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Business to be an actor PART I

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The start of the year is a great time to do a self-assessment, a time to review, make plans and set goals.

In our classes at The Actors Workout Studio, we spend time at the beginning of the year on goals, actions, and discussing the actors’ business model Pain, a lot of actors don’t want to talk about it, they just want to do their art. I even have a number of students who leave and come back when we get back to work. They don’t want to deal with it.

With Covid upon us, many actors have more free time and are looking to stay productive and move forward. I have received many calls and requests for this conversation which repeats this from previous years and is doing it in several parts.

Part 1 You are a company

Yes, that’s right, you are a business. You are self-employed and like it or not, an entrepreneur, you sell a product and you need to have a business plan, with a marketing strategy, a budget, people (which can be yourself at the beginning) and then execute it and sell it there. Actors tend to avoid this conversation just because I’m an artist, if I wanted to go into business I would have gone into my family’s business, they prefer to study their art, take classes, maybe play a once in a while while shooting headshots, and I wonder (bitterly) why nothing is happening to them.

The biggest tragedy I see after working with thousands of actors for almost 30 years is this: I will see a great actor not find a job. They are excellent, trained, professional, talented, real artists, and have no jobs. They become great class actors, can do theater from time to time, but no real career to tell. The other sad thing to see is mediocre actors who have great success. I am really happy for them. They may not be that talented at the moment. It almost seems unfair to these passionate artists. They see this and feel helpless and become bitter.

The point is, you are a business and most acting jobs are all about looking for work, networking, and getting the next job, interview, or audition. 90% of the actors are unemployed 90% of the time. It’s a fact. But that 10% can be worth it.

Consider this. If you are an engineer by training and looking for a job, you get your resume, apply for companies, look at classifieds and wanted advertisements and introduce yourself. If you are trained and have some experience, you can go through 10-12 interviews and then get a job. Once you do, you’re probably good to go for a few years if everything works. Your employer also goes through this process once every few years: in our company you go out, have 10 to 12 job interviews (auditions in our language), say you get one, work a day or two and guess what? again to start all over again. You are therefore constantly looking for a job. The good news is that the employer (casting directors) is also looking to hire on their next project. So there is good news. If you don’t get this job, you have the option to move on and not wait 2-3 years until that engineer job reopens.

What I mean is that you are always looking for work and you need a plan, structure and discipline.

Next month I’ll be talking about setting goals and how we achieve them at Actors Workout Studio.

Stay positive.

Fran Montano



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