Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Cover Letters


Every wondered what it takes to create a really good cover letter? There are all kinds of opinions out there about what is appropriate- some say it should be very short, others say it should fill one page. Some say it should stay very formal and professional, others say that it should be infused with your personality even if that makes the letter more casual. If you asked 10 different people you'd get 10 different opinions, so what is an actor to do?

This may seem like a coaching cop-out, but a cover letter is best created when it comes across as "you." Much like a phone greeting, it should give the recipient a flavor of what you are like, while also letting the recipient know what to expect from you. It needs to say, "I understand what you are looking for, and I believe I fit that profile." Or, to put it into business terms, "I know what your shopping needs are, and I think I am just the product you are looking for."

The more you can see yourself as a product or entity that needs selling and the agent/casting director/producer as someone who has a product they need to buy, the easier it will be to identify your strong suits that will align with their needs, which will help you get in the door. It will also help taking rejection a little less personally.

Click here to read my other blog posts involving cover letters.

With a background in advertising and marketing, I know exactly how to create a compelling cover letter to get you in the door. Contact me to set up your free consultation.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Q&A about Chorus/Ensemble Salary on Broadway

I just stumbled across an interesting breakdown of how much you can make as a chorus member on Broadway in relation to how much you need to spend on living in Manhattan.

Ask Playbill.com- Chorus Salary

For those of you planning the "big move" to NYC- don't let the numbers scare you. Like the article explains, plenty of people subsist here on much less money, or work a 2nd job to fill out their bank account. There are also affordable places to live in the outer boroughs, or the outer reaches of Manhattan. Trust me, if I could move her with a few boxes and my dog, you can too!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Incredible roundtable on the issue of race in casting

Just stumbled upon this article, which is a community effort to discuss common concerns regarding the experiences of non-Caucasian actors in the industry. With questions posed by Bonnie Gillespie, LA casting director, this article polls actors about their point of view and real-life encounters. A very important read:

The Actor's Voice- The Issue of Race

Great Casting Advice

* Bookmark and Share

There is a fantastic casting blog sponsored by Actors Access, which is written by Los Angeles casting director Mark Sikes. It is updated every Monday, and is a must read for anyone serious about their acting career. The blog tends to focus on film/TV, but the marketing techniques also apply to live industrials and stage work. So, bookmark it and be sure to check it out every Monday:

Casting Corner, with Mark Sikes

For other great advice, take a look at my other articles on casting. Happy reading!


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. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to use RSS Feeds

There are lots of blogs out there that are worth following, but how can you make sure that you are catching new blog entries when they are published? One easy way to do that is to subscribe to the RSS feed.

I was pretty intimidated by this technology at first, but now that I have a basic understanding, it really comes in handy. Here's how it works:

Take a look at the menu/address bar at the top of your browser. On the far right side of the address box (where the web address is typed) you'll see a little icon that looks like this:



If you are on a blog you like, you can click the orange icon and the blog will be saved as a bookmark. But here is the cool part- your bookmark will appear as a folder and all of the blog entries are filed as separate bookmarks within the blog folder. Then, each day you can click on the bookmark folder and see if there are any new bookmarks available. When there are, they'll be listed as a bookmark in the folder, and your bookmark will lead you directly to that new blog post.

Try it, you'll see what I mean:

1) Go to the top of this blog and click the orange icon
2) Create the folder name ("TAE's Awesome Blog" is a good one)
3) Choose where you want the folder to live
4) Hit "Add" (or "Subscribe" depending on your browser.)

That's it! Then go to where you saved the folder in your Bookmarks and you'll see all of the blog entries I have written in the past two weeks. Now you can be sure to never miss a blog entry!

For more information about RSS feeds, go to http://www.press-feed.com/howitworks/rss_tutorial.php

** Was this blog useful? Feel free to leave a comment!**

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Brand New Newsletter

Hello!

I wanted to let you know that I have started an official subscriber list for The Actors' Enterprise so I can make sure that communications are only being sent to those who would like to receive them. It's completely free, and there are two lists to choose from:

TAE Email Newsletter- For performers or those who like to live vicariously through performers! This newsletter is sent every 1-2 weeks and includes helpful hints and tips about the business of being an actor, success stories from current clients and industry professionals, and answers to questions that come up from list members. It will be fun, energetic, and will hopefully be a motivator for you to get out there and get some BUSINESS for yourself!

TAE News & Events- For anyone, performer or non-performer, who would like to keep in touch with The Actors' Enterprise (everyone should sign up for this one!) This newsletter is sent out once every 1-2 months and includes general updates about The Actors' Enterprise. It features information about charity events sponsored/organized by TAE, as well as major updates about the staff, clients or the community at large.

Here is the link to opt in:

http://visitor.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?m=1101786227134&p=oi


Thank you so much, in advance, for your support. Much love and success to you all!

Erin Cronican =)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some acting news...

I mentioned on my website that I am also a professional actor (member of AEA and SAG) and have been working pretty steadily since moving to NYC 2 years ago. Normally I would not post personal stories on this blog, but I've has a great week and I feel like it might offer some inspiration, proving that when you have a handle on the business side, there are times when things just fall into place...

On Monday, I feverishly prepared for the final class of a 4-week workshop with casting director Jamibeth Margolis. The final week is structured as a “mock audition”: Jamibeth assigned each of us a show based on our type and abilities (mine was The Pajama Game)- it was our job to research the show and decide which character we would be right for, then 1) prepare a song in the style of the show (but not from the show) to use as an audition piece, 2) learn a song or two by that character and be prepared to sing them if asked, 3) bring your audition book in case you are asked to sing anything else, and 4) bring in your headshot/resume and dress the part. We would come in to be evaluated by Jamibeth (casting), plus an agent and a musical director. The auditions were to last about 10-15 minutes depending on how many songs they had you do, and they warned us that they may give us immediate feedback and have us do the songs again. Detailed feedback would be given at the end of the class once everyone was done doing their audition.

I was absolutely thrilled with the process. This workshop didn't really focus on how to be a better singer or actor, but it focused thoroughly on what it takes to do well in the audition room, which is all business. They gave feedback on what we were wearing, how we entered the room, how we approached the accompanist, how our headshot/resume represented us, and gave feedback on how well we were able to tell a story in 32-50 bars of music. It really was amazing, and happily I got great feedback from beginning to end. I also got some great constructive feedback on what to do differently, and I look forward to putting it into action next time around.

Tuesday evening I got a call from Michael Cassara Casting, asking me to come to audition for a lead role in a show in the New York Musical Theater Festival. I have auditioned for Michael twice before (the first time at an EPA, the 2nd at an audition he asked me to come in to) so it was great to be called in again. Before we got off the phone, Michael said something incredible, "I really appreciate the notes you've been sending to keep me updated." 'Notes' being the thank-you postcards I send after every audition and meeting, and the monthly postcards I sent updating my contacts about my progress. What a validation for all of the marketing work I have been doing! (As I am writing this, I discovered something else about the postcards- had I not sent Michael my postcard stating that I was looking for new representation, Michael would have called my old agent and not me!) The audition went well on Wednesday afternoon. I left feeling like I had delivered for Michael and given them everything I had- now it was up to them to decide whether I was the right fit for the production. When you are as prepared as you can be, there can’t be any worries. Once I deliver a prepared audition, there is nothing left to be done- I know that I have done my job. Onwards and upwards.

The icing on the cake this week is that I got a call from the agent from Monday’s workshop, asking me to come in for a meeting next Monday. The great thing is that one hurdle has been jumped already- they have seen me perform 3 songs, they know I am direct-able, they know that I am easy to work with because he saw my audition process from beginning to end and saw me accept feedback easily. So now it is just a matter of finding out if our philosophies match, and if we think it would be a good partnership.

The moral of the story? This business is all about relationships, and marketing is all about maintaining the relationships. Get into class and work hard on your skills. Don't take for granted the relationships you are making with everyone around you. And most of all, have fun! Life is much better when you do...

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tips for picking headshots

When you pass your proofs on to your colleagues to help you choose, be sure to let them know what kind of roles you are hoping to use these headshots for. For example, if you are looking for the perfect commercial shot, tell your colleagues to pick their favorite picture which shows "a person who is likable, trustworthy and who you would buy something from." This will help your viewers to look at your headshots using your vision, which makes their comments far more valuable than if you simply said, "Tell me what you think."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

NY Filmmaking Permits: Update

As some of you may have heard, NYC officials had planned to set some guidelines regarding amateur filmmaking and photography on city property, proposing limits on the amount of time someone could shoot before having to get permits to do so. This produced an outcry in the arts community and prompted a petition to defeat the plan, which was signed by thousands of concerned residents and supporters. Here is an update, as reported by One on One NYC's BizBuzz:

After a city-wide outcry that included everything from letters and petitions to a rap music video, the city has agreed to re-work their proposal to vastly limit photography and filming in the city. The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting said they would redraft the rules to address complaints that that they could be too broadly applied. Maybe those birdwatchers in Central Park won’t have to have insurance to take a photo of those birds, after all.

Katherine Oliver, the film office commissioner, said in a statement, “We appreciate the feedback and collaboration of the production community in the city and look forward to revising our proposal.”

In addition to the web petition circulated here on BizBuzz, there were some less traditional forms of protest in response to the legislation. Comedy troupe Olde English produced a rap music video and then submitted it as public comment to the film office and the civil liberties union. Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

'Proposin’ new rules to try to get rid of me/A million in insurance just to cover liabilities!/From Little Italy all the way to Harlem/Bloomberg’s jealous ’cause our movies won’t star him.'



Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Welcome!

Welcome to the TAE Blog! You have reached a place where you can learn quick tips and hints about the business of being an actor in New York City (though this information will certainly help you elsewhere!) To make sure you don't miss a post, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog using the RSS feed above or the Atom feed below.

For more detailed information about private coaching from The Actors' Enterprise, please visit our website at http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

For more information about me, TAE's coach and a professional actor, please visit my TAE bio or my professional acting website.

Glad you have joined us!

-- Erin Cronican
Executive Director, The Actors' Enterprise
THE FINE PRINT

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