Archive | getting started

Guest Post: How a Career in Radio Can Help Launch an Acting Career

2 Apr

How often do you hear people say they want to grow up to be a radio personality? It happens, but not nearly as often as the dream of becoming an actor is discussed. It is usually much more difficult to become a highly paid actor than people expect. Students graduate from high school or college and make their way to their favorite acting capital only to find many more qualified applicants than jobs. Some will become background extras while others will work in the service industry while they audition for the perfect role. A lucky few will fall into a radio gig and realize it is the perfect stepping stone from which to launch an acting career.

Occupational Outlook

There is good news and bad news about future acting prospects. First, the good news; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the overall job growth is expected to be about eleven percent, about average. Additionally, it is possible that opportunities will be greater than anticipated due to surging demand for movies and the abundance of new television networks. Now, the bad news; competition is going to be fierce. Additionally, the hours are really long, the work is exhausting, and the pay really isn’t very good at first. Now for a little more silver lining! Most people drop out of the competition early, so by simply sticking with it your odds of success increase.

Radio Opportunities

What many people don’t realize is that most on-air radio positions require a high level of acting ability. Inflection, tone, enunciation, expression and speed of delivery are all very important for a medium that does not allow for any visual cues. Indeed, it can be more challenging to make a connection with an audience using vocal talents alone. While it can be as difficult to become a popular radio personality as it is to become a moderately well-known actor, there are several other ways radio can help launch an acting career. One way to reach a wide audience and quickly build a vocal portfolio is through radio commercials. These can show your range and flexibility and can help actors land other vocal projects such as book and video narrations and voiceovers for animated characters. Establishing yourself as a vocal actor can help build your reputation and open doors for future acting endeavors.

Professional Association

Once you are working in the radio industry it is time to become a member of some very important associations. Belonging to these associations can help you find better projects, meet influential people in the industry, and offer career advice. One of the best options for those using their vocal talents in radio is the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. They can help you translate your work in radio into the broader voiceover market including audio books, promo announcement, videogames, and animation.

You are an actor! Do not limit yourself by saying you must be on the stage or in a film. While these types of positions typically offer more public recognition they do not define one as an actor. If you have the ability to invoke whatever reaction you want in an audience with your words, a glance, or a shrug you are already an actor. Open your mind to different forms of acting that will allow you to express yourself and reach your audience. You may find the radio roles you pursue as stepping stones become a satisfying way to fulfill your heart’s desire.

Sarah Stockton is an Outreach Coordinator for, a site connects businesses with professional voice talents. She enjoys helping potential voice talent find their start in the voice industry.

No Excuses: How Your Acting Career Can Be In Your Control

23 May

No Excuses: How Your Acting Career Can Be In Your ControlFirst of all there are a SHIT TON of things NOT in your control. So let’s just get that out of the way right now. No use spending your time stressing about things like, did the casting director like my audition? Dude could’ve been having a bad day, the part could’ve already been cast but they need to see others for back up, the part ended up getting cut for budgetary reasons so your role doesn’t even exist anymore, etc. Not in your control.

But the good news is, there are things that are!

Last month I did a little experiment of diligently recording the number of auditions I submit for versus the number of auditions I get called in for to show how a lot of this really is a numbers game. Every day, multiple times a day, I scrolled thru the “notices fit for me” on LA Casting and Actors Access. This yielded a good handful of auditions, which led to me driving all across town (ok, fine, mainly Hollywood, but, still) taking an hour of my day for what usually is 2 to 3 minutes of actually auditioning. 4 weeks and 19 auditions later…. I haven’t submit for a single thing.

Why? Well, that’s a good question. I told myself a number of reasons: “It’s too much gas.” “It’s too exhausting.” “I’m not going to get anything from them anyway.” Basically, a lot of excuses. You might wonder, gee, if this girl starts complaining over a mere 4 weeks of submitting & auditioning (which is only a fraction of what pursuing this career is about anyway) then how the hell is she going to make it in this business?!? You’re absolutely right. These are all excuses. But, at least I know that is all they are. They are not legitimate reasons. And I do believe it is healthy and maybe even necessary to vent every once in a while. Because traipsing across town IS tiring. Gas IS expensive. And your “next gig” isn’t necessarily going to come from a blind submission, it can come from anywhere.

However, submitting and auditioning is one of the things that IS in your control. So easy. You click. You get called. You go. You kick ass. You’re done. And you never know where it can lead you.  You are at least doing one thing towards your career.

Another thing I’ll admit to have complained about- not having a theatrical agent. (“I don’t have enough credits” “My type is too hard to cast” “I’m not union”) Again, excuses. I should know better. I gotta switch gears and see what IS in my control:

– research smaller agencies who represent people who are doing the kind of work I would like to do

– find out if anyone in my circle has any sort of connection to any of these agencies

– reach out by sending a postcard, headshot, or phone call

– figure out how people see me, look at what type of roles in the past I usually get and see if there is a pattern, look up other actors similar to me and see what roles they usually get cast for

– save money to pay for my SAG card if that’s what I feel is holding me back (for the record, I don’t think it is right now– trying to hold on to my SAG -E for as long as I can)

This breakdown of steps can be done for a lot of  actor “problems” and then voila- you’ve got action items that are all bringing you one step closer to the acting career you want to have.

The beauty (or curse depending on how you look at it, but I like to keep things positive!) is that there is always something you can be doing for your acting career. There are no excuses about why you aren’t making it or how it is hard profession. Guess what? EVERY professional career is hard, really hard, at the beginning. You have to put in those extra hours, blood, sweat and tears to get the promotion, the raise, the business deal. Same goes with acting. Now is the time to be putting in all the leg work and eventually it will pay off. I truly believe that.

Still Speeding Along

31 Jan

I can’t stop!!!

I know a few weeks ago I said it was good to slow down, as exciting as all these projects are. But I can’t take my own advice! It’s been go-go-go ever since with finally completing the feature film, Spooks, filming every weekend for the new webseries “Ruth and Lori”, producing the full length play, Slumpbuster, for my production company PianoFight, meeting my writing partner on a weekly basis to finally come up with a feature length script, and starting rehearsals for the Spring semester Shakespeare production at the high school I teach at.


The thing is, there are still plenty of things I said I would do (non-acting career oriented) that I have not gotten around to starting. It is a balancing act, I suppose, and I’m still finding my rhythm. I do think I’m on the right track in focusing whole heartedly on my career and taking every opportunity available, but I also think it is important to have other things going on in your life. That is where I currently lack. I would like to take a yoga class, a dance class, paint more, hike/run more, and see my friends! How does one find the time? I know, you’re supposed to make time. But, still, how do you do that? Or do I just need to be content with not having a life for a little but while I get this career on a roll?

When Opportunity Becomes Real

23 Aug

So, I got the job and the part… now what!? Well, before I begin completely freaking out, I have to remind myself to Celebrate! Yay! This is what I strive for– so, yay! go me!

Ok, now freak out. Both shows occur in October, so for about a month I will be working on both simultaneously, which is, yeah, insane. But what am I going to do? Turn down an opportunity I’ve worked so hard to get? HELL no. I can make it work. If I can make it work, then why would I not do them both?

This is further proof that the more you put yourself out there, the higher the return. Even if these two opportunities are not directly related, it is no coincidence that I got them both. That’s the way the world works. I truly believe that you get what you put out. Which is why it is so vitally important to always be working on something, always submitting to breakdowns, always do those favors for your actor/producer/director friends– you never know where any of it will take you.