I came to this city and this business about 25 years ago when I stumbled into the Metropolitan Opera Chorus from my newly acquired Master's Degree and I thought I was hot stuff...but in reality I was just LUCKY. I've learned since then how difficult a struggle it is to even be seen in this town. And that's only the beginning!
I recently returned from a concert in
1.) It's a big city and not always pleasant. Come prepared. It would be great to arrive in possession of your Equity Card (Actor's Equity Asso.) but not necessary. Fewer than 10% of dues paying members of AEA are working in any given week. But AEA is as much about protection as it is about making a living. And you need protection. Horror stories abound. The current Production Contract minimum is around $1300 weekly. Each Broadway show employs roughly 20-25 actors. There is an average of about 20 shows running at any given time. That's about 500-600 jobs. Sound like a lot? There's about a couple hundred people auditioning for that job. Almost all of them are submitted by their agent or manager. How about you? It's possible to do a series of auditions for any given job...sometimes 4 or 5 auditions. Or you may get a job like I did for the 20th Anniversary tour of Evita. "Hey Ray. Wanna play Peron on tour?" I sure did.
2.) Have a professional resume...please! Not a job resume - a performing resume. That doesn't mean something with amazing professional credits. Just what you've done...honestly. I have to tell you a story... a young man came to an audition for a production we were casting. One of his credits was for a production of South Pacific in a small theatre in
3.) Please have a headshot that looks like YOU! Your school photo doesn't qualify. Glamour shots don't qualify. The Polaroid your mother/brother/friend/lover/wife/husband took does not qualify. Get a professional job done.
4.) Most important of all...get some experience and training. As much as you can lay your hands on. If it's possible to get a degree - get one. Preferably in Business. Because Showbiz is a lot of Biz and not so much Show. There are tons of acting schools...and keep training. You'll never learn it all. Learn new monologues, new songs, see shows, keep at it! Acting, singing, dancing! Never forget that this is a business. The more skills you have, the more chances for work! Just like the real world!
Most of all...come prepared to meet the most amazingly talented people you've ever met. Anything you do well - somebody here does it better. But they'll feel exactly the same way that you do...insecure as hell and proud to be a part of the most challenging, frustrating and satisfying group of people on Earth. But! Nothing comes without work. And perseverance will outlast talent. And enough of this Venus crap...that's HER job.
Having been raised in I remember going into a department store, while on the pre-Broadway tour of "Jekyll and Hyde", in In this series of columns, we will attempt to answer all of your questions about performance, from beginning to master levels. The first question asks about preparing for the journey to Ray already warned you of the expense of living in
Having been raised in
I remember going into a department store, while on the pre-Broadway tour of "Jekyll and Hyde", in
In this series of columns, we will attempt to answer all of your questions about performance, from beginning to master levels. The first question asks about preparing for the journey to
Ray already warned you of the expense of living in