It always amazes me that actors who for the most part don’t have a lot of disposable income, will plunk down hundreds of dollars at the drop of a hat. Your money is precious and you need to spend it wisely. Here are the worst examples of actor money-wasters. Are you throwing money away? Find out.
1. Mass Mailings
I’m not saying don’t do a mailing at all. Mailing your headshot and resumé to the right casting director or agent at the right time can yield benefits. I’m saying don’t send the same non-specific mailing to every CD and agent in the book. Target your mailing. Take the time to tailor each cover letter to the specific CD or agent you wish to reach. Follow the submission instructions for that company. Make sure that the CD works on the kind of projects you want to do. Proof read it. Check spelling (especially of names). Make your mailing stand out with your high level of professionalism.
2. Crappy Headshots
Obviously you need a headshot, and this is a place where you need to work with an established professional. Actors waste their money by going for the seemingly cheaper option. You get what you pay for, a poorly lit cheap-looking headshot. There are oodles and oodles of pro headshot photographers in New York. Look at their work, talk to them, find out what their photo package entails and then make an educated decision. Don’t get your cousin to blow up some snapshots from last summer. If you need headshot photographer recommendations, leave a comment below.
3. Actor Crap
What is actor crap, you say? Actor crap is anything that only actors care about. Directors, producers, casting directors, and talent agents don’t care about this stuff but actors have convinced themselves that it’s of the utmost importance. I’m talking about buying a new outfit for every audition, spending extra money to have your submission delivered by messenger, having seven different headshots, pink submission envelopes with glitter writing, new highlights, character appropriate underwear. This stuff doesn’t matter, just present yourself like a professional.
I know this is a controversial one. I teach audition workshops as do many other casting directors, but you have to choose wisely. Go for the workshops that will provide the two most important things an actor can gain from a casting professional: knowledge and access. Don’t waste your money meeting people who don’t even work on the kinds of projects you are pursuing. Choose workshops that have both a performance element and an educational element, that way the casting director gets to see your work and you can learn something valuable.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who just want to fleece actors out of their money. Sometimes these are non-legit “agents” or “managers” who make actors pay for expensive photo packages and lessons. Some so-called acting coaches are doling out deleterious advice to actors out there. Do your research. Get feedback from previous clients before signing up for anything.
Save your pennies by using your noggin!