Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finding Your Own Acting Technique!

I just got a message on one the the acting sites I am apart of about a new workshop that is offered here in NY. Well, it's new to me!

Anyhoo, its taught by actor David Vadim and I thought it was an interesting class. Its 4 consecutive Sunday Sessions, $220, for 1.5-2hrs depending on class size. The workshop is suppose to help you go with your natural instinct and help you to create your own unique techinque.

More info:

May be worth a try!

Stay tuned...

Is Acting Your Business Or Your Hobby?


I emailed Miata Edoga yesterday and she told me since I have opened a business checking account and I have business debit card that starting a DBA is not necessary and that I am actually moving in the right direction! That was great to hear!!

So this year when I decided to pursue my acting career full-time I created an Acting Fund. You always hear that you should treat acting as a business and not like a hobby. I read an article by Abundance Bound founder Miata Edoga ( that you should separate you personal income and expenses from your business income and expenses. Miata suggested starting a DBA (Doing Business As) that would allow you to qualify for a business account. You can look up that info on the net however one website that she suggested for more info is

Well starting a DBA is not in my budget at the moment so temporarily I opened a business checking account at my bank and I use this account for business purposes ONLY. SO anything that goes into or comes out of this checking account is acting related.

I do not have a business name or anything, but you don't need one to open a business checking account I just used my full name as the business name.

This will help you keep track of all the money that you spend for your acting career and help you stay organized for tax purposes. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THOSE RECEIPTS!!

I have a folder that I keep all my hard copy receipts but all my purchases are made with my card, I don't take out cash from this account, so I always have the bank statement to go by if I ever lose my receipt.

SO any money that I get from doing background work goes into this account. Any money that I make from other jobs unrelated to acting I split in half for my personal account and for my business account.

Now if only I could get some people to donate to my acting fund...hmmmm! ha! :-D

Stay tuned...

Acting Books I Just Purchased

So I am an avid to read!! I think books are great companions to acting classes so here is a list of books that I just purchased:

The Power of the Actor By: Ivana Chubbuck

The Art of Auditioning: Techniques for Television By: Rob Decina

On Method Acting By: Edward Dwight Easty

An Actor's Business by Andrew Reilly

The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors By: Karen Kohlhaas

The 7 Steps to Stardom: How to Become a Working Actor By: Christina Ferra-Gilmore, Wink Martindale

Voices of Color 50 Scenes & Monologues (Paperback) (Applause Acting Series)
By: King

The National Black Drama Anthology: Eleven Plays from America's Leading African-American Theaters By: Hal Leonard Corp., Jr., Woodie King

How to Choose A Monologue for Any Audition
By Karen Kohlhaas

If I can't take a casting director/teacher's class then the next best thing is their book!!

Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Non Union In Perpetuity Buyouts

Okay so I just learned of these types of buyouts in my commercial class. Non Union Commercials offer buyouts to use the footage for a set amount of time. They could offer you $500 for a one year buyout, so they can use the footage for a year, (you get no residuals), and if they decide to use it for more time after that year is over they will pay you more money.

Now I saw a breakdown today for a Project Runway Promo. I love the show so I got excited to see it and I was definitely going to submit for it. They were offering a session fee and another fee if the promo aired however the buyout is in perpetuity. That means that they will pay you the buyout fee HOWEVER they can use this footage for the rest of your life and you get no residuals. Now you have to be very careful when you are dealing with in perpetuity buyouts because they can cause some conflicts if you try to do commercials for related products later on in your life and you never know what type of commercial deals you may get offered. So just use your better judgment, try to think long term!

The only reason I would think about doing a commercial with an in perpetuity buyout is if the product is so unique that I know it's not possible that I would run into any conflicts later on down the line.

Stay tuned...


Okay so I want to be in goal is to get one this year. My ideal commercial job would be one for Target!

So to prepare myself I have been taking commercial classes and meeting casting directors and agents at these seminars that they have where you pay to meet them.**

I have taken two commercial classes so far with David Cady from Donna DeSeta Casting and Angela Mickey from Liz Lewis Casting. Both were great classes well worth the money spent. At the end of each class you get to read commercial copy in front of a commercial agent. I met a commercial agent from Innovative Artists last Tuesday at the end of David's class. David said that I did very well and I felt like I did well also, so I was very proud of myself. And Monday I will get to read in front to two agents...not sure who they are yet but I think one is from The Mine Agency for sure.

In June I plan to take Barry Shapiro's Improv for Commercials intensive which is an all day event given at the Actor's Connection. Improv is very important skill to have in commercials so I figured I would pay for this one day intensive until I can get into a Improv class. Barry Shapiro is a well known name in the commercial world and I've taken a commercial intensive with him before so I'm looking forward to learning something new.

I've also been sending my headshots out to commercial print agents so we are keeping our fingers crossed!

Stay tuned...

** sites to go to for seminar info

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Acting Success Now!

Okay I'm sure you guys have heard of the Acting Success Now seminar taught by Robert and Michelle Colt Well they offered a free one hour seminar here in NY. I went there Thursday night. I decided to go because in the ad they said that you will learn:
  1. the most powerful tools to get out of your own way
  2. how to end the fear of failure and of success
  3. how to quickly dissolve limiting beliefs
  4. how to easily raise your temperature for success
  5. the art of effortless creation
  6. the action that will give your career a quantum leap
  7. the secret to having success without suffering
and most importantly, ladies and gentlemen, how to stand out, be remembered and be the actor that's hired!

NOW who wouldn't want to learn all this wonderful information! Ok so I went expecting to get some great tools on how to increase my chances of having success, right? But when I get there I start thinking to myself, now why are these people giving away this wonderful information FOR FREE.

Long story short...nothing's for free. I left there empty-handed. Empty-handed because this one hour seminar was an introduction, sorta speak, to a 3-day seminar so they saved all the good stuff for then. They touched on the bullet points but they didn't give you the "how to". So I'm sitting there and they keep saying: "in our seminar you'll our seminar you'll learn"...and I'm we go! ha!

Their 3-day seminar is very successful and forever selling out...and I was on board until they told me the price...$695!! WHOA KEMOSABE!!

Ok... if I'm not knocking anyone for spending this amount of money for a 3-day workshop but I will have to pass. They did offer a $200 discount if you gave a deposit that if you can give a $200 discount that easily then the seminar is not really worth $695...the seminar should be $495 with a $200 discount then that would have been more resonable for my pockets...but there are people out there, obviously, paying $700 for "tools to success".

I remember Robert saying (more than once) that the bad ecomony is not affecting him and he knows poeple that the economy is not affecting...well if I was having a workshop every month or every other month in NY and LA all year long charging $700 a pop...with probably 30 people per workshop, that's $21,000 a workshop, then I wouldn't feel any effects by the economy either! Even with the discount they are still banking! I ain't mad atcha! ha!

Now what they were saying was good stuff and I don't doubt that it can be very useful if applied to your life no matter if you are an actor or not. It was just basically positive thinking on a higher level but for goodness sake...that's a very expensive workshop! You know how many classes I can take with $700?!

I will just have to depend on God to give me my tools to success....with him everything is possible! :-D

Stay tuned...

HOW TO GET A WEBSITE FOR FREE: NO HTML NEEDED want to have your own website!

Well this is the best and cheapest way to do it especially if you are like me and do not know that much about HTML. allows you to create a website for free! You can choose from 300 templates. Now this website allows you put as many pages as you want on your site. You can put a page for videos, photo gallery, message board, etc. Your domain name will be

My website was created with however I wanted a custom domain name so the best place that I have found (freewebs packages were too expensive for my taste) is 1&1 (just google them). You can register your domain name for 8.99/yr (right now they have a special the first year is only 6.99) You get an email address and up to 5 aliases with this package. For instance, your main email address could be and your alias could be

They also offer email forwarding so whatever email that comes to any email address associated with can be forwarded to your yahoo account or gmail account. You can use their mail server but I just use a gmail account that I set up just for my acting related things. They have a feature that is very beneficial, URL forwarding (Domain Forwarding). This allows people to be redirected to an existing site when they type in your domain name in the browser. So when you type in my domain name you are redirected to the site I built on

I use their Masked URL Forwarding feature so when you type in your browser you are redirected to my site however you still see in the broswer. If I didn't have masked url forwarding you would see when you are redirected.

***Having a personal website is not necessary because you can have pages on casting sites where you can post your photos, resume, and some allow videos ( allow you to post up to 3 videos and up to 3 audio clips included with your subscription some casting sites make you pay extra for media uploads).***

Stay tuned...


So I'm almost done with the batch of headshots that I have now and I am planning to get more done maybe in March or April next year. So I went to a headshot seminar hosted by The Network here in NY and taught by Talent Manager/Actor Allen Jared from Padua Kassel Management. He gave some great information to get a marketable headshot.

Top four things to keep in mind:

  1. Your headshot must look like you...the everyday YOU. Your makeup needs to be natural no glamour shot type photos. Don't go over board on retouching. If you have bags under your eyes and that's what the casting director will see if they saw you on a regular basis even with your makeup on...then that should be visible in your headshot. Basically don't photoshop out anything from your photo that will be there when you meet them face to face.
  2. Choose the right wardrobe. Clothes are more important than you think. Headshots are in color now so take advantage of that. Wear beautiful colors but wear the tamed version of that color; the darker, more muted version. For example, if I want to wear green I'm not going to go for lime green, or money green, I would go for hunter/forest green or an olive green. You don't want everyone to only see your clothes when they look at the photo, so bright, bright colors are a distraction.
  3. You must look engaged in your headshot; you must be "in the moment". Meaning you must have a specific, concrete thought going on in your mind when the shutter clicks. This will draw people to your headshot and help you stand out among the 100s of headshots casting directors and agencies receive on a daily basis.
  4. DO NOT PICK YOUR OWN HEADSHOT! Let someone in the industry choice your headshot. Someone like an agent, talent manager, and/or casting director. Someone whose job is to send out submissions or receive submissions. They know what kind of headshots get called in the most. Don't rely on yourself, family or friends because they are only going to pick the shot that "look the prettiest" or "the cutest" (if you are dude)
It is so much more to it then just looking good...the right type of clothing, the right type of look, and the right thoughts to think to get the "engaged" look is key to achieving a Marketable Headshot.

Allen Jared's seminar is the truth and he knows what he is talking about. He did 7 years of research to get this information. If you are interested in learning more about this Headshot Seminar then you can contact Allen at or call The Network at 212-239-3198 to see when he will have his next seminar. He said that he was trying to get it to where he would have the seminar on a more regular basis. He also offers one on one consultations to help you choose the best headshots that will get you calls!! Take advantage of this...your headshot is the first thing they make it the best!

Stay tuned...

How To Get Work As An Extra!

So since I've been out of work I've been doing a few extra very first one was a Black History Month Promo for VH1. It was great! A little tiring but at the end of the day we got paid in cash so can't beat that. I met a cool actress there too!

My next gig was for the TV Show Z-Rock. This was a real challenge because the whole 12 hours was spent outside and it was freezing....even though it was in April and the temperature was in the 60s that wind was something serious! However I picked up a few more acting friends so you can't really complain!

I just did another gig yesterday for the show The Electric Company! This was more laid back and enjoyable. I had more of a featured spot in this so I know if I saw the episode that I would definitely see me! Which is great! And I was able to finally work on the set with my friend Alby!!

I am still submitting to a lot of background work and I hope to start booking more and more....keep the cash flowing in....and you meet some really good people and learn some things about the industry that you didn't know!

One thing to expect when doing extra work....long hours...and doing the same thing over and over and over....even if they get it right they may make you do it one more time just to be on safe side!

But some people are actually professional background stars...I do not get called in enough to even think about making this a career....ha!

You can submit your headshots to background agencies and register with them. Some are free and some charge a $25-$50 fee so they can have a digital photo of you on file.

I find a lot of my background work from casting sites like and!

Anyhow if you need some extra cash please give it a try...I wouldn't do it for less than $70 unless its going to be about 4 hrs of work; but that's just my opinion!

Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Ok so let me catch you up on what's been going on. In January I got laid off after working for a non profit as an Executive Assistant for 3.5 years....boy was I relieved and scared at the same time! Relieved because I didn't have to go to a 9-5 everyday anymore...but scared because, well hey, I just lost my job!

To be honest, I've been wanting to get out of corporate America for the past nine years!! And God blessed me by laying me off. My goal was to work long enough full-time to save enough money to cover my expenses for a year and just get a part time job so that I could pursue my acting career full-time.

Well God had something else in mind! ha! So now my plan has changed. Since I am out of work I have the choice of not going back to work as an Executive Assistant full-time so I choose to work temp jobs.

I am registered with a few temp agencies so I can find short term assignments (but they haven't called me in for anything yet). So for the time being I'm making use of my extra time and loving the flexibility to pursue my dream!

I freelance here and there...and I do extra work when its available for a little extra change in my pocket.

Ideally I would love to get two extra roles a week (minimum) depending on the project I could make minimum $140 a week...can't beat that!

I would love to get into promotional work or something consistent yet still flexible other than bartend or waitress....hostess for private events or upscale events.....yes....coat check at trendy spots or upscale restaurants....yes! But I have noticed coming by these types of jobs are much easier when you know someone! So I am looking for someone that can pull me in! ha!

So I plan to just take this time to gain more marketable skills so that I can freelance more...and this when I thought about....VIDEO EDITING!! I would love to do that...I plan to get training this fall....doing the research now. I see ads looking for video editors everyday so I'm sure once I get the training I can find freelance job and/or an apprenticeship!

I'm taking acting classes (commercial classes) and going on auditions so really feeling good about things. My whole experience has been very positive and I'm truly grateful to have this opportunity to pursue my dream!

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome to An Actor's Journey-Yolanda Allen!

Hi Thanks for visiting my blog! Join me on my journey to a professional acting career. Just a little background: I was laid off in Jan. from my full-time Administrative job and I have to say that that was a blessing in disguise! Since then I have been more focused on learning my craft and gaining experience. So right now I have the flexibility to pursue my acting career full-time! I will have to back track a little to get you caught up on what has been going on so far...the highs and the lows. So please stay tuned!