It’s the holidays and there are tons of gift guides for your daughter, boyfriend, best friend who is the makeup junkie, the techie, the outdoorsy person etc…. But what about… gifts for actors? *MIC DROP*
Chances are, you might have that one friend or family member who is an actor. They may not have landed a series regular the first week they moved out to L.A. like the had hoped, but… they are working every day toward it. The truth is, they may be (read: are) struggling a little bit and when you ask them, “How is everything going?” You get, “I am so happy! Everything is fine!! It’s going exactly as planned!” It probably isn’t. Because we are really proud people and are in it for the long haul and don’t want you to worry that we are taking an emotional beating just about everyday (cue the violins). EVERYTHING'S GOOD, GREAT, GRAND, WONDERFUL.
Any gift is greatly appreciated. Period. Whatever your budget, there are tons of ways for you to give something meaningful and useful to an actor and their career. It means a lot to support an actor’s or actress’s dream. For all of the no’s we get on the daily, it really means a lot when a friend or family member says, “hey, I know what you’re doing isn’t easy, but I think doing a great job, I believe in you.” If you’re able to give a gift that will help them be productive and help them achieve their dream, I think that’s the biggest gift of all. Here are some ideas I think that would really help for the working (or aspiring!) actor in your life!
*I added click through links on all of the titles, not the photos this time. You'll see the the links highlighted! :)
This book by Ivanna changed my life. I try and read this every year, and for me, it’s my go-to bible for when I feel stuck when I’m trying to figure out a character for an audition. I even had the 12 steps screens shotted and saved as my iphone-wallpaper so I could easily refer to it when I was working during pilot and episodic season. I highly recommend this book for any actor. It’s excellent for those roles you don’t feel fully connected with immediately to help you understand them.
This is definitely an expensive but worthy gift. UCB is one of the best improv schools and it’s almost a requirement now to have on your resume. Sometimes, casing specifically says they want improv experience and to list the extent of it. Give your actor a fighting chance to get in the room!
This killer lighting system is ideal for self tapes! Lighting is so important when submitting self tapes, this would be great!
Your actor is running around town, hustling between auditions. Why not gift them a great bag that can carry everything so they look good and in style? This bag is great and will take them from day to night. Plus, it's roomy enough to fit your headshots, notebook, high heels (to change into when you walk across the lot!) and makeup!
Who doesn’t love gift cards! Free range! Nordstrom has so many beautiful options for anyone with a wide array of price ranges. This can be for any amount. They can get tops for auditions or a great pair of workout pants to keep them healthy and fit and look good. Acting is a job, and what you wear says a lot about you. It’s half the challenge for auditions! *Bonus, they can wait for the N Sale and stock up on tons of great quality basics that look great on camera for cheap!
This portfolio is so chic and professional. I tried getting a clean version of the front to no avail. What a great way to show up to an audition with an amazing portfolio filled with your headshots and sides. This is a gift that will make your actor feel good and look so profesh. Plus, you can monogram it with their initials! Mine now.
This bad boy is really helpful for self tapes! I pair it with my lighting system for times I can’t audition live. Trust me, it happens out of state and all the time in Los Angeles.
Chances are, your actor goes to class or gets really creative ideas. I love this journal you can personalize from Paper Source. You can customize the cover with their name or a quote, and even do lined or unlined (my fave!) pages. Every time they are in class, breakdown an audition or take notes, they’ll think of you!
Oh my gosh, I love planners! Let me tell you. When you are pursuing acting full time, there are never any guarantees, EVER. There is zero sense of control because your every move and opportunity is at the whim of someone else’s discretion. So, a planner is one way I am able to control the little that I can control. Writing in auditions, classes, appointments, goals, thoughts, exercising, etc. This is a great gift because every day your friend opens their planner, they will think of you!
Headshots are probably the most basic material your actor has to have. These can range between $100 to thousands of dollars. YES. THOUSANDS. Because your actor has to take these photos, then they have to get them edited, then they have to pay PER PICTURE to upload to all of the subscription services, AND get them printed… AND they have to do this likely every 12-24 months…. so how about helping them out with half the battle. I’m sure this would be greatly appreciated!
SUBSCRIPTIONS OR MEMBERSHIPS!
There are tons of memberships you can give your actor! I’m not sure if you can pay directly on line, but an idea is to give them the gift with this intention! It would help a lot! Other ideas include a Hulu or Netflix account, a gym membership, or a fun class, like Classpass for a month. But here are the "essentials".
Maintaining all of our materials is a lot of upkeep. IMDBPro is a membership any working actor needs. It’s basically an online resume, like LinkedIn, with all of your materials casting directors and fans can check out to see your body of work.
It’s kind of like LinkedIn for actors. It’s where your agent has all of your materials to pitch to casting directors. You MUST have it to be in the ring. Your actor has to pay to upload every photo and pay to submit themselves for auditions if they don’t have an agent. There is a subscription called Showfax which is about $60 that gives your actor unlimited submissions. And believe it or not, that’s only one subscription your actor has to have, in addition to LA Casting and Casting Frontier and a few others. Just ask your actor. It adds up really quickly.
Your actor needs to be up on the trades! Entertainment Weekly is a great magazine that has loads of information to keep your actor on trend. What a great gift! Every time it arrives i n the mail, your actor will think of you. :)
I am obsessed with ClassPass. Any of you who know me know I'll talk your ear off about Barre and Pilates. ClassPass gives your actor a chance to explore different workouts, whether it's Yoga, Barry's Bootcamp, TRX or Barre Classes. There is literally something for everyone on here and it's a super reasonable price. One class at one studio is typically $30 so you end up getting your money's worth. If they live in L.A., I can almost promise you they'll see a celebrity or two in their class and they can tell you, "I worked out next to so-and-so." La-tee-da.
This is a great way to gift and pamper your actor or actress! Face Haus is a super affordable facial… house. Great skin is a great way to help someone feel good but may not be the first thing your actor chooses to get for themselves. I bet anyone would love this!! Feel good, look good? SOLD.
OMG. I’m literally laughing out loud because this as a gift could come across rude because it makes you look like you think their teeth are yellow. Okay… Maybe this isn’t the most “consdierate” gift, but it’s so useful! As actors, we’re on camera! We gotta have nice pearly whites for those commercial auditions!
This is a great gift! You might think Staples is only for corporate businesses, but acting is a business! Your actor needs to have the right materials. They might need ink to print their resumes, staplers, trimmers for the headshots, notepads, etc. It would be so thoughtful to invest in your actor’s business!!
Shameless self promotion. Knowing how to do your makeup for auditions is essential! It will really set you apart from the rest. So does dressing the part. Your actor may not know their type or brand, and I’ve been at it for quite a while and have figured out my signature brand that helps me book. Let me help your actor or actress figure out their’s! Check out my Last Looks Imaging tab under “Acting”.
Well y'all, I hope you found these helpful! These are just a few things that I know would mean a lot to your actor. Actors and actresses, you might want to forward this link to someone if they’ve been asking you… “what do you want for Christmas?” ;) I hope December is busy for all of us!! May we all get a booking to round out the year. Time to get back to work after all that stuffing!