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Hello friends, fans, family,
I hope that you are having an awesome month. Happy birthday to everyone celebrating a birthday this month. This month I am going to talk about getting started in acting. Now keep in mind that this information is place specific, moreover it does change over time. So, you will have to do your own research, however, you can use this information the help guide you in your endeavors. The area I am going to talk about is the Los Angeles, California area.
Okay, acting, well, let me start by saying you can start acting at a very young age but you need the support of your parent or guardian. In the USA they are a lot of rules that the production must follow when employing children to work. This rule extend into what the parent must do as well. It is a lot but this is to protect the child both from the production and in some case even from the parent/guardian. The amount of money the child actor can make can be extreme. However, if they're money is not properly manged and so on that child actor can become broke just as fast. So they are strict rules in place to prevent this, both for the production and for the parent/guardian of the child actor. They are also rules and opportunities for people with disabilities who wants to act as well. Also, If you are a parent/guardian and your child wants to explore acting you can inquire about the rules and regulations from SAG/AFTRA and Central Casting. These two resources is a great place to start your research.
Now that we got that out of the way, the rest of this information is for people of age both mentally and physically. If you have the desire to act you can go in many directions, much more than what it used to be. We now have New Media, Live Broadcasting Events, and of course Stage, Television and Film.
1) The first way that you can do acting is Skits. You can do skits with friends and I think that doing skits with friends are much more fun to do. Doing skits does not bring you instant money but if your skits are good enough and if you can create a large following over some years you maybe able to get a decent amount of money from your skits and/or following. Your money may not come from YouTube or Vimeo but from sponsor ships, product placements and so on. You can create your own skits on YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram TV. You can do your research on this in YouTube. They are a lot of people asking these types of questions, however, make sure that the information that you are getting from the YouTuber is still relevant and/or relevant to you. They are also new platforms opening up every month that want content creators like yourself on there platform. You don't have to be exclusive to just one platform unless you sign a contract saying as such. Some platforms have links where you can share your content to other platforms for free.
2) The next is New Media, most new media platforms don't pay that much but this is usually easier than the next three. Although SAG/AFTRA has new media platforms they don't pay as much as there TV/Film counter parts. Sometimes, you maybe able to find some non-union new media platforms that pay more, however, please be careful because SAG/AFTRA platforms must conform to set rules and regulations and non-union platforms don't have to. To join these platforms you will need to apply and be interviewed which is an audition. You can find these jobs on Actor Access and Casting Networks/LA Casting.
* Before we going on I want to express the importance of training. They are a lot of acting schools out there. You are going to have to do a lot of research and in this case it is easier for child actors to find good training for than adult actors. Finding good training is very important and it will affect you. This even extend to the school(s) that you choose to go to for acting. All of this will affect you and in some cases you will be trying to overcome your training to go farther in acting than your training in school will allow. Now, with that being said, find a school/coach that really help you in your career of acting. Some training courses are just an entry level set of classes to help you gain what you need before you even start. Others are more advance classes going into the industry of acting itself and the deferment methods that are currently being used in the acting industry. If you want to be a stage actor your training will be a bit different than someone who wants to be a TV and Film actor. So, they are many schools and coaches that teaches both but again you still will have to do your research.
** A few things that you are going to need before getting on Actors Access and Casting Networks you are going to need a resume and head-shots. The easiest way to get this is through schools/student productions. So, yes you're going to be acting for free. The important part is getting a reel of your performance. A reel is a clip of you showing whoever views it your skills in acting. A reel is usually not longer than 2mins long. The other thing that you may need is a monologue. Normally, casting will have you do an unrehearsed read of a script that they will give you. This is called a cold read, you will learn about all of this and more from the school that you decide to attend. Back to monologues, they are different types of monologues. You should learn dramatic monologues and comedic monologues. These monologues should be well rehearsed and memorized. The student films that you worked on can go on your resume, with the most recent worked performed first. You should also learn about the proper format that your resume should be in. You can research this and/or ask about all of this in your next acting class.
*** Eventually you are going to want to find an agent this will come much later but is still a necessary part of your career growth. Some schools and acting coaches offer agent showcases at a certain point in their program. In these programs you can find an agent. Agents can represent you across the board which means, commercial, theater, print, everything or they can be specific just commercials or just theater. Also, agents are usually zoned for a particular area such as the greater Los Angeles area. Managers are different than agents and they get a different percent of the work that they get for you. You need to research all of this. You can find a lot of information on YouTube. You will have to take notes and follow up on the information that you got and look at the date the information was posted as well as checkout the SAG/AFTRA and Central Casting website for the most relevant information.
3) The next acting is theater or stage acting they now have live event acting which is the same but different. Live event acting is usually short skits that is done only for that particular event. Stage or Theater acting is done for weeks at a time and the plays are or can be seasonal; such as Santa is Coming or We all Had Thanksgiving Meals. These plays can and in some areas are performed by the same people of that theater. They are traveling shows and cruise ship performances which are considered stage and is performed weeks at a time by the same people. Stage also has an actor's union called Actor's Equity Association (AEA). It is a lot of work and some, well, most actor's who do it says that it is way harder than film and TV acting. However, even though stage's top one percent is extremely well paid it is not paid as well as film and TV top one percent. If you find your niche in stage as an actor do it, keep it, love it.
4) Film and TV is the last two that I am going to talk about in speaking roles. Ah, I am going to start with Television. They are many acting spots in TV besides the star role. You as an actor can make a decent living performing a reoccurring character or reoccurring role. They are also day players, over five, under five and guest starring roles as well as co-star. So, no you don't have to be the star of the show to make a living as an actor on a TV show. Notwithstanding this does not include day players, over five and under five but these roles does and should lead to more, well, most of the time. Now on to film, you have the head liners that you all know and love. They are the money makers and the lead of the movies. But they are other positions in the film that pays very well as well. Support and/or support lead can and do make a decent amount of money as well. This part my surprise you but a lot of people who do these roles move on the bigger and better roles. As you develop as an actor you gain the credibility that gives you higher paid and more in tuned roles aka lead roles. They are union or SAG/AFTRA film and TV shows but you also have non-union and/or independent film and TV shows.
This industry is a union industry and you as an actor gain more as a union actor than a non-union actor. The pay for non-union jobs does not pay as much as union jobs but it does pay. You don't get the coverage in a non-union production that you get in a union production. I am not saying don't do non-union jobs but I am saying that not all non-union jobs are on the level and up front with you as an actor. You may find yourself in a situation that you did not want to be in and you as an actor don't want to say anything because you feel obligated to "do your job." What makes it worst some non-union productions know this and will take advantage you. On a good note these horror able non-union productions are being ousted and more actors are learning of there underhanded tactics and are staying away from them. However, with SAG/AFTRA you get a level of protection as an actor and you have with the union backing you up. You have some where that you can go talk to some body and file a complaint. They are many good reasons to join the union and even though I shared a horrific story with you they are a lot of good non-union productions out there as well. Just remember to do your research and follow up on any questionable things.
5) Last but not least is background acting or background performer. This is the way that a lot of people go to get in the union and/or learn more about acting and production. You don't need a reel or a resume unless you want to do stand-in work. However, you do need a Head-shot but it does not have to be professionally done. If you enjoy this work you can do well at this. In compares to speaking roles for film and TV doing background is easier. Many people get into the union doing background work. Central Casting tell you a lot if not everything about doing or working background. You can also find a lot of good information on the SAG/AFTRA website. SAG/AFTRA does update there requirements periodically.
**** So, in closing, do your research before you do anything. Also, update your research monthly, semi-annually and annually. Do this so that you can stay well informed about the changes and what is and is not accepted by the entities that you are trying to join and/or work with.
Here is a little about me in this moment. I have a long way to go to where I would like to be. I am constantly working hard and trying to stay focused and not get side tracked by mess. It seems easy but it is not easy. It takes a lot of work as I am finding out right now. I am constantly praying because I am an older black man, I did not go to a top tier school and I did not come in this business with speaking roles.
I don't have a rich uncle that I would and/or could go to and ask for however much money to put towards my career. Lord knows, if I did I would, haha, I would be calling him every day like, hey uncle, yeah, it's me again, I know this is my 100,000th time calling but hey I can really use that money, ah, sir, hello. Ah, uncle, hello, uncle, are you there?! Haha, anyway, I just wanted to make you smile a little bit, hopefully you did at least smirk, Good luck to you and God bless.
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