What resources are legitimate and which ones are just scams?

As a newbie in this land (NYC) who knows no one and who has no reputation at all, I am forced to play the part of “easy-to-take-advantage-of.” I am non-union and I have no representation. No one has seen my work and no one can trust me when I say that I am: talented; wonderful; and exactly what they are looking for. So what do I do? Where do I go? How do I even get work? How do I get exposure to get an agent or potential work? The only answer that I have to this is:

1. Network – which is a slow and daunting process and takes years to create a solid foundation. But, you will be surprised by the connections that you already have. I have been here for a month and I wouldn’t immediately look at the people I’ve met and think that I have made brilliant strides in the networking field. However, upon further reflection, I see just how small this world is. My costume and set designers from college know almost everyone here as well as my connections at TCG, my friends and their connections, family, old castmates, etc. Everyone wants to help: let them. Ask them. My advice to anyone:

DO NOT BE TOO AFRAID TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED FROM OTHERS WHO CAN GIVE IT TO YOU

People like to feel needed. They like to help where others could not help them in the past. Sometimes they are not true to their word but the good ones are and these are the people you want to work with in the long run anyhow

2. Submit!!!

I will make this brief as I am about to head out to my weekly tv/film class at The Barrow Group with teacher/actor Seth Barrish (IMDB him – he’s in Margot at the Wedding and lots of other TV spots not to mention a really nice guy). As I prepare to go to this class, and continue to submit myself for every available project, I start to feel slightly seedy. Am I being taken advantage of?

not to mention paying for headshots and classes on the side. It seems like every where I turn, there is another person trying to make money off of the people who have the least. I look at the homeless people asking for handouts illegally on the subway and I think to myself: I don’t have a job either! I do have a home and for this I am very lucky. But my funds are running out quickly and yet, I cannot even begin to think of starting a career without making these financial ‘investments.’

Each of these sites costs a yearly subscription fee from anywhere between $60 to $138 a year plus cost to upload demos, reels, or more than their limit of photographs/headshots/production photos. You fill in your personal information, your ranges, training, resume, photos, etc – everything you need to promote the small business we call “ourselves” and then you peruse the daily listings ALL day and submit early and often. I get them forwarded to my phone now. It’s a constant job in it of itself: just trying to get SEEN at all. But here is my advice to you, and I think I have already mentioned this on this blog before but here it is again:

NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR CAREER MORE THAN YOU DO

Put in your work and other people will put in a fraction of that. Whatever you want from them, you must do double, triple, exponentially more times the work in comparison.

These aforementioned sites are the ones that I TRUST in New York City. I offer them to you all as a gift. Please let me know if any of these are NOT trustworthy and I will amend this list post-haste AND cancel my subscription.  I know of Actors Access from college professors, Backstage.com from other actors and directors, NYCastings.com from industry/networking events, and Playbill.com (FREE) from EVERYONE. There is also ARTsearch.com through TCG but it is primarily geared towards real theatre careers (ie admin, PR, grant writing, etc – which, if qualified, would be great jobs to have and gain much needed  contacts as well) and this is what I used to get my internship with TCG.

So, why do I worry? Well, a lot of the projects that are listed as Non-union/unpaid can be very weird… such as: I have a phone interview with a man who is creating a very avant-garde tv series about two squatters in Brooklyn, one who is named Crabmeat (the role I may or may not be seen for). We have been playing email tag for quite some time and the more it doesnt work out, the more I think that it is just not meant to be. And the more I worry about being asked to meet in an abandoned warehouse somewhere by the river. And there are countless jobs like this – people just making movies. Who are they? I dont know. You can google them, google companies, look for press, previous work, legit credits – but then I ask myself: how is this different from people gauging MY own credibility. Google me! I have some reviews but no REAL professional database.

Sigh – the catch 22’s grow and grow.

Show business. What a job, indeed.

-Emily

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