Archives for : casting

HOW MOVING TO A SMALLER MARKET CAN MEAN MORE AUDITIONS!

Maybe it’s better in Atlanta? Read on to find out how moving to a smaller market can mean more auditions. Guest Blog post from Hilary Pingle, a brave and talented actor who moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta and reports here on the ATL market and how to capitalize on it!

So you are thinking about moving to a smaller market, like Atlanta, for the MV5BMjIyMTA2NTAyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE2ODU1NjE@._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_ film and tv industry—great! The two big things I learned in my first year in the south is 1) Embrace the differences and 2) Be ready to travel!

Stop comparing ATL to LA—it’s different, it’s new, you’re new. The quicker you can accept this fact, the happier and more fulfilled you will be in the transition. However, since these differences help educate you on a possible location change—let’s chat! What are these differences? Let me give you a quick and brief rundown.

AUDITIONS: Since this is thing I’m asked most about, I’ll cover as much as I can here. You’ll get more of them! A lot more!

In LA, I was getting about 3-4 auditions (commercial and theatrical combined) a month. This was with some good credits, an agent and manager and a decade of actively networking with the casting community under my belt. In ATL, I average 2-3 a week! The most I have had in one week was 7. Auditions in the South East (SE = 13 states) market are mainly co-star roles, but tend to have more meat to them than your normal 1-2 line co-star. I’ve auditioned for guest stars and series regulars, as well as leads in films. However, SE actors for those roles tend to be seen as back-ups to LA/NY… but you are being seen.

Most SE states are right to work, meaning there is a lot of non-union work to be had, and an actor can do an unlimited about of Union work without being union.

The pool is a lot smaller here. In LA, casting directors quoted upwards to 4,000 submissions per role/per episode. In the SE it’s about 500. However—out of that number, they “see” and send off to producers about the same number of actors. You’ll notice “see” is quoted… that’s because 95% of auditions are self tape.

The great thing about self tape is you can do them anytime that works for you, prior to the deadline. You also have more control over the final product, because you choose what is sent to casting/production. However, you should always be off book, even if the audition sides can’t be seen! The downside, it’s very rare to get feedback—which we all crave! Also, unless you have an excellent home studio set up and actor friend who will read with you, you will be paying studios for this service. Depending on the location and needs of the audition, $10-$45 per self tape. 

REPRESENTATION: I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to be seen or get auditions without representation, but it’s a lot easier to get representation than in LA.

You still need a good headshot, training and business attitude—but they are not so concerned about a ton of credits, because it is still a new market. Most actors did not go to college for this, but are doctors, lawyers, police officers who train in their free time and simply love the craft. It’s also easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t work hard.

Your four big ATL agencies are: The People Store, AMT, Houghton and J Pervis. I am not with any of these, and very happy with my representation.

CASTING: There are about 15 must-know offices/CD’s in the SE: Alpha Tyler, Big Picture Casting, Coulon Casting, Erica Arvold, Feldstein/Paris, Fincannon and Associates, George Pierre, Jackie Burch, Jessica Fox, Matthew Sefick, Olubajo Sonubi, RPM Casting, Ryan Glorioso, and Shay Griffin.

And they are all pretty accessible. I am personally a huge advocate of casting director workshops in LA, when it’s done at the right time, with the right people, in the right way! I owe my career to them. However, most CD’s are open to generals, and often will do what is a traditional workshop for a group of actors through an agency connection for free. Yes, workshops happen here, but not as often and they are often geared to the beginner actor. Feldstein/Paris (Tara and Chase) do Twitter lunches about once a month, where they announce their lunch location and just hang out to answer any questions or touch base for a few hours. 

TRAINING: Because it’s still a new market, I found a lot of classes were targeted to beginners. Those actors that have extensive training, where I might be in a class with them back in LA, are now the teachers. My suggestion is to audit as many classes as you can.

Some great places to look at are: Drama Inc., The Company Acting Studio, The Alliance Theatre, and Get Scene Studio.

NETWORKING: Embrace the southern charm. Everyone is so willing to help you out here! There are some great Facebook groups that help you get connected like Georgia Film Tv + Casting, Atlanta Film Community, Atlanta Film Society and Film Bar Mondays. If you have a question—ask, people want the industry to stay here, so they are happy to point you in the right direction. Also, see my above comments about casting for more insights on networking with them. 

Lastly, be ready to travel, and usually on your own dime.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but a year ago, I could not tell you what southern state was where. Now I know. Because I’ve been to them or driven through them all!!  You will no longer complain about going to Santa Monica oN Friday at 5pm from the valley when you get a callback in Charlotte, NC from Atlanta, GA… 3 ½ hours away… one way. In person auditions or callbacks are rare, so when you get them—you go!  If you are booked on a SAG project outside of ATL, usually you will be a modified local hire, which means they can only afford $300 in travel pay. If you choose to fly in or rent a car, that’s on you, do not expect production to reimburse you over $300. If it’s a non-union project booking, you can negotiate, but it’s rare to get a travel reimbursement. But all auditions and callbacks are on you. The plus side, usually carpools are easy to find, books on tape or podcasts help pass the time, and the scenery in the SE is gorgeous and GREEN!!

Thanks for all your wisdom Hilary! Keep up the amazing work!

HEY! IF YOU ARE LIKEWISE AN ACTOR IN A SMALL MARKET (LIKE NOLA OR PORTLAND) AND HAVE TIPS TO SHARE ON YOUR COMMUNITY, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!

 

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Do you want to “Know stuff other actors don’t?”

Would you like to see behind the curtain at how breakdowns work and how CDs are working every day? Here’s your chance! Read the LA Actor’s Blog Interview with Blair Hickey & Brian Wold, founders of WWW.CASTINGABOUT.COM

CastingAbout is a marketing and research tool that actors can use to get to know the key players in town. It’s a list of all the projects casting in NY and LA– who is casting what and how to reach them. Casting About has a team of researchers updating that list every day- the project, the associate, the assistant, and the address. Here’s what they had to say…

“People do marketing backwards, it’s not, how can you help me, but how can I help you? This puts you in a better position so you can optimize your time, you might as well find the people who are most right for you to work with.”

“First of all people think they need to meet the CD and not the Associate, but frankly if you’re at the bottom of the ladder you have a much better chance of building a solid relationship with someone who is just starting their career. You can also use CastingAbout to follow and track the career of a Casting Director that you’ve already met. You can log in and see what they’re up to, so if they book a pilot or they get promoted, you can congratulate them.”

“And that can work for you in the room. A friend of mine went in for an Associate, and he says to her– hey I saw you were doing a film in Pittsburgh, you’ll love it, I grew up there. She asked if he could be a local hire. He ended up working on the film for 3 weeks.”

“And if you look at what someone has cast over a number of years you can usually see a through-line and that can help you to understand the tone and style and adjust accordingly.”

“The submission process is really about sales, trying to sell yourself for the role. Log in as a CD and you can see what 2,000 submission look like. If you are the CD who has to pick 30 out of these, who do you pick and why? Most CDs pick people they know and trust, they don’t have a lot of time and want to impress the producer. So how do you get to be one of those people?”

When they are talking with CDs about what they love and don’t love, lately they’ve been hearing that 75-80% of the actors they bring are people they already know. So getting the audition is secondary to creating the relationship.

“Actors feel like, why won’t anybody give me a job? If you want to be part of their community, you need to understand their needs and goals- what are they looking for? Put yourself in a position to make their life easier.”

“Actors who work have built relationships with these CDs who become fellow storytellers -so you are working peer to peer. The ones who tell the same stories you tell, they need you, to tell the story. Then it becomes a symbiotic relationship. When you take the time to learn about the CD and the project you realize they have a problem, which is that they need someone to fill a certain role. That effects your submission process–with a note, a demo clip, and the right headshot you can demonstrate that you can help them.”

“So it’s more, hey fellow storyteller, I know what you need, maybe we can help each other out.”

“And when we talk about story it’s about what’s your sweet spot? What’s the story that you’re born to tell? Especially when you’re building your career. As you get to know people you can push your boundaries and your edges. The CD doesn’t need you to be able to play “anything” they need you to know where you fit in the process, to be specific, and to help them fill a need.”

“CDs have to present 5 different versions of one story. So the way you can help the CD is to offer the most authentic version of your own telling, it’s going to be different from everyone else’s, and that will also leverage your strengths. If you don’t define yourself, others will define you. But if you can be a professional about it the performance will be good enough that even if it’s not a match and they can’t use that they’ll be thinking I wish I could.”

“You look at people who are super well respected and if you took the same role and gave it to each of those people you’d get a different story every time. Specific, Focused, Targeted marketing is way more successful.”

“I Heard a CD say, don’t just limit yourself to what headshot do I take, but pay attention to what books are on your bedside table, what songs make you cry, what movies can you not turn off, what poems do you remember from school, what scenes are you given in class and why. All that really starts to point toward some point of view, the way we look at the world is part of our own story.”

So once you figure out your story, the effect is fewer submissions, fewer auditions, and more bookings.

Sounds good to me! Thanks Blair and Brian!

Oh, and P.S. Act Now clients get a 10% discount on www.castingabout.com memberships! Woo hoo!

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10 BEST RESOURCES ONLINE FOR ACTORS

What are the best websites for actors?

There are so many out there!

You’ve got auditions and scene study and casting workshops and Zumba to get to, who has time to waste on the internet?

Here is your cheat sheet for the 10 BEST RESOURCES ONLINE FOR ACTORS!

1. WWW.IMDB.COM Yes you must get the Pro membership. This is the number one most-consulted database of actors worldwide. If you don’t already have credits, you can upload a resume. You can upload a reel, several photos, links. And if you want to find email addresses for just about anybody (agents, managers, producers), this is the best public resource.

2. WWW.CASTINGABOUT.COM is the best place to research TV and Film Casting directors so that you know what they are casting, when they are casting it, and you can send mail to the correct, current address.

3. WWW.THEWORKSHOPGURU.COM Lists all the workshops in LA and NY. You can search by category (format), casting director, studio, etc. And find what works best for your schedule. They also have some free resources.

4. WWW.WORKSHOPWIZARD.COM is a great way to keep track of your workshops (without having to create your own spreadsheet) and to add information on whom you’ve met and when, what your feedback was, etc. That is then available to your representation (and searchable!) so that they can make the most of the relationships YOU’VE created!

5. WWW.LACASTING.COM you MUST have a profile at the Casting Network (in LA or NY) if you want to audition for commercials. Have your headshot, clips (instead of or in addition to a reel), and resume, all posted and updated. If you don’t have representation you can self submit to casting calls here.

6. WWW.ACTORSACCESS.COM Another MUST, this is the actor-friendly portion of Breakdown Express, the website used by all Casting professionals to put out a casting call for film and TV theatrical productions, and where all agents and managers go to submit you. SOME but not all of these breakdowns are made available to actors for self submissions. Clearly a must no matter what level you are at.

7. WWW.BACKSTAGE.COM More open calls and casting notices esp. for non union projects for those just starting out. Plus, lots of news, resources, and information about what is going on in your world.


8. WWW.MASTERCLASS.COM is a new site with classes on everything from Tennis (taught by Serena Williams) to, you guessed it, acting (taught by Dustin Hoffman). I like it. Why not?

9. WWW.AMYJOBERMAN.COM I just love what she has to say about almost everything–webinars on everything from self taping to social media for actors.

10. WWW.ACTORSEQUITY.ORG if you want to do equity theatre, “casting call” is where you can find breakdowns and everything you need to know to join.

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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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