November 10, 2011

Q & A

I hope you all have been well!!
Anyway, this past month has been pretty busy and blogging just kind of fell to the back burner. I have a progress report post coming up in the next few days. I'm sorry for taking so long to post the answers to these questions, I feel pretty terrible about it. 
Dreamlover225 asked....
Hi! Andrea you're such an inspiration. About a year ago, I moved to NYC to model and I havent had much luck.

Its difficult because I hear so much conflicting advice. I read a book that says you don't need professional pictures to apply to an agency but then others say that you do.

I don't know if its difficult to get into an agency at this point and time because of the economy or what.

I really appreciate your advice, though. Good luck with everything!
---Thank you!! Now, I know that you posted this question on my "Becoming A Commercial Print Model" post, and that post pretty much answers your dilemma in great detail. Here is a quote from the post:
"The photos don’t have to be amazing, but they should be professionally done (re: look professional) even if they are the result of a trade. A simple smiling headshot is perfect when you’re starting out."
You absolutely need at least one photo in order to get started as a model. It doesn't have to be a professional photo, but it has to look professional. Re-read my blog post, it's a pretty comprehensive summary that could help you get over your current hump.
Mark asked....
Say someone who is like me, all they got is one student film, would it be ok for them to start going after commercials. OR would it be a bad idea since it can make them a SAG?
---Go after commercials whenever you feel like it, it's up to you. Booking one commercial will make you eligible. Any SAG jobs you book after that will make you a "must join". I would go after commercials while still trying to build my resume with student films/indies/shorts/etc. Joining SAG before you have enough experience or even a reel can result in you being unable to compete on a professional level.
Never join SAG until you have to. Once you join, you will be unable to audition for any non-union work. 
Erica asked....
Hey..this is more a commercial question. How do I get a talent agent if I don't have a reel? Do I just submit pictures to the agency? I've already taken on-camera commercial classes.
 ---You don't need a reel for commercials. Reels are really only meant for tv/film actors. You would find a commercial agent much the same way you would find a theatrical agent. You would submit a headshot and resume via snail mail (email if you're bold), or ask a friend for a referral. Some actors try to meet agents and workshops and seminars, it's not my cup of tea, but it's an option all the same.
Harold asked....
What are the turn off and turn ons Casting directors would find in a resume.
--It might be better for you to ask this question to a casting director or an agent, but I'll do my best to answer you. Based on things that I've read or heard the past few years, CDs don't like when actors list extra/background work on their resumes. They also like for resumes to be well formatted and spell checked. If you don't have any experience at all, listing just your training is fine. If you're very young (under 22 years old) it's okay to list high school and college theater productions on your resume.

Under your "Special Skills" section, don't list anything that you can't do very well. If you've only been on a skateboard once, then listing it as a skill would be a mistake. Should you be called upon to show a casting director that skill, you will be perceived as unprofessional and misleading. Don't be afraid to list things that seem mundane, such as the fact that you have a valid US passport. If you live in NYC, listing that you have a driver's license is good. If you live in LA, it's pointless.

Sandy asked....
My main focus is on Tv/Film, do you think it is a must to have some theater background? Have you done theater and what was it like?
---I don't know if it's a "must", but it can NEVER hurt to have a theater background. A lot of casting directors love actors that have worked in theater. I have done a bunch of theater but haven't been on stage in about 3 years. I absolutely love theater and I find it to be very challenging. Performing on stage in front of hundreds or even thousands.....hell, just 10 people is very scary, but also exhilarating. The adrenaline rush is insane and so is the high that you feel as you're coming down from a performance. I would recommend that every actor perform in at least one play.

JJ asked....
Casting directors seem to love you! Im glad. But how is it that your charm them?
---I don't try to charm CDs. I just behave as myself. CDs are real people and they can tell when you're being fake or genuine. They just want to see you as you are, not putting on a front because you're trying to impress them. 
I think I have a pretty awesome personality, but I'm sure that there are people out there that can't stand me! Hahaha! Not everyone is going to love you, and that's okay. Always be yourself and you'll win more fans that way.
djwhiley asked......
I'm so happy you're doing this.
Lots and lots of questions to ask...
1. How do you determine your type? Am I the girl next door, wall flower, leading lady etc? It seems important to know this for headshots and knowing what roles to submit for
2. What sorts of photos should I have in my portfolio to start with?
3. NY or LA??
4. Do I really need an agent/agency to start?
Thanks in advance!
---I'm assuming that your first question is for acting? You don't need a "type" for commercial print. Commercial print, is about you as a person. If you're interested in finding your type for the purposes of acting, I wrote a blog post once on how I figured out my type. Bonnie Gillespie, is an indie casting director and a really great columnist for Actors Access. She's written countless columns on how to figure out your type. Are are a couple that I really like: here, here, and here.

2. You don't need a portfolio to get started in commercial print. Here is the link to last post that I made regarding how to get started as a print model.
3. That's up to you, both are great markets. If you are more interested in theater, I would say NYC for sure. For tv/film, there is more work in LA, but NYC is still great. Mayor Bloomberg signed a ton of tax incentives last year that make it more economical for productions to shoot here in NYC, as a result, over 20 TV pilots were filmed here this year, many of which were picked up. 
4. For acting, not really. You can start doing student films and no-budget indies without an agent. For print work, you need an agent in order to be seen for print castings.
Joel asked....
You should do a youtube channel, that would be so cool. Can you also talk about your experience of Acting Schools in NYC, what they were like and which one you like best. And which was afforable.
---I've considered a youtube channel, but blogging is already a lot of work! 
I've only been to one acting school here in NYC, The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I dropped out after one semester so....yeah. The classes were great, but it was too restrictive for my blood. I don't have enough experience with acting schools to justify writing an entire post about them. I prefer private acting classes with less than 14 students. 
Finding a great acting class is a lot of trial and error. You just have to keep trying out classes until you find what works best for you.  I'm currently on the hunt for my next
Dear Lovely asked....
I didn't want to have to ask this here because it's not a big question or anything but I'm curious. Did you ever take a picture for a Social Psychology textbook? lol
I'm reading through my textbook now and I swear this is you! If not, you have a doppelganger! lol

---Not that I know of! I did do a shoot for a test prep book once, but it was for the cover. Hmm, I'm curious to see the photo though. Maybe it's from a stock photography shoot I did a few years ago.