Marcus Flanagan. One Less Bitter: Actor: The Actor’s Survival Guide. Boulder, Co.: Sentient Publications, 2008.
The author observes most actors want their feelings validated, which is a natural response. When actors receive work they feel appreciated. Actors need to realize that not being selected for a job is not a reflection on their work and to let rejections not hurt their feelings. There are numerous reasons why actors are not selected for roles. Talent is not quantifiable. The needs for roles varies amongst each role.
Flanagan advises against attempting to fit into what one thinks is wanted for a job. He urges actors to present their won talents. He notes that even experienced actors are often rejected because they are not suited for specific roles He urges actors not to let rejection hurt them. It is hard to predict what will work when.
It is important for an actor to develop a perception that the actor is one who arrives at work on time, is prepared, and does one’s best.
Do not use stunts to gain attention. The author advises using one’s abilities to gain attention. An actor true to one’s abilities does better than those attempting a false quality based on what one thinks is sought.
Actors leave their photographs and resumes with agents and casting directors. Actors do not go up and ask to meet agents and casting directors. A good head shot is important, yet can be taken by a friend it is a good picture. The picture should resemble have an actor appears when the actors shows for an audition.
An actor should never lie on a resume. It destroys an audition when the lie is uncovered.
A tape of an actor’s work should avoid montages. Simplicity works best.
Many agents appreciate being questioned for their knowledge. It is often helpful for an actor to ask about introduction calls of other agents and what is worth going after in getting an agent. Agents, like most people, like to share their wisdom and advice.
An actor should take a tape of the actor’s work when meeting an agent. Showing enthusiasm helps. If an agent rejects the actor can ask to be hip-pocketed. This is nn industry standard where the agent sends the actor to auditions to learn what is relayed back.
The author recommends leaving a smaller agent for a CAA, ICM, or UTA agent. Agents may claims they take the leaving personally, yet they will realize it is business.
An actor should drop by and see an agent occasionally. It is recommended the actor bring some food.
If an actors hears of an audition the believes would be appropriate but the agent didn’t tell the actor about it, the actor may ask the agent for information about the audition. This request should never be done in an insulting or accusatory manner.
There are no regulations for managers. If a manager offers to meet an actor, it would be useful for the actor as the manager may know of an agent for the actor to contact. Managers do what agents do yet they don’t have to follow agents’ protocols. They are not supposed to negotiate contracts yet they often do.
It is inappropriate for an actor to stop and seek to see a casting director. Most casting directors do have a drop box, though.
Auditions often run behind schedule. Yet an actor should always arrie ve on time, as it is noted who does so.
Most feedback an actor receives is standard useless information.
Few remember to thank casting directors that hire them. They appreciate recognition.
Often the “easy middle of the road choice” is who gets a role.
Fearfulness of auditions often stems from concentrating too much on large long term results, lack of confidence, and fearing being unprepared. Instead, try and enjoy the audition. An actor should realize what skills the actor has and keep a spark going.
Good actors have focus, are prepared, and present their best, are warn and charming, treat an audition and getting to the audition as work, and treat each audition as its own event. Actor should not wear costumes meant for the part. Actors shouldn’t let outside events affect their audition. Actors should not upset the other waiting actors. Actors should respect their fellow actors.
An actor should arrive to an audition on time, know what is needed for an audition scene, and have the scene memorized. A polite and friendly attitude is usually respected. An actor should show enthusiasm. The actor should look back at a person speaking to the actor.
An actor should not offer to shake hands at an audition. An actor should shake a hand if the hand is offered.
When an actor is asked prior to an audition if there are any questions, an actor should never lead with an apology or ask a general question or question about how to do a scene which makes the actor appear lost.
If an actor is asked if the actor like a script, the actor should answer “I live it”, even if the actor does not. Those auditioning want to know if the actor is onboard with a script they’ve already chosen. They don’t want an actor to change it.
If an actor really doesn’t like a script and doesn’t want to lie, the actor could answer “I loved my character” to show enthusiasm about the role. If there are no follow-up questions, the actor should note they seek to find out if the actor understands the part.
If an actor is asked for the actor’s age, be generally honest, such as “early” “mid”, “late” whatever decade one is in
When doing a reading, an actor should read how the actor believes the character is. The actor should not react to the reader, who often is reading in an almost standard monotone voice.
During an audition, it is usually not a big deal if an actor actors for a fresh start if the actor stumbles. Yet the actor should not then do the role the same way, or else those auditioning will presume the actor is someone who wastes their time.
When a reading is finished, the actor should say nothing even if there is silence. A comment from the actor can take away from the reading or make the actor appear insecure.
An actor should not let distractions upset the actor in a callback. One doesn’t need to exactly duplicate a role in the same way as done during the audition.
An actor should not let self-doubt ruin a job. An actor should ask for a dupe from a TV show to place on one’s acting reel upfront. They are more apt to say “yes” upfront than afterwards when they’ve moved on.
Never call someone from wardrobe a “wardroberer”.An actor should give someone from wardrobe their real sizes, If an actor does not know the sizes, have them measure you and the actor should write down the sizes. An actor should show respect to the people in wardrobe. An actor should shower before going to wardrobe and wear underwear. If an actor wishes to keep something in wardrobe, the actor should ask if it may be purchased. Sometimes it is part of inventory and can’t be sold. An actor should not steal wardrobe They may hold the actor’s pay until the actor returns it.
If there is a delay in an actor’s getting to wkr, the actor should call the number given to the actor.
An actor should never ask when work will be over.
If there is a pressing need that affects when a scene will be done, have the agent bring up that matter, preferable during booking.
An actor should not bring friends on the first day. An actor should ask what the rules are if the actor wishes to have friends visit.
Actors wait, And wait, An actor should maintain enthusiasm. An actor should not complain An actor is paid during this waiting.
If SAG rules are broken, an actor should have an agent raise the issue. Those breaking the rule often know they are breaking the rule and are being forced to do so. Pointing out to them what they already know will likely only upset them against the person pointing it out, If another actor raises the issue, an actor should not join in. Everyone will get paid for the infraction so an actor should avoid making enemies. Of course, an actor should speak out if these is an abuse issue.
An actor should never accept an offer for less the amount paid for a rule infraction penalty. The union fought for the penalty and it will diminish the contract process if actors undermine it.
Do not step on cables.
An actor should never complain with fellow actors on or near a set.
“On your mark” / “Hit your mark” refers to an actor standing on a mark taped on the floor.
“Final touches” are what makeup and hair personnel do.
“Turning around” refers to moving cameras and lights to another direction.
“Moving for coverage” is a close-up shot.
“The Marsha” is the day;s third to last in a shoot.
“The Abby” / “Abby Singer” is the day’s second to last in a shoot.
“The martini” is the last day in a shoot.
“Dollar days” is a lottery where everyone contributes and the winner gets all the money. The director, producer, and star actors often put in more money and decline if they win.
An actor should speak only about current work with a director, It is approrpiate to ask about a role. An actor should treat a director respectfully. An actor may ask “does it help if I...” rather than saying “this doesn’t work.” If a director says “No” to a suggestion, an actor should accept the answer.
An actor should know the names of the Director of Photography and camera operators. They are not supposed to seak to actors as that is the director’s job. Yet asking them how you may help can make their jobs easier. this may get an actor betting lighting.
Never touch the slate, or “sticks”.
Actors eat first at catered lunches as they need more time for makeup and hair The crew knows this and accept this.
An actor should tAhank crew members individually.
An actor should never tell another how to do that person’s job.
An actor should not let the attention they legitimately require to let the actor develop Sudden Entitlement Syndrome or Diva Syndrome.
An actor should not take editing decisions personally.
An actor should avoid doing things they don’t like doing in order to propel a career further, Those actions will always be a part of the actor,
An actor should realize that nightmare situations will happen. Casting directors and others can be neurotic, tired, impulsive, etc.
“Your true self is all you have to offer.”