How to Pursue a Career in Acting in America as an Immigrant - Free Webcast with Bambadjan Bamba

Hosted by Bambadjan Bamba

Webinar Sessions:
Wednesday, Apr 21ST 11 - 12:30PM PDT
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Bambadjan Bamba

Webinar hosted by: Bambadjan Bamba


Bambadjan Bamba is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and activist from the Ivory Coast who has worked in prominent roles on numerous hit television shows like THE GOOD PLACE and GREY’S ANATOMY, and in blockbuster films like BLACK PANTHER and SUICIDE SQUAD. He was recently featured in Will Smith’s Netflix series AMEND: THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA. His writing has been published in Variety, the Washington Post, NBC, and CNN to name a few, and he is a contributor in the New York Times bestseller "American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures" by award winning actress America Ferrera. In 2017 Bambadjan publicly disclosed that he was a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that is in danger of being terminated. Ever since, Bambadjan has used his inspirational story to advocate for immigrant rights. Bambadjan is also the recipient of the Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU and the Courageous Luminary award from the National Immigration Law Center. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Free webcast exclusively for Stage 32 members with Ivory Coast/American actor Bambadjan Bamba (BLACK PANTHER, SUICIDE SQUAD, THE GOOD PLACE) - bring your questions!

No matter who you are or where you’re from, the journey to becoming a full-time and successful actor in America is a difficult one. Yet if you’re from a different country and are contemplating moving to America, or if you’ve already moved here and are dealing with one of a variety of immigration statuses, your path is that much harder. You have to figure out how to legally live in America with this profession and work with studios and networks when payment might be more complicated than for actors that are American citizens. And that’s on top of the everyday struggle of finding and landing roles, which can also be harder if you do not have an American accent. There is no question that there are serious obstacles to overcome as an immigrant actor, but it’s still a path that can be achieved, and has been achieved many times before.

For as much emphasis that is often put on the sheer luck of breaking through as an actor and finding success, there is another element that is often underemphasized, which is the strategy and planning necessary for actors to build their career. Luck certainly can play a part, but these lucky breaks are much more likely to come to actors who do the work ahead of time to have a game plan and can better put themselves in the right place and the right time Whether fair or not, this goes double for immigrant actors and actors planning on moving to America. There is a large amount of strategy and planning necessary to find success, including how to get a visa, find sponsorship, get representation, use support networks and initiatives available to you and building your career piece by piece. It can be overwhelming, but the good news is you never have to be alone in this journey. There are communities and organizations that offer support as well as fellow immigrant actors who have gone down the path you’re on and can give you tips and strategies to help you achieve your dreams.

Bambadjan Bamba is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and activist from the Ivory Coast who has worked in prominent roles on numerous hit television shows like THE GOOD PLACE and GREY’S ANATOMY, and in blockbuster films like BLACK PANTHER and SUICIDE SQUAD. He was recently featured in Will Smith’s Netflix series AMEND: THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA. His writing has been published in Variety, the Washington Post, NBC, and CNN to name a few, and he is a contributor in the New York Times bestseller "American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures" by award winning actress America Ferrera. In 2017 Bambadjan publicly disclosed that he was a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that is in danger of being terminated. Ever since, Bambadjan has used his inspirational story to advocate for immigrant rights. Bambadjan is also the recipient of the Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU and the Courageous Luminary award from the National Immigration Law Center.

In this free Stage 32 webcast, Bambadjan will give you some insight of how to strategically prepare for your move, maneuver around common obstacles that international actors face, and find your community and representation to give yourself the best shot to be successful. He’ll first explain the pros and cons of moving to America to pursue acting as well as when the right time to move is. He’ll then go through the legal roads you can pursue and how to navigate different immigration statuses you may have. Bambadjan will lay out different organizations and initiatives that you can take advantage of as you get started and will give you advice on how to find representation and sponsors from abroad and how to work legally as an undocumented immigrant. He will also lay out how to work even if you do not have an American accent, as well as how to work on improving your American accent. Finally, Bambadjan will give you tips and strategies on dealing with the emotional challenges associated with being an immigrant.

What You'll Learn

  • Why You Should (Or Shouldn't) Pursue Acting in the United States
    • Unique opportunities for actors in America
    • Which market in America is best for you based on your personal goals.
    • When's the right time to move to America?
    • COVID travel regulation and set protocols.
  • Coming to America
    • The O1 Visa
      • Getting sponsored by your manager/agent vs. getting sponsored by a studio
      • Limitations of the O1 Visa
    • The O1 to EB1 Greencard roadmap
    • Undocumented DACA, TPS, DED recipients
    • Family-Based Visa
    • F1 Student visa for acting school/universities
  • Unions and Diversity Initiatives
    • SAGAftra: Can they help non-members and immigrant actors?
    • SAG Foundation
    • Actors Equity
    • WGA Foundation
  • Building Your Career as an Actor
    • Where to find the best training in town.
    • How to find representation and sponsors from abroad
    • How to work legally as an undocumented immigrant
    • Where to find opportunities for roles and auditions that fit your background.
  • Having a Non-American Accent
    • Pros and Cons of an American accent
    • Pros and cons of a foreign accent
    • Tips to work on an American accent
      • Resources
      • Accent coaches
      • Other practical tools to learn different accents
  • Emotional Challenges Associated with Being an Immigrant Actor
    • How to deal with the feeling of isolation
      • Bambadjan’s own lived experiences
    • Finding your tribe
    • Other resources to be more connected
  • Q&A with Bambadjan

About Your Instructor

Bambadjan Bamba is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and activist from the Ivory Coast who has worked in prominent roles on numerous hit television shows like THE GOOD PLACE and GREY’S ANATOMY, and in blockbuster films like BLACK PANTHER and SUICIDE SQUAD. He was recently featured in Will Smith’s Netflix series AMEND: THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA. His writing has been published in Variety, the Washington Post, NBC, and CNN to name a few, and he is a contributor in the New York Times bestseller "American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures" by award winning actress America Ferrera. In 2017 Bambadjan publicly disclosed that he was a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that is in danger of being terminated. Ever since, Bambadjan has used his inspirational story to advocate for immigrant rights. Bambadjan is also the recipient of the Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU and the Courageous Luminary award from the National Immigration Law Center.


Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!


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