By: Jess Canty
So, as y'all may have noticed, things feel like they have slowed down a bit. And I for one am happy. And I'll tell you why - this feels NORMAL. This feels like things were in the before times.
Because normally shows wrap up their seasons in May. And the upfront happen in May. And then everyone takes a much-needed post-pilot season hiatus until about July.
And it sorta kinda feels like that is happening this year.
SO since 2020 had us all discombobulated I thought I would take the time to give some reminders of what to do with this time.
Review your materials.
How old are your headshots?
Are you missing any footage you need to track down?
Does your reel need some spiffing up?
How is your pitch working?
Make plans to fix your materials.
If you don't look like your headshots anymore - probably time to get a new set. Maybe the pandemic helped you discover that you look great with long hair. Maybe you shaved your head. Remember - you need to look like your shots! If it is time for some new ones check out our recommended photographers at www.cinterrapics.com/photographers.
Or maybe you just are tired of looking at the same 5 photos of yourself on AA after staring at them in 2020 with little to do? Go look at your last session - were there things on your "B List" that deserve a second look? Maybe identify a few shots you want to take down / and their replacements from your last session just to make this all fee fresh and new. Again PLEASE enlist the services of your individual manager before you spend money or make changes - this is what we are here for!
Guess what? Some photographers are already booked up until AUGUST! If you have any inkling you want something new for episodic MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT NOW. You can always cancel - but get on those books - so you aren't scrambling in September to hopefully get something for October (which BTW is too late).
Did that short film you did 3 years ago come out during the pandemic because the filmmakers finally had the time to finish it? Did something you shot pre-pandemic finally air? Time to get that footage tracked down and added to your reel and/or up on Actor's Access (PLEASE discuss with your individual manager before spending any $$ adding footage). Your most up-to-date recent credits are your best sales tool for your reps!
If your reel doesn't feel like the current reflection of your work - it may be time to re-edit. Don't have an editor? Ask your manager. OR use this time to dive into learning iMovie or even Adobe Premiere or Final Cut so that you can do the work yourself. Please talk to your manager about the direction in which you are going before you spend money or time.
Are you and your manager on the same page with your pitch? Maybe you have grown out of a role you had originally listed? Or maybe you just don't feel like you want to be the "Action Girl" anymore and you want to try for something that requires less physical training. Whatever the reason - check in with those tropes and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.
Thank Your Reps
When we say "thank your reps" we ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THANKING YOUR MANAGERS HERE AT CINTERRA. Although the gratitude is always appreciated. But that is not the point here - we have a smaller roster so we can make sure to communicate with everyone on the regular.
This is for those of you who have agents with whom you would like to continue a fruitful relationship through the rest of this year. Take a moment to think back to when the last time you were in contact with your agent outside of an audition? Now is a GREAT TIME to send them a note thanking them for their hard work so far this year and telling them what you are looking forward to for the rest of the year. Remember - we work for YOU. You employ us. So like anyone it is always good to hear praise from "the boss."
But Jess - what if I don't think my agent and I are going to have a fruitful relationship through the rest of this year? Well - then now is the time to talk to your manager. In terms of normalcy this typically is one of the times of year when agents drop clients and clients fire agents. And if you are feeling the need for this PLEASE discuss strategy with your manager first. The reality is that there has been an enormous contraction in the representation business due to the pandemic - and this is one thing that has not returned to "normal." So there just aren't as many places to move to as there once were. Also most agencies are still holding on new clients because they still feel like they need to get their existing clients back to work.
If you don't feel the immediate tug of "oh yes I should thank my agent(s)" then there is something in that relationship that needs to be...wait for it... managed!??!?! That is what we are here for! Maybe it is a Zoom check-in? Maybe it is a phone call. Maybe it is an email - but whatever the case make sure you and your Manager are on the same page so that you will be going into Episodic season feeling strong - no matter where you are representation-wise.
Identify Your Training
What kind of class do you want / need to be in during Episodic season?
Need to be with humans again after isolation?
Maybe you need a scene study class in person.
Maybe you need to get those audition muscles back up to par.
Maybe you need to take that dance class you've been waiting to come back now that people are vaccinated.
Maybe you need to re-engage with UCB, Groundlings etc... as they slowly start to open up again.
Make sure you are reaching out to these places NOW so you aren't left playing catch-up when everything is open and early birds have gotten all of the training worms and you are stuck on the waiting list.
Check Your Passport
As things open up again we have seen a number of breakdowns with projects that are shooting overseas. Or projects that are shooting in Canada or Mexico. Casting Networks has purchased Spotlight (UK) and this weekend is re-launching allowing a more global view of projects - which means you may be up for a commercial that shoots in Japan. If you want to get your Bill Murray on - MAKE SURE YOUR PASSPORT IS VALID. If not - please please please start the process now for renewal. We cannot tell you how devastating it would be to have to tell you that you have lost out on a big job because your paperwork is not up to date. Unlike in the before times - there is still a HUGE backlog at the passport office - so the days of showing up in person and paying the expediting fee with proof of your work offer are for now, still behind us.
Take a look through your phone. Who are the creative contacts you may have lost a bit of touch with because of 2020. Who do you need to send that "what are you up to / let's get coffee / let's power-lunch" text or email to? Who was is your creative sphere that you want to make sure you don't completely lose track of? Remember this business is ALL about relationships. Who do you need to rebuild with?
Take That Vacation.
Yep - now's the time. May - late June tends to be one of the "safest" times to take a trip (the other being Thanksgiving - Jan 1st). So - need to get out of LA to refresh? Need to see those cousins in Iowa you haven't seen since 2019 - do it now. Take that road trip. HOWEVER - PLEASE REMEMBER - The Rule Still Applies: Book a trip, get an audition. So if possible make your plans flexible. Or at least bring along that iPhone Tripod just in case that awesome self-tape opportunity comes in!
This slow-down as mentioned has always been "normal" for this part of the year. And again, we are hopeful that the return of this cycle also means a return of a very robust late summer / fall season for all of us.
The VERY BEST WAY not to fret is to get busy.
We've just given you a whole checklist - but I bet there are still more things that you can be doing during this time to stay motivated. What mini-goals can you set for yourself that will help these 8 weeks feel like they've flown by? What have you not done in over a year that you need to re-engage with? Put your toe in that water now - so that come late July you are feeling strong and ready to own the rest of 2021.
It will be here faster than you think - the question is, are you going to be ready?