It’s that time of year… Yes, the holidays, but also the time to begin focusing on the New Year. How was your 2018? Was it as productive as you’d planned? How is next year shaping up? Now is the time to start preparing for a more focused and productive 2019.
I recently met with a new client. He wanted to talk about getting his materials together and creating a website. He wants to begin marketing himself more effectively locally and in other markets. He laid out his thoughts, the materials he has and those he needs to obtain, and asked me what I thought. I told him, “That’s exactly what you need to be doing right now.” The business, no matter what size market you are in, slows down at the end of the year. That doesn’t mean the actor’s work should slow down. By all means, enjoy the holidays, relax, spend time with friends and family but keep in mind things will start up again soon. Take advantage of the quiet time to focus on tasks you’re not able to during the busier time of year.
What kind of tasks? The end of year lull is the perfect time for you to establish new goals. Take some time to think about how things went this year. What were your accomplishments? (Remember to celebrate them.) What would you like to accomplish in the coming year? Write down the incremental steps that will lead to those achievable goals.
Another assignment you can give yourself – headshots. Are you happy with your shots? Are they up to date – do you look like your shots? Are they effective – are you being called in after submitting them? If it’s time for a change, this is the perfect time of year to research photographers, define your believable types and the specific shots you would like to have to represent yourself.
Have you been feeling out of shape as an actor, wanting to challenge yourself or try something new? You can research training opportunities during this down time. And you don’t have to just focus on on-camera training or monologue and scene work. If you’ve had your share of that for a while look to an improv class, or singing or dance lessons. Find other creative outlets that will inspire you to make bold choices or add to your skills as an actor.
You could also be researching playwrights and reading plays to find and begin working on new monologues. Times change and so does your age range. Have you been doing the same pieces for years? Are you concerned about showing the same piece to a director, writer and or casting director for the second or third time? Have you wanted to work on a new and different playwright’s material? There are many reasons to find new pieces. Another great one is to be challenged by something new.
You can also do as my new consulting client is doing and create a website. Establish a spot on the web that is all yours, curated by you. Give people a location they can go to find out more about you, what you’ve done, what you’re doing, what you’ll be doing next. Create your virtual portfolio to display your work samples; resume, headshots, production shots, demos. You are a business, and most businesses have a website. Last point I’ll make on websites – I had a director from out of state contact me this year, out of the blue. He was directing a show in Minnesota. He was having difficulty filling a role and Googled “Minnesota actors.” I appeared in the results and he was able to find out who I am, what I’ve done, what I was working on at the time, and see work samples to determine if I was right for his project. He emailed me through my website and we scheduled an audition for his project.
Each of these actor tasks, and many others, can be done throughout the year. However, this quiet time is the perfect opportunity to pick one or two projects to focus on, while you have more time to work in earnest, as opposed to when the industry is in full swing. Take advantage of it. It will ramp up before you know it!