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December 22, 2011

GUEST POST by Weston McCready: If Opportunity Knocks

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Acting isn’t working.


By that I mean it takes more than auditioning and waiting for the phone to ring if you want to stand out in this industry.

Thanks to Weston McCready for saying this so succinctly in his guest post, below.

Be sure to follow Weston on Twitter @westonmccready and subscribe to his blog.

-Kahlil (at) gigsmacked (dot) com

Weston’s Wisdom:

You will often hear the phrase “Right place, at the right time.” It can happen at any moment in the most unlikeliest of places. It is like getting struck by lightning. Some people find a job by talking to some random stranger who happens to own a company and is hiring. You find that perfect gift for a loved one while standing in line and someone puts it down and leaves and in that moment you were “In the right place, at the right time.” And some actors managed to launch their careers by being in the right place at the right time. But that doesn’t mean you should go through life with blinders on like a driven horse and accept what happens just hoping to one day be “In the right place, at the right time.” You can improve your chances.

What am I talking about? How can this happen? Okay, I’ll give you an example. I am sure most of you know Harrison Ford but do you know how he got the role of Han Solo? Well he was in the audition room… a script reader. He would sit there setting up actors for their lines by reading the opposite part in the scene. This ended up leading to Harrison getting an audition for Han Solo. The rest is history. He was “In the right place, at the right time.” He took the job as a reader and so put himself in a better position to meet producers, casting directors and even directors.

If you want to make it as an actor you need to focus on your career and try and put yourself in the right situation for success. There are very few actors who just happen to get discovered off the streets these days. Everyone knows someone. You need to stand out from the pack. So what do you do? Here’s some advice. Ask peers and fellow performers you have worked with, “What are my best attributes? What am I best at in your eyes?” It could be the stage, or comedy. Maybe you play a great straight man/woman. Figure it out. Then focus on that attribute and try to promote it. Make a video and post it on YouTube. Come up with a short play with some fellow actors and see what theater festivals run in your area and get in on the action. Check if casting houses in your region need readers.

If I have said this once, I will say it a thousand times. Talk to people. Network with people in your field. Attend screenings and plays and industry functions. Let people see your face. Get in the action. Improve any chance you might have of being “In the right place, at the right time.

If you think that by just auditioning and doing nothing else that you will make it, good luck. It may happen. And you might get struck by lightning sitting in a lazy boy of your fifth floor apartment of a 20 story building while watching Chelsea Lately! eating Cheetosin your underwear. Or you can improve your chances and walk to the top of a hill in a thunderstorm holding a lightning rod screaming out lyrics to Ava Maria and your chances will be very conceivable. Although I do not recommend doing this.

I may not be household name or act for a living, but I can promise you every day I plan and ask myself, “what do I have to do to make my break?” I know one day I will be “In the right place, at the right time.” The only question is when.

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