Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

Welcome- I am so glad you're here! Bite-Size Business is a program created to help actors navigate the business in a way that is fun, empowering and educational.

Use the "Blog Topics" on the left to find hundreds of articles covering all areas of acting, or browse the archives for a title that sounds groovy. Feel free to leave a comment- and be sure to check each post to see if a comment was left.

And if you enjoy this blog...

• Subscribe (<--- look to the left!) so you can be updated when future articles are posted.
• You can also share this article by clicking on an icon below. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Building Community Through Social Media

I’ve noticed something recently when talking to actors about their needs. My theater held auditions in December and we asked everyone why they were interested in joining a year-round theater ensemble. Almost every actor said the same thing: they wanted a community. Acting, as you know, can be a pretty lonely endeavor. Unless you’re lucky enough to be acting in a project, there are very few places you can consistently mix and mingle with actors. Furthermore, the “business” size of our business is almost always done alone. So actors are left feeling isolated and hungry for meaningful interaction.

So I find it funny that one of the most dreaded aspects of the business for actors seems to be social media. I’ll tell ya, when I interview prospective students and I ask them how their social media is going, I get a reaction somewhere between an eye roll, a regretful sigh, and a pained grimace. So if we as actors are all yearning for community, why is social media so scary?

In order to make social media work for you, there are two things to focus on: you have to be active, and you have to cultivate your tribe.

Being Active: 

It’s a vicious cycle - so many actors barely post and then when they do only a few people comment, which proves to them that social media doesn’t work and so they barely post. See the cycle? But in order to get the benefit of social media you need to be active. This doesn’t mean that you need to post what you had for breakfast every day, but find a way to meaningfully engage with people. This can include posting a new status, liking someone else’s post, or sharing/RTing someone’s post to give it a virtual shout-out.

You’ll also want to follow the 80/20 rule: spend 80% of the time providing some sort of interest or value, and only 20% of the time promoting yourself. This will keep you from being one of “those” people (we all know who those people are.)

Cultivating Your Tribe:

You’ve probably heard social media referred to as a hive mind or echo chamber, and that’s for good reason. Social media can often be be more enjoyable if the people you’re interacting with are folks you feel good about being around. After all, you’re reading their posts all day long - it makes sense that you focus on following those who you respect and care for. So don’t be afraid of unfollowing people who make you feel icky, or refusing to engage with someone who is being an internet troll.

And if you’re on Twitter or Instagram, you have the added benefit of following people you don’t know, which means your world has a chance to become more diverse and full and you can grow your tribe exponentially. That can even include casting directors, producers, writers, and other industry pros (like me!)

In Conclusion:
What this all boils down to is that social media can provide the most amazing, heartfelt, loving community you could imagine. When I went through a recent illness and couldn’t socialize, social media allowed me a connection with the outside world. It also let me share a part of myself that helped others understand what I was going through. When I was able to come back into the real world, the love from social media made the in-person connections all the more vivid. It was as if social media had amplified our relationship to something even more special. That’s what having a tribe is all about.

I invite you to give it a try - be more active and cultivate that tribe so that social media is a place you feel comfortable being. I promise that you’ll see results.


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The "You" That Nobody Knows

I was watching one of my favorite TV shows the other day - Shark Tank. (Seriously, all actors should watch this for what to do and NOT to do in the audition room!) The person was trying to raise funds for a product that helps ADD suffers (and others with attention problems) to focus. As he gave his pitch, you could see the inventor try very hard to make the product seem as broad as possible so that even people without ADD could benefit. It made sense - there were already fidget spinners on the market, so he obviously needed to broaden the appeal, right?

Low and behold, there was a bidding war for the product - the investors were lobbying the inventor to LET them invest. And what was it that made them interested? Was is the universality of the product or the product’s high sales? NO. As it turned out, one of the investors himself has ADD, and another has a child with special needs. So for them, the investment was personal. And the inventor was lucky, because somehow the investors could see through his “universality” pitch to understand what this product means for those with attention problems.

Most actors behave like that inventor - take what makes our product unique and special and hide that so that we appear to be more competitive with other actors. We want to fit in and not stand out, even though intellectually we understand that in order to be noticed we need to be different. But our hearts fight against our brains and compel us to play small.

The truth is, we’ll never know what will help our work resonate with our own investors - the casting directors, agents, and producers we’re trying to woo. What if your unique take on a role inspires something personal in the audition room, but you dial it back and they never get to see it? Can you imagine all of the missed opportunities?

I encourage you to bring your best funky, weird, a little too neurotic, intense self to your work, and balance with professionalism, ease, and confidence. The balance is key to help people understand the person and actor that you are. To end this, I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes on the subject:

"Be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” - Judy Garland

“Bring so much of your authentic self to the table that you can say, ‘If they want someone like me, I nailed it.’” - Erin Cronican


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Coming Back After Adversity


Overcoming Adversity: Click for Photo Credit
Over the years dozens upon dozens of actors have come to me with a specific concern: they’ve been diagnosed with an illness or have a family emergency that requires them to put a hold on their career, and they’re afraid the time away will stall things completely. They come to me for help in planning for the “down time” and setting goals for their career’s recovery.

I know first-hand how challenging this can be. Because in the middle of 2015 I myself was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I was an actor in the prime of her 30s, and I couldn't believe this was happening to me.

I was on a particular upswing in my career at that moment. I was producing two plays - one of which I was starring in. I had just signed with a new manager. But I had this nagging pain in my breast and I was feeling fatigued. I had been to the doctor and they said that breast cancer rarely causes pain and I was too young with no risk factors. But after a few months I simply knew that something was wrong, and a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy later I found out the truth.

I had cancer.

I went into a bit of a panic mode, not only about my health but also my upcoming commitments. Could I somehow fit the surgery, chemo and radiation around my performance schedule? Would the side effects event make that possible? Other questions seemed far worse - what will happen with my “type” when I lose my hair and gain weight from chemo? And how will I explain my absence to casting directors and producers - breast cancer is not something that easily rolls off the tongue in casual conversation.

As I was nearing the end of a year of treatment and would soon get a clean bill of health, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, and all of the sudden my status changed from cancer patient to cancer caregiver. This meant travel out of state several times per year to make sure my mother got the support she needed. I found it even more difficult to justify my time away from acting when it was someone else’s health I was supporting.

So what does one do when they find themselves faced with this kind of situation?

1 - Take a breath. This business is not going anywhere. Yes, there may be a little lag in your trajectory (which sucks, believe me) but the hard work you put into your career will not evaporate overnight.

2 - Be as honest as is comfortable. I chose to be very open about my personal health crisis but I chose to be silent about my mother’s. You don’t have to reveal anything you don’t want to.

3 - Explore the “new you.” If, like me, your type changes because of the illness, take a step back and see what is available to you in this interim period of “new you.” In my case, I lost my hair so I had to wait for my hair to grow out enough where I could get new headshots. My type didn’t change drastically, but my personal style needed to get a bit of a facelift to accommodate the short pixie cut I was sporting. It turns out to be a ton of fun - I looked at other actors who has short hair and observe their style, and then I created new branding that made me feel the most “me.”

4 - Set small goals that are doable in your situation. One of my students developed her knowledge of theater by challenging herself to read three plays per week during her treatment. Another did research watching 2 episodes of every TV show shot in NYC. A third used his downtime to watch webinars on YouTube, making plans for what he wanted to try once his energy returned.

5 - And finally, BE PATIENT. Your recovery won’t go any faster by worrying or getting upset wth yourself. And the business is not going anywhere. If you’re kind to yourself you’ll find that this crisis will bring even more capacity for empathy and growth in your work, making you even more human than before.


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!
And Email me for your free coaching consultation...

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

SaveSave

Monday, June 5, 2017

Creating Your Own Work


This article originally appeared as a guest post on the Broadway Life Coach. Click here to view.

I’m so honored to have been asked by Bret Shuford to create a blog post to help demystify the process of creating your own work. There's so much thought and strategy that goes into the process of choosing, creating and sharing a project, that today, we're going to discuss how to even begin.

How do you choose the project that's right for you?

To start, you want to ask yourself a few questions which will help guide your efforts.

1) WHAT KIND OF PROJECT DO YOU WANT TO DO: PLAY, MUSICAL, FILM, WEB SERIES, ETC.?

Many actors know exactly what kind of work they want to do, but for some it can be challenging, especially if you have multiple interests. One of the easiest ways to determine the best medium to create your work is to envision your favorite book coming to life with you as the lead actor in the story.

Would you prefer to tell your favorite story on camera or live on stage? Will it involve music, or movement, or just words? This is a quick short cut to unveiling your favorite medium for your project.

2) DO YOU WANT TO WRITE YOUR OWN ORIGINAL STORY, HAVE SOMEONE WRITE AN ORIGINAL STORY FOR YOU, OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO REVIVE/REMAKE/ADAPT SOMETHING THAT’S ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN?

From its inception, my theater company, The Seeing Place, has focused on works that have already been published (as opposed to new works) so that we, the actors, can freely interpret each story with our own artistry. This helps guide our decision making and has positioned our theater company in a particular niche in the industry which we can be really proud of.

3) WHAT STORY/STORIES ARE YOU ACHING TO TELL?

Self producing is really (really!) hard, so you want to make sure that you are passionate about what you’re creating. One way to inspire your passion is to know that you’re creating is something that’s missing in your world.

Have you had an experience that you’re dying to express through your art? Are there particular writers whose work you’re committed to sharing? Are you interested in creating more opportunities for women, or minorities, or any other overlooked parts of our population?

Asking yourself these questions will help you hone in on the exact project you’re committed to creating.

4) WHAT KIND OF ROLE DO YOU WANT IN THE PRODUCING PROCESS?

Believe it or not, you can produce your own work and not have to be the big boss. Think about what kind of position you want in the project and what skills you bring to the table. Then bring other people on board to fill out the other needed positions.

Once you have this initial planning completed, CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to creating your own work! (Aren’t you excited?)


Let me know how this process helped you, and what project you've decided to create in the comments below.

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

THE FINE PRINT

This content is offered under a Creative Commons by-NC-ND License.That means you're free to share it, republish it, refer to it, include it in your wedding vows, whatever... - PROVIDED you

a) you don't change anything.
b) you don't use it to make money.
c) credit me (with my blog's name, and a link back to my site.)
d) it's not required, but it would be awesome if you'd email me to let me know you're using it, and then I can help promote your post!

If you are copying an article in its entirely, you MUST include the following acknowledgment at the top of the post: "This blog was pulled, in its entirety, from Bite-Size Business for Actors, a blog published by The Actors' Enterprise. To learn more, visit http://www.BiteSizeBusiness.org."

To view the license, click here. To learn more about Creative Commons, click here.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-
No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
.



Follow Bite-Size Business for Actors
Directory for New York, NY
Blog Directory
TopOfBlogs
TopOfBlogs
Arts
Blog Directory

Blog Directory & Business Pages - OnToplist.com