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Actor Entrepreneurship

  After spending ten years doing actor marketing it became clear that the best demo reel to have to land the role was one with major television and movie credits. That said there are ways around this - self produce. Build yourself up. It’s pretty hard to beat Hollywood at its own game but what you can do is build your visibility, prestige and income with actor entrepreneurship.  

For example, theater is respected. Doing a play is a nice focus of a campaign. Or even doing a play plus being a part of a web series.

And who’s to say you can’t get sponsors for the program for the play as well as sponsors for the web series whose locations you shoot in.

The sky is the limit with possibilities on how to make money with the craft you love as you build your image and profile to land the bigger fish.

An example of this was producing a series of plays, each at a different theater. Now it’s a known fact that it is very difficult to make a profit on Off Off Broadway theater. We thought outside of the box and traded the theaters commercial time for theater rental. Removing the big expense of the theater allowed us to create a financially successful production.

Also, taped auditions do get results. One of our clients did a taped audition with us and landed a leading regular role on a major TV show. So you never know.

But you need to think like an entrepreneur in the meantime. How can you create an experience that will be interesting for people to work on as well as be compelling to others to watch.

In short, how do you get cooperation for your venture?

It needs to be win-win.

Look at it this way, truth be told most actors don’t make it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be making a living doing it.

There are many ways to approach this including self-producing plays, web series, movies and more. Traditionally these undertakings would be done at a loss, but with a little thinking you can figure out a way to do it where it is successful.

  Sponsorship is a big and important idea when it comes to making a profit. There are two ways you can do it: commercial sponsorship and not-for-profit sponsorship. The first is where you give the sponsor some kind of commercial tie-in. The second is where the sponsor donates to your project because it has some kind of good community cause. You can still be paid in the latter but it is usually as an employee of the not-for-profit and/or fiscal sponsor.  


The important thing is to start the project. We’ve demonstrated how a few lines of a voice over, combined with a bit of clip art can start a venture.

The point is to make sure that every step taken forward is advancing and concretizing the project. You’ve probably heard it before but it is true, don’t listen to naysayers. Set your goals high but also be realistic.

Think in terms of creating a win-win situation. Be very clear about what everyone involved is getting. Someone does not necessarily have to be paid to be involved with something. He or she may want the publicity for example. Or maybe there are philanthropic reasons.

(An excerpt from the SUNY Empire State lecture/workshop series Entertainment Entrepreneurship for Actors)

 

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