This page is a work-in-progress and mainly designed to provide additional information (these aren’t really frequently asked questions).
There is a big difference between doing work for free and doing something that provides a benefit of something other than money.
Keep in mind:
- If you love what you do, there is no rule that says you cannot do it in your “free” time out of enjoyment.
- Being good at one thing does not make you good at all things — even in the same discipline. Collaborations are a good place to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and develop new skills. Making you more valuable.
- Every time we teach others what we know, we reinforce what we’ve learned.
- There is always a lot to learn by working with others.
- Networking with people can sometimes be even more valuable than money. Collaborations create opportunities you would never have known about.
- Collaborative projects can lead to something that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
- Working with other creative people tends to boost our own creativity.
- We are a community built around people with something of value to give. And in all instances, you choose who you want to work with or the projects you want to collaborate on.
“One can gain knowledge without having experience. But one cannot gain experience without also gaining knowledge.” — Unknown
Joining Acting Upward does not obligate you to provide services for free.
While we are a community built around collaboration, we are also a community in need of professional voices, guidance, and expertise
If you are a professional, we hope you will at least join the community in the spirit of helping others by providing guidance and contributing knowledge.
And if you wish to become an official contributor, we’ll list you and your services on our team page.
Elephant 1 🐘
One elephant in the room is that the founder Acting Upward (me) is an actor headshots photographer and my business has the potential to benefit from my association with Acting Upward. And that’s true.
That said, I am not here to sell anything to anyone or push my services on anyone. In fact, I offer my headshots services & guidance to the Acting Upward community for free whenever applicable & mutually beneficial.
If you visit ZeroDean.Photography, my philosophy of explicitly not pushing my services on people should be very apparent. The words on my site are not new. They have represented my business philosophy for over a decade.
Also keep in mind that Acting Upward is [to be] a global community, not just a local one and there will be far more photographers involved than just me.
Elephant 2 🐘 🐘
I am building a community that I currently have only a narrow/limited experience with.
While my confidence in my vision and abilities are high, my experience shooting and assembling actors reels, for example, is non-existent at this time. But I have high standards and I’m a fast learner. So I won’t lack experience for long.
And, for what it’s worth, my lack of experience in creating this kind of content is what led me to found Acting Upward in the first place. So one exists because of the other. It’s a good thing.
How much do you think Elon Musk knew about electric cars or rocket science before founding Tesla and Space X. Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s what you see. And I see Acting Upward as an amazing community of global collaborators.
*And no, I’m not comparing myself to Elon Musk. For one thing, he cries more than I do. Ok, that’s probably not true, but I haven’t been keeping track of Elon Musk’s crying (should I be?). Also, I’m writing this while dealing with a head cold (can you tell?).
I was a humorist in another life.
To read more about where I’m coming from, see the about page.
Absolutely. Acting Upward is not just for actors. It’s for anyone with an interest in the filmmaking industry who wants to learn, participate, or contribute.
Writers, make-up artists, hair stylists, photographers, music composers, sound engineers, filmmakers, and more are all welcome.
No matter what your background is, if you feel you have something of value to contribute, we’d love for you to do so. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
As the Acting Upward community grows, we will eventually attract enough people to schedule local meet-ups (potentially regularly). Each meet-up will have a different purpose depending on who is organizing it.
The first meet-up will take place in Los Angeles — because that’s where I’m based. In fact, we’re an Acting Class meet-up with Acting Coach, Winnie Hiller is in the works. It will be for Acting Upward members — and it will be free.
Other meet-ups will happen when other local Acting Upward chapters are formed.
These meet-ups will not only provide an opportunity to connect with other actors and other creative types (writers, directors, sound engineers, photographers), but it will allow us to create informal (or possibly formal) group acting sessions.
Sessions will potentially involve:
- Acting exercises
- On camera critiques
- “What I’ve learned” sharing
- “My experience this week”
- Whatever else people feel is of value
It’s group sharing, group teaching, group learning — and a social experience.
One of Acting Upward’s missions is to help actors create content for their acting reels by shooting short productions, acting & audition exercises, and more.
Additionally, our community will also include screenwriters, music composers, and others who will help contribute to projects.
The goal with all projects is to not only generate quality content that you can use as an actor or filmmaker, it is also to provide an education and experience that helps hone your skills by being a part of it.
It’s a group of people eager to share with others what they’ve learned from their experiences.
It’s a “school” in the sense we have teachers and we have students.
It’s “informal” in the sense that anyone can be a teacher and all of us are students.
It’s also informal in the sense that although everyone is learning something, *no one has to pay to do it.
*It is possible this may change one day.
In general, I like to have people involved in the production of projects as little or as much as they like — basically filling in wherever their skills, talents, and creativity are a good match — but to do this requires:
- A single top-down leadership role to quickly veto things that aren’t working or fast track things that are
- Coordination and discipline (think: herding cats)
- Participants that are capable of taking direction, being flexible, and working with feedback
How collaboration are formed
Project groups/crew/talent are formed around project ideas by interested and/or qualifying individuals.
Where projects come from
Project ideas can come from anyone. And it could be as simple as shooting a single scene.
Actor: I’d love to do a scene that highlights my comedic timing.
From there we (or you):
- discuss ideas and pick one
- outline a project
- submit a project idea for others to see & express interest in
- *I’ll need to figure out a good way to do this — but this is where building a formal community will help.
- see who else is interested in participating
- we get the interested & qualifying participants involved
From there we basically bang out all aspects of a production — concept, story, location, dialogue/scenes, wardrobe, etc. and then proceed to shoot.
Larger projects may require a lot of time, but my goal is to be able to bang out smaller productions in a single day. Simple is our friend. Too many projects get bogged down by overly ambitious ideas and unnecessary details — and this is why they never come to fruition.
This is my idea of simple:
Actor comes to me: So, I’ve been wanting to shoot a scene that features my dramatic abilities.
Me: Ok. Your phone rings. It’s your brother. He’s an EMT. Your wife, child, and dog were just killed in a collision on the freeway. We film your response.
This is my idea of a simple idea and a very filmable scene. It took me as much time to write as it did for you to read it.
Actor: That’s a bit heavy. I’m not sure I’m ready to go there emotionally. Can we do comedy instead?
Me: Sure. All the things that people are losing in the world keep landing in your path. Subtly at first. And then more extreme. Socks, pens, balloons, rubber bands, paper clips, and the occasional pet. It turns out the God of Lost Things died and you’re his next-of-kin. You are visited by his assistant who explains everything.
Oh, you want to be the assistant instead? Done.
I don’t know. That seems like an amusing and very filmable idea — although it obviously requires a number of “lost things” and a creative way to reveal them. So it may take longer to shoot.
No. Acting Upward is a global community. Other filmmakers will be responsible for their projects.
As the founder of Acting Upward, I will be working on a number of projects to help be a catalyst for its growth. But as soon as it’s possible, I’d love to have other people come in, take charge, and shoot, direct, write, edit, and whatever else is necessary to produce projects.
If that means I have to teach interested people what I know in order for them to do it, great! And in return, you can teach me what you know.
That is the wonderful thing about building a creative community built around helping one another — everyone has something to offer.
“It’s easy to tell fake reels from real ones.”
“You’re never going to be able to get people to actually do anything for free.”
“A bunch of amateurs getting together working on amateur projects will yield amateur results.”
“What could a person with little experience have to teach me? I’m an acting veteran!”
“If you’re good at something never do it for free.”
There are always naysayers.
But the fact is, whether Acting Upward is successful in the manner in which I hope it is or not, it will be successful in a way that the experience of working together provides value to people.
I’d rather set goals and push forward to meet them — and potentially fail — than listen to naysayers telling me all the reasons why something shouldn’t be done.
Because even in failure, we learn.