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The Justis Bolding Guide to Actors' Feasts and Famines

Justis-bolding-image "You have to have that drive," says Justis Bolding, an actress best know for her recent two-year stint as Sarah Roberts on the long running soap opera One Life to Live. "If you don't do it, someone else is going to."

Starting out as an actress in New York City, Bolding did quite a bit for her career, waiting tables and taking acting classes with the Creative Acting Company while regularly sending out her resume and headshot. "I was literally just getting Back Stage, and sending out my headshot and resume every week to everything that was right for me." 

Bolding landed her first big role on MTV's Undressed, from a casting notice in Back Stage, and eventually found more work in musicals and television. She had a small role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical The Woman in White in 2005, and from 2007-2009 was a regular on One Life to Life.

Bolding, who says she loves constant work, still found the soap schedule a difficult adjustment. "A soap schedule is kind of challenging," she says. "There are times when you work all the time, and then there are times that you don't work at all. Filling that time, I would have absolutely loved to be doing stuff... but I was a contract actor, so I couldn't get involved in anything that would conflict with One Life to Live."

Now, with her run on the show over, Bolding is working hard to re-ignite her career. "I think I've learned in my time off the show that the business is always feast or famine, and it's always going to be that way," she says. "There are some people, God bless them, who have just years and years of feast, and that just makes the famine that much harder when it comes."

Though Bolding wouldn't say she's reached a famine (she's auditioning all the time), she certainly is hungry for roles. But the actress isn't using her old method -- bombarding casting directors with resumes and headshots -- anymore. These days, Bolding focuses more on the network she's built from her years of feast.

"I'm learning about maintaining contacts and maintaining relationships, because this is a business of relationships and it's a business of people," says Bolding. "The opportunities don't always go to the most talented person -- they go to the people who know people. They go to the people who people like, and who like to work with you."

However, Bolding has learned that it isn't necessarily the bigwigs you need to hob nob with to build a network, but more often it's the little guy who will come through in the clutch. "When I went to L.A., my first manager used to be an assistant at an agency I was at. He called me and said, 'I don't know if you're looking for a manager, but I'm working with a management company and I really like you and I'm passionate about you and I want to take you on as a client.'

"It's really important to make friends with the assistant, because they'll give you the time of day," Bolding continues. "A lot of them end up staying in the business and moving on and doing more than an assistant. If anything, sometimes it matters more to make a good impression with an assistant."

And it isn't just Bolding who's observed this. In days of old, when I was a lowly college undergraduate trying to make my way in the world, a film professor (this guy) said something similar in a lecture, reminding students that when he started out, he was the peon, getting PAs their coffee on film sets.

However, as Bolding discovered early on, it isn't just headshots or even networking that make a career, but it's having the drive: "One thing somebody told me to do, way back when I was waiting tables and I thought that I was going to get lost with the waiting tables thing, [was that] you should make a point to do one thing for your career every day, whether that's mail out a headshot, whether that's send a thank you note, go to an audition, whatever it is. That really helped me, because I made a goal to do it... It kept me going, but I had the drive to just do whatever it took."

For more about Justis Bolding, visit the actress' website or check out her BackStage.com Multimedia Resume.

--Alice Wade

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Hi! I'm Kinga and i am looking for a acting studio or a manager for about 4-5 months and ican't find one.Would you be able to help me find one??

Thank you.Kinga

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