Your best friend tells you in March that they are going into acting. You congratulate them, wish them luck, and move on with your life. But suddenly it’s December, and you have no idea what to get that one friend, what the best gifts for actors are. You want to get something practical, a gift that will show you recognize and appreciate their career path but not something that your friend will throw out the next day. As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I have had my fair share of experience with actors and am here to share my tips with you.
1. Gift Cards and Certificates
These types of gifts offer a whole variety of options and can be suited according to what your friend would prefer. Gift cards can be used later when needed and are what most actors say they prefer.
Accent and Dialects
For actors, using a new voice can be a fun experience, but it also takes some work. Fully acquiring a dialect takes time and is not an easy task. There is pressure to respect a culture by accurately portraying their way of speaking. The way an actor portrays this can be imperative for their craft and reputation. While sometimes productions have a dialect coach to help you with the dialogue, other directors expect actors to do the preparation themselves. Many accent coaches in Los Angeles offer one-on-one session and audition preparation, and you can purchase gift certificates online. Even if your friend doesn’t have an audition for a german character role tomorrow, mastering of a dialect is an excellent skill to have and may attract casting directors.
A headshot session is definitely the type of a gift your actor friend will be most grateful for. Headshots aren’t cheap, and they need to be updated frequently. A headshot is what an actor must always have on-hand and is the first thing casting agencies will ask for. It will lead to problems if the actor’s headshot is old or doesn’t represent their current look. I have heard of many qualified actors not getting a role because their headshots weren’t up-to-par. You do not have to spend too much on this and can buy a session from an experienced and affordable headshot photographer in Los Angeles here. With Seda Stepanyan as your headshot photographer, you will never have to worry about how your photos will turn out as all her reviews are full of praises.
Having excellent headshots and demo reels will be useless if the actor has no place to submit them. Getting a casting agency or a rep is difficult. Websites for open calls are designed specifically with lone actors in mind and are the perfect place to get started. Buying your friend a subscription to backstage or IMDB Pro will surely make them happy and may even get them their next role. For more location-specific sites for Los Angeles, check out L.A. casting or Actors Access. Most casting website subscriptions will cost under $100 annually, so this gift will not put a dent in your personal finances.
Your friend may act like they know everything there is about acting, but deep down, they know that you can always learn more. Acting classes aren’t cheap, and no one can afford to go to many as much as they would like to. Acting Technique, Scene Study, Cold Reading, Improvisation Classes, Voice/Vocal, and Body Movement are only a few of the types of acting classes that acting schools offer. Try to check which one your friend has been to and get them to try something new with your gift. An acting class as a gift for an actor will be a fun experience, will help them perfect their craft and put in work towards their next role.
This may not be an obvious gift for an actor friend, but it is very useful. Being an actor is not cheap, all the classes and workshops cost lots of money. Imagine also having to pay to get from one end of the city to the other for an audition. Hollywood is big !! A gift is a perfect opportunity to help out with some of their dues. If your friend has a car, try to find a way to gift your actor friend a card or certificate for fuel. In case your city has a decent transport system, consider buying your friend a bus or metro pass. This pass will make their life significantly easier as they won’t have to worry about getting to the audition and instead on the audition itself. Another option is gifting an UBER card or a similar taxi service card.
Being an actor in Los Angeles is exhausting. It’s classes, workshops, and auditions all day. All this can really take a toll on someone’s body, so why not gift your friend a spa or massage session. It isn’t an industry-related gift, but they are sure to appreciate it. A day of pampering and relaxation is sure to get them back on their feet and get their mood up.
2. Hands-on Gifts
The only downside of giving a card or certificate is that the price is shown, and for most people, that is okay. But if you are gifting it to someone who you would prefer not to see the money you spent, I am here to offer you some other options.
As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, any actor I have spoken to at my headshot sessions is always reading something. It may be a book on acting, on the industry, a book of tips from an agent, or something similar. Books may seem outdated in this modern age, but they are one of the actor’s most excellent tools. Take some time to research what book your friend might need. There are many resources online which will help you choose a book. If you really have no options, just go to your local bookstore, find the “Drama” section and fill your shopping cart. You can even get copies of plays for your friend.
This idea may seem funny to you, but it really is a big help. Imagine you’re in a cold marble-floored dressing room or trailer all day. You would be very grateful for a pair of soft and fluffy slippers, wouldn’t you? A pair of slippers really isn’t the main gift but more of an add-on to the other options in this list.
For this option, you will have to do some snooping around your friend. Ask around and try to find out what type of roles they frequently audition for. If they are auditioning for the role of a bad boy or girl, buy them a nice leather jacket and shirt to go with it. Or if they’re auditioning to be a cowboy, get them the hat and the shoes. You get the idea. If your friend doesn’t usually concentrate on one type of role, you can always gift them formal clothing they can wear to auditions. This will undoubtedly take a load off their mind, so they will always have their outfit ready to go.
This is a more expensive gift, but if you’re ready to splurge, this is the place to do it. Actors always have to have their resumes on hand; you never know when the need will arise. They also need to print scripts to take notes on and plays to practice. As a Los Angeles headshot photographer, I know that many actors I know spend a fortune each year printing all the documents they need, so a good printer will surely come in handy. You can also get an actor a box of office supplies such as pens, highlighters, staplers and so on. This gift may sound more like something you would get for a non-actor, but believe me, acting can become a desk job sometimes.
Demo Reel Tools
Most actors prefer to film their auditions and demo reels at home, as shooting elsewhere can be expensive. Many parts go into this process. If you know your friend shoots at home and you are willing to spend a good amount of money, get them some equipment. A good camera, a new backdrop, or a microphone will always be much appreciated. You can also buy them editing software, as it takes many tries to get that final perfect clip. Good editing will show casting agencies that the actor has put time and effort into their product.
An Acting Kit
This suggestion is a cute gift which you can make on your own, so I recommend it for closer friends. You can get a nice case or bag and start filling it with items. You can put in eyeliners, hairspray, gum, coms, brushes, baby wipes, pens and highlighters, bobby pins, band-aids, make-up remover, face powder, and a book. Of course, you can add more items you find to be suitable for your friend. Maybe stick a photo of you two together in it for that extra boost before a role.
You can get a case with a built-in mirror, which will come in handy for spontaneous make-up situations. Every Los Angeles headshot photographer knows that. This kit is a gift that shows how much effort you put into creating it. Alternatively, you can make a make-up kit and include the essential items in it. You can also get a small kit with a few things and put a Sephora/Ulta gift card in it so they can get exactly what they need.
A Big Bag
During a full day of classes and auditions, the last thing an actor needs to worry about is where they should put their things. Look for a functional bag with lots of pockets, sturdy straps, and enough room for a pair of shoes. Actors burn a lot of calories and always need to keep up their energy, but eating out is not a cheap option. So, you can also include a lunchbox with this bag, and it’s the best way to keep your friend fueled up.
All professional actors practically live in their workout clothes. And not only at the gym. Acting class, dance calls, rehearsals, and auditions are a good reason to get your friend comfortable clothing. An actor’s life is already hard enough; there’s no need to spend so many hours in jeans. Look for clothes that feel comfortable, but don’t turn too many heads on the street. Avoid flashy colors and designs, and opt for a one-colored look.
3. Invites and Tickets
Acting is performance art. And to get big in this industry and be different, you must immerse yourself in all types of art. It will help you get perspective and understand your position more. To help with this, you can buy your friend all sorts of tickets.
Movie tickets is an obvious answer, but it still is a really good gift. To make it more special, you can try to get a ticket to a movie premiere. Los Angeles is the heart of the industry, and there is a premiere here every week. The premiere will give the actor a chance to network, meet new people and enjoy a new film. You can also look for early screenings, more exclusive and smaller-scale events.
Theatre is a way to enjoy facial expressions and live acting. Your friend might also learn a few tips for improvisation from this experience. It is also an all-around enjoyable time and a great way to spend an evening.
Networking Event Tickets
Networking is truly one of the most vital parts of an actor’s life. To make it in Hollywood, actors must make themselves known and establish working relationships. Any headshot photographer in Los Angeles will state that any party in Hollywood is a place to network. But, there are also special events designed for networking, with an invitation list full of big names in Hollywood.
One of the biggest networking events in Los Angeles is called ” The Acting Experience.” Actor Dijon Talton covers many topics from the industry. It is a high-rated event, and tickets start at $499.00, so this will be the gift of a lifetime. Another big networking event in Los Angeles is called “The National Achievers Congress.” This one is a much cheaper, yet still a prestigious event. You can also find other networking events happening around the time of your friend’s birthday and buy a ticket. Make sure not to buy too close to the date as your friend will need time to prepare.
As you can see, buying a gift for your actor friend isn’t a hard task. Of course, it is preferable if you know their needs and can get something from this list that is better suited to them. But, even if you have no idea what they do in their acting career, these tips will still be useful. So don’t waste any time and get your shopping on!!