Professional Acting Resources


Eleven Jobs That Can Help You Stay Focused On Your Acting Career

by Anthony Lee Smith

1. Try to get work in a casting director or an agent’s office. Sometimes in the industry trade papers agents and casting directors advertise for assistants and people to work a few hours a week opening mail and doing office chores. It’s a great way to learn what goes on in their offices. You get to see the kinds of mail other actors send in, overhear telephone conversations, and just basically see what it’s like first hand. 

2. The Actors Connection is an organization in New York that provides a great service to actors by giving them the opportunity to meet and audition for agents, casting directors and other industry professionals who are not always the easiest people to be able to meet. They do this in the form of seminars every evening and often even on Saturdays. During the seminars there are what I call “gate keepers” who keep the time and ensure that all the participants get an equal share of the industry professional’s time who is conducting the individual session. At times AC is looking for people to work, usually flexible hours as one of the “gate keepers”. That is also a great way to meet first hand casting directors and agents, listen in on the question and answer sessions before the individual, one on one sessions take place. A great way to learn! 

3. In addition, there are other acting schools around the city that look for assistants.

4. Theater companies looking for stage personel and production assistants often with no experience necessary. Prerequisite is to be responsible and a fast learner.

5. There are also a host of casting websites and organizations, such as Actors Access, Breakdown Services, NYCastings as well. If you do a Google search, you will find a slew of others. Why not see if they need help or could use your services?

6. There are also showcases and industry events that are organized to help actors promote their careers. It's a great way to meet casting directors and agents. The organization of those events is a big to do and they need hosts and hostesses to help the event go smoothly. You can find information about such events by simply keeping abreast of what’s going on in the industry. Read the trade papers regularly and check the top acting/casting websites.

7. Why not see if the local union offices of SAG, AFTRA and EQUITY could use some help? Find out where their offices are. See if you can find out what they might be looking for. Find out who the person is you need to contact and if your approach is to send a cover letter, then address the person by his name as opposed to To whom it may concern.

8. Do you have skills that one of the trade papers could be interested in, maybe to work in one of their offices? Could be an idea to contact Backstage, Ross Reports, probably the most read of the industry papers. Have a look on the internet or in the Drama Book Shop in New York to see some of the other possibilities that exist.

9. There are many production companies who are looking for good people with skills.

10. Do you have the skills to form a production company? I know someone, a fellow actor, who has done just that. It’s a great way to make industry contacts with people who could also help you further your career as an actor.

11. Do you have the skills to start and run your own small business, form your own company? What do you love to do? Could you turn your hobby into a business? If so, do you know other responsible and reliable people who share your same passion and who have good business skills? If so, maybe you could form your own company together with those people. Why not? As time goes on, you could gradually distance yourself from the daily business of running your small company and dedicate more and more time to acting and promote your acting career. The whole point of this article is to help you think. If you don't have a steady stream of residual income that will permit you to focus 100% of your time on your acting career and you have to work in the traditional sense to make ends meet, then at least do something that will keep you connected to the industry and at the same time help you grow in some way as an actor.

Anthony Smith left a successful corporate career as a senior manager in Nike and Levi's after 15 years to follow his dream of becoming an entrepreneur, writer, motivational speaker and actor. While enjoying success in his "new" life, Anthony shares his business insight and acting experience with young actors. Aside from acting work, he has created and his first book, Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success will hit the U.S. market in April 2007.

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As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, or would just like to share some of your successes, please feel free to drop me a line.  I actually answer them.

Best of Luck out there and remember, you can't fail if you don't quit.

D.L. White