WRITTEN BY ANNA LEWKOWSKA
Ah, it’s finally spring! The sun is out longer, the weather is warmer, and we can all breathe a little deeper now that pilot season is done. Hopefully your taxes are in and you’re looking ahead to the coming months. This second quarter of the year is typically the slowest period out of all 4 quarters. It’s a great time for actors to analyze their first 3 months and plan the next 3. Episodic season will start around mid-July, so although things might be slower on the audition front, that same hustle can now be applied to the business end of your career. This includes refreshing or strengthening your marketing materials, deciding on your next phase of training, working on a new skill, reconnecting with your network, or finally creating some of your own content.
But let’s go down this list of 14 things you can possibly be doing during this second quarter in more detail.
(*Keep in mind: If you have representation, per bullet #1, always check in with your reps before investing money or making big changes for your career. They will give you the best advice on what you should be focusing on.)
1. Check In With Your Reps
Say a quick hello and give a thank you for their work on your behalf this year. Ask what they might need from you so that you’re in a strong position for episodic season. When they give you these suggestions, take them and make it happen.
2. Rep Hunt
If you’re not represented, now could be a good time to finally reach out to some agents or managers. Referrals are an excellent way to grab a rep’s attention. Cold emailing can work, too. Otherwise, look into credible showcases to perform in front of agents and managers that you’re targeting.
As your #1 marketing tool, headshots need to stay sharp and up-to-date. Most top photographers book 4-10 weeks in advance, so move quickly. Once your date is set, a good amount of planning needs to be done to have a successful shoot. (A 3-part series on headshots coming out NEXT WEEK!)
Your other great marketing tool is footage. Clips and reels need to be re-evaluated and updated regularly. Did some of the projects you’ve filmed get released recently? Is some of your footage getting old? Did you learn a new skill? Did your look change? Figure out the best way to edit your footage to go after the projects and roles you’re aiming for.
All actors should be strengthening their acting muscle by staying in classes. Always ask yourself if you’re still being challenged and growing in those classes. Then ask yourself if there is another type of class you can add to your resume. Different types of classes include scene study, on-camera, commercial, voice over, voice and speech, improv, singing, or dance. Remember, you can’t get better if you stay inside your comfort zone.
It’s true that this industry is heavily dependent on relationships. Actors should keep track of relationships they’re making and put effort into sustaining or growing those relationships. Perhaps check in with people you haven’t connected with in a while, set some coffee dates, schedule calls, attend workshops with certain CDs, or set goals for new relationships.
7. New Skills
Having a range of abilities will open more doors for an actor. This slower season could be a great time to learn a new skill. Learning a language is an excellent choice. If you’re a singer, knowing how to play an instrument is incredibly complimentary. Martial arts and firearms training would be great on a resume, too. Other popular special skills casting directors look for: skateboarding, surfing, horseback riding, dance abilities.
8. Record Keeping
As in any good business, having good systems in place for record-keeping is crucial. Actors should keep track of a multitude of information and this slow period is a great time to perfect or update these systems or any information within them. Information tracked can include auditions, self-tapes, industry relationships, and finances.
Knowledge is power. The more an actor knows about the industry and its trends, the less that actor will feel helpless or without direction. Commit to reading 1-3 books pertaining to the industry or the craft of acting during this 2nd quarter. Or, start your days getting caught up with industry news from sites like Deadline or The Hollywood Reporter. There’s also plenty of information to learn from podcasts and even YouTube. Knowledge is easier and cheaper to attain than ever before so make sure you’re elevating yourself by always learning.
10. Social Media
Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. If you’re going to post on it anyway, it may be worth spending an afternoon thinking about your strategy. After all, does any successful business in today’s time completely ignore their social media and just post whatever? You are a business so stop yourself anytime you’re not thinking like one (or create a personal & private social media for your family & friends). Think about your brand, your audience, and what you want to to say. Now could be a great time to try something new.
11. Create Your Own Content
You keep hearing everyone say it: creating your own content has never been easier. You don’t need someone’s permission or acceptance to do what you love. You can create your own projects. If this sounds like an incredibly overwhelming idea to you, start with a 2 minute movie. Really. Write a scene in a location that you can get to and try to make the best damn 2 minute movie you can. Then, grow from there. Work with the friends, equipment, locations, programs, and finances you have. Don’t worry about anything you’re not good at- you’ll get better! But you must try. You will feel an incredible sense of power and fulfillment being able to make your own art (where you make yourself the lead character you’ve always wanted to play).
12. Start A Mastermind Group
Pull together a varied group of 6-8 reliable actors and make a pact to meet every second Thursday of the month (or whatever). Spend several hours updating each other on how your businesses are growing, what challenges you are having, and how you plan on achieving your next goals. Bring scripts, put each other on tape, and give constructive criticism. Discuss news in the industry. If done right, such a monthly group can have great, positive effects for everyone in it, but it must be very well organized and not just a hang out.
13. Level Up Your Day Job
If you still have a ‘day job’ outside of acting (no shame!), spend some time considering how you can make more money for less hours of work. Do you need to learn a new skill? Do you need to get a certain certification? Do you need to finally take that leap of faith and launch that Etsy business? Being an actor is a long journey filled with peaks and valleys. Now is the best time to do whatever you need to do to set yourself up to have more reliable side income so that you don’t have to stress when your agent or manager want new headshots or you want to coach before every audition.
14. Leave Town
Sometimes getting away from our normal environments is exactly what we need! Our minds, bodies, and souls need rest from the day-to-day so we can come back refreshed and excited again. I highly suggest leaving whatever city you’re in for at least a few days if you can. But of course, always remember to book out!