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Ask don’t tell

When I work with an actor, I have one BIG rule.

Ask don’t tell!

If you don’t ask, I can’t help you.

When someone wants to work with me and then goes silent or just tells me what they have been doing then I am working in a void.

The purpose of having a mentor, manager or agent is, or should be, to move your career forward. To get help from an experienced professional. Right?

If a client says to me “I have done this course” or “I have these new photos”, then I am stuck with what they have done and so are they.

We should have discussed the training options. A course might look like fun – they all do, but are there 20 new people in the class with you and if so, what can you learn? Group classes are about learning with and from your peers as much as your tutor(s).

Also, many courses have generic content – they have to have. They don’t know who they are going to have in the class or at what level.

So, my first question when confronted with “I have” is “did this course or workshop help you move forward?” I know you had fun, you got some time in the class acting – which is what you love. But what did you learn that we, as a team, can use to get you better quality auditions?

Or did you just spend a few hundred dollars to have some fun?

That’s fine if that’s what you want to do.

But if you have career aspirations to be a working actor or more, then simply adding yet another course or workshop to your resume means nothing to me or the casting directors. Everyone does courses and workshops.

What they (and I) want to see is a smart, organized approach to learning your craft with the right people, in the right order, at the right time.

Likewise, photos. Are they going to stand out from the crowd? Or are they the same as everyone else’s because your friends told you this photographer is great?

Did you control the session, or did you just do as you were told?

Again, photographers work with a generic footprint because they don’t know what you know, don’t know or want. So, to enable the session to run smoothly for you both they have to have pre-set moves.

You need to ask for advice from your mentor or manager.

Tell them what you are thinking of doing before you do it.

So, at the very least they can give you reasons to go ahead, not do it or if you do it, how to gain the most benefit from it.

It’s not that these people are bad, or ripping you off – they just might not be right for where you are right now.

To work effectively with a mentor, manager or agent, you must work together.

You must communicate your requirements, your goals and ask for advice.

Whether you take that advice is up to you, of course.

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