Ever where you turn, people are screaming, "We're in a recession!" I find those words in every other mouth as I walk through midtown, on the radio of every disc jockey as I am riding along the New Jersey Turnpike, and on the lips of every newscaster as I sit on my couch and surf the channels looking to catch a good episode of Gossip Girls. It has become hard to ignore the current economic conditions that we are living in and painful to face a brutal fact that we are living through bad economic times.
I am a strong believer in God and faithfully study the mind and how it works, so I have chosen NOT to participate in this recession, and am declaring daily that I am prospering and having good success within my acting career, in hope that my faith, coupled with the words that I speak, are willing continued prosperity my way. Make no mistakes about it, since I do not know how long and painful these economic conditions will be, I have come up with a few ways, as a back up plan, to continue to help build my career through potentially the worst financial crisis to date all the while continuing to at least maintain my savings account as well as build it!
To all my fellow actors, actresses and models, here's how to survive the recession and build a career simultaneously. Remember this is a system put in place to help you survive these financially crippling times, by limiting your output of money, while gaining knowledge, developing your network, and prospering within your career. Although, I have listed ways only for the particular groups of people above, I'm sure some of these suggestions could work for other entertaining professionals as well.
How to use what you know to learn, grow, and make money during this Recession
Check Craigslist regularly to see if any photographers are doing TFP's. TFP means time for print. Sometimes you can find a photographer who is trying to hone their skills and is willing to shoot an actor/actress/model for no money, in exchange for time. Sometimes, you may even find an experienced photographer that is trying out his new, inventive ideas and he posts for models to pose while he perfects his craft. It's a great way for both persons to build their porfolio. And usually with no money exchanged.
Check out free acting and business workshops. In these workshops, you can usually gain some business insight, or acting tips that can really go a long way in your career. The flip side is that the person leading the workshop or classes, will 9 times out of 10 pitch to you why you should take their 6 or 8 weeks class intensives or workshops. I do suggest however, that if you really like their teaching and techniques, that you should certainly take their class later when the economy has made a turn for the better and you feel safer spending your money.
Sit in a drama book store and read acting and audition books, and take GOOD notes, then on your own time you can apply the notes.
Go to networking events, pre-filming parties, or premeire's for upcoming films and get your networking game on! More than likely, you will be surrounded by many director's, actors, producers, and the likes with whom you can get to know, who can protentially put you in their next film, or stage play. (please visit my networking blog to be trully successful at networking).
Look at trade papers to see what films/stage plays casting directors are auditioning for, go to acting studios where you know they hold auditions and check the doors to each studio to see what auditions are being held. Ask the person taking headshots what you need to perform for the audition and ask if you could get in on the audition. Sometimes, this will work, and sometimes it won't. Do not harrass the person for an audition! Also, Be prepared to wait.
Ask if you can work as a reader at a casting directors agency. There, you can learn a lot of priceless information about the business of acting and the skill itself. They may even allow you to get on tape too! If not, you can pick up a lot of "tricks" that actors use, and most importantly, see what works at an audition and what doesn't. PRICELESS.
Work as an intern for agents. You can slide your headshots in the pile for roles that you are interested in. Just be prepare to give a good audition! Also, you can get the inside scoop on which directors are doing what.
Hang out at the SAG, AEA and AFTRA offices. Chances are you will meet people who know mounds of information about what is going on in these union communities. You also over hear a lot of conversations about upcoming auditions, parties, and networking events. Word of mouth goes a long way.
Instead of buying sheet music, or acting books, use the library to copy the scores of your favorite songs, or copy pages of information that you find valuable and want to read and have handy.
Lastly, research the lives of others who are doing what you want to do, well-known star actors and or people you may personally know that seem to be succeeding in their careers and follow their process step by step. This is a great way to succeed, and saving years learning from their experience and proven success.
TIP FOR THE DAY: Remember people, you pay for what you get! So, while these are great ways to continue growing while surviving this recession, you should by no means make this a way of life. Don't cheat yourself or your career. Always, think, act and be at the top of your intelligence when it comes to your career. And in order to do this, you have to invest in yourself first before anyone else will seriously consider investing their time and money into you.