Actor Jen Jarackas’ Career Straight Talk
Orlando City Beautiful is home to many actors, artists, and entertainers. Recently one of our readers requested information about breaking into the entertainment business. As a result, one of the most talented actors calling Orlando home was given the task of responding to Etta Steven’s question:
“What professional advice would you give someone looking to break into the entertainment business?”
Artists Square’s member, professional actor, and teacher Jen Jarackas offers first-hand advice to those aspiring professionals looking to succeed in the entertainment business.
The first words that come to mind when asked this question are: fierce determination and tireless perseverance.
Pursuing a career in the entertainment industry is not necessarily an easy feat; though it can be a very fun and rewarding one, IF you dare to allow yourself to enjoy the journey.
First and foremost, remember you are entering the Entertainment Business. (Emphasis on business)
I witnessed a lot of actors throughout my journey put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the creative side, the craft, but neglect the business, which involves a lot of marketing, networking, admin, etc….To a lot of creative, artistic people, it seems that business is a dirty word….nonetheless, a business it is.
So, the best thing to do is jump on in, become the CEO of your own business, YOU! Find ways to make it fun! Get creative!
Yes, find agent representation; yes, work with a personal manager, keeping in mind that you are also interviewing them. Know something about them and what type of clients they are presently representing… perhaps they already have enough of “you” in their database.
Career Tip: Be an active participant in your career.
My main career advice is of the spiritual vein:
Never Give Up! Trust your intuition. Listen to your gut. Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to go the extra mile. Ask questions. Find your own path – and follow it. Follow your own uniquely paved yellow brick road.
Ways to Improve Your Skills…
- Study, study, study! As an actor you have 3 components to explore, strengthen, and nurture: physical, vocal, and emotional.
- Take as many classes and workshops as you can. You are simultaneously learning and networking.
- Read plays, film and television scripts, actors’ biographies – research anything and everything on acting!
- Watch movies, new and old, especially the old. There is an element and style to filmmaking and acting from the “ole” days” that cannot be touched…and usually isn’t nowadays. I have learned so much by simply watching Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart!
- Audition for local plays, volunteer at local playhouses and the Fringe Festival, etc. Again, it’s another way to get involved and network.
- Practice Discipline. Feed Your Passion. And remember to balance it all with some time for you, whether that be family, beach, a day at the spa, etc. A rested and recharged you makes for a more productive and successful actor!
Career Tip: There’s a lot of rejection along the way. It’s good and important to develop your support circle(s).
Thank you, Jen, for your practical insight. For those unfamiliar with Jen’s work, here’s a quick summary:
- Emotional Freedom and Monologue Workout Workshops ~ Art’s Sake Studio/Instructor
- Advanced Auxiliary ~ Art’s Sake Studio/Instructor
- Dynamic Scene Study ~ teacher at Art’s Sake Studio, Actress at Mad Men
- Actress/ Associate Producer at Hollywood Fight Club, Dance Instructor
- “Just Left of the Drama” ~ Jen ~ Hnarakis Prod./Dir. Demetrius Hnarakis
- “The Paper Route” ~ Hostage ~ Stars North Prod./Dir. Todd Thompson
- “As It Is” ~ Femme” ~ AFI Prod./Dir. Ka Ramuu Kush
- “Angel of Death: Aileen Wuornos” ~ UFTProd./Dir. Simon Kerfoot
- “Mad Men” Seasons 1-3 ~ Sterling Cooper Secretary (recurring) ~ LionsGate Television/Dir. Alan Taylor, et al.
- “Our Lady of 121st St” ~ Marcia ~ Hollywood fight Club/Dir. David Danino
- “The Crucible” ~ Elizabeth Proctor ~ VCC/Dir. John DiDonna
- “The Battle” ~ Crazy Anne ~ ATW Theatre Co. NYC/Dir. Jim Bonney
For additional information and to view Jen’s headshot, connect with the following link:
Wishing to connect with fellow actors, entertainers, artists, and creative minds, become an Artist’s Square member at www.artists-square.com.
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS