Introduce Yourself : NY Actor/Everyman by Matthew Porter

Matthew Porter

NY Actor/Everyman

Just wanted to say hi to the community. Hard working professional actor here in New York. Studied at New York University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. I was most recently a recurring co-star on the television show 30 Rock and currently am a spokesperson/face/voice of Dish Networks. On the side, since opportunities aren't always the easiest to come by, I like to create my own opportunities. I recently produced a tv pilot in addition to acting in it and am currently brainstorming and writing some material for myself in hopes to produce it or sell it. Hope to meet and work with some talented people out there. I also have my own home voice-over studio.

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

Matthew - 30 Rock?? That's one of my all time favorite shows. It must have been a blast to be on set. Checked out reels and they are great. Glad your talents are here on Stage 32. Love your drive, your passion and your determination to go after it. You're right, it's not always easy, so you have to create your opportunities. Looks like you're doing just that. I'm interested to watch where your career goes!

CJ Walley

30 Rock. Seriously cool. Kudos to you, Matthew. Hope the pilot goes down well the writing flows :)

Anna Sahlstrom

Excellent. How do you get together the people and resources to make your own work? Does being union or not matter when you're selling a script for yourself to star in? I just did my first voice over gig dubbing a foreign film.

Matthew Porter

CJ! Cheers for the well wishes and I hope to see you on set one day! I think there is a lot we can learn from folks across the pond in terms of screenwriting, production, and overall storytelling that we are currently lacking. Hopefully, you'll be at the forefront of this and will keep me posted on all your successes. Anna! Thanks for the question and congrats on your voice over gig! I always see requests for foreign voice talent, so if you can capitalize (read: profit) on that, you're well on your way to making a nice niche for yourself alongside all the other professional avenues you have at your disposal. However, you should be marketing that and selling that RIGHT NOW. You’re hot in that field and keeping that ball rolling is of utmost importance. As to your first question, I'll try and tackle it as best I can. The second one is a bit of a different beast, so I'll try and address that a bit later. Also, I have just been asked to write a blog post on this very site, so I will do it and attempt to answer your first question with my maiden voyage. If it gets rejected, I’ll simply answer it here. Again, thanks for the reply.

Matthew Porter

First off, I think getting the resources to make your own work is done on a sliding scale these days. Obviously, if you have the budget to get a nice camera, crew, lights, grip equipment, and access to good post-production services, that's a tremendous start and kudos to you. Believe me, we’re jealous. A rather popular option nowadays is to raise big sums of money through crowd funding, which is great! But don't forget that these companies are a business and generally take a 10%(or more) cut of the total amount raised, so I’d advise to use caution when employing their services. But even having any workable budget, most often, isn't the case for the majority of us. But don’t despair! The true beauty of creating your own work in this day and age is that you can do it on an almost zero budget and have it look good enough to show off your other talents and not be distracted by anything technical. Smart phone cameras are actually pretty good quality. I've seen shorts and sketches shot on them that have come out great- heck, even on laptop cameras. And when the picture and audio quality hasn't been the most professional, the best material and performances have ALWAYS risen above any outstanding technical distraction. I even use an app on my phone (trying not to plug) to record, edit, and send auditions as many castings are now done online. Heck, I even used my smartphone on vacation in Bermuda to record a few lines of ADR for TV’s 30 Rock that made it into the final cut of the show. And you know what? Comforters make great makeshift sound booths! The point is that when we want to make something good and can invest the time, effort, passion, and thought, the likelihood is that you and anyone else will be very pleased with the results. But what about distribution/hosting? Well, we all use those well-known websites when we look at funny videos online, so why don't we use them to host our own creative passion projects for the world to see? Webisodes are huge right now! And heck, some of those platforms are actually their own producing entities now. So what am I saying? We really are empowered now as artists to create more content than ever before, a fantastic thing! But again, content is really the key more than anything else in my professional opinion. You can shoot a pile of dog poo on the newest camera and have it edited on the newest equipment, but it'll still be a pile of dog poo. Sorry for the vulgarity, but I hope you see my point. Create, create, and create even more with whatever resources you have available to you. Make your work the best it can be with what you realistically have available to you now. And in the future, the rest will fall into place as your network continues to grow alongside your developing body of work.

Katherine Hon

Hey there. I'm looking into moving to NY soon, I've got some friends there. But do you have any advice of job/acting balance? I don't want to have to work all the time to pay rent so I miss auditions.

Richard "RB" Botto

Terrific introduction, Matthew. You won me over completely with " I like to create my own opportunities." My kind of creative.

Matthew Porter

Hi, Katherine. I think flexibility is your greatest asset in many ways as an actor in New York. It's really not an affordable town and we must pay those bills that insist on reaching our mailboxes! So, hopefully a gig where you can carve out some time of your own to make casting appointments is ideal, though understandably, not always the case. I never worked in the service industry. I don't have the temperment for it I think. That's me. I always wondered about jobs at casting agencies which are very close to the action and can lead to things, but don't always pay so great or offer much, if any, in the way of benefits. I started doing transcription work, but soon realized I was too far away from what I wanted to do. While it was nice to be home, where I could record voice-over work on the side, it wasn't reeeeeally what I wanted to be doing with a lot of my time. It wasn't close enough for me to the action. I soon jumped into the background community and figured I might as well start working to at least acquire a health benefit and a pension in the field that I ultimately wanted to spend the majority of my time in. So, pretty early on, I was cast as a "core" member on Life on Mars, an ABC show that lasted a season or two. By the time i was fit with several wardrobes for the LOM gig, I was asked to audition to be Alec Baldwin's stand-in on the TV show 30 Rock. When I wasn't working on 30 Rock, casting for LOM was still cool enough to let me go play on their show (probably because I had just had an entire wardrobe pulled for me). It worked out great for me and I haven't looked back since. That's just how it happened to work out. I will give you one gem nugget of info though that has also served me well in making some decent side money: Focus Groups. Type into your favorite search engines "focus groups [currrent city of residence]" and sign up with as many companies as you can. You can easily make $40-$300 for an hour or two of your time speaking your mind about product or service. I actually have one tomorrow morning, that is taking place over webcam and is about a liquor. It lasts 40 minutes, but what else would you rather be doing at 8am than making an easy $60 in your pjs? Get in with a few companies and you could schedule a few a week if you are good, depending on the topic and the type of folks they are interested in speaking too. We all have our different avenues, and it's just a matter of being ready to jump on which ever one is right in front of you, calling you, and seeing where it takes you. Best of luck!

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