Review: Acting as a Business

Acting as a Business by Brian O'NeilBrian O’Neil’s “Acting as a Business” is packed full of helpful bits of advice for the working actor. At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure how helpful/useful/how much I’d enjoy it. O’Neil filled one of the beginning chapters with various names of well-known actors and gave examples of the work they’ve done. I wasn’t particularly interested in hearing a laundry list of actors and their work since I wanted to get to the real meat/content of the book. But much to my satisfaction, the majority of the book is well written, thoughtful, and incredibly helpful for beginner/mid-career actors.

This reference includes lots of helpful advice on headshots, resumes, cover letters, contacting agents, and ways to break into the industry for actors who are not yet represented. There are also useful tips that I never would have thought of – for example, I thought it was interesting that O’Neil mentions that breaking into the film/tv industry via the soaps is a great way for actors to acquire eligibility for the unions.

When it comes to the arts, often times the business side is neglected during the artist’s training. That’s why giving this book a read was helpful in giving a perspective on the other side of the art of acting – the art of promoting your work. I liked how O’Neil presented the profession realistically and by mentioning that through persistence, an actor can open up more doors to opportunities. You never know what may happen if you don’t put yourself out there.

O’Neil shares info on how to approach agent interviews and office auditions. I especially liked his comment about how you should “make the most of yourself” – that an actor should present his or herself in a positive light, to find a way to pull the positive from your work experience and training. He also touches upon how an actor should be ready to perform at any moment because you never know when you’ll be put on the spot to audition.

Overall, his realistic yet encouraging tone was very refreshing and made the book an enjoyable read. And if I don’t say so myself, I’m now feeling pretty motivated about looking for auditions and contacting agents. I also must say that thus far, this has been the most useful book I’ve read on the business side of acting.

Review: Ten Minutes to the Audition

Ten Minutes to the Audition by Janice LyndeThe other day I sat down and read Janice Lynde’s “Ten Minutes to the Audition” all in one sitting. What’s nice about this book is that it’s very concise. The book doesn’t come close to all the repetitive problems that occurred in “The Art of Voice Acting” by James R. Alburger. So the reader doesn’t run into the problem of feeling like parts of the book are wasting his/her time.

I also like how quick of a read this book was because it made me think that it would work nicely as a quick read before an actual audition. It has a quick checklist that reviews twenty different items that the actor should do. It covers everything from getting to the audition on time to how to introduce yourself at the audition and ways to tackle the script. Then towards the end of the book, Janice Lynde includes a number of actor resources as well as a handy list of recommended books. I hope to take a look at a couple of the books she recommended sometime soon.

Overall, this was a handy reference guide. If you’re constantly on the go and don’t have enough time to work your way through a lengthy book, you will definitely appreciate Lynde’s concise and helpful words.

100 Monologues – Monologue #5: The Artist’s Life is a Hard Life

100 Monologues is a project where I’m writing monologue scripts, performing, and filming the pieces. Since I’m beginning to dabble in acting, the project is meant as a means for me to acquire more acting experience where I can work on refining my craft. You can find out more about the project here. Below is the script from the “The Artist’s Life is a Hard Life” monologue. The script isn’t exact to my performance above, but my performance is based on it. If you’re a student who would like to perform this monologue for class, just make sure you credit me, Maggie Coyle, as the author. For any other use of the script, please contact me.

100 Monologues: #5 The Artist’s Life is a Hard Life

Written by Maggie Coyle

The moment I decided to become an artist was the exact same moment the entire world decided to tell me this was a horrible, terrible idea.

“I’m an artist,” I’d say to my friends and family with such enthusiasm. Their response? They roll their eyes, sigh, and tell me that I’m out of my mind. They tell me I won’t amount to much of anything because no one really cares for artists. Who needs artists when there’s cheap, easy to buy prints readily available at cheap retail stores? Who needs artists when everyone wants to spend money on electronic gadgets and expensive cruises for vacation?

Right after I labeled myself an artist, society seemed to reject me. They suddenly had a platform and I was their target audience.

How do they expect me to react? They tell me I’ll never be successful, that I’m crazy, unrealistic, and need to get my head out of the clouds. Do they think I’ll suddenly shake their hand and thank them profusely for finally opening my eyes up to what a no good loser I’ve been for trying to pursue something so meaningless and pointless? Honestly – if I told them I was going to be a doctor, scientist, or lawyer, I feel like they’d beam and nod in agreement that without a doubt I’ll do great things. How rude. Really.

Don’t they know this world would be a hopeless bore without art? We wouldn’t have movies and music to entertain us. We wouldn’t have lovely artwork decorating our houses, and famous art to visit in museums. We wouldn’t have dance. The arts give meaning to life.

So what do I have to say to all the doubters? Good day! There’s nothing else to really say to them – I can’t really change what they believe. They’re going to believe what they’re going to believe. The only way I can sway them is by accomplishing great things as an artist. Through my successes, I’ll prove them wrong.