Posts filed under Atlanta

Three Quick Ways to Uniquely Brand Yourself As an Actor

Actor and Super-Good-At-Social-Media-Guy, Ryan Reynolds

Actor and Super-Good-At-Social-Media-Guy, Ryan Reynolds

We have talked about branding yourself as an actor quite a bit on this blog, and there’s a reason for it: times have changed. Gone (mostly) are the days when actors simply audition for a role and get cast. While that may still be the case in the theatrical world, in the entertainment industry, casting directors are looking more and more closely at an actor’s social presence - meaning, they’re literally Facebook-stalking you.

So, how do you combat this admittedly aggravating tendency of CDs to view your life online? Well, you can’t, unless you go completely off the grid, which is ill-advised. Instead, you can manage your social media presence professionally without losing your personality - here’s how:

Remember Who You Are

Okay, yes, you are a brand, and you are “selling yourself” as an actor - but that doesn’t make you a sell out. Figure out what your niche is and your brand, and clearly define yourself as such. Do you play a lot of “mom” roles? Are you a hipster? A jock? Whatever it is, make sure your website, headshots, and reel reflect your ability to carry those roles. Now, if you typically play a jock, but you’re a real-life bookworm - all the better! Casting directors are looking for unique takes on characters - and who doesn’t love a classic, all-American-good-looking-jock-who-turns-out-to-be-a-smarty-pants love story? I know I do - I watched Sierra Burgess is a Loser and To All the Boys I Loved Before (both on Netflix) in a weekend!

Get Over Your Hatred Of Social Media

Look, I get it - we all secretly or not-so-secretly hate social media, but as an actor, it’s pretty much a necessity nowadays. Again, it doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of who you are! Limit yourself to only 30 minutes of social media daily, if you have to - it’ll likely improve your mental health, too, to place restrictions on your usage. Go through your friends posts, like them, comment on them, do “organic outreach” - you know, the usual. And here’s a little secret: everyone buys Instagram followers these days, even those famous Jenner girls (don’t believe me? I’ve got a timeshare to sell you!). There are affordable options to buying followers, and there’s nothing illegal about it. You can also hire freelance social media managers to manage your actors’ accounts, so you don’t even have to bother with it, other than providing photos and approving posts. Figure out what you have the budget to do, and go for it!

Be Nice

It seems like a ridiculous suggestion but being likable feeds into being memorable, and it goes a long way in this industry. You won’t be rewarded for having an ego when you’re starting at the bottom; plus, it’s just good life practice to not step on people on your way to the top. You never know who’s going to get to the rich and famous part of the gig before you do!

What are some ways you’ve learned to brand yourself? Let us know in the comments!

The Best Side Hustles for New Actors

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When you are trying to make it as an actor in a big city like Atlanta, Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, it's important to not squash your own dreams by being a Negative Nancy to yourself, but it's also imperative that you have a plan in place before spending your best years under the harsh city lights - whether that means living with family for free, saving up a ton of money while you look for work as an actor, or have a few side hustles (aka, "survival jobs") going that are flexible with your acting schedule - or all of the above - you need to have some idea of what your life beyond your school years and/or living at home will look like. Knowing this will take an enormous amount of stress off you, which will only help you focus further on your acting career!

If you're not financially blessed like most of us, never fear - there are some pretty great "side hustle" opportunities to help you carpe diem that acting career of yours without only eating ramen noodles three times per day - read on to discover our top suggestions:

Work From Home Gigs

These are, of course, the best types of side hustles you can possibly get, though with freelance work, it's usually either feast or famine, unless you're highly qualified in a specialized area, like graphic design. If you're a writer, like me, it may be a bit tougher to make a living, so, as with everything career-wise, it's important to know and understand your niche. If you're a writer, are you a copywriter? Blog writer? Fashion writer? Tech writer? Whatever it is that you know how to write about, sell it!

You can also work from home as an admin assistant. Websites like Fancy Hands and People Per Hour are great resources for virtual administrative assistants. Tasks like data entry, performing SEO and digital marketing - even designing business cards - are abundant and legitimate!

Service Industry Jobs

I know, I know - I hated even typing "service industry," but the fact of the matter is, they can be pretty flexible when it comes to acting careers, depending on the type of service industry work that you're doing. If you're working for a more corporate company, it may be tougher to request time off. If you work for a mom-and-pop shop, then it may be a tad easier to have said shop work around your schedule. It's fair to let employers know prior to hiring that you're an actor, but be forewarned - it may turn some of them off to hiring you. Use caution and do what you have to do! I worked at a high-end gym for several months when I lived in LA, and I worked the 5 a.m. - 9 a.m. shift, then would go to my SECOND job as a fashion assistant every other day, and audition in-between. I got a free gym membership AND free designer clothes - win-win!

Speaking of gyms, you could also work as a personal trainer or yoga instructor - you would have to be trained in these fields and certified, of course, but there's no shortage of needing a trainer or yoga instructor in a place like LA! Plus, you can make your own hours and charge premium rates, once your business really gets cranking.

Temp work

Like freelancing, temp work is another great way to make some extra dough without committing to a job full-time. You can sign up for temp agencies like 24|seven Talent or Creative Circle, which often work with entertainers, so they're used to your abnormal grind. I've always had pretty great experience when I've worked with these two agencies in the past (both in LA and Atlanta), and they've gotten me in the door of companies I wouldn't have otherwise worked for.

As a temp employee, keep in mind that you may be taxed as either an employee (W-2), or as a 1099 contract employee. If you're "1099'ed," then you will be responsible for paying your own taxes.

The good news is, as with any of these gigs essentially, you can start your own business, which is a fantastic venture, especially if you're a egregious actor! Having a backup plan is never a bad idea, and it doesn't mean that you aren't invested in your dreams - it just means that you're smart as heck, and way ahead of your acting peers!

LA vs. Atlanta: Which Film Hub is Right For You?

The Los Angeles skyline.

The Los Angeles skyline.

There's a lot of talk now about how Atlanta is the "Hollywood of the South"; in fact, we now have our own nickname: ATLwood. So many big budget movies and film studios are out here now, namely: Pinewood Atlanta Studios (located right down the road from Studio 27), where films like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were filmed; Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta (where Devious Maids was filmed for Lifetime), and EUE Screen Gems Studios, where Black PantherFlight, Insurgent, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay were all filmed. It makes sense that films are flocking to the A to not only get those tax credits, but so are talent and crew. But whether you're from Georgia or not, does it make sense to dive into the largest film market in America, i.e. Los Angeles, or should you start out small[er] in Atlanta?

Let's Go Ahead and Answer, Shall We?

The answer is simple, really, and it all comes down to personality type. LA is cutthroat - there is no way around it. At the same time, it's full of some of the nicest people I've ever met. Atlanta is still growing and finding its voice. LA is full of opportunity, whether it's big budget features, independent films, short films, television, or reality shows; Atlanta may have Marvel, but the fact is, casting directors still (generally) cast out of LA for speaking parts, i.e., guest star roles, co-star credits, even just under-5's. It is difficult, at times, to even get work as an extra in Atlanta - not so in LA. There are PLENTY of roles to go around out West, even if you're just looking to start out small, like working with a student film (which, many of those DO pay!). Atlanta has some student films that pay, too, namely at SCAD; Georgia State MAY have some paying films, though I haven't seen many. Atlanta can be a great place to build credits, especially if you're looking to break into the commercial market. There are PLENTY of commercials that film in ATL (LA, too, of course!). And, though prices are steadily rising with the film industry growth in Atlanta, it is still cheaper to live here than in LA - more or less.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

This is, to be honest, a difficult blog post to write - namely because, sure, you can live in LA, spend less money than living in Atlanta, and get more roles or jobs as a crew member. The same can also be true for Atlanta, which is why I started out by saying that it truly does come down to a personality type. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner, then sticking with what you know may work out best for you. If you're adventurous and a risk-taker, than by all means, move to LA! You never know what'll happen.

[More] Advice!

My biggest piece of advice, however, if you DO move to California, is to know that it's going to be really hard, at least for the first year - you can't give up, especially if you're a big fish moving from Atlanta to LA. Guess what? LA doesn't care how big you are. LA cares about LA. Be prepared to have your ego checked - immediately. One of the best lessons you can learn is how to act while on a set - which is why it's sometimes good to take on background work as an actor. That way, you have the experience of being on a REAL set and knowing that having a "diva-like" attitude can get you fired. You are, unfortunately, replaceable - but that doesn't mean that you don't have something special! Tackle your roles and auditions with humility and passion, and you'll be sure to nail them - everytime.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Lastly, wherever you move, save up money! Both cities are ridiculously expensive now, and you'll need to have a plan in place. Are you living with your parents? With roommates, if you're over 18? Do you have a "side hustle" to pay the bills while getting your acting career off of the ground? You're going to have to make sacrifices, no matter how you decide to live in two of the more expensive U.S. cities.

 

Have you made the leap and moved to Atlanta or LA? What about New York City or Chicago? Let us know - we love hearing from you!