Photo by Debra Lopez
Why won’t anyone give you a break? You mean why won’t anyone give you a high visibility job in TV/Film making at least $10K per episode.
Why should they?
Your job is to sell yourself to them. In order to do that, you need to figure out what they’re buying & make your brand irresistible to THEM (not you, that’s the trick). What’s valuable to the people u want to give u a job?
If you find that distasteful, that’s why no one will pay you a 10K per episode, but they’ll hire you for $200 a week to do a play. So, do you really want a break or do you want to make a living as an artist?
Here’s who works and each of these categories, talent is a given if ur even being considered:
1. Folks who are commercial physical types meaning “what looks are making money” bec those are the looks that are currently commercial. What’s commercial depends on the marketplace at the time.
Look around you, who’s breaking out? There’s a recurring theme even for POC what is it?
Do u look like the people already on TV & what are they playing? That’s a major reason to get you in the room.
Do u have the full package:
long hair for women (straight, natural, whatever, just lots of it)
is ur skin, make-up natural & camera-ready
are u in the gym like a maniac
do you have that botoxed forehead
the pearly straight teeth
an effortless, high end clothing style
bi-racial or African features
evenly balanced western features (this applies to everyone….it’s really easy to get labeled exotic in a western context unless that’s in right now & what specifically does that mean).
Are u that perfect size 0 w/minimal bust or straight up athletic build or the perfect curvy plus size?
You want to get paid $10K for a week of work, ur talent alone is not enuf to merit that. You need the complete package.
2. The second group are those folks who don’t care abt the business at all & only care abt the art & it’s importance to humanity. They get frustrated by the business, so they ignore all of the commercial elements FOCUSING working in the theatre. It’s EZ to work only in theatre bec every time you take a theatre job, ur making urself unavailable for TV/Film.
That’s fine IF ur really not interested in the business or making a living. If u don’t pay attention to the things that have commercial value, u can do great work in the part of the industry that’s non profit & not concerned w/making $$. These folks work hard, walk the red carpet on the regular, are always on stage getting great reviews, have a day job or sideline & the work (& attention) is the reward bec off broadway pays $200-500 week; regional theatre pays $200-950 week depending on the size of the theatre.
Quiet as kept, though, even though theatre actors don’t pay attention to the commercial type stuff; CDs, producers, directors, heads of MFA programs do.
3. Then there are folks who have proven that they have an audience, sometimes that audience exists bec they actually have talent, but mostly it’s bec they’ve been able to CAPTURE the IMAGINATION of a large group of people. Again, this translates into $$. Can U convince an producer to make a risky million dollar investment in ur work by giving u a break?The only way to prove that ur a reliable gamble is to demonstrate that there are actually people interested in buying what ur selling & an engaged following is proof positive.
Bec having an audience means u have huge numbers of people prepared to pay to see u work. This includes all kinds of folks: Tony-winning actors, stand up comedians, UTube stars, social media influencers, reality TV stars, bloggers, Vloggers, widely published writers, singers, musicians, rappers, etc
April Yvette Thompson