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Author Brad Lemack: Actors, stop it. Put yourself on hold.

October 17, 2010

When author and talent manager Brad Lemack hits the podium at Pasadena’s Borders bookstore Tuesday night, his message is this: “Stop it. Just put yourself on hold. Look at who you are and where you are on your career journey. Look at your behavior. Are you taking steps that honor your career?” 

Lemack’s new book, The New Business of Acting: How to Build a Career in a Changing Landscape (Ingenuity Press, USA 195pp) reflects on the past 25 years, since he worked for Norman Lear and signed his first independent client, the late Isabel Sanford of The Jeffersons. 

“Today,” Lemack says, “actors cannot advance their career if they have no sense of paying their dues. Too many have a generational entitlement. They have to stop it.” 

His book offers skills in the basics, of course, from headshots to networking, and includes warnings of which websites and business practices to avoid. 

He’s taught at Emerson College in Burbank for the past 14 years. “College is good about teaching techniques, but not how to be employable. Many older actors haven’t caught up with today’s technological landscape, and it’s hurting their chances to land good roles. Ask yourself if it’s time to erase the board and start from scratch.” 

Lemack works with actors young and older. Among the seniors, he says, beyond technological ignorance, “is a profound unawareness of having to rebrand and re-imagine themselves. We work on that so that their careers can either resume or not be derailed.” 

His job now, he nearly jokes, is “teacher, therapist, day care center director, and navigator.” Through it, however, has evolved the book and more than 50 webisodes in which professional actors discuss their success. Inside the Business of Acting is easy to find on YouTube. 

Lemack speaks at 7:30 pm, Tuesday October 19, 2010 at Borders, 475 S. Lake Avenue, Pasadena. 626.304.9773. There is no charge.

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