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Gifts for Actors : How to Give the Actor in your Life the Best Present!

Updated on July 6, 2016
Jean Greer profile image

Jean is a 27 year old living and writing in Auckland, New Zealand. She's passionate about acting, travel, wellness, and filmmaking.

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WHAT DO THEY WANT!?

If someone close to you is an aspiring screen or stage actor, you might be finding them difficult to buy for.

As a struggling actor myself, I know how hard people can find it to buy presents for me. I'm creative, have weird specific interests, talk about 'call-backs' and 'sides', and am pretty fussy when it comes to music, books, and movies. Most people don't risk getting me a book or a DVD, since my taste can be pretty arthouse, and instead settle on Red Wine. Which is totally good with me! (Actually my mother usually gets me socks, underwear, and basic life essentials like facial cleanser which is totally valid and appreciated too...)

But if you want to get something for a loved one in the acting profession that they'll SERIOUSLY love then I've listed some ideas they'll go absolutely crazy over below!

Pay for their New Headshots

Actors need a photo like this to book auditions - paying for their next set of headshots is an incredible gift!
Actors need a photo like this to book auditions - paying for their next set of headshots is an incredible gift! | Source

Pay For Their New Headshots

That possibly sounds boring to you, but I'm quite serious - this would be the BEST gift for me, and basically any actor I know!

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

Headshots are those photos actors need to get auditions! They're the ones listed on their agents website and which your actor friend probably has 100 odd copies of printed out in their car. A headshot is a basic portrait of an actor that is sent to casting agents, along with their credits (acting resume) when there is a role or casting call up for grabs! We absolutely NEED them in our profession.

Problem is they need to be updated regularly (preferably once a year or every two years at most) so that they represent most recent look, hairstyle, age, etc. Pretty much every actor I know is constantly harangued by their agent for new ones. And it's hard to fit this cost in regularly around, you know, trying to survive as a human with power and food on an actor's (low) wages.

Unless an actor has literally JUST had their headshots done, they almost definitely need new ones.

Offer to pay for an actor's new headshots as a gift and not only will you be getting them something that's absolutely essential to their careers, they will be ridiculously chuffed and grateful! Offer to pay for their make-up to be done for the shoot as well and they might just kiss you on the mouth (if that's appropriate...)

HOW MUCH?

Headshots don't need to be super expensive. Agents usually have a list of recommended photographers that they prefer their clients to use. If your actor is with a decent agent who isn't trying to rip them off, then the photographers they suggest will probably range from $100-$200 for a basic package (a photoshoot with 5-10 edited pictures received). Most female actors will also get their make-up done professionally for their headshots which should cost anywhere from $50 - $150.

POLL

Are you an actor? What would you LOVE to receive as a gift?

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Business Cards are helpful for networking
Business Cards are helpful for networking | Source

Get Them Some Business Cards

Again, this might sound like a boring option, but acting is an expensive career. It takes us a while to start earning good money, but there are heaps of expenses we need to cover at the start of our careers - headshots, casting site listings, acting classes, accent training, web hosting, domain names, equity/union memberships, etc.

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

Most of us can only afford to cover the basic things like a few acting classes and some headshots early on in our careers, but our careers would hugely benefit from things like our own domain name/website and business cards if we could afford them!

Basic business cards are a wonderful tool to have as an actor. Mine are really simply and just have my headshot, my name, agent's name, website, and phone number on them! But they're hugely helpful to carry on me, so that when I'm at events, theatre shows, parties, etc. I can hand one over to any industry people I meet! It also makes me feel pretty cool and professional.

HOW MUCH?

You can design your own business cards online and have a small number printed and shipped very cheaply from Vistaprint! A small run of business cards from Vistaprint cost me about $40 when I had them printed before I headed off to Cannes Film Festival recently - a small investment with potentially incredible returns!

Accent training or upskilling courses are also great gifts for actors!
Accent training or upskilling courses are also great gifts for actors!

Voice or Accent Training

I think you're getting the idea here - basically any of the plethora of things an actor needs to succeed in their career, but may find difficult to pay for, would make an incredible gift!

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

Voice or accent lessons are essential for any actor. You can take ongoing lessons or a weekend course in just about any accent and have a new skill to add to your actors resume! For non-Americans, learning a General American accent is 100% ESSENTIAL for a screen actor. For Americans, an RP (or Standard English) accent is also really helpful.

HOW MUCH?

This one very much varies. You can enroll in a weekend accent course for anywhere from $100-$500. There are also online accent training courses available which can run from $50+.

Xena Warrior Princess
Xena Warrior Princess

Stunt Training

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

Going through a basic stage and screen combat course instantly increases your work opportunities as an actor - plus it's super fun. Having specialised stunt training in weapons, swordplay, fire, falls, wirework, etc. is even better.

An enrollment in a stunt training course is actually one of the coolest birthday presents I've ever received. I learned some basic stunts, and safe combat fighting for stage and screen. After that I learned some basic weaponry with broadsword and sabre and now I'm basically Xena Warrior Princess. OK, I'm still pretty average, but it IS fun and I'm definitely improving both my skills and my audition chances.

Get your actor a weekend introduction to stunts course or a specialised course and they'll love you for adding something to their skills CV!

HOW MUCH?

Again this can vary. Research stunt schools and classes in your area before you offer to pay! Classes or weekend courses can range from $50 to $1000.

Theatre Tickets are also an amazing gift!
Theatre Tickets are also an amazing gift! | Source

Buy them a Theatre Ticket or Subscription

For a gift an actor is pretty much guaranteed to love, why not get them a ticket to an upcoming theatre production. Or better yet - a year's subscription to their favourite local theatre company.

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

I LOVE theatre. It's where I learned my craft, had my first roles, and first learned to love performing. It will always be my first love. Now that I've moved mostly into screen acting, I rarely get to go anymore. I can usually only afford to get to the theatre if a friend or colleague is performing and gives me some comps! I'd love to get to more theatre so this would be an incredible gift. Especially the chance to see everything produced by one of the bigger theatre companies in my city for a year! (about 4-6 productions)

HOW MUCH?

Theatre tickets range in price hugely. For independent productions at indie theatres tickets can go for $10-$20. For bigger budget professional productions tickets can go from $20-$150.

Tickets to see some films from your local Film Festival would make a fantastic gift
Tickets to see some films from your local Film Festival would make a fantastic gift | Source

Film Festival Tickets

Does your town or city have a yearly Film Festival that's open to public?

In Auckland, we host the NZ International Film Festival yearly. It brings a range of incredible arthouse and independent films from all over the world to our best cinemas and most artists I know go crazy over the yearly programme release. We highlight the brochure, picking 20 odd films that we'd love to get along to see.

WHY IS THAT AWESOME?

Any actor I know would love a few tickets to their local film festival! Most festivals will let you buy a pass book of about 10 tickets to see any movie of your choice from the festival programme. I would go nuts over such a pass!

A copy of the programme and a book of 10 passes would be an INCREDIBLE gift to receive!

HOW MUCH?

Again this could vary worldwide. But most film festival tickets go for the same as a regular movie ticket in your area.

When in doubt - wine.
When in doubt - wine. | Source

When in Doubt - Alcohol

Actors are human. When in doubt...wine, vodka, anything liquid and alcoholic will probably be appreciated.

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