How To Reinvent Yourself Professionally and Creatively
As an actor Chris Victor is best known for films like The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Runner of Pamplona (2016), Snitches (2016), Back In The Day (2016) and the short film Say Something (2016). His first appearance as an actor was in the U.S. soap opera All My Children in 2000, at which time he was able to join the actors union AFTRA (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists). In 2004, he became a member of the Screen Actors Guild union aka SAG.(SAG and AFTRA are joined entities today known as SAG/AFTRA).
A Strong Conviction to Succeed
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York – at a time when the neighborhoods were not safe and Northern Italian dominated – he experienced bullying due to his Sicilian/Greek descent. Life seemingly was not a bed of roses then, but Victor’s strong conviction to succeed helped him to both focus and persevere. After two years of college graduating with a major in Business, he received an offer to join the New York Police Dept. as a police officer, but fate chose an entirely different route for him. In 1994, after successfully passing the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) required Series 7 Examination for stockbrokers, Chris started working on Wall Street. He did so for a few years and then made a drastic career change by obtaining a degree in Health Sciences with the practice of massage therapy, personal training and nutrition. With that, he founded his company Massage Manhattan in 1997, which eventually led him to an acting class in 1998 that allowed him to reinvent himself not only professionally but also creatively. During the filming of the independent feature film Snitches (2016), a Steve Rahaman production, he was offered an Executive Producer position. Since then, his production company Victor Productions has co-produced the upcoming indie films Neverland (2016), an EW Film production as well as The Breaking Point (2016).
So how can you reinvent yourself professionally to enter the filmmaking/acting business?
In addition to taking acting classes and/or attending filmmaking workshops and seminars, you may want to consider becoming an intern for a film production company or apply for a job as a production assistant Victor noted that another aspect to consider in your pursuit of reinventing yourself to get into the film industry that aided him was
Being present at the right events such as film festivals is important in order to form relationships with producers and other industry people, but it doesn’t stop there. I also have to cultivate those relationships and do constant marketing. Just like in any other business, in the acting/producing world people like to do business with people they know and respect. That’s why you see the same casting ensembles in films frequently.”
The Right People
Other than networking with the right people and visiting film festivals to make important connections, learning how to navigate within the film industry is imperative. While acting skills are important, your personality is a huge factor for producers considering hiring you. The success of a film project, like any other business, depends on the people involved in it. Difficult personalities can hold up a project, which may lead to budget overruns that, in turn, could cause a problem with financing. In order to support yourself while starting your acting/producing career you will most likely need to hold on to your day job for a while. Make sure it allows you the freedom to go to casting calls and auditions. Victor added
The major challenges are to get adequate representation by a reputable agent and for films to be seen by the right people.”
In addition to commitment and passion, a robust social following are a must for an actor and producer. The more followers/fans you have online and offline, the better your chances are to succeed in the creative world. You need to be able to showcase your talent or film and raise awareness to your existence in the entertainment industry because even the best products don’t sell if no one knows about them.