Surviving Actors is a massive convention that runs in London annually offering workshops, seminars and advice for actors who are looking to further their careers. There is also an exhibition where various businesses promote their services, some of which are at a discounted rate, to all budding attendees. This includes professional headshots, accountancy services, acting classes, temp jobs (catering and promotional), showreels and the list goes on. On Saturday 6th I attended two seminars that were both very different but nonetheless I was able to take away a lot of useful information. Here’s the lowdown:
“Be Clear About Your Career” with Judith Quin:
The purpose of this seminar was to encourage us to develop a clear vision for ourselves and the push to turn it into our reality. Judith talked about how she was “floating around in a large sea of uncertainty” for almost two decades. As a young actor she took on any and every acting job that was offered to her because she thought that was what it mean to “be an actor”. During those two decades, despite being able to call herself “an actor”, Judith felt that the work she was doing wasn’t fulfilling, stimulating nor could she put the skills she developed during drama school to proper use. This was simply because she did not know exactly what she wanted to do in her career. She warned that if we didn’t want to waste out time and money in this large industry of performers, we must all decide where exactly we want to go in our careers, give ourselves a goal date and identify all the things we need to do to get there. Eventually, after many years of adversity and dissatisfaction, Judith got into coaching where she is now able to effectively put her skills to good use. The challenges that she faces in her new profession allow her to develop and grow into a better coach and a better person. You can find more information about Judith and her coaching programme here: http://www.quincoaching.com
I can personally see that the acting market is oversaturated with people of all ages, sizes and from different backgrounds; there are people who are seriously passionate about the craft of acting and there are definitely some who are not. Nevertheless, it’s clear to see that not everybody is going to have longevity and success in this industry. Having clear goals about where you want to go in your profession (and in life in general) will give you focus and purpose as you’ll know exactly what you are working towards. You will be able to make better decisions because you can see whether the possible outcomes of your choices get you closer or further away from your goal. Having clear objectives also allows people, much like Judith, to realise that acting really isn’t for them and that there is a better market for them to invest their resources.
“That Online Presence” with Web Guru Tim McDonald and casting director Phil Shaw
Tim outlined how important it is to have a site that promotes your skills, your brand image and that allows for easier visibility. He underlined the fact that a website works for you 24/7 because the Internet never stops. Being a casting director, Phil was able to share insight into what a casting director/producer/agent is looking for when they search your name on Google. Such examples included a showreel, a few quality headshots, a clear bio, professional credits and any current projects.
I found this seminar particularly informative as I was recently considering creating my own website. The session gave me a good understanding of what should be included, the style/design of my site and where to start. Tim suggested using Wix, WordPress or www.siteyourart.com which he developed on his own for actors and other creatives.
Overall, I would say that Surviving Actors London 2016 was a great opportunity to learn some key tips for success and give myself the determination to move forward.
Watch this space!