I'm happy to say that my first auditions in Philadelphia have gone well. After two auditions in a row, I was told by the auditor that I would have "no problem" (they both used that phrase) working in Philadelphia, especially as a non-union actor over forty. One agency has already responded positively to my query and I'm attending other open calls in February. I anticipate further positive responses. One way that Philadelphia seems to differ from Portland: actors may be represented by multiple agencies. I know one agency will want me to sign exclusively with them (I've been given a head's up from a Philly actor-in-the-know) and that may well be the smartest thing for me to do. One potential trap I foresee, though, is working with an agency that is motivated to keep me on as non-union past the point that serves me. I don't know if this is a real concern, frankly, so I need to get good advice. My hunch is that everyone will anticipate that I'll work non-union for a year or two and then move on. I want to make the step up to film and episodic t.v. as soon as my experience and camera skills allow.
That's all on the on-camera let's-make-some-money-finally! side of things. On the 'art' side, I'm eager to make myself available for local stage work. Again, my initial foray into town showed me the depth and breadth of Philadelphia theater: man, there's a ton. I can't wait to jump into it. I'm clearer about my strategy for union status in theater than I am in film: for theater work, I will remain non-union long enough for my work to be well-enough known, then I go Equity. I anticipate this will be 12-24 months. To make ends meet during that time I'll need to do a lot of on-camera.