I recently posited a question online: “what’s stopping you from… taking a new class? Learning a new accent? Getting better at self-taping? Learning a new language? Trying improv? Etc?” and I received a handful of answers saying “lack of money.” (We’ve all been there.)
So without further ado, here are 15 FREE WAYS to further your career. (No more excuses, friends.)
1. THE LIBRARY – remember libraries? They’re a wonderful place where well-trained people can help you find books on technique, plays, industry memoirs, etc.
2. YOUTUBE – it’s a great resource for warm-ups, breathing exercises, mouth/tongue exercises, old classes, interviews, accent clips, etc.
3. SAG-AFTRA FOUNDATION – are you a member of the union? The Foundation and Conservatory offer MANY free services to their members, including classes, panels, workshops and loads of other resources.
4. FREE HEADSHOTS – you know that [friend/roommate/acquaintance/
partner] who has a really nice camera and always asks to take your picture? Do an impromptu, unfancy, quick and free(!) headshot session. If you don’t get anything other than a fun time out of it, no biggee. Best case scenario, you end up with an amazing new (free!) headshot.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA – it’s a great place to connect with your industry peers – CDs, actors, producers, writers, etc. I’ve done AMAs, interviews, etc. on all of the platforms as have many other CDs and creators. Whether you like to engage or just follow and keep up to date on the goings-on, it’s a terrific networking and informational resource.
6. SCENE STUDY AT HOME – don’t have funds to start a new class right now? Grab 2 or more friends and make a date to do in-home scene study once a week. Find scenes to work on together and maybe even tape them! (A learning double-whammy!) Which leads me to…
7. PRACTICE SELF-TAPING – self-taping is a VERY different skill than regular auditioning and practice makes perfect. Find sides you want to tape, perfect your set-up/reader situation and be ready for the next time a real self-tape request comes in.
8. DOWNLOAD FREE SCRIPTS, SIDES – there are a LOT of website where you can download old scripts for free. Use these scripts to pull scenes for yourself but also to practice reading scripts (which is a skill you need to hone – it doesn’t come naturally right away.)
9. FREE SCREENINGS/SCREENERS – again, through your union or as someone’s date, check out the fantastic award season screeners or better yet, attend some of the live screenings where they have a panel of the creatives to discuss the process. You’ll be inspired AND you’ll be amazed at what you can learn from these.
10. SEE FREE THEATRE – so many places have free theatre, particularly in the summer (and often in the park. Picnics, friends, FUN!) Reignite your passion by joining the audience for these fabulous productions. (Or better yet, join a theatre company and ACT in them!)
11. SPEND A DAY IN ANOTHER ACCENT – think your RP is pretty great? I’d bet it could use some fine-tuning. (All non-native accents can use some tweaking. For real.) Spend a FULL day speaking in that accent and pay attention to words that aren’t flowing as naturally.
12. READ ALOUD – practice your diction and enunciation by reading ANYTHING out loud. The news, Twitter, a book, whatever… take 30 minutes and read aloud articulating everything along the way.
13. SIGN UP FOR MAILING LISTS, FOLLOW BUSINESS PAGES ON FB – get the latest news on things like online generals (WeAudition,) open calls, or other auditions (Backstage, etc.), free webinars and all the other goodies that only require a quick click to receive.
14. CLEAN UP YOUR RECORDS – this one is a bummer but it will make you so much more productive and efficient when things get busy. (Plus it’s nice to take note of just how much work you’ve been putting into your career.) Make a record of CDs you’ve met/read/taped for, with dates, notes, contact info, etc. It will come in handy at some point and you’ll be so grateful you’ve done it.
15. HOST TABLE READS FOR YOUR WRITER PALS – you probably have a number of friends who are writers and would kill to hear their scripts read out loud. You provide the place and the readers, they print the copies and bring snacks… everybody wins.