Little did I think my business degree would come in handy, without even pursuing a boring office job. Show biz is a tough market to get into but the more you understand about the business side of the industry, the easier it is to find your place. My concentration in college was Marketing and when it all comes down to it, we are all products trying to sell ourselves to casting directors. The more you understand about the market, the more you understand about yourself, the easier it’ll be to land gigs. Since we are competing with everyone else for the chance to be on film, we must make ourselves the best we can be. When we do that, we make ourselves worth investing time and money in. That comes down to having a professional headshot and resume, and having all of your “pieces.” A good head of hair, a clear complexion, a good body and a great personality are some important pieces that can grant your more opportunities.
My hair evolution: when you have hair, you are able to easily portray different characters, in different time periods as well…so the more hair, the more chances of getting cast.
I believe that as an actor you have two options:
You can wait for an opportunity to come around.
You can create your own opportunity. Write. Direct. Shoot. Act. Edit. (or get help doing these things so your story can be told)
I hear stories all of the time about actors who create their own content, slowly build up their reputation and eventually they aren’t the ones knocking on doors. Instead, they get people knocking down theirs. And screenwriting is easier than you think. While you might not write the best story ever your first time, I think it is easy to come up with crazy ideas. Everyday, I say something or hear someone else say “that should be a movie.” Why not make it one? It doesn’t have to be 120 mins long, but it gets you practice and you also end up learning so much more about the filmmaking process than you ever thought you would.
(a still from “The Way It Was” - Co-written and Co-directed by yours truly)
I think the best way to learn is to do, so I’m just gonna DO…it.
I learned a lot of my information about the Chicago film scene from being on set and talking with people. The easiest way to start getting on film sets is to be an extra. There are a few good companies here in Chicago such as:
Girls Gone Casting
Jess Gisin & Erin Stewart
Chicago Fire Extras
Simply like their pages, and they will post updates when they are in need of certain types of people. If you fit the specifications, simply send them an email with the info that they ask for. Most times you will need to register with the companies first. It doesn’t cost any money.
On set of NBC’s ”Playboy Club” playing a member of the Mattachine Society. One of my first times on set.-Tyler
When you’re just starting out and you’re looking for work, there aren’t many places to find work. One site that has found me opportunities in the past is…Craigslist. Ahh!!! Some people think there’s only porn opportunities in the gigs section of the site, but no. While there are many chances to be in the buff, I have seen many other great opportunities as well. I landed the lead role in an independent music video as well as a supporting role in a feature comedy. Both sets were professional and fun. A lot of the gigs are unpaid, but worth the experience in my opinion.
Just look out for the overconfident braggers, CAPITAL LETTER ABUSERS, Mis-spellers, overpromisers. Also, if you’re not sure, ask to see more of their work. Google them, too. Make sure they haven’t tricked people in the past. Cover your bases, but don’t be too rude in the emails because it could be someone that could potentially launch your career :)
Check out the music video:
I’ll Try To Be Good” by Nathan Xander
Directed by: Gus Gavino
Shot by: Andrew Musch
For me, it was important that I found some way of learning all of the information necessary to obtaining a career in the entertainment industry, without studying entertainment. (Thanks Mom and Dad for the Business degree ;P) So I got involved with student directors and cinematographers and we were able to both work together and learn. It’s great because their schools supplied the equipment, and I was able to get copies of my work which in return got me more work :)
setting up a shot for Marko Grujic’s film “The Enemy”
I’m not one to take no for an answer. I figure out how others got their start and I try to do what they did. I read a lot of autobiographies and try to put myself in their shoes. I know that lightning rarely strikes in the same place twice, but I also know that it isn’t impossible for it to happen again.
Since I’ve started working on film sets, I’ve learned a few things. Number 1, I want to be on sets for the rest of my life. A day in the life isn’t that easy but it is really fulfilling. Some things I’ve learned is that 12 hour days definitely take some getting used to. And so do the early call times. I’ve also learned that it takes a village, something like 3 x’s the amount of people currently living in my hometown, to make a film…on an average day. Add lots of stunts and lots of extras and that’s a lot of people to wrangle. I organized my first shoot recently and had a group of 11 and found that stressful enough! I do not know how those big shots do it…I’ve got lots of learning to do. That’s why I made this blog…I figure that I’m not the only one trying to make something of myself.
the cast of my first directing project, “The Way it Was”
teaser trailer: www.vimeo.com/67850030
I was born in Luke, Maryland, a town with a population of only 50. Being from a small town, however, did not stop me from having big dreams. I began acting at an early age, participating in school plays and small gigs. Knowing that I couldn’t make this dream a reality in Maryland, I moved to Chicago in 2009, to pursue my acting career as well as screenwriting, directing & photography, some of my many other creative passions. Since then, I have participated in numerous productions and am now sag-eligible!
Acting Page: www.facebook.com/tylerdrewclayton
“Mordy to the Max” (Feature Film Comedy selected for the Vegas Indie Film Festival): www.facebook.com/mordytothemax
Surreal Short Film: www.vimeo.com/66027414
More of My Work: www.vimeo.com/tydrew