An Agent on What You Can Do During Quarantine to Prepare for a Return to Work

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Actors, you can get your “ducks in a row” while in quarantine so you’re ready to come back and kill it when the time is right! Since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve heard a lot of actors asking, “What can I be doing during this time?” Well, I respect your passion and passionately suggest these four ideas in return. 

1. Reevaluate your arsenal.  
In my book, I talk about having “weapons.” These are the actor tools you give your agent to go to war on your behalf. Entertainment is one of the toughest, if not most competitive, industries in the world. Make sure your headshots are up to date, you have a variety of them, and that they look expensive. Make sure your reel features you, not 30 seconds of a story no one cares about or too much time on another person’s face. Is your résumé up to date? Is it easy to spot your most valuable accomplishments or unique skills? Everything you have control over, take control. Do it now while you can, so your representation has what they need before the next battle begins. 

2. Exercise your craft. 
Just because you aren’t flooded with auditions doesn’t mean you can’t be practicing your audition skills. In a world where self-tapes are continually exploding, give yourself auditions. Record scenes, monologues—any sides or characters you want—and watch them back. Then, self-critique or ask for brutal honesty from artists you respect. No one can stop you from doing this and it’s never a waste of time to work on your skills. You can even toy around with your home lighting and audio kits to make your work look slicker than ever. Your craft shouldn’t be chilling until the industry resumes to full force. Even binging TV while journaling about acting is better than doing nothing. Or how about Zoom theater? I participated in a reading of Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” with a handful of clients. It was a super fun and productive Sunday evening! If you’re serious about being a working actor, there’s no excuse not to be acting every day. You’re creative, right? So get creative and remember the fun stuff that got you into this industry in the first place. Go play!

3. Save Money. 
Now is a wonderful time to be saving if you can. Time is money and the more you have, the more freedom you can buy later. It’s not like bar hopping is a better idea for your future right now anyway, concerning bank accounts or health. The majority of my most successful actors always seem available. I imagine they have other responsibilities and a side income, but it’s not my problem and I never hear about it. They’re just always financially available and willing to jump on work when lucky enough to be the chosen one for a job. Be that person. Be more available than your competition. Saving any money you can during this time is an investment in your own time and future as an artist.   

4. Explore healthy habits. 
I strongly believe the following two ideas can and likely should help people get ahead in any highly competitive industry. First, wake up earlier than almost everyone else. Imagine if you could start the race before your competition. Your chances of winning go way up! When I started getting up earlier, it drastically changed my life for the better. I accomplish so much while the rest of the world is still dreaming, hungover, or zombie-like. 

Second, you are what you eat. Eating badly can make you feel bad. You might move slow, perform negatively, or even lack confidence. So imagine the positive effects of the opposite! I purposely put tons of healthy nutrients in my body daily. It affects not only my overall health but my mood as well. Feeling great leads to accomplishing great things. So, even if you’re already an early riser or healthy eater, try putting some focus on these habits, and give yourself a gameplan during this time to notate how it makes you feel, what you accomplish, and how your overall happiness is affected. 

A happier person is generally more attractive to others, especially agents, casting directors, and the many more who will want to work with you when this magical industry goes back to booming.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Jason Lockhart
Jason Lockhart is a talent agent from Los Angeles who relocated to the southeast market in 2017 as the head of TV and film at one of the most prestigious agencies in Atlanta. He is also an accomplished filmmaker and recently became a best selling author for his book “Ask an Agent: Brutally Answered Questions for Actors of All Stages.”
See full bio and articles here!

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