Hi Ms. Joy,
I have been acting for over 10 years in New Zealand and Australia. I’m really well known back home in New Zealand although I haven’t done any work there recently. I moved to LA ten months ago and haven’t been working much here, either.
I’m very experienced and smart but I don’t know the right people just yet. I’m slowly getting there. I need to get in front of top Casting Directors and Agents. I have US theatrical representation but I need better agents. I don’t have a Manager here so I don’t really have anyone making introductions for me in LA.
I’ve been handling my own publicity and put together a website, I listed myself on nowcasting.com and lacasting.com. I also have a Twitter and Facebook page. Nothing’s really happening from any of those sites, though.
There are lots of reasons for me to stay in the US career-wise. But me not working back in New Zealand and staying in front of the people who know me is killing my career. I feel like I’m drowning. I don’t know what to do to get things going here and keep things fired up back home. I don’t know how to meet the right people. I’m not sure how to get myself out there. What should I do?
- Lost Angeleno from New Zealand
Ms. Lost Angeleno,
It’s gutsy as hell to literally jump across the world for your career. Yet, that gumption means nothing without a plan of action. Your letter listed desires but, no game plan. You can dream about a better agent and want to meet top casting agents but there is no magic formula that forces the world to fulfill your wants.
So, you need to have backup strategies if your desires don’t materialize as is. PR is a great way to elevate and expand your connections and thereby your possibilities. Your PR plan should encompass networking in the states, staying connected to your New Zealand contacts and fans, and leveraging what you’ve already done.
The first thing that most actors stress out about is getting representation. Still, you may never get an agent or manager- at least, not the ones you want. Worst case scenario is that you never find someone to introduce you to casting directors. Perhaps you should shift your focus to networking with producers and directors. 9 times out of 10, they’re the ones making the final casting decisions anyway. Plus, they’re rarely pummeled by tons of emails from actors begging for work, unlike casting directors.
If you have acquired NZ-based contacts and a fan base, don’t lose those people due to silence. Communicate and stay connected. Create a newsletter. Find countrymen on Facebook or Twitter that have common interests and network with them directly. Reach out to other New Zealander actors who are now based in the states.
Social media isn’t just a way for you to keep talking to people you already know. It’s also an amazing way to be gregarious and establish new connections with strangers.
Since you acquired career momentum back in NZ, keep using it. Connect with the New Zealand consulate and New Zealand film groups with offices in LA. Reach out to New Zealand press outlets that have covered you in the past and pitch them a story about your move to the states. Involve yourself in New Zealand charity efforts and be one of their US-based ambassadors.
There are things that are in your immediate power to change and things that are out of your control. Take control of what you can, mainly, your personal game plan. Strategize, nurture the connections you already have, expand your network, and leverage your value.