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Backstage Experts

25 Ways for Young Actors to Take Control of Their Careers

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25 Ways for Young Actors to Take Control of Their Careers

When was the last time you said, "A teenager with an iPhone is a glorious thing!" Never? Well, I am about to change your mind! 

Back in January, I wrote an article about why parents should involve their young actors in managing their careers. Now I would like to give you some suggestions to get you started with the jobs that they can do: 

Before you leave for an audition:
1. Prepare, organize, and copy headshots and résumés.
2. Measure your height and jot it down.
3. Scan a headshot, résumé, state work permit, and trust account paperwork for distribution by email.
4. Create a reel and maintain it with updated footage, if necessary.
5. Create an audition record using your smartphone or iPad; include contact information and requirements for each audition.
6. Take a full body picture to have a photo record of clothing, hairstyle, and makeup.
7. Take a picture of the odometer to capture starting mileage.
8. Take a picture of your sides so you can practice them on the go. 

While you are on the way to or from the audition:
9. Capture personal thoughts, ideas, reflections, and new goals.
10. Write down feedback from the casting director.
11. Update contact information for new professional contacts.
12. Invite the kids you talked to in the waiting area to be friends on your Facebook page.
13. Write thank you notes.
14. Take a picture of meal, toll, lodging, and other expense receipts (don’t forget the odometer at the end of your trip) and fill out an expense record from the receipts captured.
15. Use an app to improve memorization.
16. Do your homework for school. (It’s important!)

When you have Internet connection:
17. Check online sources for audition notices (weekly).
18. Find and sign up for new classes and workshops.
19. Maintain the family and personal calendar—enter rehearsals, classes, and auditions—look for family conflicts.
20. Research new monologue and song material.
21. Make a list of new plays and books to read.

When you are together as a family (review monthly) 
22. Review and update audition materials.
23. Set priorities regarding family commitments and conflicts; adjust your calendar as necessary.
24. Review and set goals for training and audition opportunities; discuss how they impact the schedule and budget.
25. Budget for classes, auditions, clothing, and accessories; compare to actual expenses.

How you capture and manage all this depends a bit on the devices you use and what works in your situation. There are a lot of great apps, software, and paper organizational systems to do these jobs and they all have advantages and disadvantages. I recommend using Google Calendar and Evernote. These apps work on just about every device, are flexible enough to capture and organize your professional records in just about any way that works best for you, and both are free.  

This list is only the beginning. I am sure that there are many additional ways for young actors to organize and manage their careers. Speaking of organization, don’t forget to clean your room! Please comment to share your experiences and creative suggestions. I would love to know what works for you and your family.

Master your craft, empower yourself, enjoy the journey.

Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as an actor, teacher, director, and personal talent manager. For 10 years, she was an associate with Fox Albert Management, one of the leading talent management companies in New York, where she managed such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”), and Judy Reyes (NBC’s “Scrubs”). Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults appearing regularly on Broadway, and in television and film, as well as educating parents on the business of show business.

You can visit Denise on the web at www.DeniseSimonCoaching.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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