An Actor's Checklist for 2015

Alright actors!  It's the beginning of a New Year.  What are your plans for the next 3 months?  6 months?  One year?   Perhaps it's to book your first co-star role, to land an agent, to move to LA, or to land that first series regular role.   Before you can do that, you have to get your marketing tools in order.   The current trend is shorter and snappier.   As actors, we must constantly be adapting to current industry standards, and keeping up with the business.  

Here is a checklist for the New Year.  

  1. Make sure to have an easy, sleek website with headshot and reel on landing page. (My favorites are weebly and Squarespace.  Totally free and easy to use). 
  2. Two current, contrasting, high quality headshots that pop on a computer screen and show your correct age and type.  Formatted to send via email whenever necessary.  Also, a PDF of your resume. (Remember, don't put extra work on there, and make sure it's formatted correctly).
  3. Gather your footage and create a short demo reel.  It's more important than ever, and it helps your profile come up higher in search results on sites like Backstage and Actors Access.  A demo reel should be 1-2 minutes long, with short, high quality 20-30 second clips.  
  4. Four 60-90 second monologues (2 comedy, 2 drama).  Now is the time to get these ready.  When the time comes for you to meet an agent, they could very well ask for these, and you don't want to panic at the last minute.  Find ones that fit your type, from current TV shows or indie films (the harder to find, the better).  Avoid monologue websites, as those pieces tend to be overdone.
  5. Two strong, current TV scenes for your type.  Not anything from "Scandal." (It's overdone.)  If you've been using the same scenes for 6 months at pay to meet workshops, it's time to find new ones (also, only go to these workshops if you are ready).
  6. Subscription to 2 casting/audition websites.  I like Actors Access and Backstage the most. 
  7. Become an expert on self-taping.  Tripod with iPhone clip, blank wall, good lighting to avoid shadows.  (note: you can get this lighting kit on Amazon for $55). 
  8. Write and produce your own scene.   Why wait for the right part to come along?  Self-produce!  
  9. Make a list of 10 agents or managers to target.  Send out a mailing in April, after pilot season is done.
  10. Familiarize yourself with the New York TV show scene.  Make an Excel spreadsheet of the shows, who casts them, and which ones use your type over and over.   Educate yourself! 

Want more info on these topics?  Check out Matt's book "10 Steps to Breaking into Acting: Second Edition" on Amazon for comprehensive, up to date advice on how to get your marketing tools in order and treat your career like a business.