Running a business can be daunting for even the most prepared and professional entrepreneur. Doing so without the proper tools is hard on more than just the bones, though. Like any business has overhead and needs hardware to complete a job, the actor must have certain tools to do the job well!
The actor’s tools are basic and will be similar across almost any market. These tools include a headshot, a resume, some supplementary images, an outlet to quality coaching, a well-developed skill set, the ability to memorize, and knowledge of how the camera works to their benefit. For most talent, their list of tools stops after headshot and resume, crippling their business and its ability to expand.
What supplementary images do I need as an actor? Your headshot probably says a lot already, but it can’t tell the whole story. Even cut as a ¾ shot, a headshot doesn’t show body style, which can play heavily into the casting process. Many clients complain that they were interested in a talent based on a headshot image only to find out that they are leaner or heavier than their face might have suggested. Supplementary images answer all the questions. They give your agent the ability to fight for those doors that might be closing when casting gets tight or before the client knows the talent.
Why would I need coaching? Even experienced actors need to keep their skills sharp! Like any sharp object, time can erode those abilities not practiced daily. A coach can stretch those acting muscles, addressing any areas where a talent might need attention and broadening the talent’s overall abilities. Staying practiced for the casting room is imperative, too!
My skills are already developed. Look at my resume! We all know that resumes are made to open doors. A great resume will showcase things in the most impressive light, despite their reality. Even if you have all A list movie credits on your resume, there is always room to grow and develop as a human and an actor. Continuing to hone their skill set assures a talent’s agent and the casting community that they are professional and open to new challenges. It breeds confidence in the actor’s ability and keeps everyone interested.
I’m not a quick study, but I can get the script down if you give me a week or two. Unfortunately, the world of entertainment is fast paced and quick to change direction. You may not be a quick study and still be able to keep up, but realizing this is an area that needs development may be crucial to a long term career. Actors are expected to memorize several pages of dialogue (or monologues – eek!) within the period of 24-48 hours frequently. The actors who show up off book may be holding scripts, but they aren’t relying on them and can focus more readily on showing the director a character rather than regurgitating words on a page.
I’m here to act! The camera is someone else’s job! Trust me, the DP is concerned about the camera and will most likely know what to do with it, but the actor who also understands angles, lighting, and space is going to look better in the final cut. Knowing the camera can also separate the green from the experienced actor in the casting room. Experiencing a performance live may be one thing, but seeing it later on a screen can give an entirely different impression.
What tools might need a little sharpening in your kit?