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Secret Agent Man

Why You Shouldn't Listen to Naysayers

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Why You Shouldn't Listen to Naysayers
Photo Source: Steve Weigl

This industry is full of naysayers, people so jaded they’d rather spend their time complaining about life instead of doing something substantial that might advance their careers. I guess it’s easier to whine in a coffee shop than fight the dragons that stand in your way.

Well, that’s not my bag. I believe in being productive. Nothing is gained by doing nothing.

Just the other day, one of the agents in my office told me not to bother submitting on a role that would probably go to a star anyway. The guy had a point. It was one of the leads in a Hallmark movie, and those parts usually go to actors with recognizable faces. But I submitted anyway. Why not? All I had to do was click on a few links. It’s not like I was fighting the Germans in occupied France.

Well, my client ended up getting called in for an audition. Long story short, the part did indeed go to a name actor, but the casting director liked my client and offered him a supporting role.

Remember that story next time one of your naysayer friends tells you not to waste your time doing something productive that doesn’t require all that much effort.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

If you don’t have an agent or a manager, send out 10 headshots every week. What will come of it? Probably nothing. But do it anyway. And there’s no need to spend a fortune printing and mailing your pictures anymore because hard-copy submissions are a thing of the past. Everything is done online now. So why wouldn’t you send your material out on a regular basis? You have nothing to lose, and it’s free.  

Audit a different acting class every month, even if you’re happy with the one you’re in. What will come of it? Probably nothing. But do it anyway. Actors get stuck in a rut. They stay in the same class because it’s a safe environment where they can hide from the harsh realities of the industry. That’s why I want you to shop around and see what’s out there. You never know what or who might inspire you.  

Sign up for five casting director workshops every month. What will come of it? Probably nothing. But do it anyway. There’s a lot of heated debate these days about the whole workshop scene. Former aspiring union president Esai Morales calls them nothing more than paid auditions, which are illegal because they violate the 2009 Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act. Other actors believe that participating in workshops is a viable way to create relationships with casting directors. What’s the truth? I don’t know, and I don’t care. The truth is irrelevant.

If you want to spend your life on a soapbox debating the rights and wrongs of this industry, knock yourself out. But I have to imagine your primary goal is advancing your career, not changing the world. And if that’s the case, I don’t see anything wrong with spending a few dollars on a regular basis to meet and perform for casting directors who might hire you on their projects.

So sign up for five workshops a month, every month. That’s 60 workshops in a year. If you don’t get called in for an audition after that, then there are bigger issues in your career that need to be addressed.

Those are just three examples. I’m sure you can come up with more. The thing to remember here is that nothing gets accomplished when you choose to do nothing. Every action, no matter how small, has a reaction. Sadly, most of those reactions will probably have no effect on your career. But you know what?

Do it anyway!

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