Tuesday, August 3, 2010

what is like to be on a set?

In the beginning it can be VERY confusing. Most of the staff and crew on a set are so professional and so competent that you may feel like the new kid at High school in the middle of the school year.

There is always a person who is appointed to show you where to go and what to do (often this is a PA – Production Assistant). If you listen carefully to the instructions of that person and really keep your eyes and ears open you won’t end up totally confused by day’s end.

A TV or movie set is very face paced (though many actors think it is slow because they don’t see or know all that is going on behind the cameras) in that there are a lot of moving parts to filming anything, from cameras, to microphones, to bodies. So, because there is so much going on it is best to stay on the sidelines until you really know the ropes on the set - believe me there is nothing more annoying than someone accidently bumping a mic or walking into a shot.

It may be a good practical exercise to be an extra (background) on a set once or twice if for no other reason than to know what is going on and how things work.

All sets will have someone in charge (the Director) and then people under him/her that ensure people are where they need to be - all the way from the Assistant Director (that’s the Directors right hand) to the PA and every position in between.

A union set is similar to a chess game in that all the parts have specific tasks, they only do what their exact job dictates and all parts are essential to make up the whole.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Actors - How to choose a head shot

Actors - How to choose a head shot

I cannot tell you how many people say “A headshot should look exactly like you do”.

I think that advice only works if you have virtually flawless skin, full and fabulous lips and perfect eyes sans wrinkles.

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 make up, don’t drag queen yourself out, but do enough to spark the best points of your face. A good photographer will have someone who does make up if you are inept.

If need be, get your teeth whitened if you can, pay the extra money to have your hair did And if you don’t opt to have them whitened, pay your photographer the extra retouch money it will take to give you pearly whites.

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. This is also a good promotion point, it draws people to your site who might not have known you were an actor or who haven’t kept tabs on you in a while who very well could have an aunt Gertrude who has a twenty year neighbor who happens to be a big director!

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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What to wear

Should I wear the same clothing to a call back?

Are you superstitious?

Okay, sincerely, it is not wrong to do everything you did that got you the call back in the first place.

It is possible that the people who are calling you back liked the way you looked physically, but most likely they liked something you brought to the character you played.

If it helps you to be the character, to feel comfortable, then yes, you should wear the same clothes. If it doesn’t make you feel good then don’t do it. It isn’t going to make or break your audition.

Of course, if there is ever direction from the Casting Director asking you to wear the same clothes, yes, you absolutely should!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Should I do Commercials?

Should I do commercials?

Commercials are an excellent way of getting your feet wet and making money while doing a job in the industry.

So, the short answer is – sure!

The longer answer and more philosophical question is does it work for you as an artist?

Commercials are a sales pitch. Always. When one does commercials they are selling something. It is still acting, but it a sales pitch for a product.

Do you believe in the product? Is it something you feel passionate about? Will you feel good about yourself if you do the commercial? Will you be embarrassed by your participation?

Once you answer those questions you can then decide if you should do commercials.

In the beginning of your career don’t make a habit of doing things that will make you feel you have violated your integrity as an artist, because you will set a precedent for your whole future as an artist.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is There Something Wrong With Getting Naked?

Is There Something Wrong With Getting Naked?

There are different types of naked in film.

There is dirty movie naked, which though technically isn't rated X is nonetheless vulgar and I wouldn't want my child to see me in that.

There is naked in excellent film for the purpose of illustrating that there is a sex act occurring.

There is the type of naked that is required in order to communicate an art piece.

Take Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts played a hooker. One would think that in order to portray a hooker we'd need to see a lot of naked body parts. Not so. There is one TINY shot of her breast in a scene where they are in bed when she realizes she loves him and aside from that it is all left to imaginings.

On the other hand, Charlize Theron in The Devil's Advocate, where she has gone to a church and her husband comes to find her wrapped in a blanket, she drops the blanket and reveals a marred and gnashed body that she insists is the devil's doing. For me, that was very illustrative to the piece and not at all salacious.

The question you have to ask yourself is how does it make you feel? Would you be proud to have your mother or child see it? Are you doing it because it seems that it would get you excited physically or is it really for the art of it?

No serious actor ever did porn, hard or soft before making it as an actor. No one. Not even the infamous Traci Lords actually had a remotely decent acting career and she was supposed to be the poster child for the industry.

Don't do things just to "get a job" or because you think it will lead to something better and compromise your artistic integrity. Do naked if it appeals to you as an artist.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is Non-Paying Theatre worth doing?

Is non paying theatre worth doing?

The reality any work is better than no work.

When you are engaged as an artist, as an actor, it makes you more confident and helps you to expand your ability and talent.

However, don’t let a two-bit director who has cast you in a non-paying theatre job make you break your spirit as an artist, in other words, if the direction is bad don’t take that direction with you after the play. Recognize that the director has his/her own viewpoint and while working for them follow their direction, but if you disagree as an artist don’t let it follow you to the next job.

Theatre is a specific genre of acting, it is a great way to find one’s voice, figuratively and literally.

While you shouldn’t wreck the rest of your life to engage in non-paying theatre, by all accounts, it is a worthwhile experience to engage in and can be very rewarding! It is also a great way to meet casting directors, producers, directors, and gives you something news and exciting to add to your resume and reel!