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O.C. and Me

Dear Tombudsman:

I was recently cast in a play being produced in Garden Grove. I feel it is an opportunity to get seen. I know, however, that agents/CDs probably won't go out of their way for an hour's drive to see me in Orange County. Is there any way I can take advantage of this achievement, apart from having another credit on my resume and a review in OC Weekly?


via the Internet

Dear A.T.:

Unlike my response to Tom's (see Member's Area), in this case performing in a show in Orange County isn't the best thing--at least not in terms of getting out an industry (television/film) audience. It's hard enough for a performer in a show smack dab in the middle of Hollywood to get out more than one agent or casting director over the course of a run. There are a million reasons people can't make a show--a million and one if you add distance into the equation. Obviously if you are in a major hit, if the show is in one of the premier venues, and if a star is in the cast, you might have a better chance, but that's going to be a big-time exception. Actors in Manhattan have the same problem, but in their case it's getting industry to drive over the bridge to New Jersey.

First off, you have a job, and that's more than most actors can honestly say on any given day. Just by performing on a daily basis you are much further ahead of the game. I'm guessing you got into this business to act. When you're in a show your skill level will almost always be elevated. Also, work begets work, and, as a confident working actor, you will bring all of that good energy into other auditions and even your marketing. So what if they don't come to your show? Treat it as if they will come. You market to them with fliers, invites, and in your case any positive reviews. It might not have quite the same impact as if someone were in the third row watching you, but it still works heavily in your favor that you are sharing upbeat, positive, career-enhancing information with those people you want to work with in the future.

Get to it. Do some mailings, make a few drop-offs. Pick up the phone if you dare, but call only those individuals with whom you've had a strong working relationship. If budget isn't an issue, you can always put an ad in a trade paper or advertise your show through Breakdown Services, but your own drop-offs and mailings, which might be a picture/resume or postcard along with any materials promoting your show, can usually add up to something positive on their own--maybe even that busy casting director asking you to leave two tickets under her name at the box office.

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