Hi guys! I’m getting hundreds of emails a day, and as you know, I’m also on shoots and those are 12 hour days. I am also mentoring the Into the Industry mentorship students! That is my biggest priority, as I am responsible for helping them get into the business! So, I have to make this free training work for you, and for me. I thought I’d take some great questions everyone seems to have, and put them here!
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE BEST THING FOR ME TO DO? VO or acting?
FIF member Deshon:
I’d have to say some of my biggest obstacles is finding any kind of reprentation to build money or some kind of apprenticeship opportunity even if it’s voice over…( laughing but serious) I lack direction. I honestly have no experience in film, yet it’s been my dream since 8yrs old. I have many talents. Question is: which one would be the better door opener?
JANET’S ANSWER: Your question is: Which is better VO or acting for opening the doors?
There is no better. It’s you that opens the doors.
It’s you that seeks out the opportunity.
It’s you that makes the connections.
Get inside, understand the business, and meet people. You’ll stumble across opportunities.
You’ll have surprising things happen just because you’re in the right place at the right time.
It only makes sense, right?
Don’t do it like everyone else. They are stuck just like you have been.
Become more. Become an impressive person who knows a lot and does a lot. Like Tyler Perry. Like Matt Damon. Like me. Like my mentorship students.
That makes the doors open, fly open. Because you are different and you have made your own success and people like that. Then, you become one of us, because you’ve done more.
QUESTION: I’m tired of people using me for my projects but not paying me. How do I get out of this kind of work?
FIF member Deshon writes: Financially, It’s a struggle.
I tend to run into those who seek to use my work but refuse to pay for the my worth and or time. Regarding people using you for your acting talents…
They are using you and you are using them. It’s a 2 way street.
Or perhaps you are talking about some other kind of work? Usually we are paid for our value. If you provide amazing value, there is no way you won’t eventually get paid, maybe not by that person, but from the experience, from the person you become and what you can do now.
You grow, you have more skills, you are worth more.
How do you stop doing freebies and get into the paid work?
Well, I still do freebies. And in our business, you’ll do them all your career.
So just know that. The paid work is where it’s at!
The process to get into the paid work is what everyone wants to know.
They just want it! I understand.
My mentorship program gets people in the business working where they are getting paid jobs over film school students and other people.
You have to look like a superstar, and my program turns you into that. Through how you talk, through how you email, through your experience and your resume.
For example, you never say, “I acted and directed the blah blah student film and produced the blah blah short.”
They’ve heard it all and they are bombarded.
Instead, you show them that you’ve done the exact work that they would hire you to do.
Oh, you’ve worked as a camera assistant, slated, changed lenses, let up the tripods, great! Oh, you’ve worked with wardrobe, did returns, helped with the fittings, great!
You might work a few days for free, then they will want to pay you. Now you’ve got paid work and you’re in a whole new level. Now, you are INSIDE. And then acting opportunities fall into your lap like this.
And he worked with David Arquette. And went out to dinner with him several times while filming!
QUESTION: I want to make films, but it’s expensive. What do I do to move forward?
From FIF member Judy: My biggest obstacle is to not have enough money now to invest in short film or a video. I have ideas to stories that I want to film and every time I think about how much I have to invest in rent equipment, hire crew, actor, etc, I feel demotivate. I want to do these project because my film reel is not big enough to compete against other people in the industry. I studied film and I did a short documentary, a music video and most of the time weddings. I want to do more things, I have talent and passion.
You just need to get more involved.
Get on professional shoots so you can collaborate with professionals.
For instance, you would find a great DP with connections to cameras, who brings his gaffer.
You will find people who want YOU to shoot their project. And that’s stuff with MONEY behind it.
You will find all the paying stuff in the paying world!
It only makes sense, right?
For example, an ad agency is shooting a commercial. You meet the ad exec on the shoot.
They are talking about another spot they want to do for the internet. They only have $30,000 to shoot this.
Now, that’s low budget. It’s usually $250,000-500,000 on my shoots.
So, you may discuss this project a little more and come up with a few ideas, write it, and put it together.
Now, if that seems out of your league, consider that. FIRST, this is what you want to do.
So, make it happen!
SECOND, all the people you need to put this together, you’ll meet on set.
The DP, the gaffer, the sound person, the writer, the music guy, the crafty, everybody!
Everything is different when you know these people and you’re just doing your thing!
QUESTION: WHAT IF I’M NOT ATTRACTIVE ENOUGH?
Judy writes: For acting, sometimes I think the image is important, the good thing is that I have talent and a good body but they always look for pretty people. That’s true?
I cannot say it better than Andrew. Here is his response to this common question.Think You’re not Attractive Enough to be an Actor?
QUESTION: How do I make it when I have a spouse and kids? And they don’t support my dream?
FIF member Eddie writes: My biggest Obstacle would probably be my wife and I. My wife does not want me to get into any jobs outside the Greater Houston Area. And myself because I don’t want to let anyone down and I want to be able to support my wife and daughter.
There are many people in the business who have kids, are single parents, and are taking care of their parents!
I work with a 1st AD (Assistant Director) who has a mentally challenged child, and she’s 19 and a lot to handle!
They still are working in the business. They love what they do, and make it work!
Hey, it’s going to be a juggle.
But, you can be your best self, and show your family how to go after their dreams, if you make it work.
You may have to do your regular job and ease into the business on shoots at night and on weekends.
Your loved ones are just afraid that you’re chasing an unattainable dream. They are afraid of the impact on their lives.
So, you cannot ignore that or make them wrong. You must sit down and acknowledge their concerns. Not get mad at them for not supporting you. But hear them out. And then, you must lay out a plan for them, that has a time frame.
For instance, you can say, “I know you are concerned about me spending a bunch of money, and spending time away from the family and I might end up with no progress in acting.”
“I want you to know I also have these concerns, and they are VALID. I am committed to providing for our family, so we can meet our goals and provide a good environment for our kids. I’m also committed to becoming more myself.”
“The fact is, there are thousands of people who make their living in the film industry. It’s a freelance industry and that can work with what I’m already doing. When you watch TV or go online, there are hundreds of thousands of people who make their living producing that work. Think about it, every sport event is covered, every interview you see, every time you hear about anything, it’s the entertainment industry. We think about movies, but most of it is not movies! So, there is so much opportunity.”
“Anyway, here is my plan. It is an 8 month plan. I plan to get experience during months 1-2. I plan to get my first job by month 3. It pays $200/day. Within a month, I should be able to work at least 6 days.”
“Professionals in the business are working 15-20 days per month, and making $450-10,000/day. I can start out at $200/day and start building skills to move up into the higher paying work. These jobs pay what they pay and it can be easily verified, just by looking at the union pay scales which can be found on the internet or by calling the unions. ”
“Anyway, this is a high paying business. I’d like to get into it. And I have a plan. If I’m not making $1000/month within 3 months, then we can re-evaluate and go another direction. Does that sound like a plan?”