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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back to Basics

After a week off from the radio show, I thought that this week it might be good to go back to the beginning.

Now, one thing that I've noticed is that actors with some training under their belts are really worried about anything resembling the words "beginning" or "basic".  The response normally goes something like this, "Ummm.  I'm kind of... beyond... this stuff."

Knock it off, guys.  Seriously.  Nothing marks you as an amateur more than complaining that you're "past" needing the basics.  Or that you can't learn if you're surrounded by less experienced actors.  Some of the biggest lessons I've learned have been from newbies.

Now, I understand the desire to work with those that will push you to excel and exceed your own expectations for yourself.  I get it.  But remember that acting is a little bit like martial arts.  A black belt can be beaten by a white belt if the white belt is concentrating and focused.  Same deal with actors.  Surround yourself with both experienced and inexperienced actors if you want to train yourself for what's truly out there in the industry.  And choose to study with dedicated actors, regardless of their experience level.  After all, we were all beginners at one point, right?

This week, we'll be talking first and foremost about conflict--what it does for us, why we want it, how we get it.  My guess is that we'll use up all our time on that one topic.  It's a good one.  So, if you have questions about conflict, leave them here, @ or DM me on my Twitter stream or email me at actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com.

So, I'll admit that the response to my last blog entry was a titch... underwhelming.  So, if you're reading this, I'm going to ask again for your individual response.  If you, just you, could follow my blog if you aren't already, follow my blogtalkradio page, and/or subscribe to my iTunes podcast, I would be so grateful.  It should take all of about 3 minutes.

If you're feeling ambitious, write a review or a comment on each.  Time commitment factor?  Tops...10 minutes.  Keep in mind how much time and energy I put into the tweets, the blogs, the radio shows, the email responses.  I'm not complaining.  Just asking for some help with some stuff that requires nothing from you but a little time.  A very little time. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Call to Action


Today I'm talking about something completely different.  I'm not going to have a radio show this week, as I will be filming on Thursday.  So, during the break, I'm asking for some help from you all.

As many of you know, I've been tweeting, blogging and doing a radio show for quite a while now, putting out acting advice, practical tips on how to navigate the industry and principles on how to self-market.  All of this I have been doing for free, because I love acting and I would love for up-and-coming actors to be able to avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into when I began my journey.

When I went to grad school, I was married with one child.  When I left we had two.  So I completely understand that many of you are in financial straits.  For this reason, it doesn't offend me when I ask for donations and receive none or when I get many requests for information on my online acting classes but few actual enrollments.  Money is tight.  I totally get it.

Now as a side note, I will say that if you're serious about acting, you will need to learn how to sacrifice what you want in the short term for what you want in the long run at some point.  Acting classes, whether you take them from me or someone else, are really a necessity if you want to have a chance at a life-long career.  Word to the wise.

There are some things that I ask for that require nothing from you but a little time or effort.  And when I say "little" I mean "teeny-tiny".  These are things that would help me to secure sponsors that would allow me to subsidize some of the time and energy (and money) that I put into this effort.

What I need is follows, subscriptions, reviews and comments.  These cost absolutely NOTHING.  Where I need them is here on my blog, on my blogtalkradio page and on my iTunes page.  You may be thinking, "I'm just one person.  One follow, one comment, one review... how much good is that going to do?"  LOTS.  Lots and lots and lots.  First off, it helps me to know that I'm not just putting this stuff out into the void.  It lets me know I'm doing some good.  More important that my fragile ego, however, is the ability to attract sponsors that will allow me to continue doing this indefinitely.

So, if you like what I'm doing here, let me know.  Show support for my blog, my Twitter stream, my radio show and my iTunes page.  No cost to you, lots of benefits for me.  I've done my best to scratch your back.  Now I'm looking for a little quid pro quo.

I want to take a quick second and thank those that have done this already.  I truly appreciate it, and I don't want you to feel like your efforts have been in vain.  It's been those of you who have commented, emailed, followed and subscribed that have kept me going up to this point.  THANK YOU!!!

One final plug for my classes.  If you're thinking about taking them, stop thinking and start DOING!  Not sure that you can do the times listed?  Talk to me about times that work for you.  You may find that I open up another section right when you need it.  Have questions?  Email me {actingwithoutthdrama (at) gmail (dot) com}.  Otherwise, sign up at the top of the page.

Lastly, if you do have a little spare change, head over to my donations page.  As much as all the above may help long-term, an infusion of cash is a HUGE help.  There's nothing that I would love more than to go back up to the hour-long format on my radio show.  Even if it's just a dollar or two, every cent counts.

So, guys... do me a solid, in whatever way you can.  And remember, we're only actors if we continue to act.  So get out there!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tweet, Tweet... This Twitter Thingy's Sweet

Twitter branding--which bird are you??

So, last week we talked about some of the basics of Twitter.  We discussed how Twitter works, what makes it fundamentally different from other social media sites and what to look at in a potential follower.

Now it's time to get serious.

When I say "serious" here, please take it with a grain or two or three of salt.  While there are some things that we can do to increase our presence online, reach out to other industry folk and improve the trajectory of our acting careers, it doesn't have to be filled with angst and frowns.  Let's apply my catchphrase here and remove the unnecessary drama from the process.

What we're going to talk about this week is branding.  How to brand ourselves, how to brand our streams, and how to use that information when dispersing our branded tweets, commercial tweets and social tweets out to our followers.  If reading that last sentence has you hyperventilating, sit down, breath deep and trust that there's nothing here you can't handle.  Promise.

Basically, your brand is you... distilled.  We want your essence here.  What makes you different, unique, special.  What makes you cast-able, interesting, worth listening to.  Now, your initial reaction may be to scream, "I got nothing!" and then bury your head in the sand.  But trust me, you have something worthwhile.

So, let that information percolate in your brain over the next few days.  Start thinking about what your brand might be.  Watch my stream and ask yourself, "What's @Actingnodrama's brand?  Why is he tweeting what he's tweeting?"  It's possible I don't have a reason (not likely, but possible), but asking yourself the question will set you on the right road.

Then join me for my online radio show, this Thursday at 8 pm PST.  I'll be going over all of the above in much greater detail.  Call in with your questions, or, if you're just too overwhelmed, @ or DM me on my Twitter stream or leave a question here in the comments.  I want to hear from you.

Then, take a second and consider taking my online acting classes.  All of the information you get on my stream, here in my blog and on my radio show, but directly applied to YOU in real-time.  How awesome is that?  There really is nothing better you can do for your acting and your acting career.  Sign up at the top of my blog, or email me with your questions (actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com).

*Quick update!  My business partner, Carolyn McCray (@craftycmc and @writingnodrama) has an article up on Digital Book World's site right now about how to best sell your ebooks on Amazon.com.  If you're a writer or have any interest in where the industry's going right now, you have to check this out by going here!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This Career's for the Birds


We talk about marketing ourselves all the time on this blog.  I think it's high time we talked about marketing ourselves on Twitter.

Twitter is one of the best social media tools around for the purposes of self-promotion.  The way it's set up, the method of communication, everything seems perfectly suited for getting the word out about something.  In our case, that something is ourselves.

There are several things we want to consider as we launch into the dangerous and fail-whale-infested waters that are Twitter.  The one that we're going to talk about in this blog is, do we know who we are?  By that, I mean that we need to understand our "brand" as actors.  I, for example, am a teacher.  I went to a top grad school.  I worked in both theatre and film.  I ran an acting for film program for one of the largest film schools out there.  For me, the "brand" is someone that has experience and knows what he's doing.

That's not all of my brand, though.  You'll also notice that I talk about my family.  I do that because that's part of who I am.  I'm also kind (or at least I strive to be).  I believe in the power of dreams and imagination.  I think we are ultimately responsible for our own success or lack thereof.

All of those things factor into who I am, and are (I believe) represented in my Twitter stream.

When I talk about "brand", don't just immediately assume that it's something that you need to make up to try to be marketable.  When I talk about your brand, I'm talking about the best part of you.  The things that make you unique.  That makes you attractive to potential casting directors, directors and producers.  Because in spite of the fact that Hollywood is perceived to be a bunch of fake poseurs, what attracts people more than anything else (good looks, a perfect body, sex appeal, etc.) is authenticity.

So, join me this Thursday at 8 pm Pacific Standard Time for my radio show, where we can talk more in depth about branding, plus some specifics about how Twitter can be used.

A quick note about the radio show and this blog (as well as my Twitter stream).  I love providing what I can for up-and-coming actors and those that love the craft.  There are some things that would make it SO much easier for me, without costing you anything more than a little bit of time. 

Follow and comment on my blog--the more follows and interaction, the greater chance of sponsors.  Follow (and "favorite" and comment on) my radio show here--again, the more follows and "favorites" and comments, the greater chance of sponsors.  Also, subscribe to, review and comment on my iTunes page here.  Same reasons as above. :)

Would I love you to donate to my radio show?  Would it be great if you were to take my online acting classes (see the top of this blog)?  Absolutely!  But I also understand that many of you are flat broke.  So I'm giving you things to do that cost you absolutely NOTHING!  Please help me out by taking just a little of your time.

With that said, let's get out there and market ourselves!