Updated: Oct 31
In my line of work, I hear these a lot:
"The business is too big. I need a map!” “I can’t find an agent.” “No one know what to do with me” “Nothing I’m doing ever seems to add up to anything.”
I’ve gotten them for the 10+ years I’ve worked as a career coach, all the way back to my Actor Salon days. And for as much as the industry has changed, the basic business engine for What-It-Means-To-Be-A-Working-On-Camera-Actor is still the same. And it’s simple. 🗣️ Yup, I’m here to tell you that your acting career can be SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, and EFFECTIVE. Yeah ,Really.
So I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is and make the case for the Business of Acting being so simple, it’s just: Answering Three Questions:
What Is Your Product?
Is Your Product Good Enough?
Do the Buyers Know Your Product Exists?
SPOILER ALERT: If you can answer all three of these well, you’re going to work. So let’s break them down one-by-one. Today’s being: 1. What Is Your Product? Imagine an agent offers to make one call to casting on your behalf, for a role that you can absolutely book. Like, no question, no preparation needed, just show up and it’s a perfect fit for you, your acting, and your resume. So perfect that, no matter the competition, you’ll shine through. What is that role? That role is what I mean by your product. Quick Note: The word product can be substituted for branding, casting, type, etc. They’re all synonymous with the same question: How should we first think of you as an actor?
Take my career, for example. I’m lucky to have worked a fair amount. I’ve gotten to play lots of different types of characters, in projects ranging from prestige dramas to network procedurals to kids multi-camera sitcoms and more. But through it all, I basically play two parts. I play The Smart Guy or the The Sensitive Guy. There are ”good” Smart Guys like in Elliot in Halt & Catch Fire and ”bad” Smart Guys like Danny Dawson on Walker.
And there are “good” Sensitive Guys ike Jacob in New Amsterdam and “bad” Sensitive Guys like Zach on SWAT.
Sure, I can do more than “smart” or “sensitive," but doing more doesn’t help me build a reputation I can consistently deliver on with my buyers. Why?
Because “good” isn’t a product and neither is “range.” They’re adjectives. Like most of you, I’m not currently a ‘Name Talent’ who can drive box office & streaming subscriptions (yet!). That means being a reliable product is the right business strategy because:
The pitches are CLEAR
It’s OBVIOUS if I’m a good fit for an audition
EASY for my reps decide to pitch me or not
The best way to BE REMEMBERED by the Buyers
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s the specificity of my product that gives me real estate within the Entertainment Industry 💥💥💥 One your find this product clarity, it will ripple out to the rest of your career. Now you know which headshot to pick. Which scene should lead your reel. Which casting director workshop to sign up for. Everything becomes a proof of concept for our product. And with the clarity and simplicity comes confidence and results. So how are you feeling about your product?