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You Want to Become a Better Actor? Listen Up!

You Want to Become a Better Actor? Listen Up!

There are numerous and varying definitions of what comprises good acting, and some are even in stark contrast to one another. Given the abstract nature of creating moments of truth and reality set in imaginary circumstances, it is not difficult to imagine that various opinions and interpretations of when these artistic moments are fully achieved lead to disagreement and debate. Most can agree however, to suspend disbelief for an audience – drawing them into a private world that is believable requires tremendous humanity and connection. No matter how big the Hollywood budget, how many special effects explosions, intricate costumes, or elaborate sets there are, in the end the truth of the connection and the humanity between the actors in the film are what draw the audience into this private world and make them feel as if they are a part of it. So, how does the actor achieve this connection? If we accept the premise that the connection between actors is a key priority to making the moments on screen work, it is necessary to understand how meaningful connections are achieved. If you think about it, how is any interaction between two human beings meaningful? Only when two people are listening to each other and responding to the stimuli given moment to moment, can the potential for deep human interaction ensue. We’ve all been in the opposite situation -the conversation is one sided and the person with whom we are conversing is so completely and utterly self involved they lose our attention and we drift off to other places. Conversely, when someone really listens attentively to what we have... read more
How to Get Your Child into Film Acting

How to Get Your Child into Film Acting

So, you think your child has what it takes to become a star: she lights up the room with her energy, commands attention from her audience, and soaks up the applause like water to a dry sponge. She’s the lead in every school play and around the house she mimics every Disney character ever created. It’s time to head off to Hollywood…right? Maybe, maybe not…or maybe just not yet! There are definite advantages to starting your child in show business at an early age; however it’s important to keep in mind the same rules that apply for adults aspiring for a career in this very competitive industry still apply no matter what the age of the aspiring star. Honing the acting skills, learning proper audition technique, understanding the technical aspects of working on camera, learning how the business works, being able to work well with others, and having an ample dose of patience to go along with the excitement are all necessary ingredients for all actors. The problem that most often occurs with child actors is that the parents who are guiding them don’t have the requisite knowledge of the industry to provide the proper perspective, guiding expectations according to the realities of the business. Often times a parent thinks ‘my kid just has what it takes’ and that they just need to get an agent and get to work. Surely, once their child’s talent is seen by a top tier agent they will want to represent her and pitch to all the top Casting Directors in Hollywood…right? This is both incredibly unrealistic and even cruel to do to... read more
Bare Your Soul, Thicken Your Skin, Then… Keep Going!

Bare Your Soul, Thicken Your Skin, Then… Keep Going!

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~Winston Churchill Let’s face it, becoming a professional actor is not an easy proposition. For those who aspire to it there can be no denying the rewards are enticing and potentially lucrative. Each individual has his or her own purpose in mind when attempting to fulfill this dream of being catapulted out of relative obscurity to becoming a household name, but it cannot be had for the mere wanting of it. It takes resolution, strength, vulnerability, skill, growth, humility, emotional & financial investment, stamina, and incredible perseverance. Moreover the actor must be willing to reveal himself to the world and risk hampering his enthusiasm, passion, and growth via defense mechanisms that are meant to protect him from harsh criticisms and judgments. In short, he must bare his soul while keeping his skin thick…and then continue on the journey whatever roadblocks may appear. This is the path of growth. Too many actors get discouraged just at the time they are building a foundation for long term success in a profession that requires staying power. Their skills are improving in acting class, and even though they are in fact moving in a positive direction towards their goals, they may have difficulty reconciling unrealistic expectations with the actual progress (or lack thereof) in meeting career objectives. It’s normal to have low points on the journey, but the decisions that are made after the setbacks are what matter the most. It is said that a great NFL quarterback has an equally great short term memory. For in... read more
You Want to Become a Great Actor? Imagine It!

You Want to Become a Great Actor? Imagine It!

Imagination is more important than knowledge. – Albert Einstein Being an actor comes with a built in dilemma: the ratio of time spent actually performing verses time spent preparing for that work is very lopsided. Years and years of training, auditioning, and enduring the inevitable emotional ups and downs associated with the career are rewarded with fractional and disproportionate compensation. That is to say, you prepare a lot to perform a little. Moreover, the time spent in preparation and training can be fraught with its own set of difficulties; limited funds for acting class, a work schedule that conflicts with the next stage production or indie film project, or personal circumstances which make it difficult to audition on a consistent basis are all issues that most actors must come to terms with at one point or another in their career. Given this near universal truth, how can the craftsman combat this inevitable set of challenges in the quest for greatness? Step one: imagine it! Bar none, imagination is the most basic and central component of the art and craft of acting. Much discussion is dedicated to, and many opinions are offered on a variety of other skill subsets which are not inconsequential, but are nonetheless secondary to imagination. Training for audition technique, voice, improvisation, on camera awareness, languages/dialects, and many other skills while important, pale in comparison to the fundamental skill of imagination. Acting is an exercise in the use of imagination by the actor to achieve a certain and specific reality based on artificial circumstances given by a writer. The actor must create this reality by visualizing experiences,... read more
Theatrical Acting Resume 101

Theatrical Acting Resume 101

Many actors have heard the saying, “take care of the things that are within your control and don’t worry about the things you can’t”, yet they don’t actually practice this simple, yet important principle. Whether you are a beginning actor with little or no credits, or you are a seasoned professional, there isn’t a good reason for actors of all levels not to have a polished resume. The resume is one of those items which are well within your control and given the fact it is the calling card for your product, it is essential to learn the basic requirements and ensure they are met. 8×10 Format The resume should be on good quality white paper, neatly trimmed down to the exact size of 8”x10”, the same size as the headshot. Two staples (flat side on the picture side) at the top should attach the resume to the back of the headshot. Agent/Manager If the actor is represented by an Agent or Manager, that name and contract information should be at the top of the resume. Name In large bold font, the actor name should appear centered on the page. If the actor is represented, the name appears below the agent/manager information. If the actor is not represented, his/her name will appear on the top of the resume with contact information. This contact information should consist of a telephone number, and an email address if desired. Union affiliation with SAG-AFTRA, AEA or SAG –E or SAG eligible may be included with the name and contact information. The basic categories for inclusion on a theatrical resume are: Film, Television, Theater,... read more