Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Sacrifices An Actor Makes

Featured Article: Backstage Experts!
Being an actor is amazing. You get to “play” for a living, embrace your creativity, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, earn a very good living at it. But there are also so incredible setbacks and sacrifices that an actor makes as they pursue the Silver Screen, the Small Screen, or the Great White Way.

So what exactly are you giving up?

10. Social Life. There is a reason that, “I can’t, I have rehearsal” is emblazoned on t-shirts at thespian festivals and significant others are known as “theater widows.” You’ll create intimate relationships with new castmates at lightning speed, only to have those relationships crumble when the project ends.

9. Leaving Town. Every time I go on vacation, someone contacts me asking me to audition or offers a role outright. The size of the opportunity seems in direct proportion to how far away I am from home. It’s gotten to the point that I’m afraid to leave town for even a day, let alone a weekend or even a week.

8. Security. Ah… to know where your next paycheck is coming from. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

7. Life and Limb (due to Paper Cuts). C’mon, admit it. How many times have you given yourself a paper cut while stuffing your headshot, resume, and cover letter into that pesky 9x12 envelope. See? You’re cringing. Enough said.

6. The Time/Space Continuum. Thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, without these things, I would never know what day it is. I’m a solo-entrepreneur and an actor, which means I work from home and make my own schedule. This also means I have to have a calendar nearby to function. There is no one around to tell me how much they hate Mondays, or a day job to let me know when a weekend is approaching. What’s worse, there’s no one to remind me to “Fall Backward” or “Spring Forward." I run the risk of being an hour late or early as least twice a year.

5. Stability. A few years ago, I was shooting the title role in an indie feature, and my leading man was forced to leave the film to take a theater job out of town. Why? He thought he had plenty of daytime hours to shoot the film while he was appearing in the brand new Broadway musical, “High Fidelity.” You remember that one, right? The one that closed after 10 days of performances. All of the sudden, the sure thing of Broadway was a figment of his imagination, and he was on the hunt for another job. It was heartbreaking.

4. Birthdays. Monday is my birthday, and in the first part of the day I’m doing a reading of a musical, in the early evening I have a meeting for my theater company, and then I’m teaching a master class in social media to my company members. There’s no time to celebrate my birthday that day, nor the days before or after because every other day of the week we’re in rehearsal for our upcoming show that opens at the end of the month. So, add not celebrating your special day as a huge sacrifice on this list.

3. Health. Not only is it difficult to afford health insurance (or earn enough to qualify for union insurance) but our schedules are so erratic that we often eat food that’s bad for us, drink way too much, and exercise way too little. Well, at least our ECC Dance Calls give us a little exercise, right?

2. Tattoos, Odd Hair Colors, Piercings. You’d think that as an actor you’d have the luxury of being able to express yourself in any way you please. Not so much. Our level of expression is limited by the “type” we portray. The last time I checked, Laurey in "Oklahoma" did not have a punk red stripe in her hair. Drats.

And… the number one sacrifice that actors make?

1. Sleep. Film & TV actors are regularly on set for 12-14 hours. Theater actors get up early for auditions and stay up late for performances. We squeeze in day jobs and time to memorize lines, to go to the post office and pay our taxes. Add to that the juggling of items 2-10 on this list, and you can just kiss that 8 hours of beauty rest goodbye.

So, with all of that bad news, why do we do it? Are we crazy? Yes, a little, because we love it, despite all of that. We actors are living historians, yearning to share ourselves with the world in the stories we tell. We need to do it. We burn to do it. And that’s pretty wonderful.

Big shout out to Twitter follower, @TomRomero2, who gave me some inspiration for this article.

Note: This article was originally published by Backstage in their November 22 issue, and on their website

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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are Bad Reviews Useful?


I was going through my archives, when I found this article that I wrote for the Green Room Blog in 2011. As I read through it, I realized that this top will forever be… well, topical, and certainly worth discussing again. I’ve also recommitted recently to opening up more about myself on this blog - what makes me tick, how my work as an actor makes an impact on my coaching, etc. So, check out this article on how to deal with bad reviews - and why should anyone care?


***

May 6, 2011 - Ok, so I have a confession to make. I’ve been away for a really long time. Like, more than a month. But I have a really good reason -- I was in a play. Correction: I was in a play by Shakespeare! After a long rehearsal process where we spent much of the time improv-ing the scenarios of the play to develop a rich sense of purpose and history for the characters, we opened “TWELFTH NIGHT” at the end of March for a three week run into mid April.

For the most part, it was a successful run. We sold tickets. We had names added to our mailing list. We consistently had donations dropped into the bucket as patrons left the theater each night. Audiences remarked on how accessible we had made the Shakespearean language, and how much they appreciated the subtlety with which we told the story. We had patrons come back to see the show again and again, which is no small feat given that it is a three hour show (we made no cuts to the script.)

Which is why it was all the more puzzling that nearly every reviewer had this to say about what we were doing:
“We really love The Seeing Place Theater and their realistic, ensemble driven approach, but we think it’s a mistake to do ’subtlety’ with Shakespeare.”
Give or take a few words.

And those were just the critics who agreed to post their reviews. Some reviewers loved our theater company so much that they neglected to review it at all, stating that they’d rather remain mute than hurt our reputation with a terrible review. (That was nice of them. I think.) There were also some audience members who had a hard time with the fact that Shakespeare was being played as though each characters had a life offstage and an arc. Some were self-proclaimed Shakespeare scholars -- but most were people who had simply seen the play before and had a certain expectation going in. Given how untraditional our rehearsal process was, I was certainly prepared for some response of the kind.

As an actor I try to pretend that reviews don’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, they don’t -- I’ll still give the performance that my director, ensemble and I have built together over hard-won and long-thought-out rehearsals. But day to day as an actor, reviews provide many highs and lows. You get to a point that you no longer read the good reviews because you are trying to avoid the bad ones. On the other hand, I always tell my students that getting a bad review means that you’ve made it to the next level - you’re now someone that the audience has to contend with. :) I still laugh about the time I was called the “nadir” of a production. (I had to look that word up. I was shocked.) I thought, “My goodness- I must have been doing some risky things with a big role to be hated that much!” It’s those thoughts that make being reviewed a slightly saner process.

All reviews, good or bad, are valid when they’re well written and thought out -- we may not agree but that’s the joy of living in a free society. But this last production got me thinking about the nature of reviews and their value:. I pose these question to you, faith readers of Bite-Size Business for Actors:

Who are the real critics in the theater? The reviewers? Or the audiences?

Who would you rather listen to when choosing to see a show?

Many sites, like TheaterMania, allow patrons to log on and leave reviews of what they’ve seen. Would you be more apt to judge a show based on a cross section of the audience, or would you still hold the reviewers opinions as top dog?

POST A COMMENT BELOW, AND GET IN ON THE CONVERSATION!
If you have thoughts about reviews, or want to share a story about how you determine which shows to see, I’d love to know about it. Leave a comment so we can all learn from you!

PS: If you like the play, “TWELFTH NIGHT” you might be interested to know that, during one show, I live-tweeted as the character, Maria! I posted a transcript, adorned with production photos, on my acting blog. Enjoy!

PPS: In researching for this article, I found a neat article on the value of bad reviews, written about the book industry. Click here to enjoy!


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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bringing Yourself to Your Monologues & Songs


Recommended Reading:
How To Stop Acting
The Monologue Audition
Winning Audition: 101 Strategies

As a business coach, a lot of what I do is help actors create and develop marketing materials that express who they are as actors, and as human beings. One of the main requests I get is, “Can you help me find audition material that’s right for me?” The first question I ask is, “What kind of material are you looking for?” to which they respond, “I need something dramatic and something comedic.” (Or, “an uptempo and a ballad,” for musical theater.)

Uh huh.

In my opinion, that response is the reason why finding audition monologues/songs/sides can be so hard, and it’s the first thing I work to address with actors. It’s problematic because it takes the actor out of the equation, and makes the search for material all about a “tone.” For example - The “tone” of the piece needs to be dramatic, or the song needs to be uptempo. And I’ll go out on a limb here - I think casting personnel are looking for more than tone.

So, how do you put yourself into the equation? Here are 3 new ways to go about looking for audition pieces that bring who you are (aka “type” or “brand”) into the mix:


Look for topics that inspire you, that you’re intimately connected to.

Rather than trying to leaf through a play to find that one funny monologue that will book roles, start by making a list of all of the topics that inspire your passions. Are you a Republican or Democrat? Are you passionate about saving the whales, or protecting our borders? What do you think about science? Faith? Baseball versus football… or do you hate sports altogether? Make a list of all of the things about which you are passionate (however major or miniasule), and then seek out audition pieces that allow you to express those views. The more zany and “out there” the better, too -- THAT’S the way to give a refreshing and unique performance in the audition room, but it’ll be coming from YOU.

You also want to consider topics for which you have intimate knowledge. Using your own back story when developing a monologue/song/side goes a long way to helping you create depth in your audition. For example, I don’t know what it’s like to be a mother, so I don’t really relate to a piece about sleep deprivation when dealing with an infant. I can imagine what it’s like, but in order to successfully deliver the piece I’m going to have to do some crafty creative work to make the situation real for myself and my audience. This kind of work is great as a classroom exercise, though perhaps not the best use of my time in the audition room. BUT - I do know what it’s like to lose a parent. So, if I can find a piece that, say, talks about what it was like to deal with my father’s death, I stand a far greater chance of making a strong connection with the piece, and with the people behind the table.

Ultimately, what this requires is for you to:

a) get to know yourself intimately and deeply, and
b) ACCEPT yourself fully

… and that’s a topic for another day. :)


Find a person in your same type/age category, and track their career.

This is one of the best ways to find pieces that fit your type. Do some research and find the actors who look/sound like you and tend to do the kind of work that inspires you. Then, go through their resume/credits history and note all of the projects they’ve done. This is an amazing way to discover plays & musicals that might be perfect for you. You can use a local actor or someone on Broadway, or anyone in between. For example, I did this with Kerry Butler and happily discovered the musical, “Blood Brothers.”

Doing this, too, might also allow you some prime researching of how the actors you admire got to where they are. Understanding the history of those who’ve “made it” can make a big difference in your career because you and see the progression from point A to point B.


Use monologue books to find authors who write in your voice

Now, before you contradict that statement with “But I thought monologue books were bad” - let me explain. Monologue books are a GREAT resource for finding playwrights whose style of writing matches your manner of speaking. There are certain writers whose words flow perfectly from our mouths when spoken. Other times, speaking a playwright’s words feel like an ongoing train wreck. Same with singing - there are some composers & lyricists that write in such a way that our instrument’s respond naturally and easily, and those that it’s like pulling teeth. You want to find those writer’s to whom your body intuitively understands.

So, grab a monologue book or a musical theater anthology, and start cold reading/sight singing the material. Note the writers for which the material flows easily, and then start doing heavy research into what they’ve written. This is a great way to find pieces that fit your natural rhythms - auditions are hard enough (with nerves, memorization, and the great unknown) without having to deal with pieces that are ill-fitting.


When all else fails...

Go to your local bookstore (Drama Bookshop and Shakespeare & Co in NYC, Sam French in LA) and find someone who works there - ask them about plays/musicals that feature folks in your age range. (If you’re a singer, Colony Records in NYC is a great tool, as is the NY Performing Arts Library.) Based on the research we talked about above, tell them what you’ve discovered and they can point you in the right direction.

You can also check in with playwrighting groups to get acquainted with new plays that have yet to be published. In NYC, you can head over to New Dramatists to browse their plays & manuscripts. Their staff is friendly and knowledgeable and will be able to guide you in the right direction.


One other thing to mention on the topic of audition materials

Most of the time, you’re asked to bring in your own monologue or song because they people behind the table are still trying to get to know you. Folks they know are usually invited in to sing/read material directly from the show rather than bringing in their own material. So, it serves you best to pick material that is as close to YOU as possible.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be an element of acting - it just means that in these cases it’s extremely important not to hide behind heavy characterization or dramatic flair. Dialects should be kept at a minimum so that your true voice can shine through. Now, if they ask for a specific dialect or a specific type of dramatic work, by all means show them what you’ve got. But in the absence of that kind of request, staying with a piece that reflects who you are as a person is the very best way to make a unique impression.

As Judy Garland said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

As a producer, I personally am in favor of hearing monologues that are seriocomic. These would be pieces that have elements of both humor and drama that can be flexible depending on the piece/people you’re auditioning for. Have a handful of flexible pieces in your repertoire will serve you better than having only extreme pieces in comedy and drama and will allow your “you-ness” to shine through.

Hope these tips have been helpful. If you have any other ideas to share that have helped you express your true self in auditions, please feel free to leave a comment below!


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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reels on DVD - A Thing of the Past?


For at least a decade, actors have been accustomed to collecting their on-camera footage, hiring a good editor, and then pressing ungodly amounts of DVDs in anticipation of sending them out to industry folks. But as technology has shifted much of our marketing/ promotions online, actors are starting to wonder if burning reels to DVD is a necessary part of the business.

Sarah, one of my treasured readers, writes:
Hello Erin, 
My husband and I are moving back to LA after working elsewhere for almost 7 years.  We did our updated demo reels and now I’m wondering what to do with them?  Since we’ve been away there are many online casting websites that have gained popularity and our commercial agents don’t even use printed headshots anymore (all LA Casting online)!  The world has changed in a short amount of time!  So my question is: do I need to have the reels printed on DVD’s?  Is that relevant anymore?  Isn’t most marketing done via e-mail now in which I could just include a link to the reel on my website?  Should I just print a few in case we use them for networking in person or would you just give someone your business card with the website where they could look at all your materials including the reel? 
Thanks for any thoughts you’re willing to share and I hope this might inspire a blog post to help others answer this question too!

Great question - I myself have heard lots of opinions on the subject. As you know, the internet is changing the face of our industry almost daily. As I’ve seen more and more casting go online (particular with the growth of YouTube and Vimeo), I’ve held the opinion that DVDs for theatrical/legit reels were becoming a thing of the past and that providing a link would be sufficient. And I think that remains true for most actors, particularly those who are still doing lo/no/deferred pay jobs and have limited budgets. But I just saw this piece of feedback from Los Angeles casting director, Marci Liroff, regarding DVD demo reels:
"...You can have many versions of your demo reel - have it on a link that I don't have to download, and have hard copy DVDs ready just in case. When I'm walking into the President of the studio's office - we want to show your stuff on a DVD - not on their computer!"

So, I'd suggest having a few DVDs handy that can easily be loaded into DVD players, for those situations where someone would prefer to watch your reel on a TV screen. I’d also recommend that you have your own professional website where the online footage lives, or you at least have an easy-to-view/navigate YouTube channel. There are other resources where you can post your reel: Actors Access, LA Casting, iActor, IMDB, etc, which are great to have your reel posted to, but they should not be the links that you give out when sending a submission.

For voice actors, CDs are still a standard way of sharing your work with industry folks. And, surprisingly, it is still common to send them through mailed submissions. Having them online is also a great way of gaining exposure. In addition, try checking out some voiceover sites where demos can be posted for potential clients to listen to.

Click to read my post on compiling footage and producing your demo reel.

Hope this helps - thanks for the suggestion of posting this to my blog -- voila!


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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Resume: How To List Credits


In both large and small markets, actors are wooed by all kinds of different mediums: theater, film, television, commercials, industrials, etc. Since each audition normally relates to just one of these mediums, it stands to reason that an actor might have different resumes for each type of audition. It also stands to reason that an actor might only have a resume that reflects their top, preferred medium - film actors only including on-camera credits, for example. But what happens when an actor is auditioning for someone whose interests extend to multiple mediums, like agents and casting offices? If an actor wants to be known for performing in multiple mediums, how should they organize their resume?
I received this question from Ben, one of the readers of this blog:

“Currently I'm working off two resumes, one which features film work, and the other theatre. On Saturday I'm doing a meeting with 5 legit and 5 commercial agents each at The Network - would you recommend bringing one of the two resumes, or make a sort of all star selection list for them. I was thinking of doing a “2011-12 work only” resume for them to show how current my bookings are. Any suggestions?”

Regardless of what medium you’re auditioning for, I always recommend that your resume represent the full breadth of your work - in this case, your top theater and top film credits. They need not be the most recent credits, only the most representative of the kind of work you can do right now. Think about the kind of roles you want to play - which roles have you played that would help create that picture for prospective directors, producers, and casting personnel?

If you choose, you can have two resumes: one that's more weighted toward film and the other more toward theater. This will allow you to bring the resume that fits the kind of audition you're going for. In an agent setting (like the one you mentioned), bring the resume you feel is a better fit for the kind of actors they represent, or the medium for which you find more passion.

On this same topic, I saw this posted on the Backstage Forum:

“I’ve been given some advice about my resume, and I'm not sure how worthwhile the advice is. I've been told that, even though I'm primarily pursuing film/TV work in New York, I should still put my theater credits first on my resume because, according to the person who made this suggestion, most film/TV casting people in NY are "New York theater snobs." Does this sound like a smart move (putting theater first on my resume when all I'm really after is film/TV work)? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!”
This topic falls into the genre of, "No matter who you ask, you'll probably get a different opinion." For example, your friend says theater should be on top for film producers, but for a lot of producers having it up top would indicate that you are more interested in theater... and for some film producers that equals "too big for the camera." Neither perspective is wrong, but you obviously cannot satisfy both types of people at the same time.

So, because so many headshot & resume preferences are subjective, it is a better idea to focus on the aspects of marketing that are objective. Namely, people who read resumes will naturally scan them from top to bottom. Because of this, you want to put your most important information up top to make sure it is seen. If you are primarily pursuing film/TV, put those credits before your theater credits. The fact that you have theater credits listed at all should satisfy any film producer/CD who wants a theater savvy actor.

With that, inside each section it is recommended that you put your best, most representative roles at the top, so that someone who is scanning quickly from section to section will see the credits you feel are most important. Some options for choosing: roles you feel are most representative; high profile directors/producers; well-known theaters; well-known plays/films/shows; etc.

Do you have questions about resumes, or comments about this post? 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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How To Get Started As An Actor


I coach 15-20 actors a week, and those that are new to the business often approach me with the same question, “I’m passionate about getting started, but I don’t have the money to pursue things fully. What should I do?” Further, even if they did have the money to take class, they wonder, ”What kind of acting class should I be taking?” There are so many options - audition technique, scene study, Meisner, Strasberg, monologue prep, acting for the camera… and so on and so on. So, how is an actor supposed to know where to start, particularly in a large city where resources are vast and, frankly, a little confusing?

One of my followers from Twitter, let’s call him “Charlie”, send me this email recently:

Hi Erin, 

Thanks for taking a moment and reading this. I am pretty much new to the acting world, I want to try it, I feel some sort of an attraction towards it. However, I do not have enough money to move to LA and or take classes. Where can or do I start? Thoughts? 

Thanks!! 

First off - I want to address his concern about not having enough money to take classes. If you want to become an actor and you expect to make money at it, you must put resources into it -- which includes training. It is a very rare case that an actor can be successful without some sort of training (not to mention other resources needed to be an actor.) I’ve written two “tough love” articles on this topic:


You might also want to look at a recent “BackPage” article on Backstage, where a prospective actor got a dose of reality from one of their staff writers when he asked if it was possible to become an actor without having any money to spend.

The first thing I always recommend to someone who wants to become an actor is to start looking for a place to get training. Like any profession, if you want to make acting a career you’ll need to have good training to build the skills necessary to being an actor. There are classes than you can take in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate your work schedule, and there are affordable options for just about every budget. For beginning classes, I often recommend taking a look at one of your local community colleges, which often have 10-20 week courses for a fraction of the price you’d pay to a professional studio. This will allow you to “try out” acting before making a large investment of money. 

One of the key resources an actor has in building their career is the ability to RESEARCH. There are lots of ways to find out exactly what it means to be an actor:

• Start reading blogs by actors & teachers (like this one: Bite-Size Business For Actors: or my acting blog: The Erin Cronicals.)

• Read books on the business and craft of acting (here’s a list of acting books I recommend.)

• Watch as many movies, plays, musicals and TV shows as you can, and start thinking about what kind of career you envision for yourself. 

• Read biographies on respected actors, directors, writers, and producers. Read plays & screenplays. 

• Subscribe to professional publications like Backstage to start getting to know the industry. 

There are lots of other things I can recommend, but in the interest of time I sent the above information to “Charlie” in the hopes that it would be enough to get him started.

“Charlie” then wrote back:

Hi, Erin. How are you? Thanks for your response. I have done my share of research and took some basic steps towards the acting thing, signed up for actors access, got a head shot etc. I wanted to ask you, what kind of classes should I take? Where? Can you recommend any places in the city which are reasonable? I was thinking maybe commercial work shops to learn how to audition for commercials etc. Let me know your thoughts when you get a moment please. Thanks :) 

My first reaction to this was: Wait a minute, you said you don’t have any money for classes, but you have money for headshots and Actors Access? That seems a bit backwards to me. It doesn’t make sense to spend money on the business elements until you have the artistic elements to back it up. There is no sense in learning about auditioning until you have taken an actual acting class, which will teach you what you need to know once you actually get the job.

It’s baffling to me that brand new actors are being wooed into spending money on things that will be of no value until the actor has some basic training under his/her belt. New York and Los Angeles, in particular, are hotbeds for businesses that prey on new actors with stars in their eyes. So, let me help you wade through the crap and give you some real world advice:

If you want to be an actor, there are no shortcuts. You must be trained. You must put in your time. And you must take it as seriously as a medical student in pursuit of being a doctor or a law student in pursuit of being a litigator. Acting is high profile profession that requires skill, moxie and determination -- anything less is an insult to the profession.

I’ve written these three articles (plus numerous others) that expound on my deep and passionate feelings on this topic:

If It Seems To Good to Be True (It Probably Is.)


If there are other questions that "Charlie" did not address, please feel free to leave a comment - I may be able to answer them right away, or use your questions/concerns in a future blog post.


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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Duplicate Names on IMDB


IMDB has long been the “it” database for all things film and television. Many actors consider it a right of passage to have their name added to the database, with the hope that their credits will burgeon and casting professionals will flock to them.

But what happens when you go onto IMDB and you notice that someone has taken your name? Is there any recourse? Take a look at a question that I received recently from Sierra:

Hello Erin,

As mainly a Theater actress, I have had little experience or need for IMDB (yet…).  However, recently I was told I had an IMDB page, which made little sense because I have no film credits besides some minimal work in Los Angeles.  In AFTRA, SAG & AEA, my union name is “Sierra Rein,” and when I searched for this on IMDB
this page came up.  However, the one credit associated with this name - “The Professor” - has nothing to do with me (unless I’m having amnesia about playing “Rea”), so I figure this is another actor with my name…although that would be quite remarkable, since my name is pretty unique.  Or, perhaps the person who submitted the information entered it wrong (either by mistake or on purpose).

What do you know about reclaiming an “actor” page on IMDB, even if I actually don’t have any credits to reclaim it? Or do you think I should just let it be until I book something that has some “heft” to claim my name back on IMDB?  What are my options?

Thanks for answering!

-
Sierra Rein

Hi, Sierra. Thank you so much for your question! It’s a common frustration, so I’m glad you’ve given me a chance to address it here.

IMDB, as you know, is the leading database on film & television. It includes both union and non union work that has been premiered for an audience (paying to non paying.) As you mentioned, you have cleared your name through your union, which means that no one else can officially have your name. But because IMDB it features non-union work, there are situations (particularly with common names) where there are multiple people with the same name.

So, what can you do to remedy this? There are two things that come to mind:

1) You can buy a membership with IMDBPro, which allows you to create your own page. When you create it, it will remind you that there already is a Sierra Rein listed, and it will ask you if you want to claim that one or create a new one. You'll have to create a new one, and you'll be listed in the system at Sierra Rein (II).

2) Rather than creating your own page, when you get your first IMDB-worthy credit, make sure that the producer knows that the Sierra Rein in the system is not you, and that s/he’ll need to add a new listing for you. This means that when s/he adds your credit, and a warning pops up that “there is already a Sierra Rein listed. Use this one?” s/he’ll need to add a new person to the system.

There's not much else you can do, unfortunately. Hopefully one of the above will work for you. Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck with your career!

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 http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

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