Are You “ACTING” Like a Professional?
Robert J. Sciglimpaglia
Dec 05 2013
Note: This is part 1 of 2 of Robert’s article. Part 1 deals with the definition of “professional” and part 2 deals with the voice over casting experience.
I am asked quite often by my peers if I would recommended them to my agent for representation. I do not take this request lightly, because I cherish the relationships I’ve established with the professionals that represent me. I will not refer someone unless I am absolutely sure they are a “professional” also. The reason for this is that my referrals are a reflection of me, and I do not want to waste the precious time of the people that represent me — nor erode their trust in me — by sending them someone who is not a “professional.”
What does “professional” mean, anyway? Does it mean that the person is a member of the performance union? Does it mean that one gets paid for their work? Does it mean they are top notch in their craft? Well, for me, all of these things are part of what it means to be a “professional.”
But to me, the word means much more. I need to know, for sure, that people I recommend to my agent are not only at the top of their craft, and getting paid for their gigs, and not doing a bunch of “freebies”, or bottom of the barrel “cut-rate” gigs, but also that they take the acting/voice over profession seriously; as seriously as their family, or their “day” job. If they don’t, I won’t recommend them. Why is that? Because I am told time and time again by my agents that I need to be a “professional” at all times when representing the Agency at auditions.
So, in turn, what does my agent mean by this? They mean that I am available to go out, on a moment’s notice, to auditions and gigs that they have worked so hard to procure for me. That when I return auditions I am asked to record at home, I do so on a timely basis and exactly per the directions I am given. That I don’t come up with excuses not to attend auditions or gigs. The thought that “I have something better to do” or “I don’t feel like going” shall not even cross my mind.
My representative means that I show up ON TIME to my auditions, and if it is an on-camera gig, I have my head shots ready. That my head shots and voice over demos and other marketing materials (like my website, Facebook page and YouTube account) are kept up-to-date, so my agents can promote me with materials that show me in my best light. That I do not argue with or disrespect the casting agents or directors when I am hired for a job, and I don’t act like a “diva” while I am there. That I “clock out” with my agents when I know in advance that I have a Court date or will be out of town; so they will know not to schedule me for that day. That I will have my phone on, ready to take calls or retrieve voice mail messages, and that I’ll return those calls immediately. That I will answer emails from my agent immediately, via my smart phone if necessary. That I am constantly training with a qualified teacher, taking classes and practicing. That I belong to industry associations, network with groups of other actors, and actively get to know the people in the industry that hire us.
Further, my agent wants to know that I will make it my business to understand the meaning of essential terms in the legal documents I will be asked to sign, and that I will abide by them. For example, nondisclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses — I understand that not abiding by them could upset the clients I did the work for. Even posting my gigs to my Facebook page might be a violation, and any violation would ultimately get back to my agents, immersing them (not just me) in hot water.
These are just some of the essential elements in being a professional. Yet, many are missing in as lot of working voice actors.
Robert is the author of Voice Over Legal, the essential ebook guide for voice actors and broadcasters to managing their business and legal issues. For more information about Robert or any other Edge Studio instructor, please call our office at 888-321-3343 or click here.