Often, we as actors feel very alone in the entertainment industry. You didn't get the part, forgot your lines or you feel duped because the wrong people scammed you for money. These things and more weigh on our artistic minds more often than not. How do I make sure I am slating properly, or making the right decisions for a cold read? Are my head shots working for me? How do I find the right instructors, agents, managers, etc? Help is right under your nose. There are so many assets out there, utilize them! The entertainment business works when you surround yourself with a “team” you can trust, that will help make your career flourish.
Coaching and practice. A good actor can make incredible moments created by the tiniest emotional nuances look easy. But these moments are executed by actors who have honed their craft. They utilize the tools they have studied for years to give the “performance of a lifetime.” And, although an actor might be by themselves in a scene, it’s important to ask: how did they get there?
Reading your lines in front of a mirror does not make you a great actor. You must learn from a mentor or coach. Throughout the history of acting, instructors like Stella Adler or Lee Strasburg crafted the art by the actors workinh in front of an audience. Whether it is a peer, friend or mentor it is important that we speak our lines out loud. So many actors in class or, God forbid at an audition, do the silent read. If it is a cold read and you don’t have someone to read lines with, don’t stay silent. Find a space in the hallway or outside and talk your lines in the voice you plan to use. You will be surprised how different your choices and decisions for the part will come to fruition when reading in front of someone. This is the beginning of your team creation.
Research. Putting the proper team together can be as simple as starting with your instructor, and as hard as picking the right accountant. In the beginning, you should be focused on the right teacher or mentor. Research is the key. As an actor, researching a role is part of the job. You don't buy a car without a test drive, or learn to ride a bike without Dad holding the handle bars while you gain your balance. So, why would you create your team without proper knowledge of the people who can help make or break your career?
Rules to live by. It is important to have a good rapport with your instructor, manager, agent and even your photographer. If your instructor is demeaning or makes you uncomfortable, get away from them! Most acting teachers offer an audit of their class. This lets you see for yourself how the class is taught and if it is a proper fit. Agents and managers work much the same way; you are interviewing them for the best representation. Remember, it is a business and your success is their success.
As your career begins to blossom, the team becomes bigger and the stakes get higher. You will need a lawyer, an accountant and probably a personal assistant because the business moves fast and you must be prepared. Are all these people necessary? Can't I take care of things on my own? Not likely, as you grow and opportunities continue to rise, going it alone is not advised. Talk to your peers, be inquisitive about how others have built their teams. At whatever level you find yourself now, it is important to start practicing good team building. These essential skills will follow you throughout your career as you find your puzzle pieces starting to fall into place.
Wayne Frazier (“Transparent,” “Kroll Show”) is an actor, writer,producer and host. Wayne currently hosts Hollywood Close-Up with Natalie Lipka (“Criminal Minds,” “Kroll Show”), an audio podcast that focuses on creating your own career in the entertainment industry. On the show, we discuss the latest in the entertainment world and trending topics in social media, and provide insight to those pursuing a career in “the biz.” Each episode includes a close-up interview with one of Hollywood’s finest working actors, directors, producers, writers and other industry professionals.