Those working in the TV & Film Production industry in BC know all too well the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is now in full swing and the resulting fallout is now becoming apparent on this side of the border. What would normally be a robust spring pilot season and busy summer shooting schedule in Vancouver, has become only a handful of productions scheduled or in the works.
And, while many people may be affected by the strike, none more so than actors, whose only choice is to sit on the sidelines for the two sides to reach a compromise. That doesn’t mean however that you can’t be using the downtime effectively and taking advantage of the opportunity a slow down in productions presents.
Get an Acting Tune Up
When productions are booming there is little time between working your regular job, preparing lines, making self tapes, attending auditions, working on set and just enjoying your life. If you’ve been struggling to book roles this year, then make constructive use of this time to check in with yourself and admit where you feel you are lacking in your skills. If you’ve only taking a couple of beginner acting classes, then now is the perfect time to build upon those foundation classes. by taking an Scene Study or Audition class.
Maybe you’ve been auditioning a lot and are starting to feel a little run down by not landing roles. Then look at this break in the productions as coming at just the right time. Maybe you need to re-invigorate the energy you are putting into your auditions, exercise your acting muscle exploring developing a character and planning out a scene. Get an Acting Tune up by jumping into a class and look at it as an investment you are making in yourself, your career and your mental health.
Update your Professional Package
If you’ve been fortunate enough to book some roles this year, maybe it’s time to update your actor resume and demo reel. Alternatively, if you haven’t been booking, maybe it’s a good time to get some new headshots or create some new demo clips of your acting to add to your reel Make sure to book your headshots early since in-demand photographers can be booked for weeks in advance. Also, take the time to go through your IMDB page, Instagram and Facebook accounts to make sure the prism through which the world sees you is the way you want to be viewed.
Improve your Self-Tape Set Up
The convenience of having actors send in self tapes was not lost on casting during the COVID pandemic. While we are starting to see more in-person auditions taking place as of late, we can expect the self-tape submission trend to continue for at least the next little while. Take a moment to look at your set up and consider how it can be improved. Creating a little DIY project at home to improve your lighting, background and soundproofing can go a long way in making your self tape presentation more impressive for those watching.
Here is a link for insightful information about optional ways to inexpensively create or improve your self-tape
When it’s all over
A prolonged Writer’s Strike is something nobody wants to see, so hopefully the two sides can come to some sort of agreement; the sooner the better. On a positive note, when it is finally over, a tidal wave of work will be coming down the pipe in BC with productions being schedule fast and furiously. This will require a lot of self taping and auditioning, so you need to be ready. When your agent calls to check in and asks, “What did you do during the strike?” believe me, the last thing they want to hear you say is “Nothing.”