All posts by Cristin McAlister

Hurry Up And Wait

If there is one motto that sums up the actor’s dilemma it is, “hurry up and wait.” You spend most of your time waiting for that next audition, or rehearsal, or performance. It seems you’re dependent on everyone else to put your skills to work. Since there is so much “waiting”, it’s easy to see the “waiting” as wasted time. That need not be the case. There are ways to put that “waiting” to work. Continue reading Hurry Up And Wait

What the On-Camera Training Program Did for Me

Cristin is an actor, improviser and writer living in L.A. She is also the admin extraordinaire for The Green Room.

When I first graduated from college with my degree in theatre I thought I was prepared for my future life as a professional actor. And in a way, I was. I auditioned for and was cast in plays. It was fun and I got to do the thing I loved. But then I started auditioning for commercials, TV shows and films and I wasn’t getting bookings like I thought I should. I knew I was a good actor but for some reason no one else seemed to agree. So I took one on-camera class and called it a day. It helped, but I still wasn’t booking.

It wasn’t until I came to The Green Room TEN years ago in 2009 that things really started to click. I’d never had anyone break down all the aspects of on-camera acting in a way that felt manageable and helpful the way The Green Room did. All of a sudden, I understood what a commercial casting director was looking for and how I fit into the story they were trying to tell. Continue reading What the On-Camera Training Program Did for Me

Episodic Season: Your First Day on Set

By: Courtney Rioux

Courtney’s first day as EMT #1.

As a recurring character on a network television show and an acting coach, I get a lot of emails from people asking what they can expect from their first day on set for an episodic.

I remember my first day on a network TV set, as “EMT #1” on Chicago Fire. I was excited, but mostly nervous. It was a hot Saturday in July. Most people I knew were at Lollapalooza and I was on 290 in an ambulance.

At lunch, I was eating alone and my background EMT partner sat at another table alone. I called him over. He told me he wasn’t allowed to talk to “1st team”, which is why he didn’t automatically sit by me. It wasn’t my first time on set ever, but it felt like it and I could have used some company. I hope I can shed some light for you here on a day in the life on set, so you can be less nervous than I was on day one. Continue reading Episodic Season: Your First Day on Set

Take stock of what you’ve done.

If you’re like me, you probably always feel like you could be and should be doing more to further your career. While I think it’s important to be driven, it can be exhausting. It can be incredibly stressful to be an actor and it’s very easy to compare yourself to others and their successes. This holiday season, I encourage you to stop for a minute and take stock of all you accomplished. Continue reading Take stock of what you’ve done.

I don’t have a timeline.

When I first moved to Chicago, a non actor friend of mine asked me how long I was going to pursue acting before giving up. My answer: I’m not going to give up. When I was preparing to move to L.A. last month, someone (this time an actor) asked me what timeline I was giving myself for succeeding in L.A. This time my answer was: I don’t have a timeline.

Continue reading I don’t have a timeline.

LIVE.

I don’t know what to write about. I keep trying to come up with something great and helpful about acting and being an actor but all I can hear in my head is “Be nice. Love one another. LIVE.”

The Chicago acting community has suffered some terrible losses recently. It seems in some way or another, everyone is affected and is feeling a sense of pain and sadness. I wasn’t lucky enough to really know any of the talented people who passed away. I knew them from auditions and seeing them in shows and hearing their names and because my friends were their friends. Unfortunately, it is only because they are gone that I now know what wonderful people they all were. The one constant has been a Facebook feed full of love and kind words and memories of people who were loved. And who loved. People who gave of themselves, looked out for others and were good friends to have. Yes, their careers have been mentioned but that is not what their loved ones are holding on to right now. They’re sharing memories of a kind gesture, a hug, a laugh, a drink, a song, and a love they are happy they had.

That’s what it’s all about, right? Life is short. Follow your dreams but remember that the part that matters is that you are following them. Not if you get where you think you should be. The part that matters is so much better than that. It’s happiness and kindness and a meal with friends and laughter. It’s living.

Be nice. Love one another. LIVE.

-Cristin

THE AGENT RELATIONSHIP

When I first moved to Chicago, a friend took me into his agency (one of the biggest in town) and they signed me. When that agency closed, he took me into his new agency (another big one) and they signed me. They must have really trusted this particular friend of mine because I never even had to audition. Lucky, right?

Not so much.

Because I never had to audition, I didn’t realize the work I needed to do. I was young, inexperienced and new to the city. I had no idea what to do. So I did what anyone would do: nothing. I was one of those actors who complained all the time that my agent didn’t know me and wasn’t sending me out. So while I had a really good agent, I spent a lot of time looking for another agent which, as any actor will tell you, is time consuming and frustrating. And since I spent most of time being annoyed at my agency for not getting me great auditions, I never bothered to build a relationship with them.

Continue reading THE AGENT RELATIONSHIP

DO WHAT SCARES YOU

This January I made a list of goals. One of them was to write and perform my own one person show. In March, I did just that. That’s just three months into the year. Usually I cram all my goals into December and then get annoyed at myself for not trying earlier.

Look, I am not a writer. Sitting down to write this blog post has been something I’ve been avoiding all day. But I’ve always wanted to write and I’ve always wanted to tell my own story. But it scared me. A lot. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think it would be good, or funny, or “enough.” Whatever that is.

Why am I telling you this? Because maybe there’s something that scares you and you think you can’t do it. JUST DO IT. Yep, I totally stole that slogan from Nike, but it’s a good one. It works. Continue reading DO WHAT SCARES YOU