Most actors get into this business because they LOVE TO ACT. I'm not talking about wannabe celebrities, I'm talking about ACTORS. In fact, we usually love it so much that we immerse ourselves in the craft to the point that we ignore the fact that if we hope to make a living at it, we HAVE to become business savvy as well. We have to charge.
Back in either 2004, a friend of mine (Freelance Writer, Beverly Aarons) told me to "stop working for free." Of course I WANTED to, but I kept doing free projects. I "just wanted to act." After taking a look at my reasons for doing free projects, here's what I discovered:
So I did project after project for free, just for the opportunity to act, and that's what I got.
Now, there's something to be said for doing free projects to learn how to work in front of a camera, or to help friends who are producing something and you want to help them build. I get that. But I was making choices out of fear, not out of excitement. I felt like I was ready to move to the next level and couldn't figure out why nobody wanted to pay me.
It was simple business: They wouldn't pay me because I was willing to work for free, and the fact that I was willing to work for free showed how little I valued my 'product.'
So I took a deep breath, kicked fear out of the driver's seat, and started planning. I decided that I would launch my business early the next year, and that I would ONLY do work for free if I really WANTED to. There had to be something in it for me so that I could not just give, give, give all the time, but so that my cup would be refilled as well. I had long believed in the importance of putting one's own oxygen mask on first, and it was time for that 'belief' to move into being.
In January of 2005, my tools were all ready, and I declared my business 'open.' In March of 2005, I had a great commercial agent. I wasn't going out as much as I had hoped, so that summer, I took more pictures. In November of 2005, I shot my first commercial. it made me SAG eligible. In the spring of 2006, I received my first stack of residual checks at a time when I was broke, broke, BROKE! I calculated and cried at the same time. Somebody had paid me to act. 3 years later, I've done 12 (paid) commercials, and 10 different (paid) TV shows. I have some truly awesome people on my 'team' and I now have enough experience that I am able to give back. Heck, this blog chronicles my journey, so if you want to know where I've been, feel free to look around. And once I was prepared, all it took was for me to get out of my own way.
My "Wizards of Waverly Place" recap is coming! I promise!!