If you’ve followed my blogs over the past several years you’ll notice that in January I start with a conversation about the Business of Acting.
I tell actors that you are a business and need a business plan.
I emphasize the importance to set goals, then create and execute tasks. And most of all, be accountable. You are your own boss. In January, I invite all my advanced students to participate in an intensive workshop where we face our demons, set goals, and put ourselves into action. If you’d like to review any of the past posts and notes on this topic, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to send them to you.
This year, instead of repeating myself once again, I thought I’d post a commentary that one of my students wrote recently regarding her experience in doing this kind of work. Many actors have found her remarks be an inspiration and a kick in the ass to get yourself moving.
You too can do this!
Post from Amanda Serra -
Carbon Dating was conceived during a Business of Acting class at the Actors Workout Studio in 2014. Fran Montano spoke on the importance of actors making their own work, and offered several examples of inexpensive and effective ways actors can assist their careers by continuously working and honing their skills. He insisted that the common excuses of "I can't get an audition" or "no one will cast me" were just that - excuses.
"Cast yourselves!" He exclaimed and then went on to list everything from recording a monologue on your smart phone to writing/producing/starring in your feature film. My very good friend, Marcie Barkin was sitting next to me in class and whispered, "I'd love to do a web series, but I'm not a writer."
I whispered back, "I am."
"Good," She said, "write us something."
Inspired, I sent Marcie episodes as they were completed and her positive responses of HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA encouraged me to complete the first season. Okay. Done. Now what?
My experience has always been in front of the camera/audience. I had never produced a series, but I thought I would gather my friends together, everyone would pitch in and maybe I'd spend a couple thousand dollars on the whole thing. I ran ideas past Fran and he suggested that I find someone who has production experience in my circle of colleagues and pick their brains, so I approached Linda Palmer a producer/director acquaintance of mine and ask her to mentor me for one episode. She read the entire season, fell in love with the series and wanted to produce it with me. Linda brought in Michael Gross (Family Ties, Tremors) as the leading man and producer. Suddenly, what started out as a little web series with a borrowed camera and a group of my friends became a fully produced series with a professional production team, crew and star! It also cost way more than a couple thousand dollars...
I created Poke In The Eye Productions, LLC and Palmer suggested that I co-direct with her and took me under her wing. From pre- to post-production, she patiently led me through a Masters level crash course in film production. I learned everything from breaking down scripts to calling shots; developing a budget to approaching investors; and music licensing to marketing. By the time the first episode was released, I was confidant I could produce another season and other projects without hesitation.
The journey from the Business of Acting class to the airing of the season finale of Carbon Dating began because Fran challenged me to take control of my career and guide it forward. Yes, it's scary when stepping outside comfort zones, but it's thrilling, too. Thank you, Fran and the Actors Workout Studio for providing an inspiring, challenging and creative space for actors to stretch themselves in all directions!
Carbon Dating Season 1 episodes 1-9 can be watched on You Tube at
Please Subscribe! Comment! Like!
Congratulations to Amanda Serra! What a creative, inspiring, project she created for herself, and for the world to see.
What Amanda didn’t include in her post was that the show was submitted to several festivals and received the following awards:
1. Best Web Series, Best Women Film Makers and Best Editing at the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival. (http://www.himpff.com).
2. Best Web Series and Best Women Film Makers at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. (http://www.laiffawards.com).
3. Bronze winner at the International Independent Film Awards. (http://www.iifilmawards.com/IIFA_Home.html)
4. Best Web Series from the Women's Only Entertainment Film Festival. (http://woefilmfest.wix.com/bi-monthly).
I heard that there are even more, but this is all I have available at this time. I wish you all the best in the New Year and yes, you can create your career. May all your dreams come true!
Post originally published on January 27th on the NoHo Arts District Blog: