So summer is officially here, and what better time to boost your career, brush up on your skills, and make sure you’re taking advantage of these months, instead of chomping down on high-calorie picnic food and developing a beer gut that would only make you marketable if Mall Cop 2 was ever made.
Acting is all about the continuous strive to learn, to grow and to become better. If you’re not constantly evolving, then you’re remaining stagnant with your feet in the mud. So with that in mind, it’s of utmost importance that every actor constantly finds ways to boost their skills, and thus, their career. There a whole host of ways that you can boost your career this summer, anywhere from taking classes, to finding new performing methods to try, networking at summer barbeques, as well as just making sure all your marketing materials are up to date and ready to go when called upon. So what are some of the best ways to boost your career now that summer is here? We’ve outlined some of the most important.
Get In Shape: It’s the summer, so there is absolutely no excuse! The only thing you can blame your frumpy, dumpling shaped body on is the fact that you have chosen to undo your belt and let yourself go. Instead, use the summer as a time to get yourself in your best shape yet! The weather is fantastic — it’s a great time to start running, to partake in one of many boot camps that will be happening all over your city, or get the most bang for your buck out of that gym membership that is sitting on your desk accumulating dust. Acting is just as much about your look as it is your actual skills and talent. If you don’t look the part, you won’t book the part. So unless you’re dead set on becoming the next best character actor, or beefy best friend, then it’s in your best interest to grocery shop at Whole Foods and become a summer fitness fanatic. Being in a shape with a slim figure will do nothing but increase your value and marketability, as well as help you to look fantastic on camera.
Work when other actors aren’t working: By placing your acting career as a top priority this summer, you’re already a cut above the rest. A lot of actors will use the summer as their downtime — they won’t invest their money in acting classes, or any form of training, instead opting for binge cottage weekends and the perfect time to laze away on those long summer evenings. So it’s a great time to get ahead of the program by putting in a lot of hard work. Basically, just continue to work on your skills in whatever form that may be. It could be a summer intensive that you enroll in for two weeks during the heat of the summer, or it could be an ongoing weekly class that you sign up for to make sure you’re fine-tuning your craft on a weekly basis. Just work as much as you can, in whatever form it may be. By making that simple decision, you’re already ahead of lot of people in your industry.
Make sure all your marketing materials are in place: While you’re waiting around for the call and your next audition, you should always make sure that your marketing materials are in tiptop shape. This obviously begins with your headshots. Summer is a great time to get new photos done if your old ones are outdated. You can also build your website, or brush up and spend time cultivating your online presence. Obviously the thought of logging countless hours on your computer this summer is mildly depressing, but find ways to treat yourself with more sunny activities if you get the work done. You can create your own little rewards system, which will probably be the only way you’ll actually get anything accomplished. You can also spend some time and design your own business cards that will promote you as an actor, or whatever skills you may have. Summer is a great time for meeting people and making connections, so it’s also a smart idea to have all your marketing ducks in place including business cards, because you never know who you are going to meet or be introduced to.
Keep a Journal: Even if you’re going to be spending half of your summer travelling around Europe, you can still make some strides in your career, at least from a creativity standpoint. In a recent study conducted at Harvard business school, it became apparent that those who journaled at the end of the day had a 22.8% increase in performance in comparison to those who didn’t. It has also been discovered that journals will improve your creativity and help you make better decisions. This is because writing your experiences and emotions down on paper, help you to articulate and pinpoint the key lessons that you learn in life. This directly relates to acting, as so much of acting is drawing from your own experiences and applying them to the circumstances that your character is facing. So by devoting your summer to keeping a journal every day, you’re going to come into your fall auditions with a much greater understanding of yourself and your own experiences, that will help make you a better, and more emotive actor.
Do Extra Work: Perhaps you’re looking for another job this summer, or another revenue stream. Instead of going out and applying for some other dead-end bar job, you should sign up with an extras agency. Even if you consider yourself “above” extra work, it’s a great way to stay in the game through the summer. There should be tons of big productions coming through your city, so there will be countless opportunities to be on set. This is just another way to get yourself closer to what it is you really want to be doing. Also, this relates to networking, but the opportunity to meet other like-minded industry people will be there every single day that you’re on a set. Don’t count it out, but rather look at all the benefits it will bring you, as there are many!
Network. Network. Network: Summer is a great time to be social. There are parties, barbeques, small film festivals, and industry functions happening on a regular basis. That’s why it’s essential that all your marketing materials are updated, so that you can feel confident going out there and promoting yourself. I would suggest taking a look online and seeing what is happening in your industry, in your city for the summer, that way you can schedule out some of the most important events that you may want to attend. You should find another actor friend or two that is interested and can make a point that you’re going to attend the events together, which is a great way to have someone to lean on for social support when you’re at a party where you potentially don’t know anyone. Just by being social this summer, meeting and talking to as many people as possible, you’re surely going to make some headway in your career.
Take an Improv Class: It’s understandable that enlisting in a demanding scene study class that will require you to memorize pages of dialogue on a weekly basis might be a little too much to ask out of you this summer. So another alternative that would require much less out-of-class practice is to sign up for an improv class. This way all you’ll really have to do is show up for the classes when they’re scheduled and be present in the moment. That’s a much more realistic expectation of yourself when the weather is hot, and the outdoors are so darn inviting. Plus improv training is essential in helping you improve as an actor in ways such as, helping you with the audition process, helping to diminish your fear of failure, as well as helping you learn to relax, listen, and be present in the moment of your scene.
Shoot your own passion project: A lot of filmmakers, writers, and actors will be looking for stuff to work on this summer. So finally taking the initiative and putting your own project in action is a great thing to do. The days are long, the weather is great, it’s the best time of year to get out there and shoot stuff of your own. There’s no excuse for not getting some of your film friends together and creating a short film, or starting to shoot your own web series. Dedicate your summer to making things happen, particularly those projects that you’d previously thrown way back on the back burner.
Summer 2014 is here and before you know it, it will be gone. Do you want to create the best Facebook photo album ever from that wild trip you and your friends took? Or would you rather do the work that most people aren’t willing to put in and get yourself closer to your dreams so you’re in a better place come the fall? While the first option might seem like the golden goose right now when you see beautiful people scantily dressed everywhere, but you don’t want to look back on your summer and be overcome with regret. Plus, regret doesn’t feel very good with a sunburn.