Rachel Addington, Actor, www.racheladdington.com
Andrew David James, Actor/Fight Choreographer, www.andrewdavidjames.com
Allan Hunt, Artistic Director/Actor/Teacher, Thousand Oaks Repertory Company
Debbie Zipp, Actress/Writer/Producer, www.aspiringactorshandbook.com
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Network
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are talking about actors; not the craft of acting but what it takes to find and get work. We start with Rachel Addington; she’s a working LA actress, with credits in film, theatre and the web. Tonight we talk with her about how she markets herself to get work.
Larry Jordan: Next, actor and theatrical director, Allan Hunt, shares his thoughts on what it takes to be successful as an actor. Innate skill is a part of it, but there’s a whole lot more you can do to improve your chances of success.
Larry Jordan: Next, Debbie Zipp spent 35 years as a professional actress; then she wrote the book, ‘The Aspiring Actor’s Handbook; What Seasoned Actors Wished They Had Known.’ Tonight, she shares the secrets of the pros.
Larry Jordan: Next, Scott Page built his career as a musician; which means a life spent searching for short term gigs. Tonight, he explains how we can improve our marketing by building relationships using our phone.
Larry Jordan: Next, Andrew David James is an actor, a writer and a fight choreographer. It’s one thing to find work in a big media city like Los Angeles or New York, but what happens when you hit the road? How do you travel for work, yet still keep your business intact?
Larry Jordan: All this plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital film-making. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-production: And content creators around the planet. Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry; covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world. We are celebrating our 17th year of podcasting. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan and tonight we’re looking at the business behind acting; not unions, agents, or casting, but the process of finding and getting work. All too often, as creative professionals, we spend all our time scrambling to get a gig that only lasts for a few days. But it is worse for actors, there’s a lot of competition for not a lot of jobs.
Larry Jordan: Tonight we’re going to talk to a number of different actors, directors and musicians, about how they find and get work and, along the way, we’ll learn about what skills and mind sets are necessary to cope with the constant stress. It should be a fun show, I’m looking forward to our conversations. By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz; quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am talking to you; this is a great way to start my week. What’s the news?
James DeRuvo: Well there’s a really super cool app out for the iPhone and on Google Play that offers drone liability insurance for as low as $10 an hour. The app is called ‘Verifly’ and it offers location based premium rates charged per hour. You get instant approval and they will email you a proof of insurance certificate, so that you can provide it to anyone who needs it. The only downside is, is that, it’s only for drones under 15 pounds; which means, you can use it for the DJI Phantom 4, the new Mavic Pro and the GoPro Karma; those drones. Any drone whose drone and camera package is under 15 pounds.
James DeRuvo: Right now it’s also limited to $1 million policy, but they’re planning on offering a $2.5 million policy soon, with day long rates of up to eight hours. It’s a very cool app. If you want to download it, it’s available in the iTunes app store or in Google Play.
Larry Jordan: Very cool and the nice thing, it’s insurance by the hour, which is very affordable.
James DeRuvo: Well it’s really kind of cool too, because the app also gives you a countdown; so you know exactly when your insurance is about to expire and it’s only for liability insurance though, so if you crash your drone, you’re on your own. But if you crash your drone into somebody, then you’re covered.
Larry Jordan: Well, we’ll talk more about this later. What’s the next story?
James DeRuvo: The next story is that, a filmmaker has taken the REDs 8K Helium camera for a test. He actually pushed it to its absolute limits; recorded it in absolute darkness, extreme bright sunlight. Basically his goal was to try and find the breaking point and, quite honestly, he’s not sure he did. He says it’s got a better Super 35mm image than the 6K full frame Dragon sensor and what he likes about the 8K format is that it shows all the little imperfections. He says, that’s the real charm of super high vision, which is what they’re calling it these days; is that, all these little imperfections that you see, is like looking at something in real life and he really likes it.
James DeRuvo: The other thing that I saw this week is that, another filmmaker has created a little remote control for the URSA Mini. It’s called the one little remote control and it’s a bank of four buttons, that you can program for your favorite menu options. The best part is, it’s under $60.
Larry Jordan: How about something on the software front? Anything going on?
James DeRuvo: On the software side, FxFactory has teamed up with Lemke Software to create the epic auto color correction app. It’s a plug-in for FxFactory and it uses an algorithm that simulates what your eyes see. Simulates the human brain’s visual system; so what it sees is what you see with your human eye. It also has Log and Rec 709 pre-sets and basically it’s a drag and drop primary color correction system. You just take the plug-in, drag it onto your footage and it automatically color corrects.
Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing. FxFactory has a number of color correction software inside it, but, I like the fact that it does auto color correction.
James DeRuvo: Yes, it’s really ideal for documentaries and, if you’re on a tight deadline and you need to show your client a really fast epic auto color correction for FxFactory, that’s the plug-in for you.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of all the latest news in our industry, where can they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for DoddleNEWS and James, as always, thanks for joining us.
James DeRuvo: Have a great weekend Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist, community and networking site; for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn; collaborate; market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community of artists; filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect; learn and succeed. That’s thalo.com
Larry Jordan: Rachel Addington is a working Los Angeles based actress with credits in film, theatre and the web. Tonight we want to talk with her about what she does to market herself as an actor. Hello Rachel, welcome.
Rachel Addington: Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: We are delighted to have you on, because, I’ve been looking at your website and reading some of your résumé stuff and you’ve been busy. But, before we talk about that, what first got you interested in acting?
Rachel Addington: Well, what first got me interested in acting, I was actually three years old when I decided that this is what I wanted to do and it was the movie, ‘Sound of Music,’ actually. I watched it with my Mom and I saw how much it affected her, just the performances, and I realized that that’s what I wanted to do. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to pursue this. I don’t really know any other lifestyle.
Larry Jordan: Well, aside from the fact that you got hooked on the industry at the age of three, what kind of gigs are you getting now?
Rachel Addington: Well since I moved down to LA, I’ve been doing a lot of live theatre; I’m lucky enough to do a lot of live theatre back to back. I’ve been doing a lot of commercial work and a lot of web series work; a lot of student films; background work. I’ve kind of touched on all different aspects of it, which has been great and an amazing opportunity; so I’ve been incredibly lucky.
Larry Jordan: Well tonight we want to focus on what actors need to know, in terms of finding and getting work. Talk to me about how you’re marketing yourself.
Rachel Addington: Now I’m lucky enough to have a manager that submits me for projects that aren’t always on the website breakdowns. But, before that, when it was just me, I was constantly on LA Casting; Actors’ Access; Casting Frontier; Backstage, all those different areas where I would just submit myself. I would dedicate the first two hours every day to submitting myself on all these projects; trying to make contacts with people in the student film area and try to maintain those; so for future projects they would think of me. Creating a website to promote myself and promoting it on social media; because that has become a huge benefit for actors in general. If you have a large social media following, that’s what everyone wants nowadays. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all that.
Rachel Addington: But most of it has just been constantly applying online and getting lucky enough to be called in for a first audition; then hopefully call back and then, if you’re lucky, you’re cast.
Larry Jordan: There’s two different areas I want to talk about; social media, which is second. But you said something I found interesting, you’ve got an agent. Can you rely exclusively on the agent for marketing yourself, or do you have to do something as well?
Rachel Addington: No, I never rely solely on one person. I know that my manager or my agent would do their best to push for me, but it’s definitely not something that I am solely counting on to get me in the door. I mean, a lot of people say that, everything in this industry is about. While part of it is true, a lot of it is also what you know that keeps you there. I am constantly putting myself out there and reaching out to people individually; so they get a little glimpse of me as an actor and as a person, rather than through just a third party.
Rachel Addington: While it’s extremely beneficial to have someone going to bat for you, it’s also really incredible to just be doing that yourself too; because, they get a firmer grasp on who you are as a person and you can build the relationship from there.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to have an interview, immediately following your segment, with a director named Allan Hunt; who got his start in television in 1965. One of the things that Allan makes clear is, luck plays a part, but you have to be prepared to take advantage of the luck when it lands on your feet.
Rachel Addington: Exactly, yes. If people ask me what else I need to be doing, it’s constantly either in classes, or in workshops, or taking voiceover; anything to further your own experience and your education. Because, yes, when that opportunity strikes, when that luck hits, that’s brilliant; but, ultimately, it’s what you know that’s going to keep you there. It’s going to keep propelling you forward. Luck runs out immensely quickly in this industry, so, as long as they’re constantly working on furthering their craft, I think, once that strikes, they’ll be good to go.
Larry Jordan: Well, which is more important, marketing or training?
Rachel Addington: You know, I would like to say training. Me as a person, I believe that a person’s craft is more important. But, in this industry, especially with social media now, it’s become such a big plus if you do have a big social media following. The way that times are going, I would say that, promoting yourself in that sense is equally as important, if maybe not a little bit more, to get yourself out there.
Larry Jordan: How are using social media and how are you avoiding it take over your life; so that all you do is social media?
Rachel Addington: For me, Facebook is a big one, and I have two different Facebook pages. One’s specific for my acting endeavors and to promote either what I’ve got casting or what projects I have coming up; and then I have one that’s for my personal use, that I can just be myself on. It’s kind of nice to have that separation. Again, Instagram is a big one, using all the hashtags, because people can search those; like actors, Los Angeles, working actor; all that stuff that big casting directors can search and find you on. That’s incredibly beneficial as well.
Rachel Addington: As for not allowing it to take over my life, I grew up just before the technology boom, so I grew up with a dial up internet and everything; so I remember what it’s like to not have my phone glued to my ear; so that’s been beneficial. It’s a fine balance trying to figure out just how to promote yourself and not get too over the top with it; because, eventually people get sick of looking at it and then you get nowhere.
Larry Jordan: Do you judge social media to be a success based upon the number of conversations you start, or the number of followers that you have, or the number of jobs you book?
Rachel Addington: The success on social media, I like to think of as most followers and most conversations started through there. Because, you can reach a great amount of people through just social media and you can start those conversations and build those relationships. The following is mostly for people who are casting bigger projects and they just want to know how many people are following you, so that they can use you to self-promote the project, in addition to all the promotions they’re doing on their apps. That’s more beneficial when bigger casting directors are looking at you.
Rachel Addington: The conversations and building the relationships are more beneficial for the smaller projects, because they’re looking more in-depth; I find. Because they’re looking to build a more personable relationship.
Larry Jordan: You are competing in probably the biggest media market in the world, with about billion other young women who are trying to do the exact same role you are. What are you doing to make yourself stand out from the crowd?
Rachel Addington: What I’ve been doing is I’ve been taking improv classes; because it’s something I never did in school. I found that that has been incredibly beneficial. The good thing with improv is, it forces you to make a decision with whatever is handed to you in that moment. As opposed to method acting, which is also incredibly beneficial, but it deals a lot more with in-depth character work.
Rachel Addington: When you’re going into say just a cattle call audition and you maybe don’t get the script beforehand and it’s just a cold read, the improv skills really allow you to just make one bold decision and run with it. That has been incredibly beneficial for me. I’ve only taken a couple of improv classes but I’ve booked some more jobs with having that knowledge than I did before.
Larry Jordan: Is it more important to have a specific look, to try to brand yourself and be typecast in a particular category, or to have a range?
Rachel Addington: I would say it’s nice to have a range; but I think it’s incredibly beneficial for the actor to know their type. Me, for example, when I first moved down here I was 23 and I was already getting cast in the young mom type; which was extremely different for me, because I was getting cast as … or other places. So, really knowing how people see you and perceive you just by looking at you is incredibly beneficial to the actors.
Rachel Addington: Again, if you can stretch that range and if you can get other people to see you in that light, that’s incredible and just keep building on top of that. But, I think it’s most important to know the type that you come across as initially; like when people first see you when you walk in the room. Because, otherwise, you’re kind of just drawing straws and if you go in there with a clear idea, you’ll have more success.
Larry Jordan: You have managed to pick an industry where many more people say no than say yes. How do you keep your spirits up when you keep getting rejected?
Rachel Addington: I have had a great many years to prepare a thick skin but, I mean, yes, when you do hear no a lot it does take a toll on you. I think it was Susan Sarandon that said this, I read it in an interview or something. She said that, whenever she heard no from an audition or a no thank you, she would go out to dinner or do something just for herself; to celebrate a new possibility. She didn’t see it as a closed door, she saw it as like a new door in a different direction was opening; new possibilities.
Rachel Addington: That has always stuck in the back of my mind to just try to see everything as, just no to this one but maybe yes further down the road. I know that that’s easier said than done in a lot of cases, but that greatly helps me, in the long run.
Larry Jordan: Yes, to take a longer view rather than a shorter view and realize they’re rejecting a particular moment, not you as a person.
Rachel Addington: Exactly and that’s really hard for a lot of people to wrap their head around; that it’s not you, it just not their idea. They’re searching just as hard and hoping that you are what they’re looking for. But the casting directors, when you walk in the door, are hoping that their day ends with you; they want you to succeed. That’s also beneficial, is, they aren’t out to get you, they want you to do well; so remembering that when you go in the door is really beneficial also.
Larry Jordan: For somebody who does want to succeed and hire a talented actress Rachel, where should they go on the web to learn more about you?
Rachel Addington: You can check out my website, it’s racheladdington.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word. Rachel Addington herself is the voice and Rachel, thanks for joining us today. This has been fun.
Rachel Addington: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Rachel Addington: Bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Allan Hunt has directed more than 30 shows for the stage. He was also the co-star of ABC’s ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ a year or two ago. He’s an award-winning director; the director of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival and currently the head of the performing arts program at Oak Park High School, in Oak Park, California. Hello Allan, welcome.
Allan Hunt: Hello Larry, nice hearing from you.
Larry Jordan: It’s good to hear your voice again. This week we’re talking about creating a successful career as an actor. You’re an actor, a director and a teacher. Is it possible to learn acting, or is acting innate in a person?
Allan Hunt: I would say yes to both of those; it is innate, it’s a gift. Talent may be the result of a lot of training, but it always begins with a bit of a gift. I would put it this way. If someone has a flair that seems to do well at dialog or improvisation, where they put themselves into another person’s being and can create a character like that, that’s remarkable and wonderful. Not all of us can do it. But along with that must go training and disciplines; so it is a marriage of the two things.
Larry Jordan: You’ve taught both adults and children and, assuming that they have some innate talent, it’s possible to enhance that talent with training. But how does your training vary, depending upon the age of the student you’re teaching?
Allan Hunt: That’s a good question Larry, because adults, obviously, are much more in tune with what is needed. But curiously, children have fantastic imaginations and they already play act; and so that already is in play with children. It’s kind of funny, because, most adult actors that I know and work with have always done this; ever since childhood they were always pretending and that’s really what it is. It’s really good pretending.
Allan Hunt: The answer to your question Larry is that, with children it’s actually quite easy, because the kids are already in tune with pretending and being another person. Adults, of course, understand intellectually more what this is, but it’s funny, adults are also a little shyer; they become self-conscious. In my job it’s a matter of getting in tune with that and meeting them on that plain and then encouraging them to go further with it.
Larry Jordan: Young actors face so many challenges today. What should a young actor do to equip themselves to stand out from the crowd? Because there are so many other actors that are going after that same gig.
Allan Hunt: Boy Larry, you’re right, and boy, if I knew that answer. The best advice that I could give, just from my own observations and having been in this business, is being prepared. It’s that old Boy Scout motto. If you get a chance to meet a producer or a hotshot director and he or she is interested in what you might do with this certain part, if you have training and are honed to what you’re doing as an actor, you jump right in on that script and you can be head and shoulders above other people. That’s the best thing you could hope for. But in my business, it does seem to smile on some and pass by others and I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to it.
Allan Hunt: If you look at the success stories of some really great actors, no two stories are the same. It’s a little tricky. In my experience, there isn’t one particular way to do this other than being aware of yourself; having the training that has taught you to think quickly and be a solid performer on stage; and do as Laurence Olivier said, speak your lines loudly and clearly and get off.
Larry Jordan: It sounds to me like what you’re saying is, there’s a huge amount of serendipity; just pure blind luck. But behind the blind luck, you’ve got to back it up with training.
Allan Hunt: Yes and be ready for it when that chance happens. Another cliché, if I may Larry, is, know thyself. There’s nothing more important for an actor than knowing how you look, how you come across to people. What is your type? How do you strike people? Knowing that is probably as important in the beginning as anything.
Larry Jordan: You got your big break when you were the co-star in ABC’s ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ and I’m not going to say what years those were.
Allan Hunt: It’s okay.
Larry Jordan: It was 65 to 66?
Allan Hunt: Yes. The show actually was on in 1964 in black and white and then the second season, 65, I was added to the cast, along with Terry Becker and, you know, Larry, my getting that part was so ironic and so by chance; because I was originally turned down for the part. I met one of the casting directors and they said thank you very much and I forgot all about it. Then, maybe two months later, I got a call to go in and meet on Voyage again and I went down to 20th. I thought there would be a roomful of other guys on some kind of call back but the office was empty. Joe came out and said, “Oh Allan, good, come on, we’re going to walk across the lot and go to see Irwin Allen,” who was the producer. As we’re walking he said, “You know what’s happened?” I said, “No, I don’t.”
Allan Hunt: What he told me was that, they had an actor that I knew, as a matter of fact, for the part and they wanted to show some footage of this actor to the ABC brass, because they would have a final say so. This actor recommended an episode of ‘Mr Novak,’ he was the guest star in that episode. They brought that in to show to the executive. Well, I happened to be in that episode with Bobby and all our scenes were together. When the two of us came on the screen, the ABC people thought they were supposed to be looking at me and said, “Oh, that’s the guy, yes, good, great, thumbs up; let’s book him.” Irwin Allen was surprised because that wasn’t the guy.
Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness.
Allan Hunt: I didn’t know this was happening. When I met Irwin Allen, it was just to shake hands really, because ABC had already said that’s the guy; that’s the guy we want. I’d love to say that I was the best actor, that I read for the part and got it; but no, it was a fluke like that.
Larry Jordan: Which simply goes to prove that serendipity has played a role through the ages.
Allan Hunt: Yes; it certainly did in that case. Everybody is looking for some key, some in road and there really isn’t one except mixing talent with whatever gifts you may have been given, with being prepared; being ready for something.
Larry Jordan: Allan, I could talk with you for probably another couple of hours; but, we’re going to let you go. Do you have a website that people can visit?
Allan Hunt: Allanhunt.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word and Allan Hunt is an actor, a director and the head of the performing arts program at the Oak Park High School in California. Allan, thanks for joining us today.
Allan Hunt: Thank you Larry, it was my pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Debbie Zipp is a writer and editor and producer of the Three Tomatoes website; plus a weekly LA newsletter. She’s also the co-author of the ‘Aspiring Actor’s Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known.’ Before that, she spent 35 years as a steadily working professional actress. Hello Debbie, welcome.
Debbie Zipp: Hi Larry, good to be here.
Larry Jordan: It’s wonderful to actually hear your voice again; it has been a while since last we spoke.
Debbie Zipp: Yes; it’s good to hear you too.
Larry Jordan: Thank you. Debbie, there are so many things we could talk about; acting, your website, your newsletter. But I want to focus on your book and your advice. Why did you decide to write the ‘Aspiring Actor’s Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known?’
Debbie Zipp: Well I had been asked to write another book about advice for actors. I didn’t necessarily like the concept they came up with, so I kind of said no to that; but decided to go ahead and then I could write it myself. I took on a partner, a co-author; another worker bee actress by the name of Molly Cheek. We sat down and we worked for four years on this; in between different things.
Debbie Zipp: Finally, after four years, we got it published and we wanted to just do something different and tell actors about the life they were looking at, if they chose this profession; things that we wish someone had told us when we were starting out. That was the basic concept.
Larry Jordan: What’s the biggest misunderstanding that young actors have about the profession?
Debbie Zipp: I think they think that the only way to be successful is to be a star and what we wanted to point out was that, there was a vast middle ground between starving artist and a star or a celebrity. That there is a total section where you are a worker bee; you are a middle class actor making a living, not having to do any other job but act and are able to pay your bills, raise a family, send your kids to college or whatever, from your earnings as an actor. Granted, it’s only one to two percent of the Screen Actor’s Guild that are able to do that. But we wanted them to know that that is successful too, not just being a celebrity.
Larry Jordan: I like the idea of defining the middle ground; that’s something that is easily overlooked, especially in our celebrity obsessed culture. What are some of the other key takeaways from your book?
Debbie Zipp: Well, one of my pet peeves is, if I had spoken to myself I would have said, “Don’t just be an actor.” However, back in the day, that was really all you had, you know. Goldie Hawn was one of the first women to have her own production company.
Debbie Zipp: When I say to actors now, when they ask, what’s my number one piece of advice; is not to just be talented and hone your craft and be dedicated and all that stuff, it is also to say be more. Be more than just an actor. Because, with everything today, with your ability to edit a movie at home; with your writing skills; with producing, the things you can do without the green light of the studio, that’s what you need to do. You need to investigate all your creative skills, while you’re pursuing actor. Because, in the end, you will feel much more empowered; so that, when you go on an audition, you’re thinking, okay, if I don’t get this, I’m not going to be devastated, I’ll just work on my script, or I’ll work on that short film I’m producing, or I’ll edit this piece that I just shot. Things like that, that I think are very important.
Debbie Zipp: It also gives you other aspects when you work, as to what the other people’s jobs are and what they’re looking for, what their perspective is; which can only help you when you’re on stage or when you’re shooting something.
Larry Jordan: We’ll bring you back, there’s so much more that we can talk about; to help young actors understand, sort of, where they fit in the whole picture. By the way, I need to give you the credit, that you’re probably best known for your role as Donna in the CBS series, ‘Murder She Wrote’ which is a show, by the way, that I was addicted to. Thank you so much. What website can people go to, to learn more about your work?
Debbie Zipp: HYPERLINK “http://www.aspiringactorshandbook.com” www.aspiringactorshandbook.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, aspiringactorshandbook.com. Debbie Zipp is the co-author of the book and Debbie, thanks for joining us today, this has been fun.
Debbie Zipp: Very welcome.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to; DoddleNEWS.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.
Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts community; a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking; performing arts, to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project; there’s only one place to go, DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page is a musician, a technologist and a serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as the CEO of Ignited Network, which is a start-up music accelerator focused on teaching artists how to think like a start-up and he has widely toured as a professional musician. Hello Scott, welcome back.
Scott Page: Hello Larry, how are you? Good to be on the show again; I love doing this show.
Larry Jordan: Well, we want you back more often; so, it’s good to have you back again.
Scott Page: Thanks very much.
Larry Jordan: Scott, this week we’re talking about actors and other creative types and how to find and land a job. Something you talked about a few weeks ago, when we were talking about your space program was, the idea of building a brand. Why is a brand so important?
Scott Page: Well, I mean, today, everything is about the brand; it’s part of what makes who you are and makes you visible and makes you kind of help rise above the noise; what your brand stands for and what the purpose is. All of those things. Because today, we have such a noise level of content out there, the key to being seen, or content, or being seen at all, is you have to be able to rise above the noise. Really understanding how to build your brand is really critical to helping you rise in this business and be seen.
Larry Jordan: Well how do you build a brand if you’re just starting out?
Scott Page: Well, you know, what’s great is, we have all these tools today; I mean, that’s the wonder and the beauty of social media right now and what’s going on with mobility and the ability to basically have this mobile device in your hand; being able to connect with virtually anybody 24/7. I think we talked about, you know, Twitter being the 24 hour cocktail party.
Scott Page: What I try to tell everybody is, really this device in your hand is a relationship device; you can actually start building relationships. We all know, in business in general and even in the content business, so much of it is based on relationships; so, using these tool sets that we have to be able to communicate with people, connect, is really where the Holy Grail is for kind of building your business today. How do you find work? You’ve just got to get started out there and start finding, you know, the niches.
Larry Jordan: Well we were talking with Rachel, in the first segment, about the fact that social media can just take over your life; to the extent that you’re not doing anything else and yet, as creative people, we still need to network and market. How do you balance the 24/7 demands of social media with actually getting work?
Scott Page: Yes. Here’s where my model is to go small. It’s not about having millions of followers, it’s really finding those people that you can really connect and build relationships with. I read a whole article and I can’t remember where it was, but it was talking about that, people can really only really handle about 100 people as far as a relationship is concerned and that’s even stretching it.
Scott Page: What I tell you is, like for me, with Twitter, instead of thinking about Twitter, about growing this audience and talking to everybody, I did the research, I found people that were going to be important to the things that I cared about, in the business that I was doing. With launching my new start-up, I found people with synergies, where we could work together and I focused on them; so I had ten people that I focused on Twitter for the whole year. I wasn’t trying to talk to everybody else, I was using it to build those relationships.
Scott Page: I would tell actors and artists and those people, who are the people that matter? If you’re in the film business or the music business, you might get your placements, then you’re looking for music supervisors and people in that space; so, who are those folks? You can find them now. The same with actors, who are the talent scouts; who are the people and what are the things. Build the relationships with the people that are out there. Because we never had that ability to do it from the palm of our hands, from anywhere in the world.
Scott Page: It’s an incredible device, this device; it’s is a relationship tool and if you use it that way and forget about social media, as far as consuming my life, let’s just focus. It could be two or three people, it could be whatever, that small group of people; but make it concentrated. That’s my advice. Going small really wins these days.
Larry Jordan: Reach out but focus on who you’re reaching out too; so don’t go for the mass, go for the quality.
Scott Page: Absolutely. Because, I’ve seen so many times, influencing influence is one of the most important things you can do and it only takes one. You get one of the right influencers and things can really start to happen for you. Always focus on understanding what I’m looking for, who I need to speak to and then, understanding what they care about and making sure that there’s a nice fit between what we’re trying to do. Then I reach out and then we build a conversation and start building the relationship.
Scott Page: The whole idea is building trust. Once you start building trust with those people, then they will start to use you; and it is business, it’s about these relationships.
Larry Jordan: Very cool Scott. For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
Scott Page: You can go to ignited.network and that’s where we talk about the accelerator. We’re very excited; we’re going to be launching our Ignited Live mobile network here for content creatives to monetize their audience.
Larry Jordan: Take a breath. We will talk with you more soon. Scott Page is the CEO of Ignited Network; Scott, talk to you shortly.
Scott Page: Alright, thanks very much Larry.
Larry Jordan: It’s been a full show and we still have one more guest to go, that I’m really looking forward to talking with. He’s an actor and entertainer and fight choreographer. His name is Andrew David James. He’s toured throughout America and Europe, working in theatre and film. For the past year he’s hosted the weekly radio show, State of the Arts, with Michael Sterling and Andrew David James, which is on LA Talk Radio. Hello Andrew, welcome back.
Andrew David James: Hello, thank you.
Larry Jordan: The first time we met, I realized, was about six years ago, when you and I worked together on a web series called ‘Two Reel Guys.’ But much water has passed under the bridge. What are you doing now?
Andrew David James: Well, more of that, taking jobs where I can find them and trying to do good work.
Larry Jordan: How many of your gigs are outside the local area?
Andrew David James: That’s a good question. It varies from month to month, depending on what I can take into my schedule. Usually it comes out to about 50/50; about 50% of the jobs that I do in California are out of town; so it’s usually a pretty good division right down the middle.
Larry Jordan: Now, do you find the work in LA and they send you on location; or are you doing job hunting outside of LA itself?
Andrew David James: Yes, I put feelers out all over, depending on the job quality. A lot of what I get is from directors that I’ve worked with before, who are then shooting out of town or are kind enough to call me to come in on projects that they need me for. But certainly I have an agent that’s in New York as well, that gets me work on the East Coast.
Larry Jordan: Well, I’ve had a chance to chat with you on many occasions off the record, as it were, and you’ve got to be one of the hardest working actors that I know. How do you cope with living out of a suitcase, yet still being fresh for the day’s work?
Andrew David James: Well, you’ve got to learn to do that when you don’t have much talent; you’ve got to cover up what you don’t have in talent with hard work. I’ve learned that there’s no replacement for good hard work. I think the thing is that, you have to treat it like a business; you have to set yourself a schedule. You’ve got to make yourself get up and work out, even if you’ve had a long flight; you’ve got to kind of treat your suitcase like a briefcase; and you’ve got to be willing to, you know, set a regiment for yourself that doesn’t make you feel like you’re doing something unusual, it’s just another day at the office.
Larry Jordan: Well that’s exactly the point. How do you manage to keep your business running smoothly when you‘re away from your business, away from your home?
Andrew David James: I have a routine that I go through, where I do my promotions during a certain time. If I’m on a plane I’m usually working on a script. The problem comes in when you’re driving. A lot of the driving time is just downtime where all you can do is focus on the road. I like to find a way to give myself ten or 15 minutes to kind of pull over and stop and focus on what job I’m going to be doing.
Andrew David James: I tend to do a lot of social media kind of stuff, during my time, where I would otherwise be useless; so, if I’m sitting in a hotel room or if I’m waiting for a plane in the airport, I tend to do a lot of social media posting. Letting people know what I’m doing and kind of getting the word out there to help promote the projects that I’m doing; so, in the end, they can be, you know, successful for the people who are making the big money off of them. Generally speaking, if you keep yourself active and then give yourself a cut-off point and come back to your real life and spend your real life with your family and get yourself the relaxation, then going back to work the next day doesn’t seem that hard. But I find the greatest success is just in a really strict division of time allotment.
Larry Jordan: I want to come back to that point. We talked to Rachel at the first section and Scott in the segment just before you. In both cases I asked them, how do you manage to have social media not take over your life? Because social media is 24/7 and wants all of you all of the time.
Andrew David James: It’s interesting when you look at how much good social media actually does. It’s really very limited as far as the time you need to make it successful. I think people think, oh well, I have to be posting all the time. I tend to lean towards targeted posts. I very judiciously pick what projects need to be promoted and how far out you promote them and I try to do a post every day or every couple of days and if there’s a project that’s coming up, that’s needing to sell tickets or needing new funding or that’s needing a little more promotion, you go ahead and schedule those posts all at once. Then they go up without you ever having to look at it again.
Larry Jordan: As you’re traveling about and working both in LA and in New York and everywhere in between, is there a different in work environment; or is production production?
Andrew David James: You know, once you’re in the studio or on location, production’s production; I’m sure you know that from everything’s you’ve done. But there is something different when you’re going through different places. I remember one time I was in an airport in Atlanta and a girl asked me if I wanted sweet tea and I hadn’t had sweet tea forever and I said yes and I got myself thinking about sweet tea and I got myself nostalgic. I started kind of looking around the airport and I realized, I was supposed to be working, I was supposed to be on my laptop and working on script stuff; I was choreographing a fight at the time.
Andrew David James: I think you’ve got to keep yourself focused outside of the actual location or outside of the actual studio; more so than inside.
Larry Jordan: Would you describe focus as the biggest challenge you face when you’re acting on the road; or is something else even more challenging?
Andrew David James: No, I think that’s definitely the biggest. The only one that would be close, I think, is health. It’s extremely hard to keep yourself healthy when you’re traveling a lot. You find yourself getting more down, you find yourself taking liberties with your eating habits and that sort of thing. It’s easy to very quickly get yourself where you’re not at your best. But I think those two are definitely the big ones that you’ve got to kind of avoid as much as possible.
Larry Jordan: Well the craft table can be a huge temptation.
Andrew David James: That’s true. I’ve become a big fan of packing my own craft services before I go on set for a difficult fight job though.
Larry Jordan: What do you like most about doing out of town work? I know your family’s LA based, but, what makes going out of town exciting?
Andrew David James: You know, the temptation, when you’ve got two little ones at home, that you miss a whole lot, is to say nothing; you much rather work in LA. But there is something that makes you feel like you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do by traveling. I know that there are times where I get to see parts of the country and I’ve been working hard and I’ve had my head down and I stop and I look up at a mountain in Utah or I look up at New York City and I see, oh my goodness, I’m so lucky to be here. So I think you do learn an appreciation for the love of travel and what you get to do in this industry that maybe somebody else in another job doesn’t get.
Larry Jordan: Do you have a favorite out of town experience? It’s similar to out of body but out of mind, but we’ll talk out of town. Anything special come to mind?
Andrew David James: Some of them do feel that way. Yes, I remember one time I was shooting near my home state, I was in Southern Indiana and I grew up in Kentucky. I was just over the border, so I was going to meet up with some friends that night. The shoot that we were doing was outside and we ended up getting caught in the mud, during the fight scene, and what was supposed to be a quick two hour shoot ended up taking 12 hours; so I never got to see my friends that night. I found out later that they’d been waiting for me the whole time at the place we’d said we were going to meet. They never got any of my messages or anything.
Andrew David James: I ran out there to meet them at the very last bit, right before they left, and I was covered in mud; just absolutely draped in mud and I walked in there and you could just see the look on their faces. Most of these guys have office jobs and that sort of thing. When I walked in, they definitely knew that there was something a little bit different about my job.
Larry Jordan: How much of the marketing that you do, do you leave to yourself, and how much of it do you pass onto your manager or agent? In other words, how responsible are you for finding work?
Andrew David James: If you have a good team and I very fortunately do, you have people who are consistently working for you, because they’re trying to feed their families too. But those relationships are extremely hard to find and difficult to cultivate; so I tend to do a lot of it myself and usually on things that I can’t handle or things that don’t benefit me quite as much directly, I let them do. You know, I also find that, you know, a good publicity person for a film is willing to do some great stuff and help you out quite a bit too, for an individual project
Larry Jordan: Do you view your role more as a prospecting role and then, once something starts to become more final, it gets turned over the agent or manager?
Andrew David James: I think, in a way, you have to. It gets really tedious reading contracts as carefully as you have to. I tend not to invest in a job fully until all that’s been signed; because, if you’re always looking for the next job, which we all are, you find that you get very worn out with all of the failures, all the ones that don’t turn out, because you ended up being an inch too short or because you ended up, you know, having a conflict on that date or somebody else said yes when they’d originally said no. I tend to just kind of let all that set until I’m actually signed on the dotted line and then dig into it, kind of, with all your heart and soul.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but that doesn’t tell me how you’re divvying up responsibility. What do you have your manager working on and what do you have your agent working on and what do you feel that you’re most responsible for?
Andrew David James: The delineation tends to be that they get me the jobs and I show up at the job and do my job, you know, without incident hopefully. If there’s a problem or if there’s a conflict, I call usually my manager in first. That’s very rare, if there’s a conflict on a date or if there’s, you know, a shoot that’s been delayed or something like that. But occasionally that does happen. For the most part, I see my job, like you said, as a prospector; somebody who goes out there, hands out the business cards, tries to keep my reputation as somebody who’s going to be hardworking and never stop doing what they need to have done.
Andrew David James: But more than anything, I rely on my representation, to get the initial contact; to put me in the right room, with the right people, who are doing legitimate work.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like it’s a never-ending job of balancing getting the work done with finding the next gig and hopefully trying to stay balanced at the same time.
Andrew David James: Yes, it’s certainly not everything they told you about in college, that you just focus on craft; but that’s not always the way it is.
Larry Jordan: Nor spent all of your time in classes learning something new.
Andrew David James: That’s right; very true.
Larry Jordan: Andrew, for people that want to keep track of you and obviously the thousands of people that want to offer you a contract, where can they go on the web?
Andrew David James: You can always find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and, of course, my website is HYPERLINK “http://www.andrewdavidjames.com” www.andrewdavidjames.com and you can look at me on State of the Arts on LA Talk Radio.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word; andrewdavidjames.com and Andrew, thanks for joining us, it is always fun visiting with you.
Andrew David James: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care; bye-bye.
Andrew David James: Bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s been interesting chatting with the range of folks that we’ve got; whether they’re long time actors like Debbie and Andrew, or starting out actors like Rachel or actors and directors like Allan and everybody else we’ve talked to. The emphasis both on taking advantage of the luck that you’re handed; being prepared; constant marketing; but most important, of all the things that I’ve heard, the thing that struck me the most, is keeping everything in balance.
Larry Jordan: Tonight, we’ve looked at the business of acting and I want to thank our guests, Rachel Addington; Allan Hunt; Debbie Zipp; Scott Page; Andrew David James; and, of course, James DeRuvo.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all of them online and all of them available to you, today, for free. Also thinking of free, remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter, that comes out every Friday. We have highlights from tonight’s show; we have curated articles that would be of interested to you, we hope; and the ability to keep track of everything that’s going on behind the scenes with the Buzz.
Larry Jordan: You can talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription; visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you and reading a transcript can really help you make sense of everything we talked about today. Our Producer is Debbie Price; my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for the Digital Production Buzz.