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The Actors Journey by Acting Coach John Pallotta
Total posts: 5
Joined: 8 year(s) ago
Posted 1:25 AM Sep. 20, 2013

The Actors Journey

By John Pallotta

Acting Coach

John Pallotta Studio NYC DC Chicago


Do you have what it takes to be an Actor

Are you willing to put your heart and soul into becoming an actor, no matter what it takes?

Every actor knows there’s no business like show business. Whether it’s the curtain opening and you’re in front of a live audience, or the director yells action on a movie set and you become someone else on a drop of a dime, this is the biggest reward in the profession.

Young and old actors alike dream of making their way in Hollywood or the lights of Broadway. However, with millions of you aiming for the same goal, the competition is fierce! It takes a PhD in passion, non-stop training and thick skin to make it through all the rejection you're going to be faced with.

New York City and Hollywood are strange towns to figure out. But it’s not about figuring it out, it’s about becoming an actor, working and surviving in the most unpredictable occupation imaginable. The road traveled as an actor takes a lot of endless blood, sweat and tears, constant training, taking risks and connecting with industry professionals. Who you know is extremely important. After all, it takes more than talent. It takes focus, drive, networking abilities and sheer determination.

Kevin Spacy said it best on an Actors Studio interview - "Too many young actors walk around with no idea why they’re doing what they're doing. That there is no prize and the only prize is what is in your heart and what you feel and what you want to accomplish. To want and to be ambitious and successful is not enough - that is just desire! To know what you want, to understand why you’re doing it, to dedicate every breath in your body to achieve. If you feel you have something to give or your particular talent is something worth developing, is worth caring for, then there is nothing you can't achieve."

Training... Training... Training...

Finding the right acting class for you.

I tell my student actors every day that "Acting is first and foremost a craft. It is something that cannot be taught in a few minutes, a few hours, weeks or even months. The craft of acting is a journey that will last a lifetime to anyone who truly considers themselves a real actor".

Learning and mastering the craft of acting is the nuts and bolts of the job and acting classes are the key ingredient for developing the ability to appreciate the craft in you. Just as those that train and educate themselves to be a lawyers, doctors, athletes, writers or any other type of professional, acting is a craft best learned. The more you know, the more knowledgeable you'll be and ultimately, the better prepared you will be for whatever comes your way.

Finding the right teacher

As a young actor in the 1970s and 1980s, if I heard about a good teacher, I checked them out. Many actors find their teachers through word-of-mouth from fellow actors. If someone suggests a teacher, research him or her online and audit the class before committing. Ask yourself - Can I learn from this teacher? Will he or she give me what I need to excel? Is the teacher all about themselves or are they honestly interested in you and just not a number? And most importantly, can the teacher inspire me to be the best that I can be.

Are you prepared to accept a LOT of rejection?

Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, rejection is a part of this industry and something you will have to deal with throughout your entire career. Even "A" list Actors are rejected during the casting process, it’s not personal, it’s the business. It doesn’t matter whether you thought you were RIGHT for the role, it doesn’t matter if it’s your favourite play, you must let go. Do not take it personally. A director or anyone casting may already have an image of what they want for their project anyway. Take rejection and criticism like a pro as you will get a lot of it - let it all go. Know when to listen to the advice, smile, don't argue and just keep quiet. Know yourself, trust your instincts and hopefully you left a great impression that they will remember you for a future project.

BE PREPARED for the Industry, it’s a tough business.

Being a professional actor requires an enormous investment, an investment in your future. Headshots, Comp Cards, Networking Events, Union Fees and lots of classes. Before you start, you should have some cash on hand and be prepared to get a job that supports you while you make the rounds. Unless you are rich you are going to have to have a “day job” and one that hopefully allows you the opportunity to go out on auditions and projects. Be sure to find employment that gives you the freedom to follow your dream.

The Perfect Headshot - The Right Look - The Right You.

What makes a good headshot exactly?

As Headshot Photographer to the stars, Justin Gill www.justingillphoto.com puts it – “There are all kinds of opinions on what defines a headshot, and indeed there are several different categories of headshots, but it’s important to know that there are industry requirements detailing what comprises an acceptable headshot.

First, a headshot is more than just a head-and-shoulders shot. There are certain characteristics of style that are accepted by the professional community, and you should hire a photographer that knows what that style is and shoots accordingly. Most importantly, a headshot is in many ways your calling card. It’s what conveys your first impression. It needs to accurately portray what you look like, while painting you in your best light — without being overly glamorous or stylized.”

An important description for an effective headshot would be ‘engaging.’ Your headshot needs to engage the viewer and shed light onto your personality and charisma. It needs to say a lot about who you are in addition to what you look like — or at the very least, entice the viewer into learning more about you — because in essence, this is the photo with which you are marketing yourself.

Seeking Representation as an Actor

Getting an agent is probably one of the most important things an actor can do for their career. Although you can probably book gigs yourself, it’s always best to have an agent (if you can get one) working on your behalf.

An agent is an actor's representative. If an agent decides to represents you, they will submit you for roles and try to get you seen by casting directors. They will take a percentage of your gross pay once you book a job. They will negotiate your fees and your contracts, and work towards landing you better roles each time.

Getting a good agent is hard work. Finding one that will take an active interest in you is worth the effort.

There are three basic ways an actor gets an agent.

He or she sees your work and calls you to their office.

You are recommended to the agent by someone that knows your work.

You’ve sent them your headshot and resume and attracted their attention.

There are also additional ways to have agents take notice in you and many acting schools offer them:

Scene Nights - Scene nights are events in which actors try to be seen by industry people. Rather than putting on a play, a group of actors will put together scenes that show them off. Hundreds of invitations are sent out to agents, casting directors, and directors.

Agent Workshops - Many schools and teachers offer industry night as part of their curriculum. They boast that many agents and casting directors will show up to see your work. Be wary of these boasts. More often than not these classes will be very expensive, and there is no guarantee that a lot of industry folk will show on any given night. It’s a numbers game and you never know who will show up. Research the workshop first before you make that financial obligation.

Being a Professional Actor - Advice

Investigate your options - Sometimes being a movie star is not everything. I have many friends who find success in voice-overs, Commercial Industrial radio, commercials and teaching. They live comfortably and are always working.

Educate yourself (Always) - Being a professional actor means learning your craft. Good acting requires that you study in order to master the craft. My method, I teach actors how to achieve and respond to honest emotions both on and off-camera by utilizing certain principles: Innocence, Imagination and Vulnerability, Instincts and Imagination. Using these principles encourages actors to experience rather than indicate an emotion. Not just see a character, become them. Not just become them, become a living breathing thinking human being. We work on this on a conscious level in the classroom so my students can use it on a subconscious level on a set or stage. I don't waste time dictating about whose method is best; I encourage my students to conflate different methods and find out what works for them.

Inspired by his gift for providing deep insight with quiet, well-chosen words, John Pallotta at John Pallotta Studio www.johnpallotta.com is quickly becoming one of the top acting coaches and on set coaches in New York City. Some have taken to calling him the Actor Whisperer, but thanks to amazing reviews from Academy Award winners, nominees, Emmy winners and so on, his secret is out. He is sought after by film companies, actors and schools.

Drawing on wisdom absorbed from the masters Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen, Herbert Berghof, Anne Jackson, William Hickey, Austin Pendleton and many more, he founded John Pallotta Studio in New York City in 2005, where he has honed a highly successful approach that emphasizes teaching students to rely on their own instincts, imagination and choices. John Pallotta Studio is an acting studio providing workshops that offers a safe and challenging work environment for the beginning or professional actor. The Studio is dedicated to training and preparing actors for professional work in the film and television and theatre industry. Classes are small and very individualized. The Studio was created so actors can work on their craft every week.

John Pallotta is based out of New York City where he is an award-winning playwright, actor and coach. In addition to his New York City studio classes, he has recently established classes in Washington DC and Chicago. The demand for his teaching style encourages him to coach acting students and teach intensives around the country. John's 2011/2012 Intensives include: New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Ohio, South Carolina, and Indiana. He has received kind words from Academy Award, Emmy Award and Tony award Winners and Nominees.

Actor Joseph D`Onofrio (Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale) credits him with being one of the best acting coaches around.

Visit John Pallotta at www.johnpallotta.com