Being a successful actor is about more than just knowing how to memorize your lines and connect with your scene partner. Talent and skill is important, but if you want to start booking parts, you have to also understand how the business of acting works.
That’s why Michael McKeogh, a well-known, Jeff Award-nominated actor in Chicago, is offering his new “Business of Acting” class at Green Shirt Studio. With tips on everything from how to market yourself with headshots and social media, to who to know in the Chicago theater community and how to network to get ahead, this class will give you the tools to take your acting career to the next level.
So what are some of the biggest secrets to having a more successful acting career? We sat down with McKeogh to get his top 5 tips.
Q: If you’re just starting out as an actor in Chicago, what’s the most important thing you need to do to start getting cast in shows?
A: Seems kind of obvious, but audition, audition, audition! You can’t get cast if you don’t put yourself out there to be seen. I can’t stress it enough.
Q: What’s one of the biggest mistakes people make with their headshot?
A: One of the biggest mistakes that people make with headshots is choosing photos that don’t really look like them. But in addition to that, when picking a headshot, try to find one that also hints at your energetic essences. The pictures not only represent what you look like, but also what you are like as a person.
Q: What is the most important thing people need to do to get an agent?
A: As my dad would say, make sure you have all your ducks lined up in a row. Before meeting with an agent you must have a professional headshot and be prepared to perform material that showcases your most “available” self.
Q: How important is networking to getting ahead?
A: Here is my two cents on networking. Think of network as a noun not a verb. If you are in an acting class, you have a network. If you go to school, you have a network. Networking isn’t about schmoozing and self-promotion. It’s about community building. So ingratiate yourself in your community. Organize a group outing with actor friends and go see as much theater as you can from as many different companies as you can. Get to know the type of work that specific companies like to do and their artistic missions, so when you do meet people who work there, you have something to discuss that isn’t rooted in self-promotion.
Q: What are some other ways that you can put yourself out there?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Write letters to casting directors when they announce their season and tell them how excited you are for their season and that you’d like to be seen, specifically for certain roles.