3 Business Basics As An Actor

by Kenji Maeda on December 7, 2008

You’re operating a business. The business happens to be you, the actor. So treat it like the business that it is.

Here are the Top 3 (in no particular order) things that parallel every other business out there, and we’ll explain how it relates specifically to our type of work.

1. Know your product

Just as Apple or Starbucks are aware of what they sell, you need to know what your “product” is. In this case, the product happens to be you – your whole package including look and ability. What’s your “look”? What’s going to get you in the door? What makes you stand out from the rest? What are you good at?

Knowing how to play your type can be the key to getting in the door, but don’t let it stop you from wanting to broaden your skills.  Your talent and flexibility within the market will definitely be a key to your growth.

2. Know your market

Knowing the genre and style of a show you might audition for can be a great advantage. Not only might you understand more of the backstory of the scene you’re doing, but understanding the style of work which is presented can be particular. Smallville, Supernatural, and Eureka, though all in the genre of Sci-Fi, have different styles –just as writers have different styles. Of course, whether the differences affect the way you perform is up to you.

In addition to knowing who or what you might be auditioning for, the market also includes the rest of the community. This leads us to…

3. Marketing and Promotion

All companies promote themselves in one form or another. How do you promote yourself?

Outside of auditions, it’s a benefit to connect yourself to other members of the industry – not just other actors. Create your business cards, go to local events, and connect with other like-minded creative professionals.  Having a portfolio of some sort online helps showcase your work in an easily accessible location, but when you combine that with in-person introductions, the opportunities increase.

It’s what you know AND who you know. They go hand-in-hand.

You’ll feel better knowing that there are others just like you who want to create work which is both artistically fulfilling and can hopefully pay the rent. We all start somewhere but we also end up somewhere. Luckily we have a lot of control to end up where we want or at least going in the right direction in a timely fashion.

What other business basics can you think of?  Leave your comments below.

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