Tips: How to Be a Seattle Film Actor

Dear Aspiring Seattle Film Actor,

Welcome. And congratulations. I hope you are in this for the long haul. For the art. For the expression of humanity. You are in it to touch the lives of others. You want to learn more about yourself. You are doing it because you have to. Because you are drawn to it. Magnetically. Cuz if you’re not…

Boy oh boy, can it get ugly.

“Actors in New York are about the craft about the art of it. LA actors are in it for the money.” – Said someone once. Is that true? Dunno. But, it does make me think a bit about not only where I stand as an actor – no, as an artist – but how I can advise you.

Dear Aspiring Seattle Film Actor,

You are probably not going to get rich doing this, but you will have many, many other rewards, assuming that you are not in it for the money.

Oh, and you will probably need other work. AKA, “Don’t quit your day job.”

Ok. You still wanna do this?

  1. Headshot. You will need one. And, a professional one is pretty much mandatory if you want to be taken seriously. Seriously. So, spend the dough, and see someone like Susan Doupe’John Ulman, or David Hiller.
  2. Resume. Yep, get that, too, and staple it to the back of your headshot. Four staples. One in each corner. Need some resume tips? Got that for you, too: Here.
  3. Online actor profile. Not mandatory, but in the digital age, casting quite often occurs online, and a digital profile makes sharing information very handy. Get an online profile + get access to auditions at TPS. Boom. 2-for-1.
  4. Website. Again, not necessary, but very helpful. Mine is pretty great (I had some help – cha ching!), but you can create a free one on wordpress or a splash page on About.me.
  5. Reel. For real. Getting more and more needed, even in our market. A reel – or, better yet, clips of your work – is a much better way to give someone new an impression of what you can do. Now, if you have video clips, you will probably also want to have a YouTube or Vimeo account set up to share your work.
  6. Manager. Just kidding. This is Seattle. You don’t need a manager and I don’t think we even have any talent managers here. Manage thyself, Talent!
  7. Agent. Yep. An agent helps. Especially for the *bigger jobs* which can really fatten your pockets. So, who do I recommend? Well, I don’t really recommend, per se, but these are the major players that you will want to try and get an interview with: Topo Swope TalentTCM, EBFThe Actors GroupBig FishColleen Bell, and Dramatic Artists.
  8. Training. Yes. I believe in actor training. Shocking, I know. If you don’t know me, dear reader, I am a advocate for the NW film actor, and for me, training is what you do when you are between jobs. Where does one train, you ask? I knew you would…Well, aside from the universities: FreeholdSTSSteven AndersonJet City Improv, Unexpected Productions, and Here.
  9. Networking. So, you have you headshot – oops, better get a business card, too – and you are ready to audition. Good! Audition away! Send out that headshot. But, when you are networking – which can happen all the time – you will need something a bit more portable. Like a biz card. Get one! And, you can look to network locally through the Office of Film and Music, and The Film School, among others.
  10. Casting Directors. You should know who they are. And cultivate good relations with them: Jodi Rothfield, Stephen Salamunovich, Patti Kalles, and Denise Gibbs.

Phew!

Now, why the heck am I doing this? Encouraging you to up your game so you can (potentially) take my next gig? No. I believe that by showing you the path and elevating the game overall, not only will you improve, but so will I, and so will our entire industry.

Let’s hope I am right.

Thanks for reading.

~ David

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