A filmmaker’s career is like the soil. The soil will only grow what has been planted. The soil doesn’t discriminate between what is edible and what is poisonous. Whatever is planted and fertilized will eventually become the crop. Occasionally, the wind may blow a useful seed into the right place, but the best way to ensure the right thing is planted in the right place is to do a bit of farming. What are you planting in your mind? Do your actions match the results you want? Don’t allow poor habits to move you further from your dreams. Tend to your career as if it were a garden. Plant something useful. Water and fertilize. Remove the weeds. It takes time, but eventually you’ll harvest a nice crop.
Healthy mental approach is the most important thing, in my opinion, when it comes to acting and acting career. This will be the first of many posts, by me, on this subject. There’s something that attracted you to acting. Some kind of fantasy seduced you into the industry. We are often told to cast aside our fantasies and be realistic. I don’t agree with this. I’m ok with being practical, but realism is for those that will eventually be average. You didn’t start your journey, to be average.
First step of a healthy mental approach is to take ownership of your fantasy. We as actors often are embarrassed to speak of our ultimate goals. If you want to be a movie star, say that dammit! Get comfortable and confident with your dream. When you modify your speech to avoid the ridicule and judgement of others, you actually begin to modify your path. Aiming low is not compelling. When our goals are no longer compelling, a dream becomes a chore. Never let this happen. Two people in a healthy relationship, never stop seducing each other. Never let your dreams stop seducing you.
There aren’t many people in the industry more helpful than Wendy Alane Wright. Her YouTube channel provides great information to anyone who has ambitions of becoming an actor. Below is a short, but informative video on self taping.
Clips are very important to an actor that’s just starting out. Sometimes they can be very hard to get. Technology, however, is making it much easier to create our own content. If you have a smartphone or tablet, some creativity and a little patience, you can create content that looks professional and will put your talents on display.
The first app I would recommend is FiLMiC Pro. This app increases the manual setting capabilities of your phone. It allows you to have more control and make your video look more professional.
The next is Movie Looks. This is a post-production app that allows you to color-grade your video and give the final product a look similar to many of the popular TV shows and movies.
Also, get a good editor. I use iMovie, because I have an iOS device. There are several other premium and free options, though.
Obviously it takes more than just a couple of apps to create a great scene, but these apps will help you upgrade what you’re doing. I’ll get more in depth on self-shooting in a later post. At the time of this post, both of these were paid apps. In the meantime, get to work!
This is one of the most practical and informative videos on acting for film. Not a bad way to start your Monday.
A former talent agent turned manager/producer. This person knows their stuff. Great advice in very few words.
A casting director. She’s on your side, folks. She wants to see you succeed. I’d recommend taking her advice. She also has a killer YouTube channel.
You name the topic, they cover it. There’s lots of variety. You’ll never get bored or run out of things to learn.
Actors of the Month
@SlickSchultz & @MelSaysWhat
Two talented folks with plenty of upside.
Director of the Month
An actor’s director. Fun to work with.
I read….a lot. I listen to a ton of audiobooks. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite books for actors. Spoiler Alert: some of these are not about acting. I’ll always provide a link to the content.
Acting in Film by Michael Caine is definitely a favorite of mine. It doesn’t get very heavy into various methods and techniques, but it is extremely informative. It’s also straightforward and easy to understand. He perfectly explains how to transition from stage work to screen work. There is a certain level of heightened on-set awareness that will come to you, after you read this.
Directors can strongly benefit from reading this, too.
Money and time can be big worries for people in our business. It can be hard to find a job that helps you transition from “normal folks” work to acting. I’m willing to bet that you’re a creative person, if you chose this field. Your creativity shouldn’t be limited to your acting. The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris is a great book for figuring ways to make money in unconventional and time efficient ways. If you’re making money while you sleep, this journey gets way easier.
You can get the 4-Hour Workweek free, with a new Audible account.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
Last, but not least. This book isn’t very well-known, but it’s a good starter book for those of you with networking issues. Do you ever ask “why would anyone want to talk with me?”. Networking is essential to our business. How to Be The Most Engaging Person In The Room by Jordan Gray explains how to be more interesting in networking settings. It can help you be engaging, without being annoying. At the time of this post, the kindle version was only 99 cents.
Get the Kindle App free.
Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices
There will be way more reading recommendations. Stay tuned.
Set a goal for the week. Inch closer. The Grand Canyon was created by the persistence of the river, not by a large event. Be like the river. Always move, create your pathway. All of your steps, big and small, are steps towards your ultimate prize. What will you have accomplished by next Monday?
Avoid being a casualty of your dreams, because you’re too casual about your dreams. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve gotten behind on my dreams at times. I’ve had all the excuses that you may have now. I’ve wondered about my skills, my resources and my background. I’ve examined the reasons why not, instead of the reasons why. I’ve listened to other people, that I shouldn’t have. Are any of these things stopping your progress?
One of the best decisions I ever made was hiring a mentor. I went through a program that helped me examine the way I was approaching life. Sometimes a person needs a kick in the rear to make common sense common practice. You don’t have to hire a professional. A book may resonate with you. A new friend or new setting may change your life. Bottom line is that we must change our thought and then take action, to fulfill our dreams.
In this film business, many people quit. Decide right now that you’re not a quitter…..are you still with me? Good. Now decide what you will do to improve your acting career and your acting skills. There is something you can do, at this very moment, that will propel you towards your dreams. You’ve just added a scheme to your dream. That’s a lethal combination.
Separate yourself from those that have bad things to say about your dream choice. You can still love them, but sometimes we must love from a distance. Add people that support you and will believe in you, even when you doubt yourself. Things will start to change for you.
Always move forward. This is a game of inches. You can move a few inches or several miles, just make sure that you’re moving towards the dream. You’ll get there.
Dream big, live with your hopes up and don’t forget why you started this journey. At times, it can be hard to believe in oneself. You may get rattled. In those times you can benefit from just believing in someone else’s belief in you. When you have doubts lean on those you can trust they will get you through it. There is enough….more than enough for everyone. The resources are as limitless as the mind. It is your time, to take ownership of a stake in what you’ve help create.
How will your acting career be remembered by those you care about?