When it rains, it pours…
Every time something I own breaks, the event sets off a series of ticking time bombs that demand my immediate attention. The bad luck started with the air conditioner in my car. With absolutely no warning, the unfaithful contraption decided it would be fun to blow hot air right in my face. That triggered my home computer, which introduced me to the dreaded “blue screen of death.” (This is a real thing. Look it up. And pray you never see one!) The next bomb to go off was deep inside my home’s plumbing. Let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant running into old meals that left my body several hours earlier.
So how did I deal with this storm of frustration? I hired professionals to fix the problems. My brilliant mechanic repaired the air conditioner, the IT nerd from work saved my computer, and a skilled plumber made my bathroom safe again.
Now here’s what you have to understand. I did a lot of home and car repair work when I was in college. I’m also really good at using Google to track down computer fixes. So there was a part of me that wanted to tackle these problems on my own, but common sense helped me realize professionals would do a much better job.
I wish every actor could be this logical.
Last week, I went to a workshop, and it finally happened. I met someone who is talented. Excited, I logged on to the actor’s website to watch his reel, but the video took forever and a day to load. And when it finally did play, the image was too dark. So I sent the guy an email, explaining the problem. That’s when he told me he designed the website himself. And just like that, an opportunity was squandered. By the time he dropped off a DVD, my interest had already faded.
The good people at Apple make it simple for you to build your own website, but that doesn’t mean you should—especially when your career is on the line.
Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time. It’s especially common now that everyone has a digital camera. Actors think they can save money by having a friend take their headshots. As a result, there are unusable pictures everywhere, just like cholera in 19th-century London. Your headshots should be taken by a real photographer, not a friend or a struggling actor looking to make some rent money.
This kind of thinking goes double for your reel. Sure, anyone can push buttons on a computer, but a professional editor will help you shape the content. That’s why these people are worth their weight
Now let’s talk about your acting teacher. Again, it pays to hire a professional, especially one who is known to the industry. You’ll learn a ton from someone like Stephanie Feury or Diana Castle. I don’t think you’ll learn as much if you study with Joe Blow who starred on a bad sitcom in the ’90s. And even if you do pick up a few tips, no one in the industry will be impressed by his name on your résumé.
Hiring a professional is especially important when you’re coaching for a big audition. The person with whom you work has to be a respected teacher or an actor with an extensive résumé who auditions on a regular basis. You can’t just run lines with a friend from class. The end result won’t be the same.
You are the president of your own company, a business designed to turn you into a successful actor. So next time you’re thinking about cutting corners or saving a few dollars, I want you to remember one thing: Hiring a professional will make you look like