During the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the entire industry is seemingly fueled on eggnog, with career rigor taking a backseat to holiday jollies. That said, momentum is everything in Hollywood and it’s up to you to ensure you don’t fizzle out during the break; here’s how to make sure you’re furthering your career during these festive weeks.
This actually is a good time to promote yourself.
“It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the industry, but this is one of the best times of year to score new representation. Talent agencies aren’t quite as busy with auditions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as they are the rest of the year. Which is why, traditionally, agents reassess their talent roster right about now by rotating out talent that may not have added to the agency’s reputation in the past year or so. Agents often take this time of year to consider new blood for the coming year and update their talent roster. It’ll be too chaotic to do so when they’re up to their necks in work in the coming months.” —Kate McClanaghan, casting director, producer, and Backstage Expert
Do the inspirational activities you don’t normally have time for.
“Stay stimulated. Use the opportunity to go to the museum exhibit you haven’t had time to go to. See all the movies, the great TV shows…Get tickets to the riveting theater you’ve wanted to see; pick up the novels you’ve wanted to read. (One fiction book is a must!) Surprise yourself with conversations with family and friends and others that you’ve never had before. Create art—paint a canvas, write a song, an article, a short, an outline to a screenplay, a play, or write the whole thing! This is a prolific time of the year. On Dec. 31, create your own vision board for [the new year]. Before the new year kicks in, ask yourself what you want to accomplish.” —Michelle Danner, acting coach, director, and Backstage Expert
Protect yourself from family pestering.
“Most importantly, don’t take comments that are meant as supportive but come off the opposite personally. You do not have to defend your career choice to anyone. As long as you’re living a life that includes earning the money you need to fund your expenses and career development, there will be no story to spin, no tale to tell, and less time at home spent “explaining” your choices and more time spent soaking up time with people who only want the best for you...even when they’re not great at expressing it the way you’d like to hear it.” —Brad Lemack, manager, coach, and Backstage Expert
Have a five-point plan:
- Take a moment before you sit down at any holiday gathering to quiet your mind and make peace within you.
- Soften your own judgment about where you are or the feeling that you should be further along right now.
- Don’t use questions as an opportunity to defend yourself. Rather, share your vulnerability. If someone asks how your acting career is going, simply reply with, “I’m enjoying the journey and excited for what’s ahead.” If they follow up wanting to know what’s ahead, be honest: “I have no idea, but that’s what makes it so exciting.”
- Don’t take anything personally. Answer from the heart (which loves), not from the mind (which labels).
- If you’re really not up for explaining your career choices, keep your answers brief and respond with questions. People love to talk about themselves.” —Wendy Braun, actor and Backstage Expert
Try to practice gratitude.
“The fact is, this is a tough business, and sometimes we lose sight of what really matters. So as you’re carving up your turkey this week, remember to express some gratitude for every positive development in your career, even if those milestones are few. And when you finally start to earn the big bucks, please don’t turn into a soulless freak who doesn’t remember there are people in this world who cannot afford to feed themselves.” —Secret Agent Man
Use your free time to read new material.
“I have a stack of plays to read this holiday season. When reading new playwrights’ work I often find great scenes and monologues to recommend to my students. Plays read much faster than novels so what are you waiting for!” —Denise Simon, acting coach and Backstage Expert
Ready to ring in the new year with a new job? Apply to casting calls on Backstage!