You mean to tell me there are other jobs in entertainment besides being an actor or model? Yes, Virginia, this industry is not run by Santa Claus! You may realize there are people working with and for your benefit as the talent, but are you aware of what their daily grind is like? Most likely, you have misconceptions without knowing it.
What does that CD who always seems so stressed out (or nonchalant) deal with every day? Find out from our fellow industry professional Scott Powers!
It is vital that performers know not only how to act and market themselves, but how the business works from all sides.
One of the approaches that we have recommended with great results to abolish this situation is - ready? - go for an internship or be a reader. Internships are basically unpaid or low-paid or transportation/meal stipend paid positions. They can be a few hours a week, on a daily basis or for a specified period of time. Interns open the morning mail and email, field phone calls, file headshots, watch the actors/models coming in and out of the office, interface with the industry, discover what problems the business has to grapple with day in and day out, maybe even sit in on the decision making process. You will have a great first-hand to generally/specifically observe how the industry - the "other side" - REALLY works. What a great opportunity you created for yourself! And if you know THAT, your pursuits and career will absolutely benefit.
Being a reader for auditions at a casting company gives an actor first-hand experience on how the casting process works. What works and what doesn't. Talk about an eye-opening experience!
Are interns all really young? No. If you're, say, over 30++, don't worry about it. You bring to the position certain life experiences and approaches that someone younger hasn't had yet.
Be pro-active. You contact them. Most offices have a continuous need for interns. You can approach a company in general or target a specific person. Want to get in good with an agent? Offer to intern for them. Want to get in good with a casting director? Offer to intern; be a reader for them. Send them your headshot via email or snail mail and on the outside, mark "INTERN APPLICATION" or "READER APPLICATION" (or on the Subject line if email) and inside have a BRIEF cover note. Tell them what qualities you can bring [to the potential partnership]. Tell them what times/days of the week you are available and how long you can be available.
[An experience like this can] change your outlook forever. Not only will you have a much better understanding of the business, but you will have a much better appreciation of it as well (and there would be a lot less moaning and groaning out there!)
Of course, if we could only get the agents and casting directors out on a few auditions and go-sees to see what the actor/model goes through, we might have a nearly perfect world....
And that reminds me of a bet I lost once with an actor. My pay up was to take Caroline Locorriere's scene study workshop for a month. It was mostly fun, but also great insight into what our actors grapple with every day. Learning can go both ways, but you can only choose to learn for yourself! Internships aren't limited, so think outside the box and find something that interests you as well. It may be photographry, television, publicity, management, etc. Your options are only as limited as your imagination!
Where could you intern and how could having done so help you in the casting room or on set?