At the time of this call, Allyson had only been in the program for a few months. Through getting inside and standing out as a dedicated, burgeoning professional, she made some incredible connections immediately, getting pulled onto shoots – and acting roles – by the DP of Fox’s Empire.
It’s better to take the road less travelled. There are tens of thousands of actors trying to get roles right now. If you want to succeed as a new actor you could do what other actors are doing and compete for the same auditions as everyone else through the same path as everyone else. The vast majority of actors doing this get one or two roles a year at most on low, sometimes medium sized shoots. It’s extremely difficult for them to vector up into big budget shoots on the biggest commercials, shows, and movies using this method. There’s just too many people doing the same thing and it can be impossible to get the right connections to make this happen.
So what can you do? Where is that less travelled road?
Get on set through production. Start as a PA, make a ton of relationships and mentors. By working on the production side you’ll meet working actors and find out how they caught the attention of agents, managers, directors, casting directors, and coaches in your market.
You’ll be meeting all those people as well, and your acting goals will naturally come up in friendly conversation during downtimes on set. Everyone wants to move up, and everyone wants to help each other do that.
For example, you’ll need a reel to shop to agents, managers, and casting directors. Is it going to be easier to find good shoots that will net you solid footage if you’re working with people you don’t know, or with aspiring DPs, directors, producers, etc that you have a relationship with already? You could waste a lot of time rolling the dice with projects that might not be shot well as opposed to working with people who you can be sure, because you’ve worked with them, recognize that solid footage is just as good for them as it is for you. You’ll also know that they have the ability to execute on their vision.
Actors tend to fear that by working in production they will pigeon-hole themselves and be seen as a behind-the-scenes person forever, and this is simply not true. Professionals love to see that drive and passion for the industry. Actors who know how the set works, can go with the flow of delays and mishaps and other issues that arise, are much better to work with than actors who have never seen or attempted to appreciate the complexity of what goes on behind the camera.
Like we always say, you have to get on set. Everything you need to know, all the resources, knowledge, and connections you need, can be gained by approaching the industry from the production side.