Begin Pilot Season as a Professional Actor

We are on the cusp of a very big pilot season where the most abundant opportunities are available to the actor. The time is now to take an honest assessment of where you are in your career. Fully understand the process of the business. And most importantly take an honest look at any personal resistance you may have that is holding you back from reaching the next level in your career.

Here are four practices of a successful working actor that will help you start pilot season off right.

1. Professional actors get paid. Being a profession begins with a mindset, then comes the paycheck. Working actors believe they are professionals before they book any job. NBA players turn pro and then they get paid. Even though they have no clients, new lawyers, who have just passed the bar get hired at a firm, and it is because they know they have skills. If you believe you are not a professional actor because you have not received pay, joined the union, have an agent, or have smaller bookings on your résumé, you are choosing resistance over success. Resistance that is an invisible self-imposed glass ceiling that chokes you into submission—keeps you in your place. If you do not feel good enough to stand in the room with the greats, you will not manifest the opportunity to go to the network. You may talk like you are taking swings in the round, but inside, you know you have yet to truly enter the ring. When you have taken the steps to know your worth as an artist and have ownership of a powerful craft, you will keep taking the steps so you are paid as any professional is in their career.

2. Professional actors have motivation. Do you get new headshots, feel the sudden urge to send them out for representation, but then give up pursuing an agent if you receive no calls? When you finally get an agent, do you make up excuses for not going to acting class? Do you have an agent, and is panic the first thing you feel when you receive an audition? Do you not spend the proper amount of time when preparing for auditions? Do you have an agent, not get many auditions, and blame the agent when it’s your responsibility to have up proper marketing materials that work? You must take time to understand yourself from a deeper awareness so you can release what is stopping you.

3. Professional actors know their type. Right now, name six characters you can play better than anyone else. If this takes you more than two minuets to figure out, you truly must work harder at developing your craft, skills and mastery of the characters you have to play. If you only have one hand to play, you dramatically limit your chances for more roles. Acting is not about being able to play one or two characters and then infusing them in every role. If you are not currently expanding your craft, you may believe it is a waste of time to do so because you are not going to work anyway. Professional actors are always well prepared way in advance and ready to capitalize before the arrival of their opportunities.

4. Professional actors have marketing materials for the roles they physically match. Are you savvy about the roles that match your physicality? This is the business. It is a visual medium. Until you get known, until your name can green light a movie, watch out for resistance of being a victim of circumstance or of blame: “I don’t want to get typecast,” or feeling less than because you have the look of the “girl next door” or “best friend.” If you look like a romantic lead then pull a Johnny Depp or Charlize Theron—get famous then play character roles. Or if you have a character look like a Melissa McCarthy or Jason Segel get famous, then play the leading lady or man. Neither look matters. What matters is that you own your look, cultivate characters, dialects, and emotional range to back it up. Get headshots and clips of your work that reflect the characters that will open the doors for you, pay you well, and begin to build a career so your success you will propel you into the position to call the shots. Because that is what professional actors do.

The time is now. Identify your resistance and make the changes for fast approaching are incredible roles that will make your reality your dreams.

Constance Tillotson is CEO of Sterling Studio. Her studio had over 200 bookings last year. Actors in her studio are renowned for their extraordinary work in major feature films and television. Her booking actors range from 5-years-old on up. She is also a top pick for private theatrical coaching and preproduction preparation. She is an actor, writer, director, and producer. She also works globally with children building self-esteem through filmmaking. She is a talent manager at LA Management where she helms the careers of a select group of successful clientele. Follow her on Twitter @amconstance.

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