Affirmations For Actors

Hey Actors!  Need a reason to get out of bed this morning and face the day, unpaid bills, passive-aggressive remarks from your family and your successful lawyers friends?  Here's a daily (and when I say "daily" I mean when I can think of one) affirmation!


Audition Dry Spell? Maybe...

Be a real dick to your agent.  That'll help.

Actor Resumes: Yur a acTor, knot a englush prufesor!

As an actor, you're are the owner of your own business and you need to know how to use your time effectively.  Why bother correcting typos and misspelled words on your resume?  You already printed 50 copies out and stapled them to your headshots!  What can a  clean, formatted, proofread resume do that your genius and monster charisma aren't already accomplishing for you?  If fellow industry professionals won't take you seriously because you can't spell "television" correctly, then they are not worthy of your talents.

Survival Jobs for Actors #2

Hollywood breathed a sigh of relief this week when the Teamster union approved a new contract and decided to not strike and bring film and television production to a halt.  If there was a strike, here's some more survival jobs for actors:

Become President.

Become a Reality Star.

Sell creepy eyelashes.

Do something that actually matters.

Tips for a great commercial agent/client relationship

What do you mean this doesn't work for Taco Bell?  This totally got me Blossom! 

Congratulations!  You have a commercial agent!  I bet you feel super-validated in your career choice!  Here's some tips to create and maintain a great working relationship with your agent:

  • Ignore your agent's plea for new headshots.  It's her job to pitch you and if she's a good agent she should make that 1996 black and white shot of you crouching with a leather jacket slung over your shoulder work!
  • Share news about your commercial audition news on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, myspace,  Friendster, or whatever social media you can get your hands on!  You can put your mom's worries at rest while making your fellow actor friends jealous of your opportunity!  I'm sure your agent wouldn't mind getting phone calls from other clients wondering why they didn't get that audition. I'm sure that national, multi-million dollar in sales, restaurant chain would have no problem having its competitors know it has an ad campaign in the work.  I mean, people with other careers publicly announce their job interviews, right?
  • Don't bother showing up if that national, multi-million dollars in sales restaurant chain commercial is below your artistic creditability.
  • It's your agent's fault that you're not getting commercial auditions.  You should call her everyday and read her the breakdowns.
  • It's white male-dominated society's fault that you don't book commercials.
  • It's the economy's fault that there aren't any commercials.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands after using a public restroom.  You don't know who's in the restroom with you, watching you not washing your hands.  Actually, always wash your hands after using the bathroom.  Really, I need to tell you this? 

No one wants to see your play.


Budget Tips for Actors #1: Spent All Your Money on Casting Sites?

Many casting sites must have their servers stored in hermetically sealed Faberge Egg and platinum cases in the basement of a palace in Dubai. Why else could a site charge large fees to customers to upload pictures of their own heads, in a world in which everyone has 7137 FREE pictures on every other single website and blog? So actors, did you spend all your money uploading new headshots? While you're biding your time, hoping that perfect $25 jpeg will land you the commercial campaign of a lifetime, here's where you can cut some corners in your budget:
  • Groceries. You can stand to lose a few anyway.
  • Student loan payments for that BFA. Save your money when you decide to quit and go back to school.
  • Gas. Do you really have anywhere to go anyway?
  • Diapers. Stand all day dangling your kid over the toilet. You have time, you don't have gas in the car.

Why you're a failure

Feel like a failure? Does June Gloom feel more like Life Gloom? Is everyone else a raging success but you? Here's some great excuses to throw around at cocktail parties or let them rattle around your brain when you're wide awake at 3 am.

I haven't "made it" yet because (of)..
  1. the economy.
  2. the Writers' Strike.
  3. Reality TV.
  4. beautiful people.
  5. my agent...
  6. I need an agent...
  7. Hollywood doesn't want another (age), (ethnicity) (gender)
  8. OR...Hollywood doesn't know what to do with a (age), (ethnicity) (gender)
  9. Casting Director Workshops. I knew they were a sham.
  10. I don't have enough Facebook friends.

Let everyone else do all the work...

because you're the artist! You're the one that God touched among all others to be brilliant! You're entitled to have everyone work around you and for you! Let your agent and manager figure out your type. You're so amazing, you can play everything! Blame your scene partner when you suck in class. Everyone knows you live in a town with traffic, they should know you're always going to be late. Let them wait. Let your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse take on all the expenses while you spend your days waiting for someone to discover you. You're the victim and it's the industry's fault for not seeing your genius and throwing bags of money your way. It's a conspiracy! Everyone is threatened by you! They want to see you fail! You'll show them! You just gave notes to the director in a student film audition. You're so getting that role, once it's re-written to your specifications. And then, watch out....

Audition Tip: You can say the words written on the page OR...

Improvise! Improvise! Improvise! Why add a "button" to the end of the scene when you can add a "zipper!' Just keep talking and talking, and adding your own jokes, and overlooking entire chunks of dialogue. You're the actor! You're the artist! Show all those producers and writers in the room who you really are, what makes you unique! It's not like writers are paid professionals that labored over every word and have a larger understanding of the characters and story arc. They need you to show them what's funny! Thank God you got called in to audition to show them there's a better script right inside your brilliant actor head!

Stuff to think about when a Casting Director is giving you directions and blocking during an audition:

  1. I'm not going to get this.
  2. I should've White Stripp-ed my teeth this morning.
  3. What clever, cutesy thing am I going to say during my slate?
  4. I have to pee.
  5. Lunch?
  6. Do I look fat?
  7. How can I subtlety check my fly?
  8. Should I find the CD on Facebook?
  9. I'm totally going to get this!
  10. Wait, what am I supposed to do?

Audition Dry Spell? Maybe...'s the economy. Maybe it's the industry. Maybe no one needs white women in their 20-30's at the moment. Maybe it's the union. Maybe it's your agent. Maybe it's your headshots. Maybe you need more credits. Maybe it's your reel. Maybe you don't know the right people. Maybe you're not working hard enough. Maybe you're working too hard. Maybe you need to join another casting site. Maybe you need more classes. Maybe it's those fine lines. Maybe it's those ten extra pounds. Maybe it's those ten extra years. Maybe you're not talented. Maybe no one likes you. Maybe it's destiny telling you to quit. Maybe you should've went to Law School. Maybe you'll never get of debt. Maybe you'll never own a house. Maybe you should've went out with that nice Accounting Major during junior year. Maybe you'll never find the right person. Maybe you'll never have a kid. Maybe all those inspirational posters hung in your classrooms were wrong. Maybe you're wasting your life. Maybe it's just a dry spell.

But, seriously...

After five months and thirty posts, I can now identify and name the reasons why I started this blog:
  • To roll my eyes at the behavior of my fellow actors.
  • To blow off steam about an industry racket that feeds on actors' insecurity and desperation by selling them a lot solutions to their careers.
  • To own and make fun of our neuroses, anxiety, fear, self-loathing and doubt that probably makes us really good at our job as actors and really bad as party guests and members of society.

When I moved to LA a year ago, I was drowning in thousands of ways I can spend all my money to feel like I'm moving forward in my career or that I'm participating in the industry. Actual forward movement and participation would "require a second payment in the amount of"....For as many broke actors as there are, there are just as many people wanting to take our money. Though it angers me to see actors taken advantage of, I also can't stand actors' tendencies to self-sabotage. Many actors' career ambitions outweigh their common sense about personal boundaries and the patience to build authentic relationships with other members of the entertainment business. Enough of my tirade! Here's a few generous, helpful, free resources that offer information and perspective. If you know of an industry-related site or blog that you love, please let me know!

Coffee and Showbiz

A blog about thoughts and advice about stand-up comedy and acting worlds by Becky Donohue & Darlene Violette

The Comedy Nerds
We Care About Comedy.

Kristine Oller
Move Forward Faster: Advice for the Ambitious and the Creative

Parts and Labor by David Dean Bottrell
Making a Living. Making a Life in Hollywood, CA.

Playbills vs. Paying Bills

Three Cities. Three Actors. Thousands of Stories.

Dinner Party Networking Tip

Invite every casting director you've met to a dinner party at your home. During dessert course, serve a large sheet cake with your resume and headshot re-created in fondant and entertain your guests with a collection of your favorite Neil Simon monologues. Remember, don't put your direct number on the cake, that would be unprofessional. 

How to fake out your fellow auditioners

Why spend the time before an audition preparing when you can screw with your fellow auditioners. Here's some suggestions:
  • Don't underestimate the power of simple leering, also known as "stink eye."
  • When you exit the audition room proclaim that you got the role. There might be a gullible Midwesterner that will believe you and leave.
  • Give your fellow auditioner the head to toe look down when she enters the room, then proceed to intensely stare at her chin.
  • As you walk into the audition room, begin to unbutton your blouse.
  • Place sides from the short lived 80's sitcom, I Married Dora right next to the sign-in sheet.  

Definitely experiment with that new cut and color

the day before you shoot your headshots.

No one wants to be an Extra in your movie....

No one cares enough about your ego trip, vanity project to get out of bed on a Sunday morning and stand for twelve hours in the public park that you can't afford a permit for....and re-enact your vision of the French Revolution on a youth soccer field.

Survival Jobs for Actors

In these tough times, that check for being a Law and Order juror can only go so far. Here are some survival job suggestions. These suggestions can also apply to LA public librarians and teachers.
  • Marry rich.
  • Sleep with someone rich.
  • Become a prostitute. Nevada is a short drive.
  • Go back to grad school and hide.

How to Create Your Logline

It's a Pilot Season! Do you know who you are? Do you know your brand? Your type? Here's a quick tip to create your back-pocket logline when you're sitting in your fancy meetings that screams "This is the real me! Now make money off me!"

Emotional issue + Worst Physical Trait + Unrealistic Celebrity Doppelganger = Fame and Fortune

Here are some examples:
  • Cankled Cate Blanchett that eats her feelings.
  • Borderline personality, claw-handed Amy Adams.
  • Co-dependent, three nipple-d Teresa from Real Housewives New Jersey.
Create your logline! Create your future! 

If you want other actors to like you...

Tell them you love them in that commercial. If they're as desperate as you, they'll say "thank you" whether they've been in a commercial or not.  

2010 is your year...

To find your sugar daddy and choke the remaining breath of your career aspirations. 

Tip for Pilot Season

Wear the biggest earrings and the plaidest shirt possible. The camera will love you.  

Absolutely mention you're seeking representation...

In your program bio for your church's Christmas pageant. You never know who's out there seeking someone who can play "mule." 

Holiday Party Networking Tip

Always look over the shoulder of the person you're talking with to see if someone even more successful just walked into the room.  

If the camera isn't on during an on-tape audition...

Don't count on a callback. 

Put a lot of effort into planning your career...

So when all those plans fall to shit, you'll have an excuse for all that afternoon drinking.

When family asks if you've been in anything yet...

Say you have but it wasn't your best work since the Fluffer never made it to the set. They'll stop asking. Happy Thanksgiving!

Postcards are so impersonal...

Instead invite that Casting Director to do a reading at your wedding. That won't be weird. 

We get it...

Your improv group name is an inside joke. We're sure it's hilarious. 

You'll be even more talented...

If you take that same Method class for the fifth time.

Commit as much of your adult life as possible to doing unpaid theatre...

Enjoying an average quality of life is overrated. You are an artist and above owning a bed. 

Instead of preparing for your audition while waiting...

Spend the time silently guessing the other auditioners' pants sizes. 

If you're creating your Facebook Fan Page at your temp job....

You're probably not ready for fans. Leave your friends alone. 

No one wants to be the DP on your film...

Because no one wants to be a DP. Who gets more tail: James Cameron or Russell Carpenter? Who's Russell Carpenter? Exactly. 

No one wants to DVR your TV appearance for you...

You're on TV now. Get cable. 

An audition is a great opportunity...

To put on a bra. And brush your hair. And do adult things like follow simple directions about where to stand. 

Alway network...

You'll need filler guests on your Evites if your friends bail. 

Don't envy another actor...

Instead share your feelings openly about how her success is undeserved. 

You should absolutely...

Wear that sassy, gum-snapping waitress costume for your headshots.  

When one door closes...

A new class you can spend all your money on opens. 

You are totally right for that part...

Too bad you're too fat for it.  

When feeling down...

Think how much better your life would be if you just got that web series. 

You're right...

Your agent hates you.