Some useful links and advice for new actors
This is a post ive been wanting to put up for a while and one that will probably evolve from feedback. Lets start with the most important thing a fledgling actor (or his parent) can do:
Sounds so simple right? But ive had countless actors walking through my studio door telling me horror stories of agencies that asked for a ridiculous up front cost, photographers who overcharged and under-delivered, and acting schools that didnt really, um, teach. Most, if not all of these nightmares, could have been avoided through some quick research. Where? ACTRA, our acting union, is a good start. They have a list of (legitimate) agents, message boards, and also some lovely people at the office who can answer questions. Why, here is their website:
That site is an excellent start and there are countless others that you can Google. In fact, thats a really cool thing about our time… You can quickly research anything… Photographers, schools, agencies… See what people have to say about them. Visit their website. Ask yourself:
“Does it make sense?”
I try to ask that of myself every now and again when conducting my own business. You see, one of the reasons I got into headshot photography is because I found that, oftentimes, it does not. Not from the actor’s perspective anyway. Years ago, when just starting out, I had gone one of the city’s big name headshot photographers. He was was my then-agent’s go to photographer, and I, like many young actors, took my agents word as gospel and booked a session, no questions asked. He was expensive (which I thought meant “better”), didnt let me keep my proofs, counted his exposures, and gave me no say over the shoot. I thought thats just how its done and didnt question it. About $1000 and some less than stellar headshots later, I learned my lesson. Now, I try to be as transparent and reasonable with my service as possible.
Whether they like it or not, anybody who is offering your acting career a service, needs to have a website which gives you a window into their business. Check it out.
If its acting teachers/schools, look into what name they have and what people have to say about them. If theyre photographers, check out their galleries and ask them questions before booking a session. If theyre agents, look at who they represent and make sure you interview them as much as they interview you. At the end of the day, some research, and some common sense, will steer you clear of most trouble.
Have feedback? Want more links? Disagree with me? Feel free to post in the comment section.