WOW! I actually can't believe that this year is already almost over!! At the end of every year I like to reflect on what I have learned throughout the year. In 2012, the main lesson that I have learned is to "keep moving". As with any year, there are good times and some hard times that we all experience. For me in Hollywood, 2012 has definitely been an interesting year! Honestly, it's been pretty tough at times. Pursuing a dream and not seeing immediate results can be hard, and financially it's very difficult to keep moving. However, all of my experiences have made me stronger. Throughout some of the more difficult things that I have been through this year, I have been able to see some amazing things happen as well. I credit my friends and family to helping me stay positive and smile! PLUS I have some amazing fans (DALIENS!) who help me to keep moving forward, and help keep a smile on my face everyday!! I have been incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to close out this year with nearly 10,000 DALIENS--so amazing. One of the most important things to me is acceptance of everyone. I take comfort knowing that my fans agree with this. I am very happy to feel that in a small way, the DALIENS and I can share a positive messages to people around the globe and hopefully, help someone smile! 2012 lesson learned for me is that even in difficult times, we can remain positive, never give up, and KEEP MOVING! As always, thank you for supporting me. All of your kindness throughout this year has helped to keep a smile on my face every single day!!
What's up everyone!! I'm glad you're back here at "Behind The Sign" to educate yourself more on what to avoid if you're planning to tackle Hollywood!! As mentioned in Tip 1, there are scams everywhere in Hollywood. There are a lot of low-lifes who will do anything to get money out of you, at the expense of your dreams. Don't let that happen.
Tip 2- Acting Coaches charging WAY too much for classes/coaching
OK, let's say you've made it to Hollywood! Welcome to the land of sunshine and craziness!! One of the most important things that you need to do is look into a great acting coach to help you if you're considering pursuing a career in the performing arts. There are hundreds of acting teachers and coaches in LA. There are also hundreds who know NOTHING and can't really do anything for you except help drain your bank account. In fact, I've heard of a big-name acting coach out here who claims that he/she is actually "THE BEST in LA." That's ridiculous to me!! Fact is, NO ONE is the best!! Some acting coaches are very good, don't get me wrong. However as with everything else in this industry, YOU must choose who is best for YOU to work with. Essentially, all acting classes are going to do is teach you to be natural under "unnatural circumstances." You do NOT need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on classes just because someone has a "good name" that you can add to your resume.
Most LEGIT acting teachers have a tremendous amount of experience in the entertainment business, and they do not need to prove that to you by charging a ton of money to join their class. AND BY THE WAY- those "modeling schools" or "acting camps" are usually B.S. It depends, (there ARE some good ones) but usually they're crap and charge THOUSANDS!!. (Just want you to be aware!!) Always audit a class before signing up. Auditing means that you go and check out the class for free, see if you like the teacher and see if it is a good fit for you. In my opinion, if a class costs more than about $100 dollars per session, look elsewhere. Personally, the teachers that I have learned the most from are not teaching because they want money, or because they failed to reach their goals as actors. They LOVE teaching and LOVE to help you!! And they don't charge an arm and a leg to share their information with you. SO go audit and do your research! Personally, I recommend Carolyne Barry, Christinna Chauncey and Billy Hufsey if you're looking for a great coach. I say this because I have studied with these people. There are many more greats, so go find them!! Don't spend thousands on illegitimate programs that will just rob you!! Tip 3 coming soon!! :D
I have many people ask my opinion about what could be a scam and what is legit here in Hollywood. Let me tell you: there are TONS of scams in this business. Here's a couple of RED FLAGS to look out for if you're searching for an agent or a manager.
HOLLYWOOD SCAM TIP #1:
AGENTS/MANAGERS ASKING YOU MONEY UP FRONT
OK. Once an agent or manager asks for money up front, turn and run away!! NO ONE in the entertainment business should ask for money up front. Period. Rule of thumb is: When YOU make money, the agent and manager makes money. You should NEVER pay them until THEY get you a job. Agents normally charge 10% of what you make, and managers usually take 15% of your paycheck. This includes agents asking you to get "new headshots" and then sending you to a photographer that they demand that you to go to. They can absolutely recommend photographers to you, but they should NEVER require that you go to the one that they want.
Check SAGAFTRA.org for a list of union franchised agencies. These agencies are usually among the best because they are regulated by union rules. Also, managers do NOT have to be a part of a union to operate. (I'm referring to California regulations by the way.) So be VERY careful when selecting a manager. I personally don't think you need one until you're working very regularly. As I constantly mention, YOU must be your own manager and agent. When you do decide to hire an agent or manager, make sure they are the right fit for you. And be a "PLEASANT PEST"!! It's their job to help get you work, so I say annoy them relentlessly (in the most pleasant, non-stalkerish way possible!!) until they get you more auditions! -----SCAM TIP 2 coming soon!!
Jesse Daley is an actor and a writer who lives and works in Hollywood, California.