So it is not my habit to write book reviews instead of posts, but I just finished Bonnie Gillespie’s Self-Management for Actors, and it is amazing!
The book starts out with advice for the actor at the beginning of their career, dealing with things like finding your type, the costs of an acting career, training, resumes, headshots, demo reels and websites. But there is a logical, or hopefully chronological progression that then goes on to finding an agent, a manager…I know the rest of the book is still advice, and I will definitely refer back to it once I become a working actor, but for now, a lot of the chapters in the book seem more like dreams to me. Like someday, I will be on set! I will be in student films, and TV shows and movies! I will be in plays! I will have meetings and not just watch pilot season as an enthralled observer!
She also goes into some of the less pleasurable aspects of the job, but even these don’t seem that bad to me, if I get to do what I love. I like how she recommends working on bad habits now, and to practice getting in and out of cars with different levels of underwear. A lot of the things about paparazzi and press junkets seems obvious, but it’s not something you really think about that much.
I can’t wait to negotiate billing and walk the red carpet, even if it is for a student film in a festival, it will still blow my mind. She recommends that when you’re a working actor, but haven’t quite made it yet, to mentor a newbie, for the karma, and so that you can see how far you’ve come. I think it’s a brilliant idea, and would definitely like to do that if I am lucky enough to get to that point, because I would love if someone would do that for me. I don’t necessarily want auditions handed to me on a silver platter, but having someone I can trust to help me navigate the crazy world of Hollywood would definitely be appreciated!
I am slightly sad that the last chapter is on when to quit, but even the idea of quitting is made into an inspiring chapter.
Basically, I made this post because if anyone wants to be an actor, I think they should read this book. I don’t know if everything in it is true, but I know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and that every time I had to put it down to face the real world, I had this feeling of excitement, and motivation, that my dreams were possible, that if I worked hard and didn’t give up, I would achieve them (as long as they still make me happy).
If you want to be an actor or are interested in knowing what actors go through, read SMFA. If you have no interest in acting and just stumbled upon the post or read it because you love me, then I’m sorry I droned on about this book, but I hope everyone gets a book or a movie or something that makes them feel like the stars are in their reach.