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How do people find acting work in New York?
February 17, 2004 3:14 PM   Subscribe

How do people find acting work in New York ?

or any other kind of work , not that it would be against the law or anything , oh no , that wouldnt be right at all , heavens forfend such a thing would happen , i'm personally totally against that sort of thing , so please dont email me about it with any information at all to my addy.
posted by sgt.serenity to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
which is on my profile page , so you know where not to send any information.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:19 PM on February 17, 2004


How do people find acting work in New York ?

'how' being the operative word i would suggest putting together your resume/portfolio and getting it out.

some NY acting links

talent agency links

Newmans Boo-Boos:
....To Avoid
1. Moving too soon
2. Having unrealistic expectations
3. Making poor financial plans
4. Getting sidetracked
5.. Being naƮve

(those who cannot, pontificate upon and come up with 5 point plans)

also, it may help if some Mefis whom may know the biz, spread the word for sarge.
posted by clavdivs at 3:29 PM on February 17, 2004


you can wait tables or tend bar (off the books), sgt, while auditioning and doing showcase-y things, and networking your ass off.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2004


oh, i trained in the uk.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2004


Go on a "reality show", they seem to be the place now for testing your acting skills, cutting your teeth. It use to be game shows.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:04 PM on February 17, 2004


I work in the NY theatre scene.

If you're talking about PAID work, you need to be a member of Actors Equity. And you can't just join equity. You have to be hired by an Equity company. It's the old Catch-22 of a union that won't let you join unless you've got union work -- but you can't get union work unless you're already a union member. There are some loopholes. For instance, you can become a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) by doing extra work, which then allow you to join Equity (as they are sister unions).
Or you can enroll in one of the BFA programs (or MFA programs) that allows you to earn an Equity card while you're getting your training.

Even after you get your union card, you're still probably going to spend most of your time out-of-work. If you're smart, you'll get a secondary skill. Otherwise, you're going to be spending your life waiting tables. So become a paralegal or get a certification in massage therapy. That way, you'll be able support yourself. I support myself by teaching computer classes.

Of all the union actors in NYC, only about 2% of them are employed full-time as actors. So you have to be a union member, have a ton of talent (yes, you may be talented, but so are a zillion other people in NYC), have a marketable look, and a lot of luck.

You also need good networking skills and great audition skills.

And a PROFESSIONALLY photographed head shot.

Don't come here to act because you want to be rich and famous. Come here to act because you LOVE acting. Most of the union actors I know work for free. They perform in off-off-Broadway shows (for which they don't get paid a dime), which they rehearse for four hours a night, after a full day at work (waiting tables or whatever). So you have to have a lot of energy.

This sounds horrible. And it is. But the pleasures of being part of a great show more than make up for the hardships.
posted by grumblebee at 8:18 PM on February 17, 2004


have a marketable look

don't forget to bring your kilt ;-)
posted by t r a c y at 12:49 AM on February 18, 2004


Come here to act because you LOVE acting.

aye , thats the difference i think , well said that man.
Tracy , you're becoming obsessed with me in my kilt , which can only be a good thing.

thanks to all who replied.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:58 AM on February 18, 2004


My girlfriend just moved here a couple weeks agofrom Chicago, where she'd been a steadily-working actor (including good roles on all the major stages) for about 5 years. She's got a great resume, some decent contacts, and she's Equity.

Still, for her, it's like starting over here. Understand that, first and foremost. She gets up, checks the Equity site for casting calls, and goes to open auditions. If you want to get a spot in front of the director, you have to go EARLY, at least an hour before they start handing out slots. It's a simple means for them to weed out "casual" actors from the ones who really want to work, but it's effective.

Also, find your individual strength, and play to it. There are a zillion actors here. Most of them suck, but that still leaves a lot of very talented people fighting for a limited number of roles. No matter how good you are, unless you show the director something unique, you'll be forgotten among the mass of actors who look like you and act just as well as you.

Be open to acting outside NYC. Decide for yourself whether you're willing to put up with Summerstock- the pay sucks and it's grueling work, but you often get to do good roles with good directors.

The merits of auditioning for understudy roles are arguable (they're incrementally easier to get, but you risk getting thought of as an "understudy actor").
posted by mkultra at 6:57 AM on February 18, 2004


One more direct answer to the question "how do people find acting work in New York?" is to look at the Backstage castings notices.
posted by werty at 8:23 AM on February 18, 2004


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