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What you need to know BEFORE you graduate: Part 3

By Doug Shapiro, Accelerated Artist Career Coach

Hello Business Owners!

Here comes part 3 of 3 of Business Lovin’ for our College Pros. Again, these actual questions are from the next generation of Accelerated Business Owners, my master class students at Shenandoah Conservatory and James Madison University.

Theme for this article: Promotion.

“I am a senior musical theatre student who is interested in pursuing film/tv performance, but have no experience, what are some next steps into that field?”

- Timothy

Get thee to the film department of your school and volunteer to act in their student films, broadcasts, sitcoms, industrials, sound/image projects!

Now is a great time to learn the ins and outs in a safe environment. Just make sure to contract with your film pals that you will be getting a copy your work to use towards your future film reel.

Start getting curious and do your market research. Which TV shows have someone like you on them? Which film writers and producers speak in your voice?

Go through the credits at the ends of movies and shows and learn the definitions of each of those jobs that are listed.

While you’re at it, why not do your own webisode? Get together your writer, editor, actor, and tech colleagues and bring something great into the world.

Also, start familiarizing yourself with the websites to which you will be subscribing to once you are looking for these jobs. Take the time to choose which roles you would submit yourself for and get in the habit of checking them on a regular basis. Start doing your research early so it is less of a shock when it comes time to actually start submitting yourself for roles in projects. I highly recommend and

"I'm a senior, graduating in the spring and aspiring to move to New York. I know that's where I want to be, but getting started in the city is super intimidating. Do you have any tips for things I can do to successfully get on my feet as a new performer in New York?"

- Kellie


“Where do I go from here? We are graduating in less than 5 months and most of us are trying to figure out how we market ourselves in a way that we are remembered in a big city like New York.”

- Lauren

Start building your support team!

Before you graduate, make sure you have the e-mails of your University friends (all of your friends, not just the actors, and yes, you have to include the Freshmen.) as well as the students you meet from other universities.

Start talking about your plans with them. How can you all help each other find roommate situations? Can you work together as accountability partners to get your butt to auditions? Or get together to practice songs and monologues for one another?

Reach out to your alumni who are already there in the city. Perhaps your professor can give you some alumni contacts from their universities as well. Let these alums know when you’re coming and set up coffee dates with them.

You can also use social media to your advantage. Use your status updates to ask questions and keep your network in the loop about your transition. It’s your job to make sure that when one of us in NYC hears of an opportunity for great actor of your type who just moved to NYC, that you are forefront in our minds.

“After we audition, we have been told to follow up with an email or cover letter or postcard, SOMETHING to let that casting director know "Hey, I still exist, thanks for an awesome audition"... When is it too much when following up?? Do the directors/ casting directors actually find that sincere or just flat out annoying??”

- Lauren M.

After an audition, send a thank you CARD (not a postcard, text, or e-mail unless specified to do so) that contains your headshot and contact information. Just say thank you and perhaps mention something that happened in the room. Do not ask for anything. “Thank you for the audition and please consider me for any upcoming projects.” is NOT an authentic thank you.

After that, we recommend following up with a postcard (that has the same headshot and contact information) every six weeks mentioning a relationship and/or a success.

Examples of relationship: worked with this director. took a class taught by this industry person)

Examples of success: booked this gig. Taking such-and-such class

The object is to show forward momentum in your career. People want to work with people who are working.

And to your second point. Yes, some Industry people will find your chosen method of marketing and some will love it. Some only work via e-mail. Some are relieved to have a physical piece of mail to hold. You will not please everyone, so run your business in a way that works for you and you will attract those professionals who think in a similar manner.


So, My Accelerated Artists, go to that Just About to Graduate from College place. A world of opportunities still lies before you. As these amazing students reminded me, we are Entrepreneurs and that entrepreneurial spirit will power us through our day-to-day tasks.

Feel it? Great. Now activate your plan.   Reach out for a 20 minute consult, so we can talk about me teaching your students the Accelerated Artist Way today! 

Please share with your peeps!