No matter how much young actors get trained in the skills of acting, the moment they get out there looking for work, few know the tricks of the trade that land them roles in television and the movies.
Sarah Siadat, a 2007 graduate of Ashland High School, is remedying that with her new business called Mentoring for Actors, located in Los Angeles, where she works in TV and film.
Siadat found her true passion when she got a role in AHS's "Bye-Bye, Birdie," as a freshman. She attended summer drama camps, got in more productions at school, then took her degree at Marymount Manhattan — but on graduation found herself at sea in the practicalities of show biz.
"I knew from the time I was 14, I wanted to be an actor," says Siadat. "I so loved theater, the community of it. We practically lived at the (AHS) theater, doing rehearsals. It was my absolute favorite thing to do ... but when I got out there, I felt very lost. It was nerve-wracking. It was only through trial and error that I would get advice and piece it all together."
Siadat, 29, is able to work with clients in person or, by Skype, anywhere in the world.
"It's very difficult to know how to connect and get work," she says. "I give them practical tools so they can shine with the acting abilities. Of course, they need to be trained and be working hard on the craft, just like a singer or dancer would. Exercise that acting muscle."
"What's really important is to know what roles you're right for — the mom, the doctor, the grandpa. Yes, you should be able to do it all but Hollywood needs to see how you fit into the role they're casting right now." If you're not clear on what "hard work" in TV and the movies means, think of training for the Olympics, she notes.
"You have to have confidence. You have to not care what other people think, because there's a lot of rejection in that world. If it gets to you, you'll never get a role."
For the all-important audition, Siadat coaches clients they have to be deeply prepared with the script and in the research of characters.
"Find out how you would play that role and get someone else's eyes on you, a coach or fellow actor," she says. "When you audition, do it like you'd do it if you already booked (landed) the role, completely prepared with all the choices about the character made. You are really clear. You own the role." Siadat just landed a one-time shot on "The Young and the Restless," but it will open doors, shine on her vita and perhaps lead to her prime time dream role on something like "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" or "NCIS."
"It's going to be truly a dream come true. I've worked 10 years to see myself on TV and it's going to happen." Siadat's kind of role, one that comes naturally for her, she notes, is as a doctor, lawyer, reporter, nurse or medical examiner who is tough, verbal, in charge and who comes across as educated and upper class and confident in her topic.
"I created this business because I needed it when I was young and felt lost ... After years of studying the craft of acting, I knew I had the skills, but I lacked the industry knowledge to help me find my way in the professional world. I want to offer emerging actors a place to learn the tangible tools that took me years to discover, so they can find success faster and easier." One of her AHS teachers, Betsy Bishop, says of Siadat, "She's a dynamo, a wonderful, loving, very encouraging woman, very popular here. She has a good background in acting and film work. What's great about her is she's very positive and uplifting."
Siadat's website is www.mentoringforactors.com.