She gave us Tips and Tricks on How To Get Into the Business. Below you will find excerpts from the interview.
SheNOW: How does one get started in the acting/film business?
Heather: You really need to make sure you absolutely want to do it, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Then, fully commit to gaining as much experience in free work (student films, etc) as you possibly can. Don’t be afraid to work for free. It’s a must at first.
SheNOW: Does one need an agent?
Heather: Not inititally. You’d be surprised how packed you can make your resume from indie films that you find on local websites, and colleges. A sag agent is ALWAYS ideal, but it’s not a show stopper if u don’t have one. U can still get a lot of work.
SheNOWChat Participant: How does one go about getting an agent after getting experience?
Heather: You can always send out your resume/head shot, but networking is key in a bigger industry like LA. I was based out of LA, and it is a very huge industry-difficult to even get an interview. Meet people & network like crazy.
SheNOW: How much experience do you need before starting the search for an agent?
Heather: It really depends on the agent’s preference-some (RARE) will take you on just your looks and talent alone, without focusing on your experience. I would get at least 4-5 student/indie films under your belt before attempting-even if you are just an extra in those films. Being an extra is the easiest way to pack a resume fast.
SheNOW: What is the best way to network with others in the industry? Are there specific places to find events?
Heather: There are specific places to find events in every city, but in my experience I have networked the most from getting on set around other industry professionals, esp as an extra. There’s a ton of down time on set to chat with people.
SheNOW: What are the biggest mistakes people that are trying to go into the business make?
Heather: They pay for “online agencies”–aka scams. They pay to be an extra, and they pay thousands of dollars for an agent. Agents get a percentage of the work they find you. You do not pay them up front to represent you. Ever.
SheNOW: What is their normal cut of your pay?
Heather: They should get 10-20% of commission.
SheNOW: Are there any agent red flags?
Heather: If they ask you to pay, if they force you to use their photographer, and if they force u to take a certain acting class.
SheNOW: Is number of people they represent a concern?
Heather: I don’t think an agency represent “too many” is a concern. If there are hardly ANY people they represent, tho, then be weary
SheNOW: Any tips or tricks for acting auditions?
Heather: View EVERY audition as a chance to have fun. That energy will show &help. And if you don’t get the role, at least u had FUN.
SheNOW: What are some practical ways to start getting involved where you’re at?
Heather: Local colleges and Art Institutes-film students need actors. http://shortfilmtexas.com is an excellent site for those in texas.
SheNOW: What is the best way to stop being too hard on yourself if things don’t go the right way?
Heather: Learn to laugh at yourself, and at life. “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”
—–> SheNOWCHAT Participant – Look to those are doing it right, ask questions, pull up your boot straps or get new boots. @Elizonthego
SheNOW: What is your biggest piece of advice for those wanting to get involved?
Heather: Stop speculating and just do it. Do something every day that is going to somehow contribute-regaurdless of how small.
Learn more about Heather in her SheNOW Featured Woman Article!