Archives for : actors

5 THINGS EVERY ACTOR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT 2016’s PILOT SEASON

FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLETT! Pilot Season started earlier than ever this year and is moving like lightening. Don’t get lefPilot-Season-Logot behind, find out what you need to know here. 

1. WHAT IS A PILOT? The Pilot itself is a stand-alone episode of a series that is used to sell the series and will usually run as the first episode of the series, if picked up.

Over the summer the major networks all received short pitches for new shows from writers and producers. Then in the fall, each network requested scripts from about seventy of those pitches.

By January, the network has chosen twenty of those scripts from which to make pilots. Pilot season is the annual high-pressure race to the finish line. The race generally happens between January andApril, culminating at The Upfronts in May.

With more and more cable networks producing original content the start and end times of pilot season as blurred. This year pilots began casting as early as NOVEMBER! Whaaat? Yes. True.

During the coming months studios battle it out to cast, produce, and test the best new series.

Once they have been produced, those pilots are presented to studio and network executives (and sometimes to test audiences). Each network then chooses between 4 and 8 pilots to present at The Upfronts where they are added to network schedules for the following season.

2. HOW ARE PILOTS CAST? Most pilots have about 6 weeks to cast anywhere from 5-25 roles. In the TV world where you have 2 days to cast 12 roles, 6 weeks is A LOT of time, meaning A LOT of actors can get seen. However, because producers want to sell their idea, they usually jam pack that pilot with well known actors if they can.

First, lists are made up of first choice actors – the A-List – then second choice – the B list- (hence the term A-List, B-List etc.) Later in the season casting will pull from agent submissions. Often actors on the aforementioned lists will opt out of auditions for already-established TV programs during this time. The reasoning behind this strategy is that most actors (and their agents) would rather bet on booking a pilot that gets picked up, where they sign a multiple year contract, than take a week’s worth of work on a current show. Lessmoney upfront, but it could pay off with more money and work in the future if the pilot goes to series.

3. HOW CAN AN ACTOR PREPARE? If you have representation, follow up with them now and figure out a game plan.

This should include your own marketing plan of drop-offs, postcards and networking. Consider doing Casting Director Workshops with new casting offices, but also re-meets of people who like you (they have called you in before or booked you).

Additionally, don’t focus solely on pilots. Even with great training, reps, some credits and business relationships, you might not get any pilot auditions.  Keep in mind, pilot season is also the second half of 2014/2015 episodic season. REMEMBER all those actors who are opting out? They leave a chasm for YOU to fill. Also, shows that have a full season pick-up order are still very, very active in casting!!

+ Make sure that you are audition-ready no matter what stage you are at! Luck + preparation = opportunity!

+ If you do not have representation, you REALLY need to make sure you have a marketing plan in place for drop-offs, postcards, other updates (Mail Chimp anyone?) and networking. Actors without reps should not rely on pilot auditions. Most of the time casting goes to their industry list and then agent submissions.

+ If you are non-union, your first priority should be getting at least SAG/AFTRA-Eligible. No matter the season, your focus should be on commercials, films and a very, few, specific tv casting directors who are open to seeing non-union actors. Here is my post on EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET SAG-AFTRA. No excuses!

4. HOW ARE THINGS CHANGING?

Now that Amazon and Netflix are in the game, the landscape is more and more crowded. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m always telling actors to create their own work, weather it’s a webseries or a short film or stand up comedy.

This year’s trends include a lot of pilots based on webseries or even podcasts. Yes. Podcasts. Also there are a lot of the tried and true procedurals, medical dramas and crime dramas. See more here from the Hollywood Reporter on development trends. 

Fellow consultant, Mackenzie Marsh auditioned for lead roles in 9 pilots and tested on 3 last year, this year she has ALREADY tested for one and it’s only January.

Likewise Act Now consultant LJ Salerno had this to say:

“This was the first year I went in for series regulars on pilots since the first year I moved out here 12 years ago. I went in for two comedies. Both were in November and December.   And for a series regular on “Good Girls Revolt” in April-ish?..right after my guest star on the Middle aired. That was a Netflix series. “

5. WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

TVLine writes super informational articles about each season, but it’s released late Janurary.

 Variety has a list of up-to-the-minute series and pilot orders.

 Deadline Hollywood is another great resource.

There is also The Hollywood Reporter. As things get moving and shaking, www.thefutoncritic.com and www.castingabout.com. are great ways to keep up with developments in addition to who the casting office is attached to each project.

Any pilot season stories to tell? Comment below and help your fellow actors!

 

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Are You Up-To-Date? 10 Resources for TV 2016

The first time one of my favorite shows got cancelled I was devastated. It hadn’t occurred to me that Charlie’s Angels wouldn’t go on forever.

But I’ve grown up since then. Now, as an actor, it’s my business to know who is casting what TV shows and when.

And yes, as I’ve said many times it’s all about relationships. The best ones are those that go on for many years, those Casting Directors, Producers, and Directors that want to see you for EVERY show they work on. But we can’t always count on those people having work.

In this industry it pays to be on top of the latest news, and as an actor it’s important to your strategy. You want to create NEW relationships with the professionals who are likely to have jobs for you this season, BEFORE the season starts. And congratulate those people you already have relationships with on staying in the game!

Like we say at Act Now, “If you’re not working, you should be networking!”

What this means is that you need to know what’s cancelled and what’s renewed for the 2015 TV season. These lists will change over the next four to six weeks, so you’ll need to check back to stay current.

Here are some resources to help you stay on top of the latest news for the 2016 Television season. 

1. I found www.spoilertv.com to have the chart that was easiest to read, with shows listed alphabetically. There is also a menu at the top where you can choose by network. 

2. www.metacritic.com is a reputable site with a more complicated scorecard, listed by network. 

3. www.tvseriesfinale.com is just a list of what’s cancelled, cut straight to the chase!

4. www.tvline.com has a great list of CABLE TV shows renewed or cancelled, and promises updates.  

5. www.imdb.com has a nice conglomeration of lists with fancy photos to help you remember what show it is. 

6. Also on www.imdb.com is a list of series orders, updated often! 

7. It’s also wise for actors to check www.castingabout.com which lists the current season, the episode order, as well as the casting director and associate. 

8. www.tvguide.com has a list of cancellations, easy to read with graphics and very reliable!

9. Pilot season starts early with CABLE! Check www.thehollywoodreporter.com to see the latest! 

10. Last but not least you need to know what’s casting MIDSEASON! Look at www.tv.com’s list of Most Anticipated Midseason shows! 


 

Now you have everything you need to research your target shows.

No excuses. You can do it! Click click boom!

 

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THE ONE SECRET TO BOOKING YOUR SERIES REGULAR

How can there be just one thing that’s going to (finally) get you that series regular role, or that breakout film part you’ve been working towards? Honestly, you’ve also got to be well-trained, persistent, castable, professional, camera-savvy, and hard-working. But if you aren’t confident, none of this will add up in the end.

I promise if you do the work to be the most CONFIDENT actor you can be, you’ll see a difference in your career!

And if you don’t? You could end up bragging to your friends about all the auditions you went on, how you once served pasta to some A-lister, and that time you rode the elevator with Stephen Spielberg whom you did not speak to because you were stupefied.

Imagine Matthew McConaughey or Jennifer Lawrence without Confidence. See what I mean?

But if you can develop this attitude you will have that “star quality” you need to move ahead.

I’m going to give you two exercises that will help you be more confident immediately and which you can use before any audition.

1. The Meditation: Sit or lie in a comfortable space. Beginning with your childhood, imagine times in your life when you felt confident— maybe you were the star of the school play, maybe you got a standing ovation at a talent show, or won a blue ribbon. Now go through your life, moment by moment, remembering all those times you felt certain of your ability to achieve your dreams. Pick out one moment, just let it come to you, and flesh out that scene. Bring in all your sense: smell, touch, taste, sound, sight. Really re-create that moment in your memory, like a snapshot. Feel the feelings you felt in that moment. Really notice how feeling the memory affects your body. Rest in the moment, with your snapshot, feeling the feelings for a few more seconds.

2. The Attitude Line: Come up stand and walk around your room. Continue to radiate the feeling you found in your snapshot memory. Notice how you walk when you feel confident. Now exaggerate that walk. Saunter! Swagger! Prance! Expand, intensify, and enlarge the walk. Really go for it. Now, begin to say the attitude line: “I’m confident” as you walk. Really believe the words. Say it louder and louder. On the final repetition yell the line as loud as you can and at the height of it, FREEZE! See how your body has manifested the feeling – notice your posture, your facial expression, are you relaxed? tense? smiling? frowning? How are you holding your hands?

3. The Visualization: Close your eyes and relax. Watch your breath coming in and out for 10 breaths. Focus on that. Now see a bold bright golden light shining from inside your core. Let it burst out of you, now see that light pouring like liquid gold from you and into the parking lot of the place you are going, through the door, up the stairs or elevator, into the waiting room, into the audition room, flowing over the casting director, writer, producer, director, everyone in the room, showering them with your special light. Feel your positive energy and confidence flowing out of you. 

You wouldn’t go in for an audition unprepared would you? NO! And your preparation should include a confidence booster like one of these. If you try out my suggestions (or develop one of your own) please return here and comment and let us know how it changed your audition experience! I can’t wait to hear what happens!

 

 

* Credit to Stephen Book, creator of The Attitude Line exercise, modified here by me

* Credit to Dawn Cartwright, creator of The Meditation exercise, modified here by me

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What Would Will Smith Do in June?

What would actor Will Smith, famously quoted as saying “I will not be outworked,” do in the month of June? (You can click his quote to see the inspirational interview). It’s hiatus. Cable shows, films, and soaps are casting. But the onslaught of episodic season has not yet begun. I suspect a smart, business-minded actor like Mr. Will Smith would prepare. Isn’t that what we do? Prepare? Does this just mean memorize your lines? Take class? I think not. Here are 5 things an actor can do to prepare for episodic season, and make the most of June – the calm before the storm.

1. Update your target list. Who are the casting directors you want to meet this episodic season? What are the shows you feel you are most right for? Some shows have moved from one casting office to another, do you know who is casting what? www.castingabout.com is great way to find out. If you are an Act Now client you can get 10% off on a membership. And if you are an Act Now client, this new target list should be updated on your profile at www.actnownetwork.com so that you consultant can help you meet the right people.

2. Order marketing materials. Do you have a headshot that represents your cast ability? Is it loaded to all the sites: www.imdb.com, www.lacasting.com, www.actorsaccess.com ? Do you have some printed to take into theatrical auditions and workshops? Do you have a postcard? What should postcards look like? See my photos of postcards inserted here and also check out the books at www.reproductions.com. Ask for Tommy! They also give a discount to Act Now clients. Do you have a reel? I work with www.speedreels.com which hosts reels and also has editing services to help you put those clips together. Ask for Matt! (And no I do not get “kickbacks” from any of these people I just refer my clients and friends to companies I actually know and do business with!). Most casting offices will be back in business shortly after the July 4th holiday weekend. So, mid-july you should be ready to send out a batch of postcards (with your current headshot and agent info on the front) to all the Casting Directors you know and any producer/writer contacts as well. And you will have their addresses because you will already have joined www.castingabout.com when you were doing your research. Yep. Stay on the radar!

Clip from a commercial used as a postcard!

Clip from a commercial used as a postcard!

3. Do some research. What shows are renewed? What new shows are picked up? See my post on pilot season for links to help you research. This will help you have a leg-up on the lazy actors who are on vacation this month. Then, when you do update your target list it will include shows they haven’t even heard of! And you will know who is casting them. Then, when you send out those postcards to your friends in the biz you can congratulate them and the postcards won’t be all about you. You will be an actor who knows the business and cares about the careers of those you are in business with. A generous actor. The kind of actor who brings more to the table than anyone expects. The kind of actor everyone wants to work with.

4. Network. Now is the time when industry professionals are relaxed and available. They have time to go to networking events and parties. And if you are not already following industry peeps on twitter and Facebook, that is a great way to get insider info. on mixers and various news, etc. Join Women In Film, they have great networking breakfast events. Check out the SAG website for upcoming events as well. Meet Casting Directors at workshops all over town. I am a consultant at Act Now, and there are many other workshops studios in Los Angeles. “If you’re not working you should be networking.” If you don’t know where to go check out www.workshopguru.com. Get out there!

5. Love yourself. The biggest difference between actors who succeed and actors who flounder is confidence. Confidence comes from an inner knowledge of our own self-worth. Do what you need to do to feel this. To GLOW with confidence and that divine creative spark that makes you THE ONE AND ONLY YOU. Go to church, temple, drum circle, yoga, spa, the beach, whatever fills your spiritual well. Take a hike. Take a meditation class. Read some Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Eckhard Tolle, Bible verses, Kabbalah, Koran, poetry- that which inspires. You get the idea? Spiritual support is essential. Actors must sustain self-love in the face of constant rejection and negative thinking. Now is as good a time as any to shore up your confidence by showing yourself YOU love yourself.

Got something airing? Tell them all about it. Even if they don't watch, they'll know you're working.

Got something airing? Tell them all about it. Even if they don’t watch, they’ll know you’re working.

Got new reps? Get the word out with postcards!

Got new reps? Get the word out with postcards!

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