We are so proud of Kerry for her many accomplishments and look forward to seeing her spotlight shine even brighter as time goes on!
The acting community in DFW is a small group, and as you audition, train and work on various projects, you will find that you see the same people over and over again. Attending mixers, screenings and other networking events is a good way to immerse you into the industry. I have found most people in our community to be very supportive and positive, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if possible find a mentor and set goals so that you are always changing and growing into a better actor. I started acting about five years ago. At first it was a hobby, something I always wanted to do but never had time for when I was in school. My inspiration came from watching my older brother and my daughter perform with theater troupes. I always thought it looked like fun, but I had no idea how to go about getting involved with something like that, especially as an adult. I have been a dancer since age three, so being on stage was comfortable to me. Once my daughter was older, I found myself with a lot of free time. I decided to get back into dance, and researched online how to get into acting. I came across one of those pay sites and subscribed to it and set up a profile. I got my first gig in an industrial for a well-known liquor company, and had the time of my life meeting new people and doing what I considered anything but work, and I got paid too!
A year later I mentioned an interest in acting to my mom. One day she told me she had read in the paper about an indie feature that was shooting in Arlington and gave me the info. I sent them an email and they replied with the details of where to be, what time, and what clothes to bring. I knew no one, and still didn’t really know anything about the industry, but I was willing to throw myself in the middle of the situation and find out. That project was internationally distributed, and cast by a local casting director. While on set I learned from her and other actors about set etiquette and terminology, putting a headshot and resume together, and how I could find more jobs without having to pay for some website subscription. After that, I searched and submitted for work daily and booked several paying gigs with well-respected local businesses, as well as non-paying gigs with student filmmakers from UTA, UNT and most frequently, The Art Institute of Dallas. I became a repeat talent for some of those businesses and students to the point where auditions were no longer required. They called me!
One of the student crews at The Art Institute of Dallas introduced me action film-making, something that came very naturally to me due to my athletic and martial arts background. I never considered it an important skill as part of my acting until I worked with them. As a result, I became a certified stunt-performer, adding fight choreography, car tricks, falls and fire stunts to my toolkit.
After doing these types of projects for two years, I reached a plateau and decided I wanted to go further and become more serious about acting. I had already been training at Hartt and Soul Studio for some time, but knew that if I really wanted to get to the next level, I would need an agent. I talked to my fellow actors and decided to submit to four of the most highly regarded agencies in town. I only heard from two of them, and one was a rejection. I was not discouraged because I believed that I had something to offer, even if my resume was a little green. I also knew that the relationship between talent and agent is a relationship that should be built on respect, trust and mutual understanding and direction. I did my homework on the agent who responded and felt her personality and style fit mine. This is important because the perceived best agency in town may not be the right agency for you, so you should treat it like a job interview and decide if you can meet the agent’s demands, determine if there is enough opportunity for growth and find out if they can effectively market you for success.
Beware of agencies that have limited potential or take advantage of their talent in an unethical manner. Do your research! You are better off being an independent talent then signing your work away to a fly-by-night agency, so talk to your fellow actors and coaches for the best recommendations. Also, know your type. Don’t just take your own opinion but gather opinions from people you trust in the industry. You might be surprised how people see you, and this affects how the agent will market you and how you market yourself.
Three years later, I have been with the same agent and I have worked in various projects, including the TV series’ Chase and The Good Guys, commercials for Zaxby’s and American Airlines, as well as award-winning feature films such as Upstream Color and Rockin’
Reverend. I am currently working on three feature films: a Star Wars fan film, a supernatural action thriller called Area 57 Project 24, and a high stakes action drama called Shirzan, all slated for release in 2014. I am also working on a web-series called Intervention.
I continue to study with my career coach, Lar Park Lincoln, on a weekly basis whenever I have an audition or just need to work on specific types of material and sharpen my technique. I also attend workshops from various local instructors and those from other markets who I find have something new and different to offer, which has broadened my range and exposure immensely. Regular practice is essential to your success as an actor and most agents require it, so I recommend finding a base instructor to work with weekly.
Once you have a good foundation of skills and experience, branch out into the other markets in Texas as well as outside the state, and if appropriate, seek representation in those markets. Add new skills to your toolkit often, including voiceover techniques, movement (dance, fight choreo, etc.), dialects and accents, vocal instruction (Ex: Musical theater), stunt driving and firearms, you name it! Market yourself through your own website, social media, and physical marketing materials such as headshots and post cards.
Your agent is your advocate, but the best person to sell the product of you is you!