Monday, March 30, 2009

Background work should an actor do it?

This is an odd one as some actors do background work for years never to any further benefit than a paycheck and others do it and meet someone and get “Taft/Hartley” and become SAG. I personally know many people who became part of the union in this way.

The best way to decide if you want to do background work is to do it simply and only for its purpose: To work on set and make a bit of cash. This way you don’t become disappointed if nothing more comes of it. And let’s face it, it is NOT a resume booster by any means.

I seem to recall Tom Cruise was basically an Extra (background actor) in TAPS and ended up landing the role that would lead to The Outsiders and the rest is history….

Ultimately, it is good experience to be on a set. Your first day on a real Hollywood set can seem daunting so it would seem to reason that even if it is background work it might be worth it just so you are comfortable with being on set.

Also, it does serve as some form of promotion in the sense that you could blog about it or post it on your website without stating you were an extra – you could just make mention of having worked on whatever set it was and state how great the crew and stars were. Never post anything derogatory on your website about a set – you never know who might be trolling the web!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Actors - How to choose a head shot

I cannot tell you how many people say “A headshot should look exactly like you do”. Well, that’s all good if you have Jennifer Lopez’s virtually flawless skin, Angelina Jolie’s lips and Cherlize Theron’s perfect eyes….

Some of us need a little help to be at our best! And that is what you should look like in your headshot - the best YOU you can be!

So the first point is use a little make up if need be, get your teeth whitened if you can, pay the extra money to have your hair done.

Here is the second key point: Most actors are their own worst critic or total megalomaniacs, in either case, they are the least likely to pick the best photo. So, choose several shots yourself and keep a record of the shots you like (not on the photo itself but a separate piece of paper) then ask your agent, manager and other actor friends to make their picks. There will be one smile shot and one serious shot that have more yes’ by far than any other.

THOSE are the shots you use as your headshot.

The other thing you can do is put the shots on your website and “survey” your friends and family via the net so you can move more swiftly.

Give yourself a time limit to get the shots chosen and printed so you are not going on and on forever procrastinating (another noted action of actors – and another blog for another day) about what photo to use and thereby giving yourself an excuse to not promote.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Actors and Agents - who works for whom

I have been in meetings with some of the worlds biggest Agency courting some pretty hi profile talent.

They come in in full regalia, suits, slick shoes and even slicker hair and yet still slicker talk. They bring out ALL the guns, everyone who could be part of the success of your career. They all intro themselves, smooth as silk with fast lips and faster titles, they promise the sun, the moon and yes, the stars, even the proverbial walk of fame star.

And then…

No calls, no offers, no wooing, and the auditions that are gotten aren’t great, mediocre in the majority in fact. And then the actor starts to feel smaller, unwanted, and I love this newest phrase in Hollywood - IRRELEVANT. It sickens me that anyone would suggest to an artist that they need to “stay relevant”. Relevant to whom? Some hack who will be fired or quit his or her big agency job in another month or three? Please!

The only thing that keeps an actor working is an actor. A hungry, vibrant, well trained and well promoted actor. Even with the biggest agency on the planet one is only as good as his or her last $ signs at the box office or his or her last Emmy or Golden Globe for the small screen.

Today is a different climate in Hollywood; in the wise words of Andy Warhol “In the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame.” Behold the latest and greatest “reality star”. YOU have to be the keeper of your own castle. YOU have to promote yourself regardless of if you have an agent. YOU have to pitch yourself even to your own agent or manager. I know it is sort of odd to think that you are the boss, being that you write the check in the end for their commission, but it is a fact.

So, I say to thee, be the boss of your fame, promote, promote, promote. Be creative it doesn’t have to cost a lot – it just has to be good!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Acting class for professional actors – Class Auditing

There has been some debate over the topic of whether one should go to a class that an actor cannot audit.

Some classes stipulate that they don’t want their students opened to ridicule, judgment, or the like.

Other classes suggest that if you don’t audit a class how will you know if you will fit with the other actors and therefore become a regular part of the class.

Here is one way to look at it: If you have the cash to go to a class without auditing it and you personally feel that the other’s who have come from the class are people you admire and have respect what can it hurt to pay a month’s class fees and do it?

On the other hand, if you don’t have heaps of cash lying around there are HUNDREDS of great classes that have huge actors who’ve attended that will allow you to audit the class for FREE!

A good class should have a website that you can check out. Any real professional in today’s day and age has a website, including most actors. It is an important calling card to show the public what you are about.

Go on their site and review their philosophy about teaching methods. Does it match yours? Do they list their students? Are you a fan of any of these student’s work? Do they have any statistics of the percentage of working actors in their class? Is it high or low in comparison to other classes?

These are all valid questions, as well as questions you should have the right to ask about and get an answer to.

Remember, this is YOUR career, if the other guy could act he would be! You have a gift use it and don’t allow even teachers to make you feel not worthy of attending a class!