Dear best friend, When you told me you had an idea for something you wanted to pursue, but that it was stupid and you probably couldn’t do it anyway, it killed me. Nobody is allowed to say such things about my best friend. Nobody! I […]
One message I’m receiving over and over: What a difference a year (and some effort, and a scooch of bravery) can make. Last September (in 2018), I attended the Norman Film Fest as a volunteer. It was my very first film career related event and […]
Like most things in my life, my path to getting signed with a talent agent was pretty unconventional (at least, it wasn’t how I imagine the process usually goes).
I finally got the nerve to apply to two talent agencies back in February. My acting teacher had told the class that we may have to apply several times. He said talent agencies are more likely to call you for an interview if they see you’ve applied a few times (this shows you’re serious about this and helps weed out those who aren’t, according to my teacher). So when I didn’t hear back from either, I wasn’t too bummed by it. I would just apply again in a few months I figured.
Around March or April, I found a job opening at one of the talent agencies for an office assistant position and applied. To my surprise, I got called in for an interview. I debated whether or not I should go. Would the job be flexible enough for me to take PA gigs like I wanted? I was also concerned about taking a pay cut and moving to a new city. It seemed my current survival job was the better option, but something in me told me I should go to the interview anyway. I consulted my sister about it and she agreed. So I went.
I did about as well as I normally do in interviews (which is not great, lol). I was shaky and nervous and I talked way too much about how I wanted to be an actor and how I had applied to them and another talent agency earlier in the year and how I had been pursuing production assistant gigs. I did not feel great about it as I drove the hour and a half back home.
Not surprisingly, I received an email less than a week later informing me that they had decided to go with someone else for the position. But very surprisingly, she said she would welcome the chance to discuss representing me if I was interested in that. (Uh, yeah! It was all I had talked about!)
I went to a second interview, nervous again because I didn’t know what to expect. I thought she may have me do a cold read and honestly, I was not expecting it to go too well either. But when I arrived, she told me about the agency and then said she would love to represent me. I was stunned. Was this real life? Was that it? That was easy. I signed the papers immediately.
Part of me feels like I didn’t really earn this the way I should have. I have only taken one acting course and have had just a handful of community theatre and student film roles. I didn’t major in theatre and I haven’t been acting for all that long. But I found that signing with an agent has given me more motivation to work on those skills and take care of myself better so I can look and feel and do my best when I do get auditions or roles. Maybe this was an unconventional way to get a talent agent, but I am going to make sure I am the best actor I can be now that I have one.
Otherwise, it’s super exciting and so surreal. Once I got that first PA gig back in January things have been happening so quickly for me. It’s amazing what just a little bit of effort towards your goals can do.
So, what I learned from this experience:
- Say yes to any opportunities you receive that are in the field you’re interested in. If I hadn’t gone to that interview, I would still be looking for a talent agent. You never know what those opportunities will lead to.
- Tell people what it is you really want. Tell them your dreams and your goals. Every so often I see posts on social media that say you should quietly work towards your goals and dreams. I do not agree with that at all. If you are open and honest about what it is you want, people can help you achieve that. I learned from the agency that people who work at agencies cannot be represented. Since I talked so much about how I wanted to be an actor (in response to her questions, I didn’t just go in babbling nonstop about it), she offered me representation instead of a job. That is going to serve both of us so much better. That would not have happened if I had kept quiet about my dreams.
- If you have the slightest inkling you are interested in something, give it a go. Back when I was a music major, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to act and sing in the school’s musicals instead of playing in the orchestra. I loved it even more than I thought I would and I have been acting ever since. My community theatre experience is what started this whole crazy journey. It’s lead to connections and opportunities and I am so thankful I ignored my fears and doubts and auditioned for that very first musical I was in.
- There’s more than one path to achieving your dreams. I didn’t go to school for acting or film. I have just been pursuing those as hobbies on the side by doing community theatre, helping with student films, creating an improv group with my friends, and reading a ton of books on those subjects. I also just kept trying out the things I was interested in (creative writing, musicals, improv) until I figured out film is the perfect place for me. Be stubborn and keep trying different things until you find the way to making your goals come true.
- Don’t be upset if you try something and receive a “no” in response. I didn’t get the office assistant position, but that was because something even better was in store for me. Sometimes not getting the things you think you want or need can lead to bigger, better things.
Seriously guys. If I can do this stuff anyone can absolutely do anything. Stubbornly pursue your biggest, wildest dreams. You’ll be amazed by the results.
I signed up for the Friends in Film program one year ago this month. When I joined, I had no idea just how much (and how quickly) my life was about to change. It did take about six months to actually get my first production […]
A few weeks ago, I applied for an office assistant position with a local talent agency. Their office is located in the city I would love to live in, plus it’s a job in the field I want to get into, so I figured it […]
Here’s a lesson I keep learning over and over: if there’s something you really want to do but you have doubts, ignore those doubts and do it anyway.
This past weekend I worked as a production assistant on a short film about three hours from where I live. So many awesome things came from this shoot. Awesome things that I nearly missed out on because I almost did not even try to get on this shoot.
I found three different crew calls for this film in two different places. My biggest hesitation was how far the drive would be to help with the shoot. I did not really want to pay for a hotel room and driving six hours each day for however long the shoot would be sounded exhausting. But I kept going back to those crew calls. Something told me to apply, so less than one week before the shoot was scheduled to start I finally did. I got an email back less than an hour later asking me about my experience. I spoke with the director the next night on the phone and learned that he had actually just had a PA back out and needed one. He also had an extra hotel he could put me in. (Mini lesson here: you never know how things are going to work out for you.)
I worked three days on set for this short film. I acted as chauffeur for the main actor and director of photography, so I got to talk to them and get to know them a little bit (which is difficult to do when you’re working on set, so I was thankful for that opportunity). I went on lunch runs and prop runs and handed out bottles of water and helped with whatever the rest of the crew needed. I learned that I’m woefully out of shape and that bug spray really does not work all that well and that I really don’t mind being sweaty and covered in dirt and outside in the hot Oklahoma sun if I’m doing something I love. I met some really awesome people and had so much fun hanging out with and working alongside them.
I gained so much from this one short shoot. I got to work with a more experienced PA and learned more about the position from her. I got more comfortable driving in unfamiliar places and talking to people I don’t know. I made some great connections (here and in LA) and may even have a chance to do a gig with him in LA. 🙂 The director also gave me some tips for moving into the jobs I want on set and gave me a couple names of people I should reach out to who might be able to help me with that. The whole experience felt like such a huge breakthrough for my career. 🙂
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” If you’re letting your doubts hold you back from following your dreams…stop it, lol. Amazing things are waiting for you on the other side of those doubts.
Above: Me acting as art director for my friend’s short film. My goal at the beginning of the year was to blog twice a week. And as much as I’ve tried to keep my Sunday and Wednesday blog schedule, that has not always been possible […]
I recently read this article about how you should keep your goals to yourself. I really dislike and disagree with this article. Brendon Burchard, who has interviewed and studied some of the most successful people of today (you can read or hear more about this […]
On Tuesday this past week, I submitted for a small role in a feature film. I have been submitting like crazy for any and all background roles I find, but I usually get too nervous to submit for featured roles. I received the casting call in my email, read over the character descriptions, and almost on a whim decided to try for the one that I was best suited for. The next day I got an email congratulating me on being selected to audition for that role. I couldn’t believe it!
I immediately went to YouTube for advice on how to prepare and what to expect (well, after texting my mom, of course). Then I:
- Downloaded the sides and memorized my (two) lines.
- Practiced my lines/performance (but not too much).
- Picked out what I would wear (a teal dress and black flats; my closest outfit that matched the character description).
- Ordered head shots (if you order online from Walgreen’s, you can pick them up the same day, thank God).
- Printed my resume and stapled the copies to the back of my head shots.
- Gathered everything I needed for the audition and put it in one place so I wouldn’t forget something (this included my shoes, dress, head shots, makeup, hairspray, snacks, bottled water, and toll money).
- Wrote affirmations and found a couple great actor meditations on YouTube to listen to before bed (this one and this one).
Like I’ve mentioned before, writing and saying affirmations have made such a huge difference in my creative life. Here are some of the ones I wrote before this audition (the night before and immediately before I went in the audition room):
- I am a good actor.
- I belong here.
- I was given this chance because they see something in me that would be great for this role.
- I have prepared well for this audition.
- I have everything I need to succeed in this role.
- I am always improving as an actor.
- I am okay. (Surprisingly, this is a very calming affirmation for me. I use it any time I’m feeling nervous or anxious.)
And finally, if you’ve never done an audition and are curious about how it goes, mine went a little something like this:
- I arrived 45 minutes before my scheduled audition time. I spent 15 minutes in my car checking my hair and makeup, making sure I had what I would need, reading/saying my lines, and writing affirmations. Then I went inside.
- I was greeted and asked to sign in on a sheet of paper and on their computer. On the computer, I had to create a profile with my contact information and measurements (height, weight, clothes sizes, bust/waist/hip measurements, and glove and hat size). Luckily, I had recently submitted for an extra role that required all that stuff, so I had my measurements on my phone.
- Then I sat on a couch and waited. There were three people ahead of me. I read my sides one more time and wrote a few more affirmations.
- Once the guy in front of my went in, I was told to stand on deck (in front of the door to the audition room). I was able to hear his audition, which was great because it gave me an idea of what to expect. A few moments after he left the room, one of the assistants opened the door and asked if I was ready.
- (This is where things get fuzzy. It all happened so fast and the following is what I think and hope I did, lol). I smiled and said hello to the room in general. I started to hand out my head shots but another assistant said they wouldn’t need them today. So I set them on an empty table and went to the mark I was told to go to.
- The same assistant took a picture of me, told me she would be reading with me, and said to let her know when I was ready. I took a second to breathe and gather my thoughts, then smiled and nodded at her.
- (This is where I blacked out and delivered my lines, like I always do during an audition. I have no idea if this part went well or not.)
- After the scene, she asked me to say my name and height.
- I smiled and thanked everyone. I grabbed my head shots and the casting director asked me if he could have one since “we don’t know each other.” I thanked them again, signed out, and left. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.
- I treated myself to a trip to Barnes and Noble (which may have been just as exciting as the audition itself).
Everyone there was so nice and friendly and told me exactly what to do and when to do it, which is what I had been hoping for.
I was so surprised and excited about the chance to audition, I honestly will not even be upset if I don’t get the part (I mean, obviously I would love to get it, but if not, that’s okay too). The night before the audition, I felt like no matter the outcome, this is still a great opportunity and that this is just the beginning of many auditions and roles to come. I’ve never felt so positive about an audition before. I felt just as great afterwards as I did when I first received the email saying I had gotten one.
Just a couple months ago I was way too nervous to even submit for these small featured roles because I was afraid of the audition. Thank God I keep ignoring those fears because I would be missing out on so much if I were still letting them dictate my life.