Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nice comment from a nice reader

I just received a very nice comment via email from a reader for California:
“The way you put things in perspective, makes for an interesting and informative reading, looking forward for more of your thoughts on this business.”

Thank you so much! Please feel free to email any questions you would like answered here, or leave a comment at your convenience. I am very glad to have you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Postal Rates

New postal rates are going into effect, again, May 12, 2008. For actors, this means that mailing a headshot/resume in a 9x12 envelope will now cost you $1.00. Postcards will cost you $0.27.

Click here for the official information from the USPS

It would be a good idea to buy some “Forever” stamps now, which cost $0.41 per stamp now but will be worth $0.42 when the change happens. This won’t help you in sending the items above, but it would work out well for thank you cards sent in envelopes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Inspiration for Monday

I treated myself to a piece of dark chocolate tonight for Easter, and the wrapper had an inspirational quote that I wanted to share:

"Keep the promises you make to yourself."

Simple, and to the point. Honor your desires and wishes, be good to yourself and others, and make this world a better place in doing so!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Looking Like Your Headshot (Submitted Question)

I saw this question posted on the Backstage Forum, and I posted an answer that I wanted to repost here:

“I had my headshots taken in November. They look awesome. In January, I had a haircut, and had asked for a few layers on my one-lenth hair (which was about 6 inches past my shoulders. My stylist cut too many layers into it, and I have had (a new stylist!) punch up the back of my hair every few weeks so that it remains presentable. Two and a half months later, it started looking much like a mullet, despite all the barrettes, ponytails and crazy glue I put in it. So today I had *the cut*. I HAD to get it punched up, and now it is right above my shoulders. It looks okay, just not like my headshot. Now, in between, when I send my headshots out for jobs, I make a note that my hair is several inches shorter than in my headshot, but I am not sure if they really see that. Regardless, I have 2 auditions coming up, and do NOT have the money to take new shots (and prints) right now. I am taking acting classes, and never anticipated this happening. Do you have any suggestions? I KNOW that casting directors hate when people look nothing like their headshots. But I am really stuck.

TAE responds:

I completely understand your concern. It is very important to look like your headshot, but as Robert said, people's hair changes all the time. So the trick to using the same headshot with different hair is to make sure that you are in the same type category as your headshot.

For example, if someone has long, straight hair, and then gets it cut into short, spiky layers, that person may not be considered for the same kinds of roles (same goes for color changes.) But if you look like you can still play the same kinds of roles, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to have your hair a little different.

Another factor in using non-current headshots is how you are using them. If is it an open audition and you are bringing your headshot with you, it is less of a concern because their first impression will be you walking in the door, not your headshot. In that case, your headshot will be used as a reference, and not as the main tool in getting you called in.

If you are submitting for projects using the headshots, and then they call you in to audition- having different hair could be a concern. One way to fix this problem is to take a digital picture of yourself with the new cut, print out a 2x3 or 3x4 copy of the photo, and attach it to your headshot whenever you submit with it. Between that and your cover letter, they should definitely understand the different looks, and they can make an informed decision.

I hope this is useful- good luck with the auditions!

Have a question? Send me an email and I’ll answer it promptly!

Friday, March 14, 2008

SAG Vouchers

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I saw this question posted on a popular forum for actors, and I wanted to repost the response I gave over there:

“How do you get SAG vouchers? I’ve been working a lot of extra work lately and I can’t seem to get one. I heard that you get one when a SAG extra doesn't show up and their voucher goes to you. I’ve also heard that each production has about 15 to 20 vouchers half of which go to SAG extras and the rest are for non unions. Which is true?

There are a lot of different stories out there that conflict with each other on this topic- I tried to look it up on the SAG website (I am a member) but I was unable to find complete details. I think your first idea is more true than the second- SAG projects are required to use a certain number of SAG members before they are allowed to bring on non-union talent. This ensures that the project is using actors who are currently members of the union. If one (or more) of those union members don't show up, the production can hand out vouchers to non-union actors to keep their union numbers at the required level.

The 2nd part of your post is partly true, but not in the context you mean. Technically, a voucher is simply a union timecard, which gets filled out by the union member and handed in at the end of the day so they can be paid union wages for their work. So, union members would receive this regardless. The fact that they have a stack of vouchers does not indicate how many SAG jobs they have for that shoot- it is simply a stack of forms that they hand out to the people who need them.

You could certainly give SAG a call (ask for the Membership department) and find out exactly how the voucher program works. It sounds like you are doing the right thing- continue to do background work, prove yourself to be a conscientious worker who pays attention, stays relaxed, and does their job without question, and the SAG vouchers should come your way soon enough.

But there are other ways to join SAG that I wanted to make sure you knew about. One- you can get cast in a SAG project in a SAG principal role and get your card that way. Or, two- you can join a sister union (like AFTRA, which you can simply buy into) and join SAG later. To use the sister-union route, you have to have been a member in good standing for at least a year in the "parent" union (AFTRA, for example) and have had at least 1 principal role in that jurisdiction. Meaning, you can buy into AFTRA, and then get cast in a commercial, promo, or voiceover and be eligible for SAG once your 1 year anniversary hits.

I hope this is helpful- Best of luck to you!

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. To learn more, check out

Monday, March 10, 2008

Commercials on Resumes

I saw this question posted on a popular forum for actors, and I wanted to repost the response I gave over there:

“When listing commercials on resume, which is the best to put in the section: ‘Available Upon Request’ or ‘Commercials Available Upon Request’ or ‘Conflicts Available Upon Request.’ Also, should PSAs be combined with commercials, industrials or their own category? Thanks!”

Great question! Commercials normally are not considered to be "legit" work (theatre/film/TV) so when they are mentioned on a resume they should be listed completely separately from the legit experience. Some people listed it in its own section beneath the other experience, and some put it at the end of their special skills.

"Conflicts" is a term used when you have a current commercial running that keeps you from doing other commercials in that product category. If this currently applies to you, use "Commercial Conflicts available upon request." If you have commercial experience, but there are no current conflicts, I would list it as "Commercial List available upon request."

PSAs, Industrials and Commercials are of the same "non-legit" category, and as such none of these should be listed specifically on your resume. As a mention, you could say, "Commercial/PSA/Industrial list available upon request."

I hope this is useful- best of luck to you!

A 2nd question is posted:

“I am a little confused by TheActorsEnterprise's response. I am seeking an agent, are you saying to never include your commercial experience? I actually only have one commercial under my belt, I was going to include it to show that I do have ‘some experience.’ What are your thoughts?“

TAE responds:

Yep- that is what I am saying. It is strange, but true. Agents, especially, are very picky about what goes on a resume. Even if you are submitting to a commercial agent, a traditional resume that you are submitting to them would list legit work only, not commercials. That is not to say that you cannot mention that you have experience in commercials, but you would not list them individually, nor would you list them in the same section as the legit work.

I have been in a similar spot- I have done several commercials and I had been submitting for new commercial representation. So, I added "commercial list available upon request" in my special skills section (since I do not have enough room to put a separate line in my experience section.) That seemed to do the trick, and it helped the agent to know that I understand the difference between legit and commercial work. If you are doing a submission by mail, you could also consider including the information in your cover letter.

I hope this clears up my original post- let me know if there are other questions I can answer for you.

Have a question? Send me an email and I’ll answer it promptly!


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