We were thrilled to have crowd favorite Killian McHugh back for another CNI Seminar. (Our bad for letting so much time pass between his visits.) There was so much to glean from his Q&A that I scribbled down way too many notes to include here. Attendees definitely got the benefit of extra info on this one! While it was almost impossible to choose the five biggest takeaways from the event, I tried to select some that you may not have considered before.
Rock Your Vote
Your union vote, that is (although Killian is definitely a fan of exercising your voting rights in any form). We all know that budgets are shrinking. It’s happening across the country in every industry, and actors and casting directors are feeling the effects of it now more than ever. If you’re a member of SAG/AFTRA make sure you’re voting on union contracts because, you know, they affect your wages. Only 28% of members voted on the last commercial contract. That’s cuckoo bananas. If you don’t participate, you don’t get to complain, capisce?
Interviews Are Weird & Casting Directors Are Middle Management
Auditions are job interviews. What sets them apart from any other interview is that you’re applying in the only industry where you are (legally) judged by your looks and your interviewers can discuss your performance right in front of you. But when it comes to hiring, let’s be clear about what exactly the casting director has control over. Killian likened casting directors to middle management; all they really have power over is screening your resume and scheduling your first round with HR. They’re not involved in the picking phase (aka who gets to come back for a second interview and meet the higher ups), but they can influence decision making in the callback when clients ask for input.
Nobody Likes A Snob
A lot of actors (who, let’s be honest, aren’t that established) look down their nose upon student films. Don’t be snobby about student projects. These young directors are going to grow up to be big directors. And if they’re down at USC, there’s a pretty good chance someone in their family already is. If you’re trying build your resume, or simply want to keep busy between bigger gigs, do student films. You don’t know who those directors will be in 5-10 years.
Networking Is The New Black
“Networking will get you farther than any class or seminar in this town, as long as you do it the right way.” ©Killian McHugh, 2016. Don’t hand your card to everyone you meet telling them you’re an actor, but do say “yes” to things and be open to new people and experiences.
DIY: More Than Just Your Pinterest Board
What are you doing for your craft? Your agent only gets 10-20% so what are you doing to earn your share? Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Write your own thing. Produce it with friends that you met using your awesome networking skills. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Killian’s Commercial Workshop Facebook page for new Actor Challenges every Monday. You don’t have to be a #killianonmelrose client to participate, and it is a great way to get you thinking about your craft at the start of every week. Bonus – winners get a free coaching session at Killian’s studio.
That’s all for me on the recap front. Lindsay will be back next month, but thanks for letting me hang out for a minute.