Dear young actors – So many of you are getting off the bus/plane/train this week to find a career in NY! WELCOME! Whether you’re studying at an expensive university or an acclaimed studio or making it on your own – here’s our words of advice to make it!
STUDY! READ! STUDY! READ! STUDY! NEVER STOP READING! Even the bad writing will teach you what it means to be good. (So read lots of Theresa Rebeck so you will know the former!)
You will still be young a year from now, and you will be a much better actor if you find the right teacher and it’s in your DNA. If it’s not, you’ll have spent a year learning how to be human rather than an extra year sitting around and waiting for your cell to ring.
Young, already good actors - You will give the best audition the casting people have seen, and you often will have more education than they do. Fact. They won’t even know it and won’t even care as the part was cast months ago. I’m not being a pessimist – always try – yet I’ve seen actors who are much better than myself get passed over for some D-list CW flunkie. It’s the business. And I truly believe the casting directors think she is a better actress than you as they’ve seen her transform into a vampire on Hulu. It’s the business. (There is no A R T in business.) The people in control do not even KNOW what it good. If you are true, you can help change the tide. It doesn’t mean being bitter, it means rolling up your sleeves and getting to work!
Places like The Network, Actors Connection, One on One, etc, etc want your money. BADLY! (One on One used to be a casting director – but I guess there’s more money in essentially ripping off actors than in casting them. It’s a perfect sign of the times.) It’s due to the desperate actor’s fight against ‘failure’. It’s a union failure. No other field allows for a pay to play interview. NONE. It should be illegal, and the unions and the Attorney General have failed you by allowing this to happen. By calling a 3 minute paid audition a ‘class’, they can get away with it. A huge class-action lawsuit is inevitable. It will upend the businesses and the unions who fail to take action. These classes contribute to the dumbing down of the theatre/film/tv industry. People can pay to read 20 yr old soap opera copy or a failed comedy pilot for $40 for 3 minutes instead of working in an off-off-Broadway show that may actually transfer to something bigger and not only get you a resume credit but real experience. It may pay dust, but at least it wasn’t costing you $15 a minute. Those (quality) experimental shows are the lifeblood of our theatre – and as the small off-broadway theatre dies, so do your employment opportunities and the chances to take control of your career.
Unless SAG-AFTRA/ Equity defend actors, its current members and future-members, against these rip-off artists, and helps protect the low paying art theatre, while it makes concessions for the hugely funded touring Broadway shows.
As new artists coming to NY – you can help change the tide by seeking out real theatres to work with and NEVER EVER paying to be seen for an audition.
We get the theatre we deserve.
We wish you nothing but luck,
PS - And never ever take nudie pics on your phone unless you want a baseless career boon that you can’t possibly sustain.