Learn how to talk to your reps about your brand in this exclusiveElite Program BTS
One of the key features of our yearlong Elite Program is the opportunity to submit for and attend twice-monthly Spotlight Group Coaching Calls, hosted by one of our Expert Coaches, to receive personalized coaching on any topic.
Recently, one of our awesome Elite Clients, Freddie Kuguru, came to a Spotlight Group Coaching Call for guidance on how to best communicate his “Gold Medal Roles” to his reps.
Using the strategies in Get Rich In Your Niche(our branding/marketing course), he identified the roles for which he’s best suited, and created a Track Record Report and a Bookability Sheet (explanations of both below) to communicate them to his reps and casting directors. During the Spotlight, Coach Cecily helped Freddie develop a specific strategy to use these resources to communicate these roles to his reps.
Watch a clip of their coaching here to learn for yourself:
But if you’re first wondering…
“What the heck is a Track Record Report or Bookability Sheet?”
Track Record ReportA spreadsheet that helps you SHOW reps – not tell – how bookable you are. It’ll give them a great idea on the roles that they should be pitching you on. AND, it’s not based on gut, it’s based on hard data.
Bookability SheetA 1-page document illustrating 3-4 of your Gold Medal Roles with headshots/screen shots that reflect their essence using breakdowns you see, breakdowns you’ve written or breakdowns of roles you’ve been cast in.
Here’s Freddie’s Bookability Sheet that he shared in the video:
If you liked what you learned from Coach Cecily and Freddie’s session, and you’re looking for a supportive, nurturing community of actors dedicated to building a sustainable and fulfilling career with the support of our Expert Coaches, make sure to check out the details of the Elite Coaching and Mastermind Program.
Four months ago, I went through the biggest life event I’ve ever experienced and it changed my life forever. Bigger than moving cities, bigger than booking the lead of a major studio project, bigger than falling in love:
I had a baby.
Whether you’re a parent or not, this message applies to you and your career. Keep reading…
The idea of having a baby freaked me out for a long time and I resisted it for fear of it interfering with my career.
And how many of us hold off on doing something because of fear?
It wasn’t entirely without reason. I mean, I’d spent so much time training for, preparing for, and focusing on this career, that the fear of being derailed in the pursuit of my lifelong dreams was a legitimate one. I’d told myself I was too singularly-minded to have a child – it wouldn’t be fair to the little one. Plus, the thought of being ‘out of work’ for so long filled me with dread.
In short, I thought myself to be too selfish and too ambitious.
What I didn’t realize was that it’s these big life moments that give us expanded perspectives and emotional capacities to dig even deeper into the characters and stories we’re blessed to tell.
Not to mention, an opportunity to slow down, feel through the shifts, and nurture the relationships with those we care about.
I know, I know, these life moments can certainly take their toll, much like the past few months have for all of us. It’s been hard, y’all, living through a strike and keeping a baby alive is no easy task! I’ll be honest, I’ve had my own fair share of existential questioning, wondering if I’m really cut out for the grit this business requires or if I should pause a little longer and see what else I feel called to.
But I’ll tell you this, whenever I have those thoughts (and let’s be real, the many conversations with other actors and writers on the picket lines!) somehow, this one thought always seems to stick:
The real beauty of it all is in the rising.
Once again being in a “slower” period means that we can turn the focus back on ourselves and the things we care about:
Maybe it’s time for you to finally write that screenplay that’s been simmering and produce your own work.
Maybe being dropped by your agent/manager means that you can really get clear on what a perfect partnership would look like for you, and beginning that rep search.
And maybe that canceled show means you’re now available for a project that will be an even bigger step forward in your career.
So many things can be blessings in disguise… if we’re willing to look at them that way.
Like a good nap, there’s nothing like some sweet ol’ downtime to shake things up and give you the precious space you didn’t know you needed in order to grow. When the moment comes to rise, you’ll know it. And you will.
We all love a good comeback story and every champ has a coach. If you’re curious to learn more about how a Career ACTivate Coach can support you through the ups and downs of this wild ride of a career, check out the Elite Coaching and Mastermind Program, and let’s see what magic we can conjure!
The short answer is, “No, of course not.” But expanding your network will help you meet every acting goal on your list. So, rather than seeing networking events as a cringe-inducing waste of time, embrace them as a simple path to create authentic relationships.
Here at Career ACTivate, we like to use the word RELATIONSHIPS far more than networking.
Networking events can feel transactional. Like, “I can do this for you, if you do this for me.” And who likes that? Not me!
I want to share two ways to look at these gatherings that can potentially make them feel less icky. And just so my eye can stop twitching every time I type “Networking”… we are going to use the words “Relationship-Building” instead.
OPTION #1: The “Go-Giver” Approach
The first way to approach a Relationship-Building event is to attend with a “go-giver” attitude of solving a problem for someone. You have YOU-nique characteristics, hobbies, assets that truly serve the common good.
Take a moment to think about 2 things you can offer to others from your unique set of skills and assets .
Think about how you can find at least one person you can genuinely connect with and to whom you can offer that thing you do so well.
All of sudden, this positions you in a place of being a giver and at the beginning of forming an authentic relationship.
Here is an example:
Shanelle, an actor, attends a Film Independent event. They meet a writer whose story resonates with them. Shanelle says:
“If you ever have a reading, I can connect you with a couple of my actor friends who would be happy to read for you.”
Maybe Shanelle takes it a step further… What if they were the person to coordinate an informal reading with their buddies and the writer?
“Whoa Whoa Whoa, Tiffany! That is a lot!”
Shanelle can feel out the writer’s response to see if they are interested in simple introductions to actors. OR if the writer would be open to getting support in creating an informal reading. Many non-actors don’t have an abundance of actor friends that will read a script for free. Shanelle is an asset because they are providing something that the writer needs.
They are also supporting their friends by introducing them to new contacts, giving them a chance to act, and introducing them to a writer.
Shanelle gets to know the writer much better, and now they have explored and possibly created an authentic relationship with this writer.
See why I don’t use the word networking. This is all about true authentic connections.
OPTION #2: The Goal-Centric Approach
The second way you can approach a Relationship-Building event is by going in with a goal.
Maybe your goal is to find a fellow sci-fi nerd. Maybe your goal is to find someone of your same cultural background. (I am Trinidadian so I am always on the lookout for that!) Maybe your goal is to find the best logline.
Take a moment to think about what outcome would be satisfying for you.
Of course, meeting a casting director that offers the role of one’s dreams would be perfection. But, we can reach that by building authentic relationships centered around things and people that truly resonate with you.
This positions you in a place where that audition or booking could come naturally with ease.
Use this to guide your interactions and conversations at the event and come up with a specific connection strategy that could help move you one step closer to your goal.
Here is an example:
Ellis wants to work on a film that could potentially go to a big film festival like Sundance or Tribeca. They attend a Relationship-Building event, like AT&T Shape. Ellis brainstorms goals for this particular event which could lead them to an authentic relationship that gets them closer to their dream.
Ellis’s Goal Brainstorm:
Attend the short film showcase and congratulate one of the creators of a short film that they truly like.
At the networking tent, state their big goal at least once during each meeting. *Sidenote: AT&T Shape has a networking tent where you can set up meetings with other creatives in advance.*
Mention to one person a recent Sundance film that Ellis likes, and ask them for a suggestion of a film that is circulating festivals right now that they should watch.
Ellis now has several options but decides to go with option #3.
They choose this because it allows them to mention Sundance. Additionally, this question helps to find out the taste of the person they are talking to.
Thereby further figuring out if this is an authentic connection. It also positions Ellis in a place of being a giver and opens up conversation which can be hard to do with a stranger.
So there you have it!
Try The Go-Giver Approach or The Goal-Centric Approach to get out of your head at the next networking event.
And if you want to dig deeper into relationship-building, check out Career ACTivate’s Home Study Course, The Relationship Roadmap, that will revolutionize how you build relationships and book work.
Or if you’re looking for hands-on guidance to help define your goals and build your confidence, we invite you to explore becoming a part of our yearlong Elite Coaching & Mastermind Program, where you can be paired with a Coach to walk you step-by-step through your next Relationship-Building event.
In the interview below, hear how Keri landed an LA agent and got her first series regular audition just two weeks after signing.
You’ll learn how she and Coach Farah harnessed Keri’s unique background to create a compelling “Tell me about yourself” response and curate a targeted agent list that helped her stand out, define her identity, and clarify her goals.
By transforming her mindset using the tools of our Elite Program, Keri finally achieved dreams she’s had since childhood.
She also shares advice for struggling actors: from consistency to clear goal-setting, she breaks down the essentials for your well-deserved success. You’ll walk away feeling empowered and ready to conquer your own challenges!
As fellow actors, we know the road to success can be tough, but Keri’s story reminds us that every step is worth it.
👇 Watch the full interview below and start rewriting your career story like Keri did! 🎉
Writing a bio gives a lot of actors cold sweats. I mean, you don’t want to be thought of as the actor who blows their own horn. That’s gross and super stereotypical. And you definitely don’t want to be associated with that old look-at-me-I’m-the-center-of-attention-at-all-times actor trope.
The good news is that if you’re stressing about being that kind of actor – you aren’t going to be!
Good to know, right? But what goes into a good actor bio?
First I ask: What makes you read someone’s bio?
Do you want to know more about them? Are you looking for common connections? Do you simply want to know where someone studied? There are no wrong answers here.
When I read a bio, certain things definitely stand out to me:
So, I use those as my three steps to writing a bio.
Step 1: Career Highlights
Highlighting past career wins is always a good place to begin. I start by listing my favorite career accomplishments as bullet points. I like to make separate lists of my favorite and most noteworthy credits. For me, the goal isn’t so much to impress the reader or make myself seem worthy of being involved in the project (Spoiler Alert: they’re looking at my bio. So I AM worthy!), but to jog their memory in case they’ve seen my work in the past or we have mutual connections.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed someone’s work and looked up their bio to see that we completed the same theatre program, I’ve seen their work before, or we’ve worked with the same people!
Step 2: Training
Who have I worked with that lends credibility to my work? Make a list of drama schools, acting studios, and specific coaches.
Step 3: Personality
I know sometimes you only get 100 words total and it can be tough to cram personality in. But you can do it! It can be as simple as thanking your partner at the end or mentioning your cat or hamster. I’ve even seen bios that are ONLY “personality,” without any credits at all! In fact, that’s what I’ve done on my website landing page. There’s not a credit to be seen!
Hint: If you want to go this route, consider using your Irresistible “Tell Me About Yourself” Response or your “Why Statement” from our networking course, The Relationship Roadmap.
Once you have all your components listed, now it’s a matter of choosing what you like best. Ask someone you trust about what stands out most to them.
If you’re still feeling stuck, read some other actor bios – check out IMDb or actor websites or programs for theatre productions. When you see something written in a way you like, borrow it! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, amiright?
To write in first-person or third-person…that is the question!
In an ideal world, you may want both because you might want options given the circumstances. A third-person bio can be seen as quite professional. That’s the kind of bio a PR agency might write. Meanwhile, writing in first-person can be perceived as more friendly. So, whichever feels more on-brand for you is the way to go!
I know that society has conditioned us all to refrain from pride, but I think that’s wrong. It’s arrogance that we must avoid. It’s absolutely essential that you own and can feel free to be proud of your accomplishments!
Have you ever considered moving to a different market? Maybe you’re ready for a change of scenery. Or perhaps you’ve heard that more opportunities await in other markets.
It’s true that the days when LA was the only ‘movie town’ in the country, let alone the continent, are gone. Virtually every corner of North America is ripe with productions and every city has its own draw and appeal.
But before you take the plunge, pack up, and load out, here are a few things to consider:
1. Where do you want to go and why?
Do you live in a remote small town that feels isolated and disconnected from the industry? Are you in a big city and feeling lost or overwhelmed by the constant buzzing energy? Does the appeal of a change of scenery excite you? Is the FOMO real? Asking yourself some real tough questions and getting down to the brass tacks of it is vital to understanding what is inspiring your itchy feet. Setting yourself up with a clear intention will change the way you approach the process entirely!
After spending almost a decade in London, I found myself reluctantly back in Toronto, my home turf. Within the first few months of being back, I struggled to feel settled. Work was landing but something still didn’t feel quite right. It was on a blustery winter day that I realized I needed to head south and explore LA. Toronto just wasn’t the right place for me anymore and I wanted to be in the place where the decisions were being made. Truthfully, though, I‘d hit my threshold for the cold. So, I decided to do a little recon mission and check out the city for pilot season. If nothing else, I could escape the dreary winters!
For three years, while my Green Card was being processed, I came down with dozens of other Canadians and every year, I learned to love LA even more. Every year, I took classes, met new people, and got to know the city better, eventually making it official and moving down. If it wasn’t for the first recon mission and the network I started building then, my formal move would have proven to be a lot more difficult, I’m sure of it. Most importantly, I knew LA was where I wanted to be.
2. What do you know about the place you’re interested in going to?
Have you ever paid the city a visit? If you’ve never spent any time in the city of interest, do yourself a favor and go check it out. A week or two is all it takes. Sometimes the idea is better than the reality and you won’t know til you spend some time there.
Do you have the right to work in the place you want to move? Or do you need to apply for a visa, work permit, or residency? Without the right to work, well, you can’t work. If you’re dreaming of moving countries, this is definitely something you’ll want to consult a lawyer on. The moment I knew I wanted to be in LA, I consulted an immigration lawyer to discuss my options and see what would be the right course for me.
4. Do you know anyone who lives there?
Is there a community you can connect with? Your experience moving to a new city will be informed by the people you surround yourself with. By taking classes and going to events, I was able to meet so many new people and then basically choose who I wanted to be in my inner circle. In a new place, friends really do become the family we choose.
5. Research the industry of the place!
What shoots in town? Are there local Film Festivals or events you can tap into? Get to know the players and decision-makers so when you make your entrance, you’re well equipped.
Taking the time to reflect on these points and asking yourself some specific questions can offer you some great insights into how best to make a life-changing decision. One that you’ll be proud you made and feel good about!
You don’t have to tell me that tax time can be dramatic.
Collecting paystubs, statements, 1099s and W2s takes a ton of coordination and time which, as you know, is always in short supply. It can be downright stressful. But sometimes tax time can be…surprising.
Just like every year, when my W-2s come in, I open each one and check it out. I’m pretty organized (spoiler alert: I love a good spreadsheet), so I’m pretty much up-to-date with my theatrical earnings. Commercial residuals can be trickier to know off the top of my head because of the different pay structures associated with each contract type. But I digress…
This year, as I was getting all my tax paperwork in, there were no surprises until I got to the paperwork for a commercial for which I’d been paid approximately $1,200. Shockingly, the W-2 was for just under $10,000. That meant that I was missing $8,700 in commercial residual payments!
Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. In a 2018 story, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that as much as $315 Million in residuals could be going unpaid annually. Yikes!
It’s super important that you approach this situation from a CEO’s point of view. Stay professional, don’t jump to conclusions, be patient and diligent.
I immediately called the payroll company listed on my W-2 and was told by the very helpful accounting rep that commercial residual checks get lost in the mail all the time. Because they’re still using paper checks…in 2022!
So, how can you make sure all your hard-earned $$$ makes it into your pocket?
Keep scans/photos of all your contracts – all you need is your phone’s camera!
You can create albums in your phone’s camera app or offload them onto your computer. Just make sure you know where to find them at the end of the year.
Check your end-of-year tax paperwork
Match all your tax forms up to your paystubs/direct deposits – this doesn’t even require any math! All you have to do is match up the fields labeled “Gross.”
What if they don’t match up?
Request a Talent Earnings Report from the payroll company listed on your W-2 along with copies of the cashed checks. You can do this by email or by phone. I called and had the info emailed to me in less than 5 minutes. Easy-peasy!
Reach out to your reps and ask for a Client Summary Report. This will include the Gross, Net, Tax Deductions & Commissions paid.
From here, you’ll be able to see if your agency received all of your checks.
If checks are missing or unaccounted for, reach out to the payroll company and ask them to cancel any missing checks and reissue them. You can also ask your agency to reach out to payroll on your behalf.
You may still be getting your footing feeling like the badass boss that you are. Fear may sneak in because you don’t want to make waves with your agency or feel accusatory. But remember: this is business. The CEO of any other small business would feel empowered to take care of their finances and you can, too.
It’s up to you to make sure you get every cent of your badass boss paycheck. And you will be a more well-respected business person when you do!
So, what would you do with $8,700 unexpected dollars? Tell me in the comments below.
Sometimes it just feels most comfortable to go with the flow and not rock the boat. But, let’s be honest for a hot sec: giving up your power is uncomfortable, too, and can have negative consequences. By power, we’re not talking brute strength , we mean holding to your boundaries and doing what’s right for you, especially on-set.
In our newest vlog, Coach Eric explores several ways that he sees actors give up their power when they fear being seen as a “difficult” actor. After booking 14 TV shows and commercials last year alone, he’s seen a lot. You may have even done one or more of the things Eric talks about.
So, whether you already feel powerful, or you’re looking for a boost, Coach Eric has some great advice to help you keep hold of your power in our vlog.