Atlanta actors are in demand right now and there are amazing opportunities to book work. And that’s great! But are you ready when Hollywood comes calling? If you want to book the co-star role once in awhile, go for it. But we suspect you want more. If you want a robust acting career- from which you can make a living- you’re going to have to build that career.
What CDs, directors, producers, and filmmakers (in LA and Atlanta) want from actors are truly committed artists and professionals who are confident, fired-up, and serious about the work. Whatever city you’re in, the work is the work. As actors from Atlanta and the southeast are booking bigger and better roles than ever, it’s time to get ready so that when the role shows up, so do you.
Here are 10 surefire ways to build your resume, reel, and career in Atlanta.
1a. In the beginning, be willing to do most roles. Grab every opportunity with gusto. Build your resume, role by role.
Note: And ask for a name for your character; you may not get it but at least 50% of the time you will. When you add that to your resume, identify the name of the role, NOT just ‘co-star.’ Seriously.
1b. As you build your resume, start to become selective, once you’ve played “one-line cop” or “helpful server” too many times. It’s okay to say no to those auditions. Unless it’s a chance to work with and learn from an amazing actor or director, hold out for juicier roles.
2. Train. Get and stay in shape so that you’re ready, so when the amazing recurring guest star audition is presented (they’d so much rather cast someone locally to save $) you’re ready to walk in and take it. We’ve seen it time and time again- the actor who is immersed deeply in her craft and understands that she’s got to be exercising her acting muscles no matter what- is ready to work at the level that the Industry demands.
3. Master the self-tape! The self-tape reigns and is the dominant way of auditioning in regional markets like Atlanta, so you have to master it. We have a ton to say about self-taping (start with Self-Taping from Atlanta ) but in a nutshell, don’t try to replicate an audition; do the work you’d do on set. Bringing that kind of leadership to your self-tape will distinguish you from the rest. We know; we’ve seen it and cast it!
4. Be a whole artist. These actors are doing everything possible to build a diverse and rich career. It’s happening more and more in LA. Katie Lowes, while starring on Scandal, built IAMA, an incredible theatre company in LA, while having a baby. So don’t say you don’t have the time even if you have a day job; find a way to diversify and do it all!
Give them more! Local CDs want to know more about you; certainly more than 4 lines in an audition. So give them as much to work with as you can! Get involved with independent films, theatre, web series, shorts, local seminars, the Atlanta Film Festival, the 48 hour film project. Hell, create your own production company and start making work.
5. MAKE WORK! This has become the focus of so many actors who we see take Artistic leadership in their careers. They aren’t waiting for the Industry to tell them that they’re an actor. They’re creating content. Taking command distinguishes you from everyone else waiting for the call. Here’s a huge plus: You will have new material for your reel.
6. Be an artist and diversify in every way possible- paint, dance, write, make sure you’re expressing your creative impulse. It works the muscles, keeps you happy, and it lets people know you’re an artist. So many actor-photographers and actor-comedians, etc. have caught our eye as creative beings and shifted how we see them. It keeps them top-of-mind. Win-win.
Develop other areas of expression and expertise in the Industry- direct, write (yes, we keep saying that), have a blog, create podcasts, take leadership in areas that both serve your acting and expand your possibilities as an Industry professional. Again, we get to see you as someone taking command.
7. Assume a relationship with CDs. In this day and age, with so much self taping, it’s hard to remember that casting folks are your partners. Be in their world, see them as collaborators, not higher up the Industry food chain. While CD workshops recently took a big hit in LA, if casting directors present a chance to get into the work with you, consider it. Working relationships can be forged in so many ways.
Make sure your reps know-along with any CDs with whom you have a relationship (even if they’ve cast you but never met you or who’ve liked your work but haven’t yet cast you)- that you’re available to be a reader or do a cast table-read or help out. This may seem foreign to you and your agent, but it works for us. It’s gotten actors cast time and time again.
8. Create Community. We see actors find community in so many ways- in doing theatre, in class, in writing groups that they form, in artist collectives who meet to run lines and self-tape together, and in small production groups to create content (that also builds your reel). Keep yourself connected to the work, to each other, and to the Industry; it’s enormously powerful.
9. Practice self-care. If you’re going to put yourself out there- taking risks, dealing with rejection, balancing a day job and an acting career- you’re going to have to take really good care of yourself. Make sure you have a solid daily mindful practice that gives you the self-awareness you need to show up.
10. Be where you are. Don’t run away to another city- whether it’s Atlanta to LA or vice versa- because the grass looks greener. Whatever is in your way in Atlanta will still be your challenge in LA or NY or Chicago. Look at what else you can be doing in your own corner of the world to elevate your career. It’s going to take you becoming a master, wherever you live!
You are part of the Industry. Just because you’re not at (what you may think is) the center of the Universe, you cannot make yourself less than. You’re not a smaller actor and you’re not missing out. In LA, Atlanta looks like the “place to be,” the new Mecca. Atlanta has the new car smell and we all want a whiff of it. So stand up strong as an Atlanta (and Southeast) actor. You have currency. You’re fresh. And you bring authenticity and a ‘real people’ feel to the world of the show, qualities every director wants desperately.
Decide if you’re serious about this. If being an actor is a calling, find ways to feed your purpose. It’s the same deal in any city, in any market. You must be in and of the work all the time. Do it all. Have the appetite of an artistic beast. Be ready in mind, body, and spirit. Separate yourself from the pack and work at a championship level so that you can (and we know you can) achieve the career of your dreams.
We are coming to Atlanta in August for a transformational weekend of next-level acting training, work that will lead into ongoing class. Join us for The BGB Studio Atlanta Audition Revolution in August.