Chelsea’s Tips & Links
I get questions about my journey as an actress, especially from people who want to enter the entertainment industry. I can’t tell anyone else what will work for them, but I am pleased to share what worked for me — as well as other tips & links that might be helpful.
Question: How do you get an agent?
If you are outside of L.A., Atlanta, N.Y. or one of the larger cities, I would do a google search and find out the names of the agents in your community. Then, call them on the phone and make an appointment! That worked for me.
But don’t do that in NYC. Agents don’t look kindly on people they don’t know who call them on the phone, or who stop into their office without an appointment. Better to meet them through an actor’s seminar or showcase.
I got my NYC agent by participating in Bobby Holder’s TAPNYC (The Actor’s Project NYC). Website: http://theactorsprojectnyc.com/
TAPNYC is specifically designed to assist actors in finding agents, and they produce off-Broadway showcases which are well attended by industry members, including agents, managers, directors and producers.
There are a lot of other seminars and showcases which promise industry introductions and you just need to find which one is right for you. Sending headshots/resumes to selected agents is always what is recommended in the books, but I really think they need to see you perform in person before they call you in. And, of course, you need tools and training so that you have something to show . . . that will be explained below.
Question: What tools do you need?
You need to get headshots by a reputable photographer. Again, there are many choices, and you need to find someone whose work appeals to you. Your headshots should look professional.
- You need to have a resume. Your resume lists your basic information, credits, training and skills. You can find lots of samples by doing an online,search and you can make resumes through the breakdown services that will be listed below. Different services use different formats. Here are some of mine:
In the beginning, my resume was lopsided, with more training listed on the resume than credits. After a bit, you have to pare down the resume and list only a few credits. That’s hard for me to do, as I like everything I’ve done . . .
Once you have done enough filmed work, you can also get a demo reel which includes snippets from your filmed work and serves as a giant commercial (for some examples, see my film & theatrical demos at http://www.chelseaclark.us/film-voiceover-demos/). Other tools that I use are my website, promo postcards which announce plays, films and other events (http://www.chelseaclark.us/postcards/) and a “calling card” to hand out to people that you meet. You can also start your own youtube channel, where you can show your work. Mine is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv1N7mMqn_HlEwGhsbMAS2w
Question: What about training?
Just about every book you read on acting will tell you that it’s important to train. Depending on what your goals are, you may need private voice lessons, dance lessons, etc. There are many fine acting classes in NYC and elsewhere. To see my own experience with training in my hometown (Columbus, Ohio) and in NYC: http://www.chelseaclark.us/chelsea-clark-sag-aftra-nyc-actress/training/
I go to sites that list breakdowns. There are many of them out there, but these are the ones that I have found to be the most useful for me to find work in NYC:
Actors Access: http://www.actorsaccess.com/
Casting Networks: http://www.castingnetworks.com
Generally speaking, except for Playbill, you need to “join” these sites, which involves $$. But the sites allow you to build a resume which you can use for submissions. You can even print out the resumes that you have built on these sites to use for auditions. Some of the sites are also used by your agent to submit you — your agent will tell you which ones they need.
Of course, you also find work through the people that you know — writers, actors, directors, friends and agents who either give you leads or ask you to be in a production.
I hope that these tips & links have been useful. Please let me know if there are any other questions that I can answer about my own journey. Hopefully, some of what has worked for me, will work for you. Break a leg!