Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

I'm Not Playing


Today’s blog is going to be a little incendiary, but something’s gotten me ruffled and I want to talk about it. Today I want to talk about GURU MENTALITY.

You know the mentality I mean - the one that says that if you just dream big enough, and you put all of focus on one process/ ideology/ viewpoint, you can have your hearts desire with very little work. That all you have to do is follow one person who will give you all the answers, and your dreams will come true. THAT guru mentality.

Look, I know how alluring it is to think that if you DREAM your way through life that everything will work out for you. But will and desire and passion is not nearly enough, and no one person has the magical elixir.

I think we all know that deep down inside. But when we’re confronted with real, honest effort it seems easier to pay a lot of money to people who will make the kinds of promises we want to hear.

I get a lot of coaching clients who come to me with a guru mentality - they ask, “If I coach with you consistently will I have everything I want?” And they often want that success with very little effort on their part. But any career coach who tells you YES is lying - yeah, I said it. LY-ING. Because there is no one perfect route to success, and it certainly doesn’t come without some kind of effort. There are too many factors out of our control to say that there’s one true way to succeed.

So I’m stating, here and now -- I’m not playing that game.

I’ll say it now, loud and clear: There is no magic to having a career as an actor.

First and foremost, my job is to teach you the business. Business is simple - there are industry standards to be aware of and it’s my job to make sure you know where those boundaries are.

Second, my job is to teach you how to approach the business creatively. There are many loopholes and grey areas, so this is where we can play a bit and let your personality (aka type) shine through. It’s this creativity that makes the business full of infinite possibilities. And it makes it FUN.

Third, my job is to help you navigate the challenges and difficulties between the two, often referred to as mindset. There is so much perceived rejection in this business that much of what we do in coaching is help the actor find ways to deal with the disappointments.

What a career coach can’t do: Guarantee anything other than the above. I can’t “get” you an agent, “get” you on that TV show, “get” you the Broadway audition you’ve been dreaming of. No one can guarantee those things. Getting there is a mix of all of the three things we CAN do (listed above) combined with perseverance, good timing, connections, and a lot of luck.

So the next time anyone promises anything other than helping you DO THE WORK, be wary. Guru mentality will not help you get to where you want to be - the results will be hollow, and you deserve more.


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, March 1, 2018

Special Tips for Beating Facebook's Algorithms


From time to time I'm going to address student and reader questions via video instead of the standard text. It's an exciting way to take advantage of all of the wonderful digital resources out there!

This week I talk about the sometimes frustrating, "How can I make Facebook better for my networking?" There's one quick tip I give that will make all of that time on social media bearable - and it's fast! Without further ado...



If the video has trouble loading, or you'd like the link, go here:


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, February 15, 2018

How To Follow Up After Networking


Welcome to my brand new video blog! From time to time I'm going to address student and reader questions via video instead of the standard text. It's an exciting way to take advantage of all of the wonderful digital resources out there!

This week I talk about the ever elusive, "What do I say when I follow-up after meeting someone at a networking event?" There's one quick tip I give that will make all of those follow-ups simple and effective - and will make you feel great in the process! Without further ado...


If the video has trouble loading, or you'd like the link, go here:



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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Definition of Success


We’re in the midst of awards season, so naturally it’s a time actors begin to daydream about achieving that ultimate success in their career. We watch acceptance speeches with a mix of envy and awe, and we fervently wonder what it will take for us to launch our career to that level.

The truth is, only a fraction of the A list actors will ever be nominated for a major award, let alone win an award (here’s looking at you, John Barrymore and Marilyn Monroe.) So it wouldn’t be reasonable (or mentally healthy) to use “winning a major award” as a litmus test for success.

If that isn’t a standard to live by, then what is an actor to do?

You want to start looking at other measures of success for your career, and they can be any number of things based on the kind of career you want to have. Success is simply defined as, “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” So what are you aiming for? Some examples:
DO YOU WANT...
• An agent
• A guest star role
• To be called in directly for a regional/Broadway show
• To build relationships with all CDs in a specific office
• To make more than 50% of your income from acting
• To balance you work and home life
• To get a more flexible/lucrative day job

The key is: make sure that the measures can grow and change over time as YOU grow and change. You should have a sense of what “success” means for your current year, and also have a 3 or 5 year plan so you can see what success might look like in the future. Any of these examples above could be year-long goals, or could be mini-goals in service of a greater goal.

As you probably know, I’m also an actor so I’ve created my own measure of success just like I’m advising you to. In 2017 here’s what this looked like for me:

My measure of success (goal) for 2017 was to pay my rent only using acting income. To achieve that, I created a bunch of mini goals each quarter. I started by aiming to attend at least 30 EPAs in the first quarter of 2017. The next quarter I focused on networking and making sure my self submissions were strong, in addition to going to EPAs. In the 3rd quarter I focused on self-producing my own projects and taking on projects that I was referred for. And by the end of the year I found that I had achieved my overarching goal - I had gotten two long-term singing gigs (one as a stand-by in an open-ended Off Broadway musical) that are now paying my rent. And I was able to feel especially successful because I had achieved all of those mini-goals in between.

So what is your measure of success for this year? How about this month? Or this week? Leave your ideas in a comment below so that I can help give you some free accountability!


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.

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.

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