Tag Archives: new york

Things I Wish I Had Been Told at [CCM/CMU/Michigan/Anywhere Else Is Irrelevant]

My actor friend, Callam Rodya, recently published some of the fundamental lessons he learned while pursuing an acting career in Canada. However, I believe the life of an actor in New York City is somewhat different.

I may have just graduated from my BFA program last May, but I spent an entire summer pounding the pavement before booking my first Broadway show in September. That difficult time in my life provided me with several lessons that I wish were shared with me before I walked off the stage at my showcase and into the offices at Gersh.

  1. “Stealing the show” is not a compliment. It means you were trying to have a “moment” when the rest of the ensemble was discussing dinner plans and making fun of the principals. Like you’re supposed to…
  2. You’d be surprised how few of your friends and family, or people with a personal connection to you are not willing to pay for theatre tickets whatsoever.
  3. You can totes play roles in your forties when you’re in your twenties. But, only if you book something out of StrawHats or NETCs, and nobody takes that shit seriously on your resume.
  4. By the same token, there are very few roles in the theatre for twenty-year-olds, unless someone from the casting office went to your school. Then that shit don’t matter.
  5. The stage manager may work harder than you. But technically, they don’t werk harder than you.
  6. Most people get drunk on Opening Night…because they can always callout the next day… dzuh. So, don’t ever be a swing.
  7. Being attractive and under twenty-five is the single MOST important thing you can do after you graduate.
  8. Background work does shit for your career. But posting the words, “on set,” “early call,” and “Craft Services” on social media will fool your friends back home into thinking you’re #nailingit.
  9. Unions are awesome when you’re on Broadway and the worst when you’re on tour.
  10. When people said you would be poor thanks to your brilliant career choice, it’s because their parents aren’t paying for their apartment. And that’s okay.
  11. EPAs and ECCs are on one level. Actual appointments are a completely different level altogether.
  12. Directors, casting agents, and producers care as much about how easy you will be to drink with as they do about how moderately acceptable you are for the role.
  13. Remember how you used to have five weeks to get off book? It’ll be another five weeks before there is a finished book.
  14. Save up a certifiable shit-ton of money if you’re going to move to New York. That is, if you want to actually be able to live off unemployment, prep for Broadway Bares at the gym, day drink, netwerrk, and you know, any of those other career-building essentials.
  15. Don’t do everything. Seriously. Know when to turn something down. And believe me, you’ll know. (i.e. SETA, LORT, LOA, GUEST ARTIST, 99- SEAT, COST, DINNER THEATRE, SHOWCASE)
  16. It’s not unreasonable to expect to be paid for your work. But you won’t always be. So when you do regional theatre, which will be a lot, make sure that after taxes and agent fees, the contract is more than you are making on unemployment plus your under the table job.
  17. Ninety percent of casting decisions have everything to do with whether or not you’re wearing Lululemon.
  18. Most of the time, when you don’t get the part, it’s not because you suck, it’s because you weren’t in someone on the creative team’s previous project.
  19. Nothing is more important than appearance. Sleep is important, but don’t skip the gym to take a nap. After all, there’s always frozen spoons and a hair and makeup person on set. But they aren’t a fucking wizard when it comes to your body.
  20. Take your “me” time. And make sure to share it on Facebook.
  21. Don’t embrace your “physical flaws.” Just try desperately to forget they’re there.
  22. Don’t actually spend money on Schmackary’s. Wait until they show up at your rehearsal studio. That means you’ve arrived.
  23. The camera really does add ten pounds. So don’t eat the Schmackary’s.
  24. No matter how big of a star you were in school, out here, just keep acting like it. Somehow that shit pays off.
  25. Acting is actually easier than you want to believe it is. And more people can do it naturally than you want to believe. And I want you to remember that when you pay your soul-sucking student loan every month.
  26. You are replaceable. And probably by someone like Karen Cartwright.
  27. Stage and screen are completely different worlds, unless you’re on SMASH, then you can act to the back of the house.
  28. You thought there was “technique” to acting on stage? Just wait until you have to be happy for your friend that booked the role you were up for.
  29. Rehearsals are hard. Actors weren’t meant to work from 10 – 6.
  30. It is not okay to be drunk, stoned, high, or any other kind of intoxicated while you work. That’s what travel days are for.
  31. Try not to get discouraged/cynical/jaded/resentful right after graduation. Wait until you’re about two weeks into your first Broadway show.
  32. And finally, don’t go down this path just because you’re “good enough” to be a professional actor. For the love of God, do it because you think you are.

Always be #grateful and #SoBlessed.