Last week, I found out that I booked a Top 5 billed role in a new made for TV movie! It was a direct offer, no audition. I started crying the moment I found out, it was such an incredible feeling. Whenever I book something, I like to reflect on the instances that led up to the booking: was it a self-submission? Do I know the casting? Do I know the director or producer? I am excited to share with y’all some ideas as to how I booked this little baby that I hope will help you in your career.
Connecting on Common Ground with Filmmakers
The TV movie is being directed by a friend of mine (Colin), someone I met through a mutual friend years ago. We connected over our love of Star Wars. It was an instant connection over Yoda and Han Solo and the Jedi. When we both realized we were in the entertainment industry, it only seemed natural to do a Star Wars fan film together. That’s how our producing relationship started! We decided to shoot a short he’d written. I played a Jedi, and he directed. He found that I was not only a talented actress, but also great at producing good content on a low budget level. I found that he communicated well with actors and had a clear idea of how he wanted to tell a story.
Adding Value to a Project After the Cameras Stop Rolling
After our Star Wars fan film, we produced a horror short together. It was an amazingly challenging and fun ride. Working together strengthened our friendship. We gained respect for each other’s process, as well as the desire to work together again and again. Colin was thrilled that I used my social media as a platform to share details about the project to fans, industry people, etc. He thinks the promotion I did contributed to the festival awards and press we received.
Finding the Win-Win:
Maintaining Relationships with your Industry Friends
Since our horror short, we haven’t produced anything together again yet, although we are in the very early stages of two feature films.
However, we are in the early stages of two feature films. Over the past 2 years, Colin and I met regularly for lunch and coffee to continue to support each other and ensure that we stayed focused on completing the projects. We also supported each other by attending
screenings or sharing crowd funding links on social media. This support created a mutual trust between us and we became real friends. As Colin is moving up in his career, he wants someone he trusts on set wit
h him as one of his actors. He knows how I work, and I know how he works. It’s a win-win for both of us.
I have shared my reel multiple times across all my social media channels. I’ve invited my industry friends to screenings and events. I’ve let people see my work as an artist. Although that is sometimes scary to do, it leads to so much more! I remember inviting my Colin to my feature film’s theatrical run. I didn’t care if it was going to be a good or bad movie, but I did want to share with people the fact that I could carry a feature film. He of course loves movies and was happy to support. This then led to a great post screening discussion about what worked in the movie and what didn’t. It was such a good night of bonding and learning. Being vulnerable and sharing your work with others is a great way to not only stay on people’s radars, but also to create opportunity to discuss your art and your opinions with other artists. Because we respect and trust each other, both of us know we can offer honest feedback for projects. He agreed that I had shown the world I could carry a feature film, and I was so grateful that he’d come to the theater to see it.
Ask for What You Want with Grace and Gratitude
When Colin shared with me he was offered a directing role on a TV movie, I was ecstatic for him! I knew this was going to make his career shine and saw how hard he had to get to this point. Over lunch one day, we started chatting about his upcoming film. That’s when I asked him if there were any roles that fit me well. He responded with, “Yeah, I think there are.” Then we chatted about the logistics of the project. A few days later he emailed me a script and told me which role I would be playing. And that was it– I’d booked it! I responded with so many thanks, letting him know how grateful I was to be a part of the project.
I’d also shown how talented I was through our past projects, how invaluable I was in the promotion process, and how easy-going I would be on this film. It was a no-brainer for him, in all honesty, because people just want to work with people that they like and trust. I had a proven track record.
Finally, Do Amazing Work
Now that I’ve booked it, my focus is to do amazing work for the film. All of my day to day routine of working on marketing materials to acting classes to communications with industry friends to emails with my manager are all foundational pieces that are necessary to build a career. While on set, my focus is to stay amazingly healthy and create an awesomely developed character. Cause that’s the point of all of this right? Telling stories!
The biggest thing I want actors to take away from this is that these types of friendships are based on a genuine connection and support. Whether it’s mutual fandom for a specific film or series or book, or a love for a hip restaurant, finding commonality leads to long term friendships and potentially amazing working relationships. Which makes this crazy beautiful journey we are on even more sweet. 🙂
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