It’s not all about New York

I woke up to this email today. It was in the comments field of another post and I felt like I should share it:

Hello Mrs Angela,

I’ve been wanting to be an actress since I was 10 years old. I am 18 years old now, and it has been difficult. I have learned that being financially stable is one important aspect, but I just wish that it wasn’t what seems to stem from all of my problems. I do not have a job, and am currently in school. My mother raises me and my sister, and she works two jobs. Of course there are classes that I want to take, but I can’t take them. Headshots that I want to get done, but I can’t because of money. I try so hard to remain positive, because I never think of anything else.

I believe that I was born to be an actress. I feel it in my gut, and you REALLY have to love it to stay. I mean, the passion has to burn in your veins in order to keep from breaking, from giving up.. but unfortunately, tonight I asked myself that heartbreaking question- should I just give up? It makes me tear even writing that, but it is the sad truth. I live in Baltimore- about 3 hours away from NYC, and I only wish to be able to study with the best teachers. I’ve tried to submit several times to managers and agencies here, but the truth is… there aren’t many reputable ones. Of course though, no on is going to want someone that is not seasoned. I was lucky enough to be an extra in November. My goodness, that feeling of being on a small film set. The lights. The make-up. The people. So amazing. So exhilirating… the hours.. so LONG (lol), but so worth it. I may not bbe the best actress, but I know that I could become better with experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? I dream of being a film actress, and I don’t know….. hopefully someday God will finally answer my prayers.

I am so sorry for rambling. Congratulations on all of your successes, and I wish you nothing but the best for your acting career.

Thanks for posting this “Lashay”

I hear your worries and I think they are valid. The last thing I want to do is to encourage you to do something that is irresponsible and/or dangerous to your well-being. It sounds like you are in a tough financial position and it does indeed cost a fair bit of money to become an actor in the way that I talk about it on my blog. But, if you are really in love with the craft, I don’t see why you can’t make it work for yourself where you are. There must be a theater or two in Baltimore somewhere. I would encourage you to get involved with one of them somehow. Offer your services as an intern. Offer to help them with their auditions. Offer to get the artistic director coffee as a means to simply be in the environment. Put yourself out there in the community that is right at your fingertips. Whomever you speak with share with them your situation and your passion for the craft. It will go a long way.

You are 18 years old! You are expected to be light on experience, credits, headshots, etc. You won’t be rejected for that. But you have the chance to immerse yourself in a rich culture that does actually exist around you and it seems you don’t quite understand that, yet. And that’s OK. But let me be frank, it’s not like you live in Bumscrum, Idaho. You live in a metropolitan area and there is opportunity there. I bet if you look hard enough, you’ll find a casting for a play or two that you’d be perfect for. Go and audition for it! If it doesn’t work out, pick yourself up and go to another one and another one until you a) book one, or b) decide this isn’t actually the life for you.

As for headshots, here’s a trick – (This ONLY applies to people in your position because you can get away with it for another year or two) Get a friend to take a snapshot of you looking your best, make sure the background is clear and simple. Then print it out in color and on regular paper if you don’t have access to photo paper (which you can get from any paper store, btw). That will do for now. Baby steps. You can print them out as you go. I did this for YEARS! As for resume, if you have any school productions list them. List the extra work you did. It’s a start and is fine.

When I first started I slept on a couch at a small theater company in downtown New York for 2 years (!!) because I COULDN’T work legally in the States. So, if I can make it work, you can. You just have to be resourceful and work with what you have. You managed to get yourself on a small film set – so you have an idea how to find those productions. Just stick with it. It’s not all about New York, you know. If you dedicate the next two years to building your resume in Baltimore you can revisit the idea of moving.

I’d also encourage you to go and get a job. It is so empowering to make money on your own. Perhaps there’s a restaurant you can work in a few days/nights a week or maybe a law-firm that needs someone to answer phones (a great way to work on your voice and diction by the way!). Then you can start to take your life into your own hands and that feeling of powerlessness will fade away.

Here, I’ve found a couple of resources and a listing of all the theaters in Baltimore to get you started:

http://www.baltimoreperforms.org/

http://www.centerstage.org/

http://www.baltimore-theater.com/theatres.php

Get on the phone and start asking around to see how you can get involved.

Good luck to you. I wish you all the best – whatever you decide to do!

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About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York. www.angeladee.com

One Response to “It’s not all about New York”

  1. >Thank you, Mrs Angela. You are truly a sweet woman.

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