When people ask me how Actor’s Fast Track came to be, I tell them it was the result of 5 light bulbs.
Yes. 5 light bulbs. Not literal light bulbs, of course, but 5 big insights over the course of the first 30 years of my acting career that led me to creating an actual system that has helped turned thousands of acting clients into FULL TIME ACTORS booking REAL ACTING JOBS — not random student films where you never get to see the results or get access to any footage, or web-series that don’t go anywhere.
I’m talking about:
• REAL TV JOBS
• REAL FILM ROLES
• REAL PLAYS
So what were those lightbulbs? I’m glad you asked.
BULB #1: SKIP THE AGENT. GO DIRECTLY TO THE CUSTOMER.
I went to one of the top acting schools in the country. I did everything I was told to do. I got an agent right out of school. I moved to NYC and every time I heard about an audition for a play I wanted to try out for, I would go to him and say, “Hey, can you get me an audition for this play?” Every time he would tell me “You don’t have the name.”
Every. Single. Time.
After wondering exactly why I had an agent in the first place, I found out that the Roundabout theater was doing a production of “The Crucible” and I knew, deep in my heart, that I was “Mercy Lewis.” I went to my agent and he as he always did, told me I “didn’t have the name.” I said screw this, and took my headshot and resume, and went directly to the casting director.
Got the audition. Got the gig.
In AFT parlance, I call this “a drop off” and it’s something I instruct all my clients to do. They get great results from this one simple action. Want to know how to do a drop off the right way? Use this button below and get on one of our WORKING ACTOR’S CALENDARS to find out.
BULB #2: WHY DON’T ACTORS HAVE BUSINESS PLANS?
20 years ago, my husband was opening a coffee bar in NYC. To get started, he needed a loan from the bank. Since they weren’t going to just lend him money sight unseen, they asked him a simple question: “Do you have a business plan?” He did. And he got the money and he started his business.
At the same time, I was a working actress and was busy trying to keep my own career afloat. I was watching so many of my contemporaries struggle because they seemed to be trying to get gigs haphazardly, bouncing around from thing to thing without a real coherent process for securing the next opportunity.
In this moment, it was like a lightbulb went off. I had to ask myself, “If traditional business owners need a plan in order to succeed, why don’t actors have a business plan for themselves?”
It’s why EVERY ACTOR that comes to Actor’s Fast Track gets a business plan. Your acting career is a business just like any other legitimate business, and it is our belief that you can’t build a business that works without one.
BULB #3: ACTOR’S ARE THE BOSS
I moved to LA when I was 40 (don’t try to reverse engineer and figure out my age!), and
During one of the first few nights there, my husband got a little tipsy with a dude we met, and he said that I had made the biggest mistake of my life by moving to here at the old, worn out, haggard age of…40.
5 years later…I was shooting True Blood, The Hannah Montana Movie, and featured in a film with Billy Bob Thornton — all at the same time (Suddenly that same guy was begging me to be on his web series!)
To succeed, you have to know you’re in charge. It’s not worth your time to focus on your competition or get derailed by what everyone says. You have to focus on who’s in charge…that means listening to yourself, working your tail off, and knowing that being smart can get you what you’re looking for.
If you’re ready to believe in yourself, click the button below to talk to one of our coaches and they will get you on the right track. Hey! There is no charge for this call!
BULB #4: ACTORS ARE ENTREPRENEURS
One of the biggest lies I believe actors are told is that success in this industry is merely being lucky. Being at the right place at the right time. That it’s not about being strategic and smart.
I call bullshit.
Actors are business owners. They are entrepreneurs. And like any entrepreneur, success comes from knowing what works and what doesn’t, working your tail off and knowing where the people you want to connect with are hanging out. It’s about seeing you’re not just an actor — you’re so much more.
BULB #5: ACTOR’S NEVER THINK ABOUT MONEY
A few years after I started Actor’s Fast Track I was attending an entrepreneurial conference. There were about 1,000 business owners there, and I’m fairly certain I was the only one there in the acting business. I got a chance to ask a question at the microphone, and when the BIG COACH asked me from stage what I did for my customers and what problems I solved, I told her: “Well, they think if they had an agent, all of their problems would be solved.” The woman asked me “well where’s the money in that? Don’t actors want to make money?”
I realized that so many actors think about roles but not about money. There’s this false belief that if they do work for free, it will eventually lead to money. And while you can work that way, it may be a while before you make money, and I don’t know about you, but I gotta eat. This is why I teach my clients to think about themselves as business owners. Because business owners are always thinking about the bottom line and hustling to get money in the door. Want to be successful? You have to do the same.