How to Make 2017 the Year of YOU, Part II

Article Image
Photo Source: Shutterstock

2016 is almost over. It’s time to start planning for success in 2017. To help you make sure you’re set with all the tools you need for the new year, we asked our Backstage Experts to share some advice on how to make this the year of YOU. And if you missed the first half of the list, check it out here.

“Give thanks for the lessons of 2016. Look forward to 2017 with excitement and joy. Prepare for added success in your life.” Tracy "Twinkie" Byrd, casting director and executive producer of Twinkies Hollywood Monologue Slam

“Actors need to have a long-term approach, but should have short-term goals with deadlines. It takes a lot of time to build any successful career but you also need to have a series of logical steps to follow.” David Patrick Green, founder of Hack Hollywood

“Do what scares you. The biggest breakthroughs you will have as an artist are from doing the thing that scares you the most.” Wendy Braun, actor and founder of

“Actors, you are your own brand! It’s important to have a robust online presence so update your website, and remember to send postcards with your pic to industry pros you have met over the past year!” Jessica Rofé, artistic director of A Class Act NY

“Actors should learn to transfer their acting skills into the world of voiceover. It's lucrative and actors already have half the skills they need, and way more than your average voiceover newbie. They have characterisation, they know how to deliver a line, they know how to deliver to their audiences. The world of voiceover is a natural step for good actors, and it's easy to supplement your income with this unique area of the industry.” —Hugh Edwards, co-founder Gravy for the Brain

READ: “Taking Risks: 5 Ways to Grow as an Actor and Person”

“Chase your dreams like [they're] the last bus of the night.” Wendy Alane Wright, talent manager and president of WAW Entertainment

“Write down three goals you would like to accomplish in the new year, one action step to take right now for each, and three action steps to take by the end of February 2017.” Douglas Taurel, actor-producer

“Actively and aggressively work to end gender-based pay inequity.” Harvey Young, chair and a professor of theater at Northwestern University

“Become a reader or intern for a casting director. There is such a benefit to see the casting process and hear the conversations that take place when ‘actors’ are no longer in the room, and you make connections and show a little of what you can do. At your next workshop, ask the CD there if they ever need readers. There is almost nothing better in terms of a learning experience.” Jamison Haase, founder of L.A. On-Camera Training Center

“Look up from your phones every so often and connect to people in the real world. Not only will you inspire people and find sources of inspiration for your art, but in the entertainment business, real world connections are invaluable.” Marc Cartwright, L.A.-based headshot and editorial photographer

“Review your list of what you did last year. Repeat what actually worked and made a difference. Dump what didn't no matter how much you like it.” Bill Howey, acting teacher and coach

“Get your tools in order. Updated reel footage, headshots, audition outfits...these are all things that should be in place and ready at a moment's notice.” Retta Putignano, partner and head writer of Create Your Reel

“Commit to living every moment of every day as an artist. Great actors aren't actors only when they're acting—they use their entire lives as a creative laboratory and every experience they have is seen through the lens of the artist. Living this way will make you a happier person and as your work starts to contain the truth of all of your life experience, your acting will grow in leaps and bounds.” Craig Wallace, acting teacher

READ: “Backstage Experts Answer: What Should Actors Wear to Auditions?”

“The first thing to do in preparation for 2017 is reflect upon the past year. Are your strategies working? If not, revise them to be more likely to achieve the results you seek. Use your passion and newfound reflection and revision to confidently rededicate yourself to this life you've chosen.” Paul Barry,

“Update your headshots, reel, and casting profiles if they’re over a year old. Treat yourself to that casting director workshop, dance class, or vocal coach on your wish list. Mentally prepare. Relax. Recharge. Rest. If 2017 is anything like last year, you’ll need it.” Jackie Reid, manager and owner of L’il Angels Unlimited

“Find the balance in work and self, and honor your contribution big or small—it all has worth.” Caroline Liem, casting director, teacher and coach

“Change the way you think about yourself. Your uniqueness is your currency. Don’t try to be what they want. Trust you are enough and own it in every audition.” Philip Hernandez, audition coach and working actor

“Ask and answer: ‘Why should they hire me?’ The audition waiting room is filled with actors exactly your type, all dressed alike, and all talented enough to have gotten the audition. So why you? Actors who create careers are actors who know themselves and what they have to offer. So before you hit the pavement in January, figure that out and perhaps you might just have to figure out what to wear to next year’s Oscars!” Tom Burke, image consultant and creator of the Castable Actor

“Sometimes actors forget that we are running a business and that we are the product. Having a smart business plan gives us our best chance for success. Figure out your type. How are you realistically going to get cast? Know the types of projects do you want to book and stay focused in those areas. Keep reading acting and acting industry books to stay on top of how the industry runs today. Have fun.” Aaron Marcus, author, acting and modeling career coach, and full-time actor and commercial model

If you haven't yet been cast, check out our audition listing!

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
Allie White
Allie is Backstage’s digital managing editor and project manager, whose professional background includes women’s interest, news, health, beauty, and, of course, entertainment. Despite a crippling fear of singing in public, she still believes she’ll be a Broadway star one day.
See full bio and articles here!