Why 90% of Actors Are Doing it Wrong.

What has always been a surprise to me is the amount of the emails I receive from Actors around the world looking for a tip on how to break into the biz . . . and fast.

In fact, do you know what the most popular blog that I’ve ever written is?  No, it’s not the crowdfunded Godspell, or the live-streamed Daddy Long Legs.

It’s this one, which is all about Actors.

I don’t know why I’m so surprised.  While this blog may be called TheProducersPerspective, it’s for all artrepreneurs out there looking for a little insight into our biz that could give them a leg (and an arm) up.  Because they’re gonna need it!

And since the acting world is much more competitive than any other profession in our industry (thanks to the sheer volume of Actors looking to make it), it only makes sense that they’d be seeking out a way to increase their odds of success.

Which is why I’m writing this blog today . . . to tell those Actors that 90% are doing it wrong.

Now granted, I may be preaching to the converted here, because if you’re already one of my blog readers, then you’re probably in the 10%.

But if not, let me give you a tip that’ll put you on the fast track to success.

Ready?  And if you’re an Actor, and can’t stand a little tough love, STOP reading here.

Ok?  Good.

Here’s what you should do, that has worked for countless others, and WILL work for countless more . . . and hopefully you.

Create your own @#$%.

The ol’ cliche of an Actor taking a job as a “waiter” has always had a double meaning for me.  Because if you are just auditioning for OTHER people’s shows and movies and plays with OTHER people’s songs and scripts . . . then you’ll just be “waiting” until you fit someone else’s idea of who you’re right for.

And you could end up waiting forever . . . regardless of your talent.  (Painful thought, right?)

Now, you could also “get discovered” but those odds are longer than recouping a revival of Moose Murders.

So don’t chase Directors and Agents and Casting Directors and Producers.

Make them chase you.

And how you do that . . . is by creating your own @#$%.

It probably won’t be great at first.  But keep doing it. And you’ll get better.  And then people will find you.

This isn’t a new concept.  I’m not blog-preaching about this today because of the recent rise of the YouTube or Instagram celebrity (although that is one way to create your own @#$%).

Creating stuff is why so many stand-up comedians have gone on to great success.

Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg all started making up their own punchlines . . . which got people laughing and got people talking . . . and got them roles on stage and screen.  (And they ALL transitioned from comedy to serious work, so don’t think this is just about the funny folks.)

But it’s not just comedians.

What about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck . . . who were struggling actors until they sat down and wrote Good Will Hunting.

And don’t get me started about Sylvestor Stallone, who refused an offer to buy his original screenplay to Rocky (yep – you forgot he wrote it, didn’t you) because the studio wouldn’t let him play the lead (they came around).

Think this is a wave of the past?

What about Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her 8,000 Emmy Awards for Fleabag . . . which started as a one-woman show . . . just like Nia Vardalos’s Big Fat Greek Wedding or Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale.

Making stuff is by far the fastest way for an Actor to make it.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  But unlike the dreadful audition process, in which so many decisions are made that have nothing to do with you or your talent . . . making stuff, whether that’s a one person show or a web series or a stand up routine, is something you can control.

This is how you design a part that no one else in the world could be right for.  So you have ZERO competition.

And you know what the cool thing is?  90% of the actors out there aren’t doing this.  So immediately you’re going to stand out.

And what stands out . . . is what “sells.”

So if you’re an Actor . . . stop waiting and start making.

And actually, come to think about it . . . this concept isn’t just for Actors.  It’s for Directors, Designers or even Producers! (I got my start by creating my own shit – by producing three shows that I came up with . . . because I couldn’t get the rights to anything!)

Get creating.

– – – – –

Are you an Actor or any kind of artrepreneur that wants to learn how to create @#$%?  Click here to learn from the best.

Learn How To Write A Musical In Person from The Man Who Wrote The Book On It.

One of the first pieces of advice I give to writers struggling to improve their scripts is simple . . .

Read Jack Viertel’s The Secret Life of the American Musical.

It’s a genius book that breaks down the structure of the classic American musical.  It diagnoses problems in your own scripts by demonstrating how the masters did it.

I re-read it every year.

I’m also lucky enough to call Jack a peer and a friend.  And recently, while we were jawing over a new musical I was working on, I got to thinking . . . the book is great and all, but hearing him talk in person is priceless for anyone looking to get better.  And aren’t we all?

Since my mission is to help people like you get your shows off the ground, I asked Jack if he’d ever teach a LIVE workshop for my readers.

And he said yes.

So we’re doing it!

On Sunday, December 8th, from 2-6 PM, Mr. Jack Viertel, Broadway Producer, Writer, former Critic, now head of Encores (for a little while longer anyway) and so much more, will be teaching an intensive workshop on the structure of a musical.

It’s a four-hour class that will be split in two parts.  The first will be Jack deconstructing a musical for you like he does in his book, but more in-depth.

The second part . . . and oh this is where the fun begins . . . we’re hiring two Broadway Actors to play Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow and they’re going to perform the famous “If I Loved You” scene.  Jack will go through it line by line, starting and stopping, to demonstrate why it is one of the most perfect scenes there is in all of musical theater . . . and how knowing why it’s so good, will help you write classic scenes of your own.

There will be time for questions, and a big networking opp as well.  So come!

This is a small workshop for the serious minded students of musical theater, so seats are limited.  Click here and get one today.

Whether you are a Producer, Director or of course, a writer . . . your career will thank you for it.

And I will see you there, and I can’t wait to learn more from this Musical Whisperer.

Date: December 8th

Time: 2pm-6pm

Location: Theater District

Elena Shaddow (The Visit, The Bridges of Madison County, The King and I – National Tour) will be performing in the scene from Carousel along with another performer to be announced.

BOOK PRESALE ALERT: This one answers the question I’m asked the most.

Last spring we released the only book on the subject Broadway Investing . . . and now we’re releasing a brand new book about the subject I’m asked about more than anything else . . .

Early Hungarian cabinet making!

No, no . . . jk, jk.  (By the way, that cabinet making quip is a European Vacation reference.)

The topic I’m asked about more than anything is . . . how to raise money for Broadway or Off-Broadway shows.

So, in an effort to help those of you out there producing or self-producing shows (and as part of our #5000By2025 mission), this summer I wrote the only book about raising money specifically geared towards the theater.

And it’s available now for presale on Amazon.com for only a fraction of what it will cost when it is officially released.

What’s it called?

It’s a continuation of our “How To” series.  The first was, How To Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything.  And this is, yep, How to Raise Money in the Arts . . . or in Anything. (There will be one more in the series, by the way – I’ll let you guess what that “How To” is.)

This book covers . . .

  • The different legal structures for raising money for the arts.
  • Where to find investors for your specific project.
  • How to script your ask in order to increase your chance for success.
  • The most important part of raising money that most people forget (do this and you’ll raise the money you need 10x faster at least).
  • How to enjoy raising money (it is possible – truly).

The book is gonna list for $19.95 . . . but you can get it via the Amazon presale for only $5.99 (Jeff Bezos likes when self-publishers give his customers a super-duper entry-level price for new books . . . and what Bezos wants, Bezos gets – and you benefit).  Just do me a favor, after you finish it, give it a good review so that more people can find it.

Because the truth is, after Bezos takes his chunk, this book doesn’t make us any money.  But it could find money for a lot of people’s projects.

And that means there will be more theater in the world.  And that means the world will be that much better of a place.

Get How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything first here (or get it for a friend).

#5000By2025.

Podcast Episode 196: Actor, Writer, and all around Awesome Inspiration, Susan Blackwell

 

Seeing [Title of Show] in its early days is one of the top 10 theater-going experiences of my life.  It was so obvious that those four funny folks were living their best lives on that stage, as they played themselves trying to make a musical.

I knew all of the performers . . . except one.  Susan Blackwell.  She didn’t have a ton of musical credits.  And her take on life, love and the pursuit of musical theater was a little different than the others.

But by the end of her signature number, “Die Vampire Die,” I just wanted to hang out with her . . . all the time.

Took me a little bit until our paths crossed, but cross they did . . . and with a microphone in front of us!

And lucky you, you now get to e-hang out with her by listening to this podcast, where we talk about:

  • Finding the time to pursue your dream, while working your day job . . . like literally while your boss is standing over your desk as you work on lyrics!
  • What “dollar-cost-averaging” has to do with a career in the theater.
  • Life of a freelance artist and how she structures her day for success.
  • Why being a multi-hyphenate and focusing on many things is important to her, and should be to you too.
  • How did [Title of Show] happen – and what’s it like now watching people play her!

Tune in and enjoy this inspiring artrepreneurial episode and when you’re done, turn that dial over to Susan’s new podcast (created with her wonder twin, Laura Camien), The Spark File, which is now live!

Enjoy!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Jacinth Greywoode (@j.greywoode on soundcloud)! Check out “Myrtle’s Lament” at the end of this episode (music by Jacinth and lyrics by Rebecca Hart). If you enjoyed the outro music in this episode, go on over to www.jacinthgreywoode.com/ for more tunes.

No matter where you are in life . . . whether you are just starting out and need a kick start, or you have already achieved a certain level of success and want more, or you’ve been slacking lately (we’ve all been there) and need to get back on track . . . you’ve decided to take your life, your dreams, and your destiny into your own hands . . . literally . . . with this journal. Start your 90-day journey today, visit: http://www.actionjournalforartists.com/

Last minute alert: A Panel about Theater Festivals 2Morrow and more and I’m on it!

Hey Producer’sPerspectivePro readers!

If you’re in the NY area tomorrow, Saturday, September 20th, and are interested in hearing the dos and don’ts of writing, producing or directing a show for a theater festival (like this one), then you must come to this panel, brought to you by The Off Broadway Alliance!

You’ll hear from me (and how we started Rave as well as my experience with producing Altar Boyz the very first year of NYMF) and other festival experts including Producer and General Manager Sharon Fallon (Indecent), Producing Artistic Director of NYMF West Hyler (Paramour, Georama), and writer/director Rebecca Aparicio (Pedro Pan, Gloria: A Life) and Producer Robert Driemeyer (La Cage aux Folles, Tennessee Williams’ The Two-Character Play).

And there will be tons of networking opportunities with other people just like you (and even some free bagels and coffee), so come!

All the details are here.

See you there!

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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