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!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Importance of Following Up



Imagine that you go on a solo vacation and while on your travels you meet an interesting person with whom you share an afternoon exploring. You have a fantastic time and want to stay in contact so that future travels might be possible. You exchange contact information and your fellow adventurer implores you to keep in touch. But after the trip you start to worry that maybe they didn’t mean it. Maybe they meet lots of people on their travels, so your time wasn’t that special. Before you know it you’ve talked yourself out of keeping in touch. A year passes and it’s time for travel again, and your mind falls back to your traveler friend who you met a year ago. Is it appropriate to reach out to see if they’d like to travel again? Will they even remember you? Will they be upset that you didn’t reach out sooner? And now you’re kicking yourself, because had you kept in touch to begin with you might be able to skip all of this anxiety and have another fun filled adventure. But instead, your relationship stopped short of developing and now you’re left to start all over. 

I’m sure you can see how this relates to our work as actors. We all know that consistent follow up with industry is key, but we somehow talk ourselves out of it for a myriad of reasons. I took some time to examine the concerns most frequently raised by my students and came up with the top 4 reasons actors avoid the follow-up.


“They probably get updates from hundreds of actors”

Surprisingly, this is not true. Most actors send an initial follow up after meeting someone and then avoid sending follow ups thereafter. Even if industry people did get hundreds of updates, a well written update is always appreciated when your recipient knows you and your work. Note that I said “knows you and your work” - I firmly advocate against sending updates to industry professionals who do not know your work. Updates are too personal if they have no context, so I’d focus on getting in the room with them first, then sending updates after that.


“When they say ‘follow up’ they don’t really mean it”

This is a really common fear, but we really do mean it. I run a theater company, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to say no to an actor purely because of circumstances out of their control. I request for these people to keep in touch, because there is a good chance I will be able to cast them next time around. But actors often have their eyes on the short game - they get frustrated and avoid following up - instead of playing the long game and using the initial audition as the introductory part of a longer relationship.


“I heard follow ups just go into the trash”

This might be true for some people. But more often than not, a well-written, authentic follow up is deeply appreciated by industry folks. And you’ll certainly never build the relationship beyond the first meeting if you don’t take that extra step to keep in touch. I call that effort “the cost of doing business.” You’ll get enough of a benefit even if efforts are wasted on some people.


“I never get anything from it”

Think of follow ups like commercials. When we see/hear commercials, we almost never get up from what we’re doing and go out to buy that product. Instead, we file the information away for when we need it. So you’ll never know for certain how it’s working, but you have to have the confidence that it is. The hope is that when the industry person is in the market for someone like you, your follow ups help you be front of mind. I have a friend who just got called into a major casting office a few days after randomly passing a casting director in the hallway at an event. Just that little reminder was all it took - no conversation even took place! Your follow-up can be like that casual sighting in a hallway.


In a future post I will go over what a “well written” follow up will look like. In the meantime, if there are other reasons you don’t follow up with people you’ve met, leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll help you work through your concerns!

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, July 30, 2018

5 Ways to Turn Off The Noise


I want to talk today about something that’s really getting in the way of my students who are trying to increase their focus in their acting career.

An actor will sit down to put their mind on a specific goal, and immediately their attention is pulled to something other than their work. They might check social media and then get caught up in social (or political) drama. Or they get so wrapped up in the researching of a task that the task itself never gets done. In the end, no work is completed and the actor is left feeling like they’re just spinning their wheels with no traction to show for it.

I can imagine most of you are nodding your heads in recognition.

If you’re committed to treating your career like a true business, these little distractions are a dangerous form of self sabotage. I call these distractions NOISE.

Noise creates a chatter in your head that make it practically impossible to focus on this tasks at hand. Noise forces you to abandon what you’re committed to in service of something else less important.

Now, noise can happen for a lot of reasons, and oftentimes we feel like we have no control. But there are a couple of things you can do to eliminate the noise - even for a brief time - that will make your work much more successful.


1) Create a workspace where distractions are minimal.

This might mean clearing a place in your apartment where work is most easily done. Or it might mean taking yourself on a coffee date and working remotely. (I love Le Pain Quotidien - they have wifi and big tables!)


2) Turn off your phone.

Believe me, you can handle being inaccessible for an hour or two.


3) Pay attention to what kind of work-flow works best for you.

Most people work best for about 55 minutes, with a 5 minute break at the end of the hour. But some people prefer to work longer stretches with a longer break in between. Test out a few different types of work flows and see what’s best for you.


4) Digital or Analog?

Not everyone likes to work in the same medium - some love pen to paper and others love their digital devices. Figure out which of the two - or what combination of the two - works best for you. (This is especially useful when creating “to-do” lists! Try Todoist for digital track management, and the Passion Planner for a paper planner.)


5) Create a mini goal for your work session.

What would you like to get done in your first hour? Focus on doing NOTHING ELSE until that hour is complete. You may notice your mind wander, and that’s ok. Just don’t give into the wandering, and put your focus back where it belongs.



I’m really curious to find out what “noise” means to you and how it’s been getting in the way of having what you want. Leave a comment down below and let me know which of the above tips worked best for you to clear the noise!


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.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Feel Adrift? Create Your Personal Mission.


I’ve worked with hundreds of actors as a career coach, and one similarity keeps popping up no matter how much experience, training, or passion each actor has. They all feel adrift in some way and need something to get them back on track and keep tethered.

The difficulty occurs when attentions are split between ones acting career and the family, friends, day jobs, health/wellness, and hobbies that are also calling their attention. It’s especially difficult when trying to figure out when and how to say, “No” when feeling overwhelmed.

I imagine more than a few of you are nodding your heads in recognition!

More often than not, the advice I give to actors in this situation is to: Create Your Personal Mission.

Your personal mission is an agreement you have with yourself that governs the kind of life you want to lead. Which activities will give your days meaning and which can you let go of? How do you know which projects to embrace and which to decline? And how can you balance all of the good things that come your way?

Creating a personal mission is similar to the missions created by non profit organizations. It’s a simple statement that outlines what matters to you, and it is the central theme that governs the things you do. The good news is that your personal mission has probably already been set - you just have to uncover it and bring it to the forefront.

I’ll give you an example from my life.

I took an afternoon and wrote down all of the things I did in my daily life - coaching actors, producing with an actor-driven ensemble, being a mediator in my family, being on the board of a singer’s open mic, being a connective resource for friends in need, and acting in professional theater (to name a few.) I then took a moment to write down all of the things that those activities had in common, and I split them into two categories: Things that give me energy, and things that take energy away. I then looked at what gave me energy and I started to see a pattern - this is the basis for what my personal mission ended up being.

I noticed that most everything that gave me energy involved empowerment, and it involved bringing people together. And everything related to “jobs” were artistic in nature, or creatively based. This helped me craft this mission:

My mission is to inspire and empower as many people as possible, and to live creatively with empathy and love.

Once I had my mission, I could create a plan around how I was going to achieve that mission in my daily life. Each time I am offered some sort of project I hold it up to my mission to see if it fits. Do I feel inspired and empowered? Do I get to create with empathy and love? And does the project allow the same for others? If my answer is no, this tells me that it might not be the right project for me.

This doesn’t mean that I can’t choose projects because of money or exposure. Far from it! In those cases I ask myself - how will more exposure or more money help me be more creative, inspired and empowered? (I’ll tell you, being able to pay rent easily is VERY empowering!) Again, you take what is being offered and hold it up to your mission, and that will help you to know what action to take.

And we can take that into the day to day things that aren’t project based. Each morning I wake up and ask myself, “What things can I do today that are in line with my mission?” And then I do those things, because... #motivation.

I would love to hear what your personal mission is - take some time today or tomorrow to create it and then leave it in the comments section. It would be wonderful to get to know you, and see how you might be able to inspire others! (See? That’s my mission at work again...)


Erin :)


Photo Credit: https://www.kuder.com


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.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Your "To Don't" List



Good news - you’ve decided to be an actor! You’ve started an independent business where your art is your product and you are your art. You’re living the dream and making things happen, weathering the ups and downs with optimism and drive. Your motto is “YES I CAN” and you wear it proudly.

Never mind the uncertainty of the business. Never mind the exhaustion of pounding the pavement. You’ve got your to-do list and you’re going to stay motivated to the very end. Right?

But there’s something missing. Because there’s one little word that needs to be present in your career in order for you to get everything you want.

That word is NO.

In our quest for optimism we forget that it’s important to say no to things that are harmful to our spirit. We’re convinced that until we have the career we want, we have to say yes to everything. So I’m here to encourage you to learn how to say NO by creating your very own “TO DON’T” list.

Everyone’s TO DON’T list should be individualized to address the concerns in your particular business. In other words, no two people will have a TO DON’T list that’s the same. I highly recommend writing it in the 1st person so that it feels personal and immediate. To get you started, here are some of my favorite TO DON’Ts that make a huge difference in my career.


Don’t...

Be too hard on myself.
Compare myself to others.
Forget to do at least one thing for my business each day.
Ignore self-care.
Let someone else define my type for me.
Let someone else define success for me.


Don’t...

Say yes to everything.
Worry about what others think.
Compromise myself.
Underestimate myself.
Take on projects that I know won’t be good for me.
Let anyone else define my worth.


Once your list is written, put it somewhere visible and read it every day before you start your workload. When you have a tough decision to make, look at the list and see if either choice falls on it. Remember that the list can grow and change as your career grows and changes. I’d suggest revisiting the list twice a year to see if there’s anything to add or take away.

I’m curious to hear what items you would add to your TO DON’T list. Leave a comment here and let me know what TO DON’Ts you’re taking on for your career, and then check back in and give me an update!



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.

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
Blog Directory
Blog Directory & Business Pages - OnToplist.com