Actors who’re just starting out in their careers often give attention to getting an agent. Whilst having a good agent or manager is very valuable, and, at some stages in your career, necessary, you will find so many things that you can certainly do by yourself to manage yourself and advance your career. You may be your own manager! It’s very empowering. Here are 17 ways to manage your own acting career.
What Are Some Guidelines To Managing Your Own Acting Career?
1. Submit yourself on acting roles.
Straight away, you are able to sign up for websites such as Actors Access and LA Casting and have use of a number of breakdowns for film, TV, commercial and theatre projects. My advice is to check these daily and to submit yourself in a timely fashion. Casting directors often get 1000s of submissions, and you need yours at the top of the pile. Be specific and selective about what you submit yourself on. Always check the dates and the pay rates. Also, make sure that the “type” is a close match to yours – you want to be as consistent as possible in how you submit yourself to casting.
2. Create your own content.
The beauty of today’s market is that you can create your own personal work, and share it with ease. There isn’t a need to own fancy equipment or perhaps a large budget to generate content to generally share online and on social media. Get creative. What are you currently passionate about? Do you wish to be on a TV sitcom? Then create your own personal web series. Do you wish to star in dramatic features? Create and act in your dramatic short film. Find writers and creators to collaborate with and have fun making a passion project! You’ll build relationships with fellow creative’s, you will learn a lot, and you will have content to generally share which showcases your abilities. A complete win-win-win!
3. Build relationships.
It really is about “who you know.” But to take it one step further, your success and happiness in this industry will depend upon the quality, depth, and strength of the relationships that you have. Building authentic relationships together with your peers in the market is everything. And this comes from your being of service and adding value to other people’s lives. Rather than from a place of “exactly what do I get from this person?” think “exactly what can I give to the person?” Pitch in on other people’s film and theatre projects. Share resources on social media. Volunteer for an arts-related organization. Offer to greatly help your writer friends read through their scripts. Attend networking events, and really connect with people, and get to understand who they are.
4. Be a joiner.
Joining groups, classes, theatre companies, and collectives are typical great ways to generally meet like-minded artists, to build relationships, and to take part in your passions. Community is everything. The more you’re creating with others, the more you will create with others! Consider taking acting classes at an acting studio or joining an improve troupe. Or find an area theatre company and volunteer in the box office. Or you can even subscribe to some kind of group that is skill-based, like a community choir or a martial arts class. While these aren’t acting classes, they are great skills to possess, and sometimes you can have the largest breakthroughs in your career when you’re following your passions.
5. Leverage social media.
It’s no secret that individuals are now actually launching and advancing successful careers using social media. There are many successful actors, artists and musicians who gained vast exposure through YouTube, Vine, and other outlets. Do your research. Watch how some of the very successful social media marketing users are engaging with their followers. Determine what qualities and traits set you apart from others and decide which social media marketing platforms are the best fit for you. Whatever you choose, be consistent. Engage your followers and work out how you can add value to their lives. The exact same rules apply to social media marketing as to in-person networking. When creating your tweets, posts, etc., you want to think “Exactly what do I give today?”
6. Market yourself.
Obviously, alongside your active social networking accounts, you should leverage both online and offline marketing tools to market yourself to casting directors and industry professionals. In today’s world, you’re just a couple clicks from educating yourself on how to build an internet site or online newsletter, and how to utilize programs such as Photoshop and iMovie. In just a matter of days, you are able to build a really efficient and visually appealing website using platforms such as WordPress and Wix. MailChimp is really a super user-friendly platform for building mailing lists and sending newsletters. There are also very basic and free online graphic design programs such as Canva.com, where you are able to design social networking banners in addition to postcards to print. And if you wish to inform yourself on how to use nearly any type of software or digital tool, you are able to go to websites such as Udemy.com to take classes…as well as just search for tutorial videos on YouTube.
7. Enjoy the process
As always, enjoy the journey of building your career. Being your own manager can be a very empowering thing. The more you are creating your own opportunities and booking work on your own, the more opportunities you will have to connect with the right agent or manager who will really add value to your career and life. We wish you all the best as you embark on your next steps to creating the career of your dreams!
8. Set small goals regularly
When it comes to annual reviews, there is so much focus on goals for the year. A year is a long time; too long in fact to set tangible, achievable goals. Therefore, it is far wiser to set smaller goals throughout the year. Think about your day-to-day work. What could you be doing to elevate that work? Are there skills you could learn to help you advance? Think about this for a bit, and then make a list of goals that relate to these items. And then, once you’ve set the goals, give yourself a deadline to have learned these things. When you’ve hit the deadline… give yourself a grade. Seriously, it works. Did you do it? Did you do it well? Then ask someone else how they would score or grade you on these new skills. Then rinse and repeat.
9. Stretch yourself
The smartest of us say that success is just outside our comfort zone. So, it goes without saying that you must stretch beyond your area of expertise. Do something that scares you. Don’t like public speaking, start signing up for presentations at work or networking events. Does it terrify you to put your industry thoughts out there? Ask someone for the opportunity to guest post. Whatever gives you the collywobbles; sign up for it, today.
10. Get feedback
While self-assessment is important, it is also important to get feedback. And it is important to get feedback all the time. I happen to ask at the end of each and every meeting I lead with the following questions: “What really worked for you?” and “What would make it even better if?” You can learn a lot from these two questions. So much about your work product and performance can be gleaned with these two questions. Give it a try and see what you learn.
11. Curate your work
Do you have any idea how many amazing things you’ve done this year? Probably not, because you aren’t curating that great work anywhere to revisit it. There are countless places for you to store this work in a cloud. Check out dropbox, CredHive, or OneDrive and start curating your work. When you’ve got a great file of work you’ve produced and are proud of, it’s like writing your resume as you go. It is also easy to share with your manager at review time. You’re better prepared to wow them when you’ve got yourself visual proof of your awesomeness.
12. Be curious about your industry
Spend time each and every week as a student of your industry or company. Study your industry and company as if there is a constantly approaching final exam. Ask questions of people in your space. Ask questions to your manager and colleagues. Ask your company customers how they feel. Develop thoughtful insights about the industry and your company. And don’t be shy about sharing those insights.
Spend time reading blogs big and small. Spend time reading books about your profession. Read business books that stretch your thinking. But at the end of the day… read. Reading new things can start conversations when you’re networking and can also build your own career with new ways to do things and different work and life hacks to make life flow a little more smoothly.
14. Network brilliantly
Never, ever, ever send a standard LinkedIn invite. Ever. I cannot stress this enough. Personalize the message and tell the recipient what you need from them and how you can help them as well. If you do not know someone, ask someone in your network for an introduction. Networking brilliantly is about leaving a positive impression. And it isn’t just LinkedIn. Attend industry events, local events and meet as many people as you can. This will also help in being curious about your industry.
15. Get a mentor
Mentors are great resources for all of these elements. Need feedback? Ask your mentor. Need to bounce off industry or company insights? Looking for ways to stretch… Mentor!
16. Get a protégé
Conversely, a good protégé, can also be a tremendous resource to learn from as well. A protégé can bust some of your paradigms. They can also expose you to new thinking and present you with new ways to solve problems and look at things.
17. ABL (Always be listening)
Even if you are really happy in your current role, it never hurts to listen to other opportunities and build relationships with new people in the industry. These relationships may build in the future because you never know how you will cross paths in the future. Always be open to new opportunities and people, plus it feels really good when you get noticed!