Before you moved to New York or LA to launch your acting career, your enthusiasm to take the industry by storm just might have led you to the Acting section at your local bookstore. And there, nestled amongst monologue books and Meisner tomes, was the original actor’s business bible: Acting as a Business by Brian O’Neil.
For two decades, Acting As a Business has guided aspiring performers on every element of approaching the industry, from how to write a resume to how to contact an agent. Author Brian O’Neil continually updates the book to keep up with trends and developing technology.
The future for New York actors is bright – Brian says, “I’m thrilled that more scripted television will be produced in New York City this fall than in our entire history.”
But the future is also competitive – the market is now more crowded than ever. Brian spoke to us about the importance of industry savvy and how video is changing the industry.
ActorIntro: Acting as a Business is now in its 4th edition and has been used by actors for 20 years – why is this information still so relevant for actors?
Brian O’Neil: Well, for one thing it’s been updated each year! Also, so much of the book concerns effective communication—and that is something that never changes—even though the technology of how it’s communicated does change.
Why is defining your Type so important? Shouldn’t it just be about talent?
It is mostly about talent. However, an actor will be asked by a prospective agent: “How do you see yourself?” and if the actor’s sense of what kind of roles he will be cast in is off the mark – for example, a very talented character actor might see himself as a romantic leading man. That could be a deal breaker- I’ve seen it happen.
If new actors coming to New York could know just one thing, what would you tell them?
We have gone from a profession that once had a 95% failure rate to a profession that now has a 99% failure rate. Therefore being pro-active has never been more necessary.
Why is video an important item in an actor’s toolkit?
Nowadays an actor doesn’t have to send just a photo and resume, but has the opportunity to send a link to a reel. In short, the actor now sends photo, resume and a living, breathing demo of his best work! Think of what that adds to the picture (literally!!).
How can actors use video to promote themselves?
By posting it on their websites, Actor’s Access, ImdbPro, Vimeo, and YouTube for instant access by industry professionals. Of course, it can also be distributed via social media as well.
What should actors know before making a video or sending it out to agents/CDs?
The quality of the work (both technical and artistic) needs to be top-notch and show actors at their absolute best. Many actors , in their eagerness, are sending reels that are sub-standard.
What industry trends do you see transforming the way actors are cast in the coming years?
More castings directly from an actor’s reel; more phantom screen tests, by which I mean no reader is in the room with the actor and the test is being watched via computer on another coast.
Ready to get video that makes an impact? Whether you have reel material ready to go or not, ActorIntro can help get you on tape and online fast. Check out all our services or contact us for help figuring out the best way to showcase yourself on video.