Acting jobs in Utah increasing, but still hard to



    While most actors and actresses head for the entertainment capitals of the world seeking fame and fortune, some local talent is finding work and plenty of possibilities here in Utah.

    Vickie Panek, a representative of the Talent Management Group LLC, attributes the rise in jobs to the number of producers who are flocking to the Beehive state to take advantage of the diverse landscapes and the ready and willing workforce.

    “There’s a fair amount of movies coming through Utah, both television and major releases.” Panek said. “Plus, with television shows like ‘Touched by an Angel’ and ‘Promised Land’ being shot right here in Utah there are an increasing amount of roles available for both actors and actresses.”

    According to The Utah Film Commission web page, this increase in film production has catapulted Utah to the sixth place in total film production. In all, film companies have spent over $132.2 million over the last year, making this total the highest in state history.

    With the recent increase in jobs some actors have taken advantage of this opportunity.

    Lincoln Hoppe, a local actor and BYU graduate, has experienced firsthand some of these acting opportunites, and he plans on ultimately cashing in on these experiences in the future.

    Hoppe, who began his acting career as a member of The Garrens Comedy Troupe, has since starred in local theater productions, has been involved with the television production “Touched by An Angel” and has been a part of a seminary video for the LDS Church titled “The Play and the Plan.”

    In addition, Hoppe has worked on various commercials and is seen opposite Mickey Rooney in an art film produced in Salt Lake titled “The Face on The Barroom Floor.”

    As a result of these and other experiences, Hoppe is convinced that there are many opportunities for ambitious actors here in Utah.

    David Knight, a graduate of the BYU Film Department, agrees there is work for actors here in Utah, but argues that the work is still unpredictable and difficult to find.

    “I think there’s more work in Utah than people think.” Knight said. “But there’s not nearly enough. There’s money to be made here in Utah but you can’t make a living doing it.”

    Knight added that although there are parts available here in Utah, the roles are typically smaller and are not as lucrative or promising as an actor needs in order to get their “big break.”

    Hoppe offered his formula for getting parts and making connections.

    “First, you always have to be working on your craft.” Hoppe said. “Second, you really need to market yourself. Often the personality you show will have as much to do with getting the part as will your skill.”

    “And having a good agent is essential to making it.” Hoppe concluded. “Without an agent you won’t get the parts.”

    Knight agrees with Hoppe.

    “Without a good agent who knows your work and who will suggest you for parts, it is almost impossible to land roles,” Knight said.

    “Actors need to be listed with an agency.” Panek said. “The agency puts the actors through the paces to determine what their strengths are.”

    Once their strengths are determined the agents do their best to match the actors with roles that come in. However, even this does not guarantee roles.

    Knight, who has been active in the acting scene for some time, said initially it took him over a year of hounding his agent every week before the agent was able to get him his first job. He added that once the agent saw his work and believed in him the parts started coming in.

    “Make sure you’re with an agency that is in love with you, because the agency acts as a filter between you and the roles you want,” Panek said. “If the agency doesn’t know you or love you, then you won’t get the part. Agencies must be selective.”

    Although actors are finding acting parts in Utah, most of them agree that in order to get the “big break” you pretty much have to head out to California.

    Knight, who is planning on moving to California, said although Utah has opportunity, the coast is where the major source of acting roles is.

    “In Utah it is still a challenge to find jobs that pay, and I’ve got a family to support.” Knight said.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email