Archives for : episodic season

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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HOW TO START CRUSHING EPISODIC SEASON 2015

 

Some say there are no los-angelesseasons in LA. I beg to differ. There is Award Season, Pilot Season, Hiatus, and Episodic Season. The latter has just begun. What is that?

Episodic Season is one of the major casting and filming seasons of the year in the entertainment industry.

This is the time of year when the episodes of many television shows are being cast and filmed. The series regulars were probably already cast during pilot season. Occasionally there is re-casting. For the most part the casting directors are now focused on casting co-stars, guest-stars, and recurring characters to fill out the episodes of their upcoming television season.!

The peak of the season runs from mid July through mid December every year, although with the advent of Cable there is now some casting year- round. It is probably more likely that a newer actor will get called in to audition and/or book a job during Episodic season for a number of reasons.

There are usually between 5 and 25 co-star roles in the larger procedural-type 1 hour shows, fewer in 1/2 hour shows, obviously. In addition, there are possibly 1 to 8 guest star (larger) roles per 1 hr. episode depending on the show. Finally, there are the occasional recurring characters, some of which may start out as just one line.

These smaller roles are the parts that most working actors cut their teeth on, often starting with co-stars and working their way up as they build credibility.

Co-star parts used to be called “under five(s)” because the designation referred to any part with less than five lines. These days, if it can be filmed in one day, the production can pay the actor as a co-star no matter how many lines in the part (read- they save money!). Most “name” actors are not willing to accept these smaller parts or will insist on guest star billing (which makes them more expensive).

Keep in mind also that many of the large agents will not submit on these parts because they won’t make enough money on them. So, casting directors often go to their own personal files – who impressed them in an improv show, in a workshop, or in a play recently? This is where new talent is welcome. So, episodic season is a season of OPPORTUNITY!

And not only for new talent, but for new specific talent. Talent that is recognizable as a particular type instantly. When you have only a few seconds (remember most often just a few lines for co-stars, maybe a few scenes for guest stars) to make the audience believe you are a perp, a prostitute, a victim, a ditz, a nosy neighbor, or whatever archetype–the point is you’ve got to have that kind of energy, that kind of face, that kind of delivery right off the bat. There is no time for the delicious character work we see Johnny Depp doing in “Pirates of the Carribean.” Casting Associates tell me they get 1600-2200 online submissions per role, per episode– so it REALLY helps to have a relationship with them.

The casting process happens VERY quickly this time of year, and especially in Television.

You are at an audition and within a matter of days could be on-set if you book a role. What this adds up to for every actor is that we must know as many casting directors as possible when this season starts and stay on their radar during this time. The producers will be the ones to make a final decision as to who is hired, but the casting directors are the ones who get us in front of those producers when they call us in for an audition, agent or no agent. We want to be “in the mix” when those parts come up that are right for us. As competitive as it is in today’s market, we can’t afford to miss out on a single part.

What does an actor need to do start CRUSHING Episodic Season in 2015? 

-Know what parts you are right for and have marketing materials ready and upload any new materials to the appropriate sites. If you don’t know, check out my new post on MARKETING. 

– Research the new shows! I have another post on Resources for that if you’re not sure where to start. 

-Be in town for all of Episodic Season. You want your agent to be in town right? Yeah, they want you to be in town too. And if you leave, book out as soon as you know. 

-More and more Non Disclosure Agreements are in effect, so scripts and sides are often not being released ahead of time. Discuss it with your team and have a strategy to handle this.

-Get out there and meet Casting professionals and then stay in touch with them on a regular basis. Reconnect your relationships with postcards, email blasts, social media posts. 

-There are more and more last minute/same day auditions for re-writes (which happens more often in the comedy world)– so be aware of your schedule and be flexible. Have a few audition outfits and hard copy headshots in your car. Make sure your “day job” is flexible and that you have a nanny/dogsitter/sub available at all times. 

-The biggest trend in 2015 is that a lot of new one hour dramas have moved outside of LA, comedies (majority of them) cast in LA– so keep that in mind for targets and training. And if you are so inclined, develop a presence in more than one market. (i.e.: Go to Toronto, New Orleans, New York, etc. and establish residency and get to know the industry professionals there.) If you book a guest star (or a recurring) this could pay off. Consider starting a travel fund. 

– Self-taping. It’s not too pricey anymore to buy a video camera and record an audition on your own. There are also many coaches who can tape you and taping facilities. If you get more than a day to self-tape don’t waste time. Get it done. Then if you rep needs it re-done you’re not screwed. This avenue is becoming more and more common so make sure you practice at this.  Check out this article in BSW on Self-Taping! 

-Be prepared – make sure your audition skills are well-oiled and ready to roll! It’s great to have a class where you have the option to bring sides in to work on them before an audition, better still if that class is on-camera. Have a coach you can trust in your speed dial. 

 

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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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