British Actors Equity
There was a time when you really weren’t an actor if you didn’t have an Equity card. It seemed a bit of a catch 22 situation where you couldn’t join if you hadn’t worked as an actor and you couldn’t work if you hadn’t joined. That’s all changed now and membership is no longer mandatory to work in the industry. Not everybody sees this as a good thing however as in an already over populated industry employers are free to employ non actors if they so desire. Benefits of membership include negotiating basic rates of pay, registering your professional name and offering advice on all aspects of the industry including contracts, insurance and tax.
Irish Actors Equity
The Irish actors equity group based in Dublin offering similar services to British Actors Equity. If you are an Irish actor working in the UK you are not required to change your membership.
The Internet Movie Database
Every actor should regularly check the Internet Movie Database. An extraordinary listing of virtually every movie ever made from shortest short to the grandest epic. Beware however that there are no criteria for what is listed so you could theoretically register a home movie, or so it would seem. One other great flaw is that some actors are choosing to list credits for background (extra) work to bolster their cv’s. This is strongly discouraged if you are serious about your career as an actor. Agents and casting directors will almost definitely question a long list of illustrious credits after your name if you can’t produce the showreel to back it up.
The Stage Newspaper
The British actors newspaper. Reviews, advice, classifieds, job listings and much, much more.
The US version of The Stage newspaper. Very well designed website offering advice on all aspects of the industry. While directed at the US market obviously there is much of relevance to the British actor.
The directory of professional actors in the UK listing representation and contact details. Although originally printed in hardcopy form due to the sheer volume of actors now in the industry and moving into the digital age casting directors are more likely to use the online edition. Having a spotlight page is still regarded as a must for all professional actors. The Spotlight offices in Leicester Square are also used by many casting directors for casting sessions. Within the reception there are also listings for photographers and usually samples of their work to look at.
Published by The Spotlight Contacts is a directory for those associated with the industry. This catch all publication includes arts councils, dance training, casting directors, agents, stage suppliers, theatres, opera companies, film companies and many more. The main drawback is that it is directed at the entire industry and lists vast amounts of information that are of no use to the actor. Furthermore as it is just directory it contains very little information other than contact details. For example within the agent’s section are actors agencies but also writers’ agencies, drama school agencies, model agencies, dancer agencies, background agencies, and even psychic & mystics agencies.
Samuel French’s Theatre Bookshop
Besides being a theatre publisher Samuel French’s is synonymous with the industry both here and in the US. Plays, actor autobiographies, guides on acting and the profession and much more.
The John Colclough Consultancy
Following the decision by Spotlight to end its advisory service John set up his own service and offers advice to actors by telephone in 15 minute sessions for which he charges £15. This man really knows his stuff. For advice on agents, colleges and everything else in the business this might be the best £15 you ever spend on your career.
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