Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Headshots: Expensive DOES NOT MEAN BETTER!!

I can not stress ENOUGH that as a beginner actor it is not necessary to spend A LOT of money on headshots. Spending $500 or more on headshots WILL NOT & DOES NOT guarantee that you will get called in.

You can refer back to my previous post on tips to get a marketable headshot.

Now I had always said that I would not pay more than $300 for a headshot session...since forever. My current headshots that I'm using cost me $150. I met actor Michael Ealy and asked him what he think was a good price to pay for headshots and he said $300 anything more than that was too much. Then I went to Allen Jared's Headshot Seminar and he suggested not to spend more than $300 on headshots because it's the ACTOR that is doing all the work not the PHOTOGRAPHER so if you know what you need to do to get a great headshot, i.e. a marketable headshot, then any professional photographer can take your pics!

Now I have gone to A LOT of free marketing seminars in the past few months and SO MANY people have had very different opinions about what to spend on headshots. Some would tell you you need to invest BIG BUCKS in your headshots because that means you are serious about being an actor and you are looking at this as a business blah blah blah....

BUT I'm not falling for it! ha! And according to Mark Sikes from The Casting Corner...I'm right!! He talks about Headshots in is latest blog post which you can find here.

So I'm telling you EXPENSIVE DOES NOT MEAN BETTER!! If you are just starting out....$300-400 should be your max for the headshot shoot which should include a disc with all your images & at least 2 retouched photos! If you can get a makeup artist in there too....bonus but there are up and coming makeup artists that will work for free to build their portfolios that are amazing....I met my favorite makeup artist on craigslist.org and she did my makeup in ALL my pics and in my latest headshot session FOR FREE!! (well we did become friends over the years that could be why she didn't charge me ha!)

Anyhoo, this is just my opinion!! mltan100.blogspot.com

Stay Tuned

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's up with Yolanda Allen?


so what's been going on on my side of town?

Not much of anything really....I haven't' gone on a lot of auditions....I went on one Friday for a student project...I will know this week if I got that or not.

I got the dvd copy from the student film I did a few weeks ago....the director may want to use me for another project of his....so if so...I'll let you know!

I'm sort of in a "non-acting" mode....maybe its the weather because I tend to go into hibernation mode when it starts to get cold...and I would only come out to go to work or for special occasions....so don't be surprised if I go on a small hiatus ha!

I'll still keep my eye out for castings of interesting projects but I don't think I'll be submitting myself to a lot like I was earlier this year.

I still haven't received any positive responses from the commercial casting directors and/or agents that I've met and/or mailed my headshots to. I don't know if I'm still going to pursue the commercial world when I get my new headshots in a few months. I have to see...I don't know.

I plan to take a class in Oct. And I am praying for a financial downpour so that I can start my video editing career....I pray that my next "job" is video editing...I do not want another administrative job...that would drive me insane! blogger-emoticon.blogspot.com ha!

Anyhoo, that's it for now....I will keep you posted....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Believe In Yourself!!

Sometimes I sit and think to myself: Self, why did you choose one of the hardest industries to try to make a career out of? Why couldn't your dream career be that of A Doctor, Or an Accountant, or an Executive Assistant? Why acting? Why something so competitive, something so unpredictable, something where success is not guaranteed? Why? Why?

Every since I was a little girl this is what I wanted to do but being from the small town that I'm from the opportunity wasn't presented in my school not to mention I was too darn shy to get in front of anyone. My dream of acting was a hidden dream. I would watch movies and imagine seeing my name in the rolling credits.

I tried hard to come up with a career that was less competitive, something that was more ordinary, something that all you had to do was get a college education or go to a trade school and when you finish you had a great job in your career! Well I couldn't think of anything when I was in college, I changed my major 6 times...so Business was the "go to" Major. But I knew for a FACT working in corporate America in an office job WAS NOT... IS NOT... WILL NEVER BE... for me!! I've only worked as Executive/Administrative Assistant and I do not like it.

So I dibbed and dabbed into creative professions such as a makeup artist & an esthetician I realized that I didn't have the passion for those things after taking a few classes and spending a few hundreds of dollars. SO I said: Yogi what's your dream baby girl? And it came back to acting. So how do you get to your dream? My plan was to do the modeling thing and crossover to acting...lol that didn't work!!

So now I'm taking acting head on. I do have to say that I was nervous my very first time acting for that Indie that I did the whole time I'm like, will people think I'm good?

F' dat!! It's about what I think...do I think I'm a good actress....hells yea...but I know I can be a GREAT actress so that's where training and experience comes into play.

I believe in me! (not to mention I have a lot of people that believe in me....thanks to my mom I've already a celebrity in my hometown ha!)


Please read this article from Sharon Moist below it inspired this post!

What Do You Believe?

by Sharon Moist

When I ask my clients this, the most common answers I often hear are: "being talented," "having the right connections or knowing the right people," "studying with the right acting teacher," and "attending the right college or university."

And, while those are all good answers, the most important part of the entire "success equation," if you will, is belief in yourself, and here's why:

1) "Being Talented" Isn't Enough

It doesn't matter how talented you are if you don't believe in yourself.

When I was pursuing my own career, one of my acting teachers once said to me, "Sharon, there are actors out there who are more talented than you are who are not working, and actors who are less talented than you are who work on a regular basis."

Want to know why? Because those actors who work all the time believe in themselves. Period. Yes, being talented helps, but if you don't believe in yourself; if you don't believe in your ability to knock an audition out of the ballpark (even when you don't land the job); and if you don't believe in who you are and what you bring to the table when you've landed the role of your dreams and are sitting on a set across from your favorite actor, then no one else on set is going to believe in you either, and you'll probably find a lot of people wondering how you ever landed the job in the first place.

2) Having the Right Connections Isn't Enough

If you've read my book, 101 Tips For Actors, then you know how important networking is in this business (or any business for that matter).

Having the right connections and/or knowing the right people can certainly "get you in the door." But once you're in, then what do you do? Just because you know someone important doesn't mean they'll automatically give you the job. It just means that you're one step ahead of the guy who doesn't know anyone.

After that, it's all up to YOU. So once again, you're back to your own belief system; what you believe about yourself.

3) Studying With the "Right" Teacher Isn't Enough

Let's be clear about something: there are lots and lots of talented acting teachers out there. In fact, the guy I used to study with, Steve Eastin, has had a phenomenal career, is very well-connected and works all the time. Why? Because he believes in himself.

One of my clients studied at one of the most prestigious acting schools in Beverly Hills, and another at a very prestigious academy in New York, and yet today both of these actors are unemployed.

Did they study with the "right" teachers? Yes, they did. Did they believe that they "belonged in the room" when they got auditions? Unfortunately no, they didn't.

4) Attending the "Right" School Isn't Enough
There are some fabulous colleges and universities that have very good theatre departments and very strong alumni groups.

These schools do showcases for their graduating students and have a lot of great connections within the industry. However, once again, for the actors going through these programs, it's not about the connections. It's about whether or not these young people believe in themselves, and are able to maintain that belief as they pursue a career in this crazy, unstable and intimidating industry.

The result? Those who believe in themselves go out on auditions, land jobs and WORK. Those who don't believe in themselves sit around and criticize everything and everyone around them. Which category do you fall into?

Food for Thought: When it comes to your career, what do you believe? Do you believe in yourself enough to step beyond any fear you may have and go for it? Or, are you waiting for someone to tell you they "believe in you," in order for you to believe in yourself? Just remember: If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

Copyright © 2009 Sharon Moist. All Rights Reserved.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You are welcome to use this article anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information:
Former Hollywood Agent, Sharon Moist, now works with clients to help them develop success strategies to become empowered in their own careers. Also known as The Industry Coach®, Sharon's clients come from all areas of the entertainment industry and represent such projects as: Desperate Housewives, 24, and Las Vegas, among others, as well as studios such as HBO and talent agencies, including The William Morris Agency. For more information or to work with Sharon directly, please visit her website at: www.TheIndustryCoach.com
I have a question for you: What do you believe is the key to your success when it comes to your career?

Winning The Victory

Just wanted to share a message that I received in my inbox today! It all ties back to a few posts that I've made about writing down your ultimate goal and then write down the steps it will take to reach that goal.

Make daily to do lists and be happy for the small steps you are taking to reach your ultimate goal because every little step counts!!

Message from Wes Hopper www.dailygratitude.com

"The victory of success is half won when one
gains the habit of setting goals and achieving
them. Even the most tedious chore will
become endurable as you parade through
each day convinced that every task, no matter
how menial or boring, brings you closer to
achieving your dreams."
Og Mandino

One of the problems with big goals is that,
if that's all you have, it's a long time between
getting them done. You don't get a big
goal done every week!

That becomes a problem because you
don't have enough positive reinforcement
in your life.

In order to keep going, you need lots of
little successes to feel good about. When
you can look at your list and see all those
check marks, it feels darn good!

And it keeps you going. All the bumps in
the road, all the obstacles, all the delays,
all the setbacks, are just annoyances, like
a mosquito, and they don't discourage you.

So take your big goals and break them up
into little steps. Write them down, and check
them off. The email, the phone call, the page
a day in your writing project.

Then celebrate them! Look at your list and
think, "Gosh, I'm good!" Pat yourself on the
back and see them as milestones toward
your big goals.

When you feel like you're making progress
you can get up every day enthused by the
possibilities and full of energy. Like the
"little engine that could" you'll be saying,
"I think I can, I think I can!"

And you can! It'll seem like a miracle!


Vision Boards!!

I have been procrastinating for a while now on creating my vision board....I wrote in a previous post about where I want to be in 10 years but I want to take it a step further and create my vision of what I want to be. Andrea Bordeaux and I were talking about vision boards and she stated that she did one for all areas of her life not just for her career. Which I think is a great idea! When I get mine together I will be sure to post a pic of it. But I wanted to share a article that I read by Sharon Moist, "How Clear Is Your Vision?"

Earlier this week I had a session with one of my own coaches, and on our call she said something that I've often said before, but had actually forgotten. Her comment was this: "You either create your day by design or default."

She went on to say that "the more random your vision is, the more random your day will be," meaning that if I don't have a clear plan for my day, I'll spend a lot of time doing miscellaneous things or wasting time, neither of which will most likely help me accomplish my goals.

What about you? Do you have a clear vision about where you're going in your career, and a clear plan on how to get there? If not, here are three steps you can take to get started:

1) Start with the end result in mind.

In order to have a clear vision of where you're going when you start something, the best way to proceed is to do so with the end result in mind.

For example, when you decide to take a trip, you usually know where it is that you want to go, and then you make plans to get there.

The same holds true when pursuing a goal. Once you know what it is that you want to achieve (Audition for Casting Director X; Land a role in a Broadway show; Become an agent or manager), you can create a map for yourself, in reverse order, so you know how and where to get started.

2) Break down the steps to your goal.

Once you know EXACTLY what it is that you want to achieve, and how to get started, the next step is to write down all of the steps or actions you need to take to get there.

For example, if your goal is to become a Hollywood agent, some of the steps that you'll want to take to reach your goal will include: (1) Making sure your resume is current and geared towards working in a talent agency; (2) Contacting the agencies you're interested in working for and finding out what the application process is for that company; and (3) Contacting everyone you know, letting them know what you're trying to do and asking them if they know anyone who can help you.

This step is about creating a road map for yourself, from the end, to the beginning, and then simply staying on the path and following it through.

3) Delete the unimportant.

The third step in the process (which is actually the first step in creating a clear vision for yourself), is learning how to eliminate those thoughts, actions and/or behaviors that have nothing to do with your goal.

Often times, when things aren't moving forward the way we'd like them to, or we can't control the circumstances in our life, it's very easy to get caught up in or focused on things that have nothing to do with our goals.

Examples of this include cleaning out files instead of sending out headshots; spending time on Facebook or going through emails instead of writing query letters to agents; watching TV or YouTube videos instead of checking out and going on open auditions listed in Backstage.

When that happens, try asking yourself this question: "Do I need to do this right now, or can I do it later?" Unless what you're doing is an emergency, or has an immediate deadline, chances are pretty good that you can change your focus and take action towards your goal.

And, if your goal seems too big, or too overwhelming to deal with at that moment in time, then just commit to taking ONE action step. Before you know it, one small step will lead to two steps, then to three steps, and pretty soon you'll find that you're already halfway there, towards achieving your goal!

Food for Thought: One day this week commit to spending sixty minutes to get clear around one goal you have in your life. Then go through the three steps listed above and get started on the path to success!

Copyright © 2009 Sharon Moist. All Rights Reserved.

Former Hollywood Agent, Sharon Moist, now works with clients to help them develop success strategies to become empowered in their own careers. Also known as The Industry Coach®, Sharon's clients come from all areas of the entertainment industry and represent such projects as: Desperate Housewives, 24, and Las Vegas, among others, as well as studios such as HBO and talent agencies, including The William Morris Agency. For more information or to work with Sharon directly, please visit her website at: www.TheIndustryCoach.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Truth about Agents & Managers

Hey my people....so if you are new to the game like me and a little confused as to what managers really do and if you need one then this article may be helpful in understanding the duties & differences between agents and managers

Also questions to ask & how to know if they are legit or not!!

This is brought to you by Scott Powers
www.scottpowers.com You can sign up for their weekly tips..very useful information!!

Weekly Tip for 8.21.09

No, not that A.A. We mean Agents Anonymous.

And their partner in deception, Mangers Anonymous.

These fringe types - operating on the outskirts of the mainstream entertainment industry --would love you to have you believe they're legit, that they're really an agent or manager, all the while employing their well-honed hidden agendas - skillfully aimed at playing into a dream and always separating you from your money, with nothing left to show for it.

In the approach of being positive and avoiding the temptation of degenerating into a bitch-fest,

A legit agent:

1. Never asks you to "sign" on the first meeting.

2. Never says you "should shoot with our photographer" as a not-too-veiled inducement to be represented by them. Note that legit agents may recommend a number of photographers or have a printed list. That's OK.

3. Can only take a 10% commission of what you earn through them. By Law. They are actually employment agencies, licensed and bonded by New York State. However, print commission is usually 20%, where the "agent" morphs into a "manager" to be able to charge the higher rate.

4. Does not scout talent in malls. That development company territory.

5. Represents a limited number of actors. Not 500.

6. When wanting to meet with you, will meet with you individually, not as part of a group.

7. Doesn't charge for representation or to be submitted for casting on Breakdown Services. Note that this is different from charging a small fee to be on a website - if this is the case, ask that to be taken from your next (or first) booking with them.

8. Does not take an assembly line, herd mentality to their actors. Doesn't engage in emotional head trips, or "everyone's doing it," or promises of a quick fix or instant stardom.

9. Has a "brick and mortar" place of business. An office, preferably in an office building, not an apartment building. We know some "faux agents" whose "office" is Starbucks. Their office furniture: a cell phone.

10. Is at their office doing business during business hours. Any agent or agency you call during business hours and you get voice mail is a bad sign.

11. Is well-respected by real casting directors and managers. They can open doors for you, not close them.

12. Doesn't have to go out of their way to impress you
they're legit.

13. Similarly, is really busy and may not have a lot of time to talk to you. They don't have time to talk "about the business."

14. Has access to the industry's movers and shakers, the "go to" people; can pick up their phone and can make things happen.

15. Works their butt off as an agent, all the time. It's an all-consuming occupation. They don't have a lot of side deals going on. They're focused on their job.

16. Never leaves you and your gut, wondering about something, but you can't put your finger on it. Hint: it's your innate sense of right and wrong trying to get your attention!

17. Is someone you wouldn't mind introducing to your parents.

And, similarly, in addition to the above, a legit manager:

1. Is different from and should not be one's best friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, coach.

2. Answers the phone during office hours. No voice mails! Think if an agent or casting director had to do a fast booking for you and they call your "manager" and get a recording. You lose.

3. Doesn't float between being a manager and an agent, depending on where the work and money is coming from.

4. Has clout and connections. They should be able to get you the proper agent representation. When they pick up the phone, things should happen.

5. Has 100% of their income from being a manager. This is what they do full-time. No temp jobs or other distractions.

6. Works with far fewer actors than an agent. That's why they're called "personal."

7. Will work with you to put together a career game plan for both sides, and stick to it. This includes what should be accomplished at various times in the relationship.

8. Usually charges a industry-norm commission of 15% of your income.

9. Does not charge monthly fees for mailings, etc.

10. As a departure from agents, some legit managers do have their place of business in their apartment. This is acceptable, if all the other criteria hold up.

11. Are you working signed or free-lance? Most legit managers work signed. If "free-lance" enters the picture, why? What is the time commitment? In what areas/combinations are you working together - theatre, TV, commercials, print, moves, soaps and/or voice overs?

12. Knows who you are when you call.... (There must be a reason we're saying this.)

13. Doesn't shy away from initial interview questions like: a) How many actors do you represent? b) How many of my types do you have? c) What can I do for you and what can you do for me? d) How much of your income comes from being a personal manger? e) What agents do you work with? f) What other industry contacts do you have?

14. What happens if it doesn't work out? What's a professional, graceful exit strategy?

New York is a big town and there are a lot of very good agents and managers. They all need qualified actors. Stick with the winners. You'll see the doors swing open. Leave the "faux agents" and "faux managers" to the "faux actors" as they try to impress each other. The legit types have better and more important things to do.

We should all be able to stand in the sunlight and say, "This is who I am and this is what I do."

Monday, September 14, 2009

How To Format Your Acting Resume!!

Hey People!!

So for you guys getting started in the game like me you may have a few questions about how to properly format your resume. I like many others may have heard different things about what should, can, and must be on your resume.

Well I was reading Bonnie Gillespie's column The Actor's Voice and I found three very useful articles regarding formatting your resume and the proper language to use for each media.

I actually had my resume formatted correctly however for my film roles I realized that I didn't need to name the character just the type of role it was (which is what you will learn about in the article about "billing"). I actually had the name of the role and in parentheses I had the type of role for example Tracey (supporting).

So I've changed it now after taking Bonnie's advice. biggrin

You can view my resume here

Please take a look at Bonnie's articles on The Actor's Voice

Resume Feng Shui


Billing continued

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I did a Short Film Today!!

mltan100.blogspot.com Hello My Creative People!!

Finally I got a chance to be back on a film set and it was great!! I worked on a student film today in Brooklyn. My friend, fellow actress/blogger, Danielle Faust, knew the filmmaker and recommended me (thanks Dani mltan100.blogspot.com) so I was happy to help him out. He's a student at NYFA named Levern Rutivi...super nice guy!!

When I tell you it's a small world.....it's a small world

Ok so I get on set and who is the other actress working with us?....the lovely Andrea Bordeaux! I learned of Andrea because her blog is on Danielle's blog roll so I started following Andrea's blog...I met Andrea for the first time at a networking event last month...then she tells me today that she met Danielle for the first time yesterday at an audition (they met through facebook)...and I find out that Andrea and Brittany (the actress/blogger that did the spotlight interview on me) are friends! GOT TO LOVE IT!!

So I was having a conversation with Andrea on the ride home about how I've been trying to get a commercial agent, I've met with at least 10 whether it was by taking one of their classes or through a meet & greet but I still have not heard from anyone. I'm in the process of doing a mailing as well. I'm not upset about it because I can't control it...I do know that I have to continue to postcard them to keep reminding them that I'm out here and brand my face in their brain...so they won't forget me.....and eventually someone will start calling me in.

Just so happen the weekly tip from Scott Powers touched on this subject and I would like to share that with you http://www.scottpowers.com/:

It may be hard to believe, but at one time before there were Forums, meet-and-greets, networking events and even free Friday Lunch Bunches, actors had very little options (outside AFTRA's Open Door program) to meet an agent or casting director. They sent in their headshots/resumé from names listed in the then-called Ross Reports and hoped and waited. If they were very lucky, they got a call to come in. And if that happened, it was something to write (or call) home about.

Today, that's completely changed. Meeting an agent isn't the thrill, life-altering event it once was. Agents, casting directors, managers, etc. have never been more accessible, usually through the above venues as well as teaching classes. But, that doesn't mean that they take on more actors! They just meet more. More competition!

How do you make the most out of meeting the industry through the various ways that exist today? Keep in mind, those industry are on the "circuit." Almost every night they go to networking venues or teach a class or see a showcase. We recently had one casting director guest here. We were #2 on her list of 4 schools she was guesting at that Saturday. And then there's the weekends and the conventions. Get our drift?

How do you not get lost in the clutter?

1. Do not make the fatal assumption that just because they met you once, they are going to remember you.

2. After meeting someone, immediately the next day, send them a picture post card of thanks, reminding them where the two of you met. Don't have a picture post card of you? Get them! They become every bit as useful as your headshots.

3. Thereafter, on a monthly basis, until you die, send them a monthly picture post card bulleting what you have done to be pro-active in your career. For example, "Activity for the month of August:" Start with bookings (keep in mind not everyone has bookings every month and that's OK) and be specific. Then drop down to callbacks, then auditions, then classes, Forums, then other things you have done like getting new headshots, slimmed down, joined the unions, etc. This is a name-conscious business - we want to know who sent you out, who was the director, what was the product, were you principal?, and anything else that would add validity and increase your standing with the industry.

4. Make it a plan to see them more than once. It's been reported back to us that an agent may see somebody at a Forum and express a mild interest. Then see them again a month later at a showcase. Hmmmm, seeing them again. Finally, at another event or class - and it clicks. Like looking at a magazine ad: first time you see an ad, you look at it briefly and turn the page. The second time you see the ad, you pay more attention to it. The third time, you buy what the ad is selling. And you are the same way. It's the number of impressions that made the difference.

Keep in mind that there really is work for everyone. An agent can be very discouraging and unresponsive to your overtures today. Practice the show business mantra: "No" means "not now." Tomorrow or six months from now their world can be very different. You may have to wait things out. It could be that at one time they had too many of your types. Then some of them go out to the coast, go to another agency, leave the business, even die. Or suddenly your type becomes very popular, sometimes in response to a hit movie or TV show and they need more of your types. All of a sudden you can be getting a call, darling, please come in, how about right now.

Never let them forget about you! And in doing so, you'll maximize your investment of time and money and your career will show the results!

Stay tuned my lovely people!!