindful of these common pitfalls in the ever-so-important search for an agent.

 

You aren’t very knowledgeable about the business

In the age of the internet, there are numerous places to learn the basics of the industry.  You can find the correct resume format, learn about the proper percentages representation should take from your work, discover proper self-taping techniques, understand what makes a decent headshot and more.  You can’t rely on an agent to hold your hand this whole way and teach you everything about the business.  If this is your chosen industry, you need to do the research and come to the table already knowing the standards.  Take classes and ask for help if you need it… but remember, your agent isn’t your personal assistant.  At 10% commission, you better be doing 90% of the work.  Agents prefer professionals and not needy beginners.  Empower yourself with as much learning on your own as you possibly can.  It’ll also help you stay away from scams preying on hopeful new actors.

 

You don’t do your research on the different agencies

There are different types of agents out there.  Some specialize in legit work (LA calls it theatrical– and that includes theatre, film, tv), some specialize in Commercials, others in Voiceover.  Understand what the agent’s office specializes in and take note of what that particular agent’s focus is.  You should tailor any cover letters or interviews to the office’s specialty.  It may also help you determine that a particular agent is NOT for you.  The more research you can do on the personalities and communication styles of the reps at a particular office and the more you know about the type of work their clients are booking, the better you can decide if this agency would be a good fit for you and your goals.

 

You send the SAME form letter to EVERYONE

I even get them– and I’m not an agent!  Beware of the copy and paste!  Agents can smell a form letter.  Be specific about why you are trying to work with that specific agency.  Tell them why.  Is it because their clients often work on shows you are extremely right for?  Is it because you participated in an event with someone from their office and had great synergy with that person?  Did a fellow actor recommend them to you?  The more specific you can be here, the better.  This is an important business relationship— and like in any good relationship, making an effort is important.

 

You don’t know how to interview well

Actors often forget to prep for this step.  So you have an agent that responded to your materials/email and they’d like to get to know you better.  Great!  They will usually set-up an interview to talk to you about your career goals.  This interview makes or breaks lots of actors.  The agent is looking to get a sense of who you are and the work you are passionate about quickly.  Be prepared to talk about how you feel you fit into the industry right now, give examples of shows/projects that you are right for and be able to talk about how you can be competitive in this industry.  They know you really really love acting.  That is a given.  Talk about details, specifics and even other hobbies and skills that make you unique.  If you feel like a million other people could have answered the questions the same way, then you aren’t letting your authentic self shine enough in your interview!  Also, have some questions ready for them!  Write them down so you don’t forget to ask anything important.

 

You sign with the FIRST person that shows interest

The first person may not always be the right person FOR YOU.  This is SO important.  Your agent needs to be on the same page as you when it comes to the work you both think you should be doing.  If there is a disconnect here, you BOTH won’t be happy.  Same thing goes for communication style.  Make sure both of you are clear on what needs to be communicated, when it needs to be communicated and HOW it needs to be communicated.  You should feel very comfortable working together– at the end of the day you are a team!  Take your time and make sure that you feel good about this new professional relationship before signing any contracts.  There are many agencies out there– and waiting for the right partnership had brought numerous actors incredible success.

 

You have stopped training

Even when you are booking consistently, your reps like to see that you are always keeping your skillset fresh.  If it’s been weeks or months since your last project, show your rep that you take your career seriously by maintaining and growing your skillset and connections in classes and events.  Your craft is a muscle and you should make time to stretch and improve it to keep your skills “in shape.”  The same also goes if you are minimally trained.  An agent or manager invests hours and hours of time into a new client before a penny is ever earned.  In order to get someone to be excited to make that investment in you, you should show the investment you have made in yourself.

 

I hope these tips will help you as you find great representation for yourself.  Don’t rush and don’t compare yourself to others.  This is a highly individualized career path and everyone has their own journey.  Stay positive and keep busy doing great work.  Getting fantastic work out there is always the best way to attract business opportunities of any kind!

Learn to avoid the biggest mistakes actors make looking for an agent by signing up to attend our Online Legit Agent Night – Showcase To 3 NYC Agencies on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT! Register Now.

Find out why people love Actors Connection by checking us out on YouTube!

Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

Learn How to Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

How to Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

If you feel like you are doing more waiting than working in your career– well then honey this blog here is for YOU.

Actors are constantly giving their power away in this industry while they sit and refresh their email hoping that an opportunity or an audition will appear. Well friends, that is NO way to build a career OR live your life.

We see it in the dating world all the time. Someone waiting by the phone for that person to call or text. Putting all their eggs in one basket and placing all their happiness on one person. It’s a sad and lonely existence and ya know what it doesn’t prioritize? YOUR HAPPINESS and YOUR SUCCESS.

So if you feel like you have been waiting for the right agent, the right job or the right contact to really feel like an actor— read the tips below and take your power back in this career. Time to step into the Boss Babe role you have always deserved!

When you are an actor, you are the CEO of your own company and you should be working your connections and making new ones with the confidence of a BOSS. Act like a leader. Get focused and committed to your business with the confidence and knowledge of a 7 figure CEO. The successes and failures of the company are on YOU. So train, prepare, and work like you mean it.

When in doubt– MAKE and CREATE. Haven’t had an opportunity land in your lap? Time to make-one. Connect with writers or even write for yourself. Create a team and do play readings, short films, podcasts or even commercials for local businesses. You need to constantly be putting excellent work out there to help more and more people discover who you are and what you can do with your craft. Radio silence doesn’t put you in the right place at the right time so help the universe out! Creating and marketing your own work gives you way more opportunities to sync up with people who can help you get to the next level.

Research and Reach Out. Are you an expert on the type of work being produced right now? Is your brain a full-on encyclopedia of people who are working in the entertainment business who do work that you’d love to be doing at all sorts of levels? If not, then make RESEARCH your new best friend. Troll articles, postings and announcements for new names of people working on projects you’d love to get involved in and then dive down the rabbit hole learning about these people and their careers. But don’t stop there! If there is a project happening that you KNOW you are right for, REACH OUT! Offer to help or be of service in any way. Volunteer or help connect them with something or someone they may need. Get on their radar by being helpful and not needy and then keep tending to that connection until that person is a part of your network.

Help Other People. We mentioned this a bit above, but it’s worth saying again. We all have needy people in our lives and they can be exhausting. Don’t be one when it comes to your career! Offer to help friends and colleagues on creative projects instead of only just asking them to support you. Be mindful to be a giver more than you are a taker (also be mindful to set boundaries– you’re not an eternal volunteer, you are a person of value!). Being helpful is a great way to deepen relationships so your contacts will be more excited about being supportive to your success.

Live a FULL and Happy Life Outside of Your Career. You are not and will never be just an actor. You are a beautiful and powerful human being capable of all sorts of things so spend some time cultivating what some of those “things” are. Have hobbies. Have friends OUTSIDE the business. Spend time with family. Get involved in a cause you care about. The more you grow your holistic self, the easier it becomes to feel confident and happy in who you are. Never place your worth on any one thing. You are so much more than a particular acting job or a relationship. You are multidimensional greatness!

I hope these thoughts and tips will help you get back in the driver seat of your career and your life. You are the writer of your story and you DO deserve to have all the wonderful things you crave. Go on out and build the YOU that has always been hanging out there in your heart.

Take your acting skills to the next level, and learn how to avoid feeling powerless in your acting career by signing up for one of our online acting classes today! 

[Photo Kindly by Ian Dooley]

 

Acting Career | 5 Important Questions Every Actor Should Ask Themselves Right Now

5 Important Questions Every Actor Should Ask Themselves

5 Important Questions Every Actor Should Ask Themselves Right Now

Staying focused and positive during this pandemic can make a big difference when you get back in the running for great acting opportunities.  Fall also has this special way of inspiring us to get back to work and back to the goals we have in our heart– So if you have been craving a RE-FOCUS sorta Fall— then this blog is for you!

When it comes to your acting career, I find that there are some BIG questions that you can answer for yourself that can help you get clearer on the type of work and opportunities you should be focused on.  There is a lot of information out there in the inter-webs on things you should be doing as an actor, and without a few guiding principles, it is REALLY EASY to work yourself into the ground.  Don’t be busy for the sake of being busy– get busy doing the RIGHT THINGS FOR YOU– which newsflash… may be different RIGHT things for someone else.

To help actors get focused on who they are meant to be in this industry, I have a few guiding questions that they can answer themselves to help set the stage for tasks and priorities for Fall 2020.  Check them out and answer them for yourself below.  I hope they help you hone in on the type of artist you want to be this year.

What three words describe your career right now?

Think 3 descriptive words and be honest with yourself on how you would describe the current state of your career.  Don’t over edit, go with your instincts.  You need to really understand where you are at right now.

What three words describe the career you want to have?

When you imagine yourself having the acting career that fulfills you, what descriptive words come to mind?  Let these words be varied and joyous.  Compare your answers from question 1 and question 2.  Think about what steps you need to take and thoughts you need to think to start feeling the energy of your question two answers in your everyday life in your NOW moments.

What are the types of stories you feel most inspired to tell?

Surprisingly, so many actors don’t have an answer ready for this one.  You should ALWAYS have an answer here.  What are the stories and the character types that you feel attracted to?  Do you like portraying young women who can go against the odds and win?  Do you love stories about men discovering a deeply hidden softer side?  Do you like stories that depict a battle of good and evil?  Or stories that prove the importance of love?  Do you particularly enjoy historical pieces?  Sci-fi that challenges human perception?  Note all your tastes as a storyteller.  Explore what makes your most desired characters the ones you most like to play.  Understand those reoccurring themes.

Who is producing work surrounding those types of stories?

Now that you understand the work that you LOVE on a deeper level, you need to find EVERYONE in the industry who also LOVES that type of work.  Who writes those stories?  Produces them?  Casts them?  Finances them?  What types of audiences support them?  Learn the entire ins and outs of that type of work.  Compile bios and begin understanding how the most successful people making those stories started their careers.  Notice certain things show up more than once.  Use this research to make a list of people you should network with, places you should train, festivals or conferences you should attend and more.  The more you can find ways to surround yourself with this network, the better.

What can you be doing to have more JOY in your career right now?

Bad energy can repel new relationships and opportunities from developing in your life.  How do you stay away from that career-killing vibe?  One word- JOY.  Bring as much JOY into your acting career as possible.  There are so many ways to do this.  Surround yourself with joyful artists and create opportunities for you to joyfully play in the craft (do mini readings, have an online improv night with friends– get creative).  Find an online acting class that makes your heart feel powerful.  Protect time to discover non-acting related activities that give you joy.  Think you don’t have any?.. ALERT ALERT– make this a PRIORITY.  Don’t be an actor/robot…. You are a human being.  Discover hiking, painting, learning about marine life, tae kwon do– whatever.  The more you enjoy and learn about your world, the more FULL your craft becomes.  Other ways to find joy?  Audit your inner circle.  Spend time with people who ENERGIZE you and not those that leave you feeling exhausted.  Make a HAPPY list of things that make you smile each morning.  Find your inner kid and give them a chance to PLAY within the world in a small way everyday.  By doing these things, you are tending to your energy– and that energy is the IT FACTOR that opens you up to greater success and happiness.

I hope these questions have helped you get some clarity on some changes you should make in order to be the type of actor you WANT to be this Fall and beyond.  Feel free to revisit them anytime you feel stuck in your career.  We change, and sometimes some fresh answers will be all we need to make sure our sails are taking us in the right direction.

Want to do more learning about what can help you in your career right now?  Check us out at ActorsConnection.com.  Our varied classes and free program consultations are designed with YOU in mind.  We are ready to support you as you discover the career path that was always meant for you!

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10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

That brat Covid-19 is still throwing a wrench in your plans so you’ve decided to embrace learning more about your craft online.  That is GREAT!  Using this time to your advantage is one of the smartest things you can be doing as an actor right now!

As you prepare to put your best keystroke forward, here are a few tips to ensure that you have a smooth online acting experience.

  1. Determine what you want to focus on.  

There are a TON of offerings out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous options.  BEFORE you go looking for opportunities, make a clear list on the skills and abilities you really want to learn.  Think about pre-covid and where you felt stuck and where you know you need to grow your confidence.  Focus on finding classes that suit those specific needs FIRST.  Not sure if the class is right for you?  Contact them and ask!

  1. Select an appropriate educator for your goals.

Just like there are many classes, there are many educators… and not all teachers are created equal.  Do your research on your school/educator before you determine they are a good fit for you.  Having a teacher that both challenges you and helps you to feel safe in your learning environment is KEY.  Look for testimonials or ask to speak to a former student.  This will help you zoom in on which educators are the best fit for you, your current needs and your learning style.

  1. Double check that you can protect that class time.

This may sound silly, but it is surprising how many people forget this step!  When selecting a class, double check your schedule so you are certain the program works for you.  If you are constantly having to miss sessions, leave early or arrive late, you will be missing out on important training that you have ALREADY PAID FOR!  There are so many options available now, there is no need to force a class into your schedule that doesn’t work.  You won’t be able to perform your best if you are constantly stressed about the time.

  1. Find a quiet place with good internet connection to take class.

I know… easier said than done… we’re working on building our career before we can afford our mansions with our spacious self-tape studios!  I get it– and depending on your living situation, you may need to get creative.  Test drive a few spots in your house to see where your wireless internet may be the strongest.  If you don’t have a pop-up background you can use, choose a space that has a simple clear wall so all the focus can be on you.  Give any roommates/family members a proper heads up that you are setting aside time to be in class so you can curb interruptions before they start.

  1. Check sound quality on your device.

Make sure you know how to use the microphone settings on your devices.  A teacher can’t bring you to the next level if they can’t hear you!  Many phones and laptops have great built-in abilities, but if you need a cleaner sound, think about getting an additional mic to plug into your set-up.  Not sure what your sound is like?  Hop on a zoom with a friend, record it, and play it back for yourself.  We’ll talk more about practice sessions later in this list.

  1. Optimize your lighting to look your best.

Consider investing in a ring light to help you achieve a well lit look no matter where you are in your house.  Getting one where you can control color and intensity is especially helpful.  Don’t have a ring light?  No problem.  Use strategically placed lamps to be sure you can be seen clearly without any weird shadows on your face or in the background.

  1. Practice using the platform class takes place on.

This will also help with your sound and lighting tests.  Hop on the learning platform in advance if you can.  Do a practice round with your scene and get used to understanding what it means to be in frame using your device.  Don’t have access to that platform?  Practice on zoom!  If you can record your practice session, I strongly suggest you do that so you can play back your scene and get a sense of any adjustments you need to keep in mind before you get into your classroom setting.  This is particularly important when you are taking class with VIP industry guests.  Even in a learning environment, you always want to come across as prepared and professional.  This business is all about relationships, and you want your new educational relationships to remember you as your best self.

  1. Write down any questions you want answered for the session so you don’t forget.

“Does anyone have any questions?” should seldomly be answered by the sound of crickets.  If you knew it all, you wouldn’t have needed to be in a class to begin with!  Think in advance about questions you hope to get answered in your online session and write them down.  Have them at the ready so you can be sure to squeeze out every bit of learning you can in every experience you invest in.

  1. Review class descriptions and prepare any requested materials.

Classes may require different prep work or homework.  Make sure you 100% understand any work you need to prepare for each session.  If you aren’t sure, ASK.  Proper preparation is KEY when getting the proper training from your learning experiences.  Don’t skip this step or do it halfway.  This isn’t 6th grade social studies homework.  This is your CAREER.

  1. Have a notebook handy.

If you have found a class perfect for your needs and your level, you will be experiencing lightbulbs of learning and little eurekas.  Don’t assume you will remember everything.  Take EXCELLENT notes during every class so you can refer back whenever you need to.  Each class you take should build upon your skillset, so you need to keep everything you learned in your brain so you can continue to climb higher, instead of being stuck in the loop of reviewal.  Keeping notes and regularly reviewing them is a great way to do that!  It’s also a very helpful tip to make sure your training is efficient and effective moving forward.

 

I hope this list will help you as you prepare to bring your best self to your online sessions this Fall.  Here at Actors Connection, we are always excited to help you make the right decisions for your training.  If you’re not sure about how to choose the best classes and online experiences for your needs right now, click here for a completely free program consultation or email us any time at info@actorsconnection.com.

Check out Our InterAct Webinars available on YouTube to Help You Prepare for Online Zoom Acting Classes.
online acting school

Zooming in on the Pivot to Online Acting

Pivot to Online Acting?

Many actors are drawn to performing because of their love of people and the thrill of an audience.  There is a kinetic creative energy that hovers in a room of artists that can be addictive to those who enjoy the craft.  Being in the same room of a beautiful performance changes you.  It alters the energetic state of full groups of people– eliciting emotions and reactions both expected and unexpected.  These delicate moments are unique, memorable and beautiful.

So How’s That Going on Zoom?

As an in-person school that made the online acting school pivot, we have to admit, we had our concerns about taking these unique in-class experiences and shifting them into the cloud.  Will the energy be the same?  How will the value be perceived?  Will the same amount of learning occur?  Can actors achieve the same amount of success in a virtual classroom?

With great relief, we can honestly say that online learning has worked even better than we have hoped.

To move forward with online acting classes and events, it required everyone (teachers/students staff) to focus on several pillars highly important in both acting and in business:  QUALITY, SPECIFICITY and GENEROSITY.

Communication has to be clear in online settings and that requires QUALITY.  Instructions need to be bulletproof to help those of all backgrounds provide their own at-home tech support to successfully access their sessions with ease and clarity.  Foibles in tech can lead to a lack in confidence for those on the sending AND receiving end of material.

This time gave everyone a crash course in how to optimize their virtual capacities and we saw an unprecedented amount of learning in lighting, sound and video quality among students.  For years we have heard casting director concerns about self-tape standards and I am certain that these months have allowed many actors to upgrade and correct their previous issues without the stress of looming taping deadlines and everyday life.  The ways in which this will serve these performers is limitless.

Clearer quality gives SPECIFICITY a front row seat during this pandemic.  It is vital for clear character to character communication and to successfully tell a story within frame.  There are things that are lost in person but are under a spotlight when you are face to face with a camera lens.

Every reaction is seen.  And every MISSING reaction is seen.  Every accidental facial movement is under a microscope.  Details are naturally encouraged in this environment and that magnifying glass is helping actors go deeper into their stories than ever before.

They are regularly realizing new levels of specificity in their performances from the constant practice.  It is specificity that is the hero of noteworthy performing and this forced focus for both on-camera and stage actors is serving everyone at this time.  Actors Connection has personally witnessed how this has accelerated learning for many students.

Rounding out our list is GENEROSITY.  When things get tough and EVERYONE is feeling the squeeze, there is a human instinct to hoard and protect what you have at all costs.  The entertainment industry decided to handle it differently.  Actors Connection and many of our partners and colleagues have used this time to focus on FREE programming.  With normal deadlines being halted in their tracks, it allowed our whole industry to hold a space of generosity that so many have craved for years.

This time has led to numerous free learning, training and networking opportunities that have never taken place at this level EVER before.  These free programs also allowed us all to get some risk-free practice in online platforms, helping to make our industry’s online pivot to be as comfortable as possible for both staff and students.  We are even happy to report that Actors Connection’s FREE at THREE series even led to several actors finding the right representation and signing contracts– even in the middle of a pandemic!

Red CarpetCovid-19 may have closed downs movie sets and long running theatrical performances, but it NEVER closed down the work of an active actor.  It set the craft on FIRE.  We expect that actors that used this time to practice effective online communication quality, get more specific in their craft approaches, and benefit from the generosity the industry embraced during this time, will soar to more successful experiences as projects open up and more online auditions begin.

When I look back to Spring, I remember the pit in my stomach as everything related to our beloved livelihood shut down.  Sitting here now, I recognize these months as an exercise in resilience and creativity and am grateful for the opportunity to totally focus on the love we have for our actors.

And just wait until you see them now.  They are going to knock your socks off with their new arsenal of abilities… and this next year of theatre and tv is bound to be pretty freakin’ impressive.

Check out our YouTube channel to learn why people love Actors Connection! 
online acting school

Take Acting Classes Online!

2020 has been a wild, wild rollercoaster of a year. Actors Connection has had to change with the current times and as an online acting school offers a wide variety of classes, intensives and seminars for actors of all levels.

Our online Zoom acting classes are being held Monday through Saturday with both day and evening programming.

In addition to our paid online acting classes, Actors Connection also offers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm our FREE AT THREE series with top agents, casting directors and industry professionals from across the country. It’s totally free to attend these 1 hour Q&A sessions where you’ll learn about each guest, receive invaluable information and inside tips on the entertainment industry.

All actors who are new to Actors Connection should attend one of our complimentary New Actor Orientations to find out how to best utilize our services for your own acting career.

You’ll gain lots of information and advice on how to get started with us plus discounts and other special offers just for attending.

As an online acting school, Actors Connection provides acting classes that offer training in a wide variety of areas including: Film, Television, Theater, On-Camera Commercials, Voice Overs, TV Hosting and Commercial Print.

All classes are in a group format and vary in price. Our industry networking seminars start with a group Q&A and then you’ll meet with each guest one on one in the order of registration.

You’ll find the training you receive with our top industry professionals will definitely help you to improve both your acting technique as well as your online auditions and in studio auditions.

We also offer acting classes for children as well as our annual Kids and Teens Performing Arts Summer Camp.

Ready to get started, check out our online acting classes here.

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