From the CIT Vault – What To Do During Holidays

Though Memorial Day is only a short holiday, but the lesson is valuable still.  Pro actors make the most of their down time.  What will you do this holiday weekend?

Use holidays to take stock and regroup

It’s a little known fact that practically all of Hollywood shuts down during the holidays.

If you’re an actor, this means that there isn’t going to be a whole lot of activity for you in the way of auditions, episodic shows, and films. However, the successful actor is the busy actor, and just because Hollywood goes on vacation doesn’t mean that you should too! There are plenty of productive activities that the up-and-coming actor can and should work on during the hiatus, mainly in the way of self-preparation and organization. Below are some easy and effective ways to take advantage of the extra free time.

Update your headshot and resume. Do you still have plenty of printed out headshots and resumes? Actors should never leave home without one, so if you are already running low, now would be the perfect time to get new materials printed. Before printing new resumes, give it a good comb-over – making note of any revisions and new additions that you should include. Take a good look at your current headshots as well. How old are your pictures? Do you desperately need to take new ones? If you look vastly different in person than in your pictures, it’s probably time to get new ones taken. If you do need new headshots, act sooner rather than later as photographers are likely to have holiday plans of their own. Here’s a special tip: if there’s a really good photographer you want to work with, but is a little out of your price range (the better, the more expensive), try asking your friends/family to pay for new headshots as a holiday present! Then, once you get new ones printed, you can even give a couple of them out as gifts – they make great stocking stuffers…maybe?

Work on your demo reel. Current demo reels are essential for every actor. Take some time over the holidays to make sure that your reel is up to date, and has your most recent work on it. If you don’t have a demo reel, now would obviously be the time to hop on that bandwagon! Editing demo reels can be a bit time consuming, so take full advantage of the vacation time to make sure your footage is cut together nicely. If you don’t know how to edit video footage yourself (a skill that wouldn’t hurt to invest in), ask one of your friends to help. You would be surprised at how many people in Los Angeles know their way around video editing software – this is the entertainment business after all!

Update your online profiles. Once you have your headshot, resume, and demo reel up to speed, it is crucial to make sure that their online versions match. Go through all of your online actor profiles, and make sure everything is current and consistent. If you have your own actor website, update that as well.

Read, watch movies, and catch up on television. Working in entertainment is one of the BEST excuses to indulge in activities that are usually considered “leisurely” by the rest of the world. As an actor, it really is important to be aware of the current “hit shows”, and “buzz-worthy” films. Watching other actors on screen is also another good way to work on your own craft. If you have access to them, get your hands on some scripts to read as well. Do you know how to speed-read, analyze, and breakdown scripts? If not, now’s the time to start practicing.

Network and mingle! This may sound like another “leisurely” activity, but networking is the heart and soul of the entertainment industry. Naturally, this is the time of year for countless holiday BBQs and gatherings – perfect ways to mingle and meet new people. The Hollywood community in LA is extremely small, so you never know who you will bump into. Because of this, take advantage of the merry festivities, and use it as a good excuse to socialize and make new entertainment connections.

Ask for presents. As previously mentioned, being an actor isn’t cheap at all. You have to spend money on headshots, resumes and acting classes, on top of covering your day-to-day expenses. With this in mind, the practical actor will use the holidays as an excuse to have your loved ones gift you with some of these much-needed necessities. Many acting studios offer gift certificates for classes, so if someone asks you what you want as a present, this is always a good option! Of course you can always just ask for money…money is always good.

Relax and unwind. Last but not least, use this down time to de-stress. Being an actor is incredibly trying, and things are only going to get crazier in the new year with pilot season looming over the distance. Take some time to refocus your energy and establish your actor goals for the new year. Once you are well rested, you will be in excellent shape to tackle your latest batch of auditions and projects!


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