Who do these Casting Directors think they ARE making you bring your own material?!
Well, they are busy professionals, and so are you.
You want to be seen in the best light possible, right? Very well-prepared and reading something you’re actually right for…
So here is your chance! But how do you know what material will suit you?
I am a consultant at Act Now, a networking company for actors in Sherman Oaks. These days Casting Directors often ask actors to bring in thier own material to at least one night of their workshops or showcases. And, if you ‘re lucky enough to get a meeting with an agent who wants to see some work, you’ll have to be ready with material. My clients often ask where to find material and how to choose.
When an actor needs to choose a prepared scene for a workshop, here is what I recommend:
1. LET YOUR LOGLINE BE YOUR GUDIE: If you are one of my clients, we have come up with the top “types” you can play and a “logline,” this should help you know the type of character you want to portray.
The logline for an actor is similar to the logline for a movie. So if I said JERRY MAGUIRE MEETS 27 DRESSES, you’d know the movie I was talking about was a romantic comedy with a plucky blonde heroine, right?
As an actor, mine would be; YOUNG MARY TYLER MOORE WITH THE STRENGTH OF SIGOURNEY WEAVER.
You can trade out different actors depending on the part, learn more towards those known for film if you’re pitching for film, or towards comedy if you’re pitching for a comedy.
Look up material performed by these actors. Not anything too recent or too recognizable. For example, I know that Sigourney Weaver played the lead in “Death And The Maiden” on Broadway. But not everybody knows that. So that’s a great choice for me to show my dramatic side.
In order to facilitate this kind of spot-on choice, my Act Now clients can go back to their profile on the website www.actnownetwork.com and sign in. They will look under TYPES I PLAY to find my notes from our initial meeting. Or they can call me. Knowing the type you play should guide your choice of scene for any workshop where you need prepared material.
If you have worked with Lesley Khan or Sam Christiansen, you can also use the log line they created for you as a guide. Of course the log line is ever-evolving as are you. Life is a work in progress!
2. FIND GOOD MATERIAL: Act Now also has a SIDES DATABASE. You can access this database if you are a client at Act Now.
(Just log in in to your account at www.actnownetwork.com and you’ll see a new option on the bottom of the “My Account” page called “Sides Database”. Click on that option and you’ll be taken to a new page which breaks down the sides (scenes) into “Comedy”, “Drama”, “Dramedy”, and “Commercial”).
Anyone can also find material at these sites FREE:
For Monologues if you ever need one, I use this site:
Or This one: http://www.dailyactor.com/contemporary-monologues/
3. READ THIS ARTICLE. I’ve never seen better advice than in this interview from Backstage West. Click below or copy and paste this URL to read this article from Risa Bramon Garcia.
4. WHAT ABOUT CO-STARS? Yeah, co-stars (under 5 lines approximately) are tough to find, it’s true. Here are my suggestions:
Record and watch shows similar to the one that the CD you are meeting casts, jot down the lines, as well as the name of the show and episode, type it up, and then prepare it. I know this sounds like a lot of work but these are small parts, and besides this is market research, this is you watching the supporting actors which you should be doing anyway if you want to be one of them!
I know Miss Garcia suggests writing your own material, but honestly I think for MOST actors there is strong material out there from professional writers, published, and tried and true. EXCEPT when it comes to Co-stars. This is also the one area where you may consider writing your own. That said, show it to someone before you present it. Me, if I’m your consultant!
ALSO, THIS JUST IN! LA ON-CAMERA TRAINING CENTER HAS A CLASS ON HOW TO BOOK CO-STARS! Great place to test out material and make sure you’ve got the goods!