talent agent nyc

Tips to Move Your Career Forward Without An Agent

So many actors falsely believe that you NEED an agent to launch your career. While having representation is certainly helpful and definitely an ultimate career goal, you don’t need to feel stuck until you find your perfect match. Actors have been finding success prior to representation for YEARS and there are actions you can be taking to get the ball rolling. Here are some tips you can use to start getting the momentum you crave!

Create Actors Access/Casting Networks Profiles and Self-Submit

You can submit for professional jobs immediately, even without a New York talent agent, once you have accounts with Actors Access and Casting Networks. Both sites offer profiles where you can add your experience and headshots and submit for auditions right thru their website platforms. Not all jobs are available to the public for submissions, but there are many that ARE posted on there– and you should be self-submitting for all the work you are right for!

Make Your Own Content

It can be hard to accurately showcase your abilities thru credits only. Clips of your work is a great way to really show others your talents, regardless of if you have an NYC talent agent. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be cast in a project that resulted in good footage of your work, consider making it yourself! Focus on characters and stories that you are most suited for via type and capabilities. Work with a team to produce short works that can help demonstrate your talents.

Befriend Filmmakers, Directors and Producers and Work on their Projects

Show business is heavily reliant on relationships. People in this industry, particularly agents in NYC, like to work with other talented people that they enjoy. With this in mind, try to meet lots of people who work in other areas of our business. Help them on their passion projects and while you do so, you’ll meet other people in their circles. Every new project with each new person brings a whole new circle of professional contacts. Build a reputation for being helpful, professional and a solid go-to choice for when your type is needed. Having a large network who trusts your work is a great way to get direct offers for projects. Side note–Don’t be afraid to learn other production skills so help open doors and establish trust.

Research and Reach Out Regarding Direct Submissions

When you have a full understanding of the work being done in your area, you will always be in the know on projects coming down that pipeline that could be perfect for you. When this is the case, never hesitate to reach out to casting/directors/producers directly! Brief emails regarding why you are a fit for the show/role/project along with your headshot and resume can turn into auditions and opportunities! This, however, is very research driven– so make sure you are always looking up opportunities and staying on top of your research game!

These are just a few tips to help you build your experiences while you are looking for a great rep that is right for you. Remember– take your time. There is so much you can be doing in the meantime– you never need to feel like you are powerless without representation!

hello sign!

The Art of the Follow-Up

So you met someone in this industry? Awesome! In such a relationship-based business, we should constantly be meeting new contacts to build our rolodex of people who know and appreciate our work. It is part of the job as an actor to be marketing yourself and making new connections. So how do you stay in contact with these individuals in a professional way?

Here are some tips below, on how to get an agent or meet a casting director!

Start with a thank you or a nice to meet you note shortly after your first encounter. Add something specific about your conversation to help them remember you and show that you were truly listening.

Make sure your actor website is in your email signature. Imbed your headshot in the signature as a small image at the bottom of your email as well. This enforces a face with the name to help them remember you beyond your initial meeting. This is also helpful if they ever need to access your materials– they can find it through a simple email search!

Reach back out when you have interesting career news to share. That includes sharing new headshots, you created your own content (and you are proud of it because it is GOOD!) you booked a job, your episode is airing or the like. People want to hear about your WINS! It tells the story of an actor on their way up to success! That always piques someone’s interest.

Don’t reach out just to say “I’m alive, remember me” — all correspondence should be with a purpose. Emails just to say “hi” or follow-up for no real reason just cloud a person’s inbox and waste your time and theirs.

Reach out if you have something THEY would be interested in— based off of your knowledge of that person– do you have/know something that would be of interest to them that isn’t about you but about them? An article? An opportunity? A contact for them? That is a great reason to get in touch! Help them solve some sort of problem they have!

Industry movers and shakers get hundreds of emails daily. If they don’t write back, don’t be offended. When you are unsure if you should follow-up or not, feel free to contact Actors Connection for guidance. Sometimes you need to let a relationship breathe. Think of it as tending to a garden. You water the flowers so they can grow, but if you overwater, they die. You need to tend to your garden carefully and thoughtfully.

If a new contact requested that you contact them for a meeting or opportunity, do so immediately. Don’t let time lapse when someone is waiting on your availability, materials or response. Show that you are a professional that can return correspondence in a timely fashion. These relationships are the foundation for the business and you should be holding office hours for yourself to get this follow-up work accomplished in a timely manner to continue to impress your contacts and build trust with them.

Don’t OVER ASK for anything. If you have a request to make be sure it is 1) Important 2) Not too time consuming 3) Only 1 thing. Your contacts don’t work for you. Asking for favors should only happen if it is VITAL. If you are asking for something, make sure that you only ask for one thing and that it is appropriate. If you are wondering how to meet a Casting Director… a casting director you met one time doesn’t want to look at all 500 of your headshots to help you pick one. That is a task better suited for your coach. Think about if your current relationship warrants the request you are about to make.

Remember, time is an important resource for EVERYONE. Always keep in mind how much time your request may take someone and adjust your request accordingly. A whole script is a lot for someone you don’t know really well to read— but just a few pages– that can be a different story!

Hope these tips help you as you continue to build relationships in your business. Handling all correspondence with respect and professionalism is key to building the necessary trust for a strong relationship. Now go ahead and KIT!

Many actors ask us “How to get an agent” or “How to meet a casting director?” We hope this article by Actors Connection President Colleen Kahl helps you on that path. Photo by @drew_beamer

virtual accounts

7 Virtual Accounts Every Actor Should Have

With an abundance of resources marketing for your attention, it can be hard to decide which online accounts you REALLY need as an actor. So, in an effort to help, here is a list of sites that we feel actors should prioritize!

7 Virtual Accounts Every Actor Should Have


Actors Access is a no-brainer. Actors Access is the actor side of Breakdown Express. Breakdown Express is the system that Casting Directors use to release auditions to Agents in the appropriate region. On Actors Access, actors are able to submit for some of those auditions directly. Having an updated profile here is a great way to submit for opportunities and a must-have for actors with or without agents. On your profile you can upload headshots and clips to give those looking a good sense of your professional capabilities and get in the running for appropriate opportunities.


Casting Networks is similar to Actors Access and some Casting Departments prefer only to use this system– making it important to have both Actors Access and Casting Networks to allow optimal access to opportunities. Casting Networks also offers scheduling and audition management so more of the process can be organized through that platform.


This service is on the newer side and an organizational blessing for actors! In this business, you are meeting people day in and day out and keeping notes on your industry contacts is vital for building many new relationships at once. In Up to Date Actor, you can track all your data about auditions, meetings, find the best new classes AND look up contact information for new contacts you’d like to connect with. You can even pull reports at the end of the year and analyze some of your important business choices. And our favorite part? You can select certain industry guests to see when they are doing events or teaching classes near you!


This service is a tried and true website for finding project and team information. Want to know who is casting what? Looking for associate info for a casting director? Want to know if an office has social media? Casting About is a great place to find all of those answers and stay in the know on the hottest projects announced on both coasts.


tony nationOnce you start booking work in tv and film, you’ll want to get it listed on the IMDB database under your own personal profile. This database also tracks when projects are still in production or completed so individuals looking for more information on the work you have done lately can find out about the more notable projects you have been involved with. Think of it as an industry verified resume.


Backstage is a great resource for theatre actors looking to learn about projects at all levels. Postings on Backstage often include union and non-union opportunities but since it operates as a public bulletin board, you should always carefully vet each opportunity before applying to be sure it is a fit for you. Backstage is especially helpful in finding initial resume builder opportunities.

Actors Connection.com

All actors should focus on growing their skillset while pursuing professional opportunities– enter us at Actors Connection! Learn from Casting Directors, Agents, Managers and other industry professionals so you can build contacts while you fine tune your audition techniques and skills both on and off the camera! Now offering classes online, you can study with our impressive team of educators from anywhere in the world!

Actors Connection also offers regular free seminars and has a staff available to help you with career questions no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned professional! If you are new to us, please join us for a new client orientation to learn more and get access to a new student discount! For dates on the next session, CLICK HERE.


Colleen Finnegan Kahl Blog

The 10 Commandments of Content Creation

It’s no secret. The industry time and time again suggests to actors that creating your own content is a great way to get ahead while you are waiting for your big break. So have you started your own project yet? Before you do, read these 10 important things to keep in mind as you begin your career changing content creation journey.

film set


  1. Give yourself a vital role. The content you create to help your acting career should be focused on showcasing YOUR ACTING! Give yourself something great to do on film or on stage in your content creation piece. Show off talent and skills your previous work didn’t allow you to show. Great content creation can become your calling card. Don’t skimp on your role! This is not an ego play– this is being a smart creator!
  2. Budget Smart. Content Creation CAN get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Create a budget for yourself and prioritize your resources towards the most important parts of the project. Set a number for the project ahead of the game. Do solid research on the varying expenses and partner with individuals who can help you save on different services. Don’t just spend as you go. Track all expenses.
  3. Quality over Quantity. A well-done piece of content creation always overshadows a bunch of poorly produced content. Choose to make shorter, quality pieces over longer projects. Make sure you have the budget to see the full project through– and if that turns your web series into a really solid pilot episode only– that is absolutely ok!
  4. Work with a Good Team. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the roles involved in a project. Surround yourself with a team you trust and delegate important tasks. Make sure you are picky about who you work with and find people who also need great examples of content they can make. Trying to do it all will slow you down and can inhibit the quality of your finished piece. Build strong relationships with people who have skills different than yours and be sure all bases are covered.
  5. Be Original. Has the world seen this story before? Told the same way? Well then what can you do differently? Don’t just make a new version of someone else’s work. Make interesting choices and be specific with them. Take a unique point of view.
  6. Make sure your storytelling is clear. If people don’t understand your work, it won’t get the positive results you crave. Double check that your storytelling is clear throughout the piece. Get opinions on if the details of your project are clear. Test your storyboards and rough edits on fresh eyes and ask the viewer questions to be sure they understand what you are trying to say.
  7. Carefully Plan the Life Cycle of Your Project. Write down your goals and timeline and build out a schedule. Life can get busy and many people push their personal projects aside when it does. When you put things in your calendar from the beginning, it’ll be easier to protect your time and finish the different phases of your work.
  8. Submit to festivals. Once your work is completed, explore what festivals and contests it may be eligible for. You could win cash towards your next piece of content and make great new connections! Festival acceptances and wins are also great for your resume and for the marketing of your project.
  9. Market The Finished Project. TELL THE WORLD! Creativity should be shared! Make sure your whole team is celebrating the piece on social media and driving as many eyeballs to the project as possible. The more people know about it, the more chances you have of the RIGHT people finding out about it. Talk with your team about which industry contacts you should send your work to. Be specific. Blanket submissions aren’t helpful here, but thoughtful ones could land you important meetings and impressive results.
  10. Only Launch work you are proud of. Once your work is out there— especially via an internet launch, it can be very hard to scrub it completely off the internet if you determine later it is no good. Only launch work that you are PROUD of. This doesn’t mean that you won’t grow and gain new skills later— of course people expect your work to get better as you continue on in this industry. When you launch, though, make sure that you feel great about your finished product— you never know who is watching!

Colleen Finnegan Kahl is an accomplished Theatre Arts Educator, author of this article, and President of Actors Connection, offering online acting classes and workshops (zoom acting lessons!) for teens and adults alike. Photo kindly by @wbayreuther.

Generous Networker

How to Be A Generous Networker

Anyone you meet could end up being a vital link to a completely different level of success. You never know the people and contacts who will change your life or your career for the better. Looking at new people through this lens is exciting– but a word of caution. Relationships built on need, aren’t satisfying and most industry contacts in our field can sense “NEED” right away, and unfortunately be completely turned off from helping you.

So how do you build important relationships without being a dreaded needy energy vampire?


When in doubt, adopt the philosophy of giving before getting anything from anyone. Generosity is a wonderful relationship builder– and you’ll feel good about the help you provide people along the way. You can find something they are interested in and connect them to an interesting article or opportunity involving it. Or you can introduce them to someone who can solve a problem for them (this can be as simple as suggesting a great plumber or sharing an industry contact you have made). Either way it involves one VERY important element.


You can’t figure out how to help someone if you are doing most of the talking. Actors naturally gravitate towards the spotlight and are eager to share details about their craft and life. Give that impulse a backseat and 100% focus on the person you are talking to. Ask them questions about themselves. Let those questions spark more questions. Enjoy discovering who this person is. This is a networker’s MOST IMPORTANT work. You can’t fully connect with people or help them connect with each other effectively if you don’t fully understand them in the first place. Take the time to do this. And more importantly— find the joy in it!

click for seminarsA little word of caution…when it comes to helping someone to build your relationship with them, don’t translate that to mean hours upon hours of free labor. Simple, focused, thoughtful actions and connections are the best. Full on projects for someone else as a favor reeks of neediness and is not necessary. Showing you listen, remembering what someone says, referring back to it or helping them in a small way is enough to start to build a lovely relationship.

ADDITIONAL PRO-NETWORKING TIP: Write things down! After you meet contacts, jot the things you want to remember about them in a journal or computer file so you can refer back when your mind may get hazy. There are so many things you need to remember– lines, appointments, passwords— you don’t want to waste your networking experience by forgetting what you have learned about someone. Another great way to do this is jot a few notes down on their business card or in the notes section of your phone!

Photo kindly by @marvelous

5 Goals that ALL Actors Should Add to Their List this January

5 Goals that ALL Actors Should Add to Their List this January

I LOVE January.  I’ve always geeked out over goals, lists and vision boards.  I adore getting a new planner filled out with important dates and plans and I absolutely OBSESS over dreaming big and thinking about the future.

Whether or not you can relate, you can’t ignore January’s natural ability to make you think about your future and what it may hold for you.

Actors at all levels are currently making their dream lists for 2021.  Maybe you want to book your first co-star credit, land a national VO campaign, or find a new agent.  No matter what your specific goals are, here are a few goals that ALL actors can add to their list for 2021.

Find a new monologue or scene that not only represents your talent but you LOVE performing that character.  Find a story that you just LOVE telling.  Let it light your creative fire and inspire you!  Take notes on what about this character you love and see start exploring other opportunities you may see if the field to tell a similar story.

  1. Make a new contact in the field who is more successful than you are.  Learn from their example, advice and experiences.  Spend time with them.

  1. Take excellent notes on your audition data and regularly analyze what it tells you.  Be honest with yourself if your headshot isn’t opening doors, or if you audition material hasn’t gotten strong enough feedback.  Act on the info you learn.  Need help tracking your data?  We strongly suggest you check out uptodateactor.com.

  1. Find a new film director who speaks to you heart.  Follow them and their projects and learn about the other type of people they regularly work with.  These are people to WATCH because they may have other projects coming down the pipeline that you could be a fit for.

  1. Start a meditation practice.  Mindfulness benefits everyone no matter the career but I feel it deserves extra attention when it comes to acting careers.  Mental strength and peace are invaluable in this field and will help you perform well under pressure and stay focused when the road seems long.

Take this list and add to it!  Write down some individualized goals for your career, health, family– everything!  Research has shown that the simple act of WRITING DOWN YOUR GOALS helps you to be more likely to achieve them.  Take the time for YOU.  And if no one has told you yet— you DESERVE a wonderful 2021.

Photo Kindly by Isaac Smith

Gifts Actors Should Give

3 Gifts Actors Should Give THEMSELVES this Holiday Season

Tis the season for giving! Many creatives I know are so used to giving and sharing their talents with others that they often neglect someone very important– THEMSELVES! You should use your holidays as a way to recharge and energize yourself as an artist and I have always been a believer in doing a little something for yourself each holiday season. So actors… read on to learn more about just a few simple gifts actors should give YOURSELF this December.


Jim Rohn said one of my favourite quotes; “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” I love this thought and I think it is important to audit your top 5 people regularly, especially when you are feeling life is a little lackluster. Are you surrounding yourself with people who inspire you? Are you surrounding yourself with people who are going after their own dreams and goals and love that you are pursuing your own? Exploring and strengthening an older friendship or finding a new inspiring relationship is one of the great gifts actors should give to yourself as you finish out wacky 2020 and head into a more hopeful 2021.


What you wear regularly to a potential job basically serves as a uniform. You want to make sure those clothing items are clean, pressed and help you to look your very best without having to plan a whole new outfit every single time. For this reason, it is a great practice to have several items in your closet that fit you PERFECTLY, that you can keep clean and ready to go and ONLY wear them for auditions. Not first dates. Not family dinners. Auditions only! That way, they are there on the hanger, waiting for that self-tape with the quick turn-around. No need to worry about wrinkles or pulling something together–because you have several great items always ironed and ready in your closet! During this holiday season, treat yourself to a few “audition only” clothing options to keep you stress free and looking your best for last minute opportunities. Oh and take advantage of those holiday sales and pull together a few different career looks appropriate for characters you often play!


In this fast-paced industry, it is easy to feel worried that you may miss a big opportunity if you don’t stay on point and connected 100% of the time. Without taking time out for yourself, however, you won’t be able to operate as efficiently and creatively as you would have if you allowed yourself a little rest. So this holiday season, give yourself permission to take time OFF! Completely off! Tell your agent you are booking out for a few days and put an autoresponder on your email that says to call you in an emergency… and then UNPLUG! Don’t work on new sides or monologues, don’t research another headshot photographer and don’t make adjustments to your website. Take time off for YOU and to do something completely unrelated to the industry that brings you joy. Paint. Take a Hike. Bake (and eat) cookies! Have a mini home wine tasting. Just enjoy the other aspects of life for a little while. Don’t worry– there will be plenty to hustle about in January!

Covid made 2020 challenging. Plans got cancelled, our industry stood still for a bit and life was drastically changed. If there was EVER a reason to love yourself extra in a holiday season… this year’s events would be it. You are a survivor. An adaptor. A creator. You deserve the extra self love and care this month– because 2021 is craving the best of you. And you are gonna BRING IT!

Image kindly by https://unsplash.com/@kadh.

What is “IT” Factor in Actors

What is “IT” Factor in Actors?

What is “IT” Factor in Actors?

They’ve got it.

They’re successful.

They have that “je ne sais quoi.”

The room changes when they walk in.

I can’t take my eyes off of them.

We’ve heard or even said these phrases about talented actors before… but no one quite pinpoints exactly what that feeling is.

Well I’m here to tell you— It’s Energy.

Now I don’t mean energy so much as in bouncing off the walls, 3 coffees deep type of energy. I mean internal vibrational energy made up of two primary things… CONFIDENCE and POSITIVITY.

The energy of someone who walks into an audition with training, experience and a positive self-affirming outlook is measurably different than someone who walks in with the energy of desperation for a booking. That desperation has usually eroded confidence, EVEN if the person is well trained and talented. Both desperation and lack of confidence are also indicators of a negative and self-destroying outlook– and this energy will lose you the job before you even open your mouth.

Casting Directors are experts in matching the energy of the actor, to the energy of the opportunity. They have spent thousands of hours assessing the “fit” of a person for a role and a project and they weigh everything from the ability to handle the character with craft and ease to the ability to work seamlessly with the on-set production team. These questions have always transcended look and resume to include the ENERGY of the performer.

So you need to FEEL like the right choice so you can give off the RIGHT energy in order to book the job.

Well how do you do that?

Here’s a few tips:

1. FULLY PREPARE. Do ALL of your actor homework. Get as off-book as humanly possible. Know your backstory, intentions and immerse yourself in WHO this character is.

2. BRING YOURSELF TO THE WORK. They want YOUR take, not a second hand version of what you think someone ELSE would do/ Find a way to personalize the work and bring your own sense of uniqueness to it.

3. MEDITATE that day. Get yourself in the zone. Clear your mind and center yourself so you can stay crystal clear and focused

4. VISUALIZE your success. Have fun imagining what a great audition looks and FEELS like. Rehearse the FEELINGS. This does WONDERS for your energy

5.DON’T RUSH. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and plenty of time to perform.

6. STAY POSITIVE. Keep holding onto the joy that brought you here in the first place and stay committed to thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your abilities!

Need help training while you do the important work of building up your IT factor energy? Check out our many classes and events at www.actorsconnection.com to help build your confidence and skill level in this competitive field.

Stay up to date on what the “IT” Factor in Actors means to us, by following us on Facebook

Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

As we head into the holiday season, people may be seeing family– including those adorable younger members– the kids! I know, you’ve already graduated from the children’s table long ago and you look forward to connecting with older family members you haven’t seen— but don’t underestimate what time with the younger ones can do for you AND for your creativity. This holiday season, I challenge you to take some time away from watching the holiday specials and sipping your favorite seasonal cocktails to get down on the floor —- and work on your acting career. How? Practice your improvisation skills!

Children are naturally brilliant improv artists. When you watch a child play, you’ll see them effortlessly create characters, scenarios and voices— making them the perfect holiday scene partner! Little kids can turn anything into a character and any amount of random items into a game using a bit of imagination. Help them create powerful memories and feel great about their own creativity by participating in a little creative play yourself!

Little kids will giggle at the creative voices you are working on in your voiceover class and will love the characters you create using skills from your dialects class. They’ll enjoy your ability to build a story and have a great time as their contributions help or hinder the character of your creation. They will delight in your comedic timing (or help you fine tune it) and they will give you great insight as to what is important to them thru their own impulses and choices. You’ll both learn as you test your ability to create stories on-the-spot without the pressure of a teacher, audition or comparison to a classmate.

These cute little peeps understand LOVE thru TIME and ATTENTION. Give them both of those things this season and give yourself the gift of remembering the joy that exists in this craft for yourself.

Don’t have young family members? Explore ways you can connect with kids in your local area by volunteering at a children’s hospital or getting involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. There are many kids out there craving a positive role model– why not help your career AND be a great human!

Looking for classes to finetune your skillset in the meantime? Check out ActorsConnection.com and learn from ANYWHERE with our large selection of online classes. Explore voiceover, improv, commercials, working on camera and much more in one of our many offerings you can explore from the comfort of your home! For a full listing of programs, visit:  www.actorsconnection.com/classes

Share your favorite moments of Untraditional Improv Practice this Holiday Season with us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ActorsConnection

Photo Kindly by Andi Chatfield.

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.