Career Story: Actor Mostly In Commercials And Theater

Actor Mostly In Commercials And Theater

Job Title: Actor

Type of Company: I am hired as a contracted actor for mostly for commercials and theatre work cast in New York. The organization I work for as Director of Special Projects is a nonprofit Jewish educational arts organization.

Education: BFA in Dramatic Performance (Acting), University of Cincinnati College Conservatory •• Supplementary training with SITI Co, The Barrow Group, Michael Howard Studios, Capes Coaching and various private teachers - all in NYC

Previous Experience: Various acting work at regional theatres and in NYC. "Day jobs" include waiting tables, bartending, retail, legal secretary. house manager at a theatre, teaching artist work, Hebrew school teacher, tutor. Working in various capacities since 2002 for small nonprofit Jewish educational arts organization - Associate Artistic Director full-time and then Director of Special Projects at half-time to pursue Acting more rigorously.

Job Tasks: I audition on a regular basis for theatre and commercial work. Some of it pays, some does not, but will pay via exposure. How do I find out about auditions? Sometimes I'm referred by friends and I also look at Backstage Magazine (weekly audition listings and actor-related articles), playbill.com job listings and the casting postings on the Actors Equity Association (AEA) web site - I am a member of AEA, the theatre actors and stage manager's union. Commercial audition appointments come to me via several agents that send me out.

How do I earn steady income? Currently I tutor one day a week and I work at a nonprofit arts company. I used to work there full-time and didn't audition. Now I am part-time. I do booking - field calls from interested clients who might want to book a show or workshop (all over the country) and create a package that works for their synagogue/school/camp/conference. I also cast the shows and book educators for workshops from our pool of actors/musicians/educators and I am consulted on programmatic content and other organizational matters including contracting, planning and staffing because I have worked there for so long and in various capacities. Also, I'm an actor/writer/director/educator with the company.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Being an Actor is a highly unstable profession. Most actors do not make steady income from year to year in their field. It is a labor of love and rejection is more frequent than validation. It is said that if you are an actor, your "real job" is auditioning. And you will not get cast from most auditions that you go on. It is very hard to self-motivate, to market yourself. It is time consuming and can burn you out. BUT, it is what I love. It's exciting, stimulating, educational, creative and I'm good at it. I

Job Tips:
1. Learn to manage your career/career you want to have, as a business. I suggest Capes Coaching. INVEST in your craft (classes) and your business (good pictures, career coaching)

2. Find artistic partners. Not everyone you like as a friend will be a good artistic partner and that's ok. But when you find people that share your aesthetic and compliment you in their business and artistic skills, CREATE PROJECTS.

3. SEE THEATER. Free/Cheap: usher (theater's web sites say how), get on mailing lists to find out about reading series' and ticket discounts, volunteer, sign up for tdf, do tickets.

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