How to start an acting career and be succesful

How To Build Your Acting Business Without A Day Job

Bones Rodriguez is an entrepreneur from New York City, and he has rising through the ranks from waiting tables to getting an agent and making it big in the acting scene. His method is not some theoretical, classroom way to get into acting His methods are based on his own success, and you can learn the same tricks that he has learned from the years in the business. You don't have to wait tables to pay the bills; you can break straight into the acting arena. Teachers can teach you how to act, but they can't teach you how to be successful. But this method can, and it has been proven to work. You will learn why most actors fail, and how to avoid failing yourself. You will learn the biggest trick to make yourself stand out to executives, the behaviors to avoid, and how to really show the business people what they want to see. Don't be broke and wait tables. Get on the stage and screen! More here...

How To Build Your Acting Business Without A Day Job Summary


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How to Get Your Acting Business Without a Day Job?

Highly Recommended

I've really worked on the chapters in this book and can only say that if you put in the time you will never revert back to your old methods.

This book served its purpose to the maximum level. I am glad that I purchased it. If you are interested in this field, this is a must have.

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From Auditioning to Performing

For our purposes, you now have to move your focus from auditioning to performing. You have finally arrived at the moment to collaborate. You can see that there is not an extraordinary amount of time to do this. However, if you are prepared for the test, then you have made very clear and strong choices for what you would like to play. The director will be giving you assistance by giving you the physical movement necessary for the scene. The directorial guidance will feed off the strength of your choices. In your preparation for the screen test, you should now be incorporating all of the acting techniques you have acquired in your training as an actor. You want to prepare for this day like it is a one-act play that you have only one performance of. So, you must make sure that you have the emotional tools available to you that you would have when

My Casting Director Perspective

Please know that as a casting director, there is not a more exciting moment for me than watching an actor book a job. Sometimes this is when a young actor books his first speaking role on a show for others, it is making it through the entire process, from first audition all the way through the screen test, and landing a coveted contract role. I love the moment when I get to inform the actor or the agent of this exciting news. What is even more exciting for me, in my job, is when I am handed a role to cast, and I know which actor I think is perfect for the role, and he actually gets the role and flourishes in it. There is no better feeling for me as a casting director. It confirms for me that I know what I am doing and looking for. This has happened several times to me. Many times, I do not know the actor when I start the process, but I meet him through the process. Still others I have known for years. Sometimes, an actor walks into the audition room for the first time and I get a...

Casting Directors Process

My process begins when the executive producer tells me we are adding a new character to the show. Sometimes it isn't a new character, but a character who has been on the show before, who is now coming back played by a different actor. Sometimes a plot line in a daytime television show will require that a young character become older, and we need to cast a new, older actor to play that role. Regardless of the scenario, the process for me as a casting director is the same. I receive a character description from the head writer, along with an audition scene to read with the actors. I release the character description to all the talent agents and managers in the industry through Breakdown Services. For those of you who do not know what that is, Breakdown Services is an independent company that e-mails agents and managers the character descriptions and specifics of the role that casting directors are currently looking for. The talent agents and managers will then mail to me their...

Building a Relationship with the Casting Director

As a professional actor, you must develop relationships with the casting directors who give you your auditions. The relationship with a casting director begins with your first audition and is then measured by the amount of actual return auditions you have for that same casting director. This relationship is strictly a business relationship. It is vital for an actor, no matter what coast he is on, to learn which casting directors are working at which offices on that coast. You must then start to build a professional relationship with them through your auditions and follow-up skills. Once you have had your first audition with a casting director, it is really up to you, the actor, to stay in touch and keep him apprised of your work. The relationship is really based on how successful of an auditioner you are. Casting directors will give most any actor several auditions to evaluate his talent before deciding that this is a person they do not need to see anymore. If your auditioning skills...

Different Types Of Auditions

The different types of auditions that you might encounter will be determined by where you are in your present career as an actor. Well-known actors usually don't audition for parts everyone knows their work already. However, if a famous actor is hot to play a part that he is not being considered for, he will often send a professional videotape of himself playing the character. If you are just starting out and have no professional film experience, this course of action is usually a waste of time. You have to accept where you are in the business and try and take the next logical step to advance your career. I once had a friend who was very upset when Madonna got the part of Evita, because she felt that she looked so much more like Eva Peron than Madonna did, therefore, she felt she would be K able to play the part so much better. It was true that her resemblance to the real Eva Peron was uncanny, but she had never made a movie and had only just begun to take acting lessons For her to...


Preliminary auditions often consist of seeing the actor's work, either in the theater or on film. Here you get a chance to see the actor create and sustain a character through a whole film or play. This is extremely helpful, even if the character being portrayed is different from the one for which you are casting. When actors are scheduled for formal auditions, they should be given sides (selected scenes) sufficiently ahead of time so that they can prepare. Cold readings are unfair to the actor and not profitable for the director. A word of warning auditions are not performances Do not expect one. It is only the beginning of a process in which patience, faith, and trust are large components. Directors who are unsure of the rehearsal process want immediate results in the audition, and often settle for actors who are proficient at getting to a superficial reality rather quickly. In cases like this, what you see in the audition is often all you get on film.

Casting Directors

After completing this chapter on casting, it occurred to me that it would be useful to hear current attitudes from casting directors who are presently working in both theatre and film so I interviewed two New York City-based casting directors, asking them what they did and did not want to hear from a director. It was startling to find how similar their responses were and gratifying to learn that we were all in complete agreement on certain key points of the process. producer has the money, have screening auditions where I and sometimes the director's assistant will sift through 400 people. I don't keep files much anymore as they get out-of-date, but I do keep all my audition notes. A director I don't want to work with is one who says 'Oh, I don't know. I'll see it when it walks in the door.' Also someone who is so specific that there's just no leeway, no realization that maybe for this project you're not going to find somebody that's available maybe if it's a low budget, or a play...

Your Obligation and Commitment

If you are serious about pursuing a career, then you must accept the enormous obligation that is in front of you. It is a great burden that you are taking on. It is my opinion that when you decide you want to pursue an acting career, you have an obligation to hold up your end of the bargain. Your end is the commitment. You must promise yourself that you will work hard and study hard, while remaining humble and eager. You must promise to make every effort to strive for the level of success and commitment that every successful actor before you has strived for, and at the same time raise the bar of your own standards for yourself and for every other actor who follows you. You must make a commitment to keep studying and learning and observing. You must promise to read the great plays by the great writers (Chekhov, Williams, and O'Neill, to name a few), and you promise to read as much about the craft by the great teachers (Stanislavski, Hagen, Adler, and Meisner, to name a few). You must...

The Cold Reading Audition

Cold reading auditions are when you have very little time to prepare for the audition usually around five minutes. I don't like to do this to an actor, but sometimes you have a meeting with someone, and then you get an idea that he might be right for a role, so you hand him some sides and ask him to look at them. Many actors will choose to read the scene several times and just wing it in the room. However, I feel that a shorter version of the technique can be applied to have a successful audition. This would be your five-minute On the Clock preparation.

The FollowUp and Staying in Touch

It is very important for you to stay in touch with a casting director in general, and certainly after an audition. Even if you have an agent or manager, you should still take this upon yourself. The personal touch is always best and seems to stand out. A simple note, thanking the casting director for the opportunity to audition and mailed out a few days after the audition, is appropriate. In the note you should always mention the role you came in for and perhaps even what day it was. A postcard-sized headshot should be included with the note so that the casting director has a visual to better remember you by. You should always stay in touch with a casting director by making him aware of any upcoming theatre projects or showcases you might be in. You should also let casting directors know of any television productions you have booked and when they might be airing. I always try to catch the other New York television productions, and if I am informed that you will be in a certain...

The Television Audition Technique

I strongly urge you to believe in this television audition technique that I have developed and explained in this book. I have gotten a great amount of positive feedback from people who have tried it in their own pursuit of a career. I believe it sets up the actor to have a confident and successful audition. If you can buy into the philosophy, then you are even further along than most. If after the twenty-five auditions that you monitor in your workbook you determine this isn't for you, then so be it. You bought a book, read it, and gave it a try. My only concern for you is that you will revert back to what may not have been working for you previously. I encourage you to seek another technique and give that your best effort. In saying that, I am confident you will gain something from this book. The technique is the foundation for the work you do at home in your preparation time, but your own ability as an actor must complement your choices and the technique. Technique alone is not good...

The OnCamera Audition

Many times, a casting director will have the need to videotape your audition. In my daytime television work, I usually do not do this, but I have had to on occasion if the executive producer's schedule and the actor's schedule do not coincide. However, I have done this many times for Los Angeles-based projects I may be working on in New York. I also mentioned that in my search for a contract actor, I videotape all my Los Angeles-based callbacks to show to the executive producer. Usually, an actor will be put on tape for the callback stage of auditioning, rather than the first audition. Many casting directors and productions work in different ways, but my experience has been that videotaping is mostly for a callback. If you take my advice from this technique and remove all forms of staging from your audition, you will be in an excellent place to make an adjustment to the on-camera audition. My advice has been to simply sit or stand for your entire audition. If the casting director...

Notes to the Test Are on Your Sides

Let me tell you a story of how most first auditions go. You are told to come to my office at noon on a Friday. You work on your scene, making choices along the way. You feel prepared and slightly nervous, but you are looking forward to the opportunity. Friday arrives and you're running late. The subway, the traffic, you slept late . . . you get my point. You arrive, you sign in, and you take a seat. You sit in the waiting room and review your choices. Finally, I come to get you. I say hello, you follow me to my office. You nerves build as we walk down the hall. I ask you where you are from, and you answer. Next thing you know, I am asking if you have any questions or if you want to sit or stand for the reading. You're sitting, so you decide to stay in the security of the chair. I have the first line, so I start reading Now, imagine the same scenario as the one above, but as I start my first line, you glance down at your sides, which are completely...

How to Begin That Relationship

Unless you have an agent or manager, it is very difficult to begin that relationship with a casting director. There is no doubt about that. I am not going to mislead anyone in this book and say that it is easy to get top television auditions without a good agent or manager in your corner making those initial introductions. However, there is always a way, and, at the very least, you should always make an effort. You should always send mailings to the casting directors, inviting them to see your showcases and telling them about your progress. If the information falls on deaf ears, then so be it. However, you never know what can happen, so you must take this action. My best advice to the actor who does not have an agent is just as you would for an audition, set obtainable goals. Instead of writing to the head of casting at a major network, write to an independent casting director who specializes in small independent films or small regional theatre productions. You have a much better...

Showing Potential is the

As mentioned in chapter 2, An Audition is Not a Performance , your focus on the first audition should be on showing potential in the role. The technique will allow you to prepare yourself by setting obtainable audition goals for the first audition. You must trust that the casting director has an imagination and can visualize you in the role. It is your responsibility to help the casting director visualize that by showing the potential you could have in the role. That potential will breed confidence in you. I am a strong believer that a good audition technique will give you confidence. If you have confidence in yourself, chances are a casting director will have that same confidence in you. You want to be presented in a way that the casting director can see you growing in the role. Don't give a performance that is striving for all the levels that the character could be. Be honest to the text in your As a casting director, I am looking for two things. One, is the actor physically what I...

The Right Approach the Right Attitude

If you learn nothing from this book or this technique, please at least learn to have fun when auditioning. If an actor has fun in an audition, then a casting director will have fun. I spoke earlier about how that will help you to be remembered, and it's true. You want to make sure that you incorporate fun into the character. See if there is a moment in the scene to bring a little levity to the situation. You can't force this, but you can look for it. Certainly a very dramatic and emotional scene would not lend itself to having fun, but many scenes do.

The Major Objective is about What You Want for

You never want to make your objective about trying to make the other person do something. I realize that many of you may have been taught in your acting classes that your actions and objectives should achieve an effect on your partner, but this is not an acting class or a rehearsal. This is your television audition. This is a frequent mistake amongst auditioners. If I were auditioning for the Woman, a terrible major objective for the sides would be to try to get the Man to apologize for the affair or to make him feel bad about it. That may very well be a justified reaction or need in the real world, but this is not the real world this is a television audition. The Man in the scene is a reader, and you know by reading the sides that he does not apologize for his actions, so by striving for that as your major objective, you are chasing something that is never going to be achieved. If you have a chance to achieve something or get a hint of success, then it is always best to make that...

An Audition is Not Workshop Time

A reminder The first audition is not a workshop time for you and the casting director. Do not think of the casting director as a director (even though many are) or an acting coach. It is true that casting directors will give notes and direction, but we are not looking to collaborate like a theatre director would. We do not have time, and more, importantly, it is not the true function of the job, especially at the first audition. As you move to the callback stage and beyond, a casting director will take on more of that role. Truthfully, a casting director will only give direction and begin to collaborate if he sees potential for you in the role. It comes back full circle to potential. Potential resonates from an actor who makes choices for himself and has a plan for the character in the audition. For your part, you must recognize that your objective is to be seen and be remembered. Part of having a plan is to know what you want to say and do when you get in the room. You will be...

Type A The Audition and Meeting

The first time you meet a casting director is your first step toward building a working relationship with that person. If you believe in my philosophy, you will not be consumed with thoughts about the actual role that may be available to you. For the record, some casting directors will just have a meeting the first time they meet an actor if there is not a role available at that time, and sometimes it is a combination of both a meeting and a reading. The meeting part is important because this is where a casting director will get a sense of you as a person. In a sense, it is an opportunity for him to evaluate your personality. Because of that, you want to be on your best, most charming behavior. You do not have to worry about technique for the moment just concentrate on being yourself. At the very basic level, television casting directors are looking for charming and personable people. Look at any successful sitcom Friends, Cheers, Seinfeld, Will & Grace the casts are incredibly...

The Perception of You Changes

When you receive a callback, you have gained a level of success separating you from all the actors who auditioned for that role. The group that gets called back is made up of a very small percentile. I would say you are now in the top 5 percent. This does not guarantee success, but it does make the impression of you change. Also, in my opinion, once you have received a callback from a casting director, the casting director will look at you in a different way. I definitely do this. When an actor has made it to the callback round for me on a role but does not get the role, I often will immediately reward him with a callback for a new role, without the need for another first audition. In many cases, the actor has earned that right. I hold him in higher esteem. When his agent submits him for a new role and I see his headshot and resume, I register in my mind that he has gone further in the process with me than many other actors, and I usually put that picture in a separate pile. If you...

How to Make Progress from Potential

I have a very simple rule for how the actor should prepare for his or her progression from first audition to the callback. If you received notes on your first audition, then work hard at applying those notes. If you did not receive a note on something that you did, then leave it alone. Assume that it is exactly the way the casting director would like you to present it to the executive producer. The mistake that I find a lot is that many actors do not progress from their callback to the next level because they do not maintain the potential of the first audition. It is my advice that the actor should just keep the original choices fresh by having confidence in those choices and by becoming more familiar with those choices through repetition and rehearsal. In an effort to stay prepared, an actor can make the mistake of reinterpreting the character by changing the original choices. This also happens because the actor focuses so much on the notes that the casting director gave him to work...

Dont Forget to Be an Actor

I do not want to contradict anything I have said up to this point in the book I just want to make sure that I am not making an assumption either. I am assuming that you will not forget to act. As actors, you must accept and play that there is a relationship between the two people, there are feelings and desires and objectives. You, the actor, must bring your own sensitivity to the work. You must accept that the technique and the acting must be a blending of skills that will be evident to a casting director. That blending is what makes the audition unique to you. An audition is never just about the technique, and it is never just feelings or acting. The audition is about all of those things. Give yourself permission to be creative in using the technique as a framework. So, even though I stress to play what is on the page, allow yourself to be affected by how the information on the page affects your character and your character's major objective.

Dont Change Your Choices

How do you proceed from the first audition to the callback, hoping that you will be considered for a screen test In my opinion, the key to the callback is to keep making progress from the first audition. You are being asked back because you did something good. In your first audition, you showed promise as yourself playing this character. So you have to make sure that you keep that potential. As a casting director, I want to see pretty much what I have previously seen. I don't expect the actor to make drastic changes to the audition because he is going to the producer now. I do hope that the actor continues to work on the sides, but that he does not change his major choices unless directed to do so. I only want him to sharpen his first audition.

Write to the Assistant

You see, the thinking is that the assistant will not be an assistant for long. If you can create a relationship with that person, then hopefully one day, when that person is promoted or leaves his current company to take a better position in another agency, he will remember you. At some point in every young casting assistant or agent assistant's career, he will be asked to make a contribution to the company. That contribution could be creating a list of actors for a part, reading actors for a role, or attending a showcase and reporting back to the boss on who he liked. He will be given an opportunity to prove himself. What you want to be able to do is create a relationship with that person, so that when he has to step up, you are one of the people he feels confident in. This is a business where the talented people can move up quickly. I went from a casting assistant to an associate to the casting director of the longest-running program in broadcast history all within two and a half...

Dont Blame the Reader

The hope is that the reader will follow your lead. If the reader is a good reader or casting director, then she will instinctively do this. If she is not, you will have to work harder in the actual reading, but can still accomplish this goal. I promise you that it will be different from your preparation at home, but that is why I stressed earlier that this is an audition and not a performance. You cannot possibly know in advance the tempo that the reader will take on. So, don't leave yourself open to that vulnerability. If by the end of the scene you feel like the tempo of the audition was off, trust that what the casting director is observing about you is your purpose and effort. If that is the impression that you leave behind in the room, then that purpose and effort will be two things more than the actor before you, who just went with the flow of the reader. To me, that kind of audition comes across as passionless. Often when I am teaching, students tell me that their audition...

Negative Use of Subtext

The trap that most actors will fall into with the use of subtext is on specific lines. In beat number one, the Woman has a line that reads, I am not in the mood for Italian food. That is a simple line in response to a direct question asked by the Man Do you want Italian food Actors should always play the literal meaning of the line and no more. When the Woman responds, I am not in the mood for Italian food, it is an honest evaluation of her hunger. It should not be interpreted as a loaded, subtextual moment, played for the sake of being dramatic. If you are auditioning for the Woman and you get to the later stages of this audition, you can flavor that line a bit, perhaps, but I urge you to think about objectives first and keep your playing of the scene real and honest. If you played the majority of lines for the subtextual value, there would be no clear, honest relationship developed between the characters.

Sit or Stand Its Your Choice

I feel that the best auditions are when the actor sits or stands. It doesn't matter which one. My preference is that the actor chooses whatever makes her feel the most comfortable. Actors constantly ask me what my preference is. My preference is that you feel comfortable in the audition, and unless I have some specific reason why I would want you to sit or stand, you should just do the one you want. I certainly will ask an actor to do it the opposite way if I like her first audition and think she could benefit from the adjustment. My biggest suggestion is that you do it the way you've practiced it. If you practiced standing in your studio apartment, don't sit in the casting director's office. If you practiced sitting, don't feel the need to stand during the audition. Your body will naturally start adjusting and find comfort through repetition. If you decide to break the repetition and do something other than what your body has practiced, your instrument will begin to...

Beat Changes Are in the Script

Now, something that is very important in understanding and determining the beats of a scene is to acknowledge that the beat changes are in the script. The beat changes are not about your character. What I mean by that is, your character in your audition does not always change the beat. Yes, your character can change a beat, but the other character in the audition scene can change the subject too. In essence, the writer has determined the beats you just have to identify them. This is one of the few times in auditioning that I will stress that something is not always about you. However, this is done to assist you.

Beats and Beat Changes

The first thing you do once you get your sides is read the sides. Sound pretty simple Next thing you do is break the scene into beats. What are beats I mean, what really are the beats of a scene If you have taken any acting class, enrolled in any Acting 101 in college, or performed in a play, you had some teacher or director somewhere say, Break the scene down into beats. You nodded your head like you knew what the teacher was talking about, but you really didn't. This isn't your fault, though. You didn't know what it meant because no one ever thoroughly explained it to you. Well, now I will try. I have spent a lot time debating this with teachers and thinking about the best way to explain the beats. I have found through the workshops that I teach that the following explanation seems to stand up. While I know there are teachers who will disagree with me about the definition of a beat, from my perspective, given the kind of scenes the actors will be dealing with in auditions and in...

Agent and Manager Interviews

Although this book is about auditioning and the relationship to the casting director, I thought it might be interesting for you to hear the opinions of some talent agents and managers and learn what their take is on the subject of auditioning and on the relationship with the casting director. I am also assuming that many young actors reading this book might be without representation, and it has been my experience that those actors without representation are consumed with the notion of trying to get some. I do understand this need, and perhaps this will give you some insight into an agent's job.

Charm Personality and Passion

I mentioned earlier that at the basic level in auditioning, regardless of technique and acting ability, casting directors are looking for charming, personable, and passionate people. I would simply like to add that this too is part of your technique. When you enter an audition, I stress that you should have a plan. Part of your plan is to display the choices you made in your preparation time. In addition to that, you must remind yourself of your own level of charm and passion. Everyone has a personality. Many of you use it well, and others let theirs disappear at the onset of nerves and pressure. Do not let this happen, at any cost. The ability to let yourself be yourself will open you up to a world of acting and auditioning responsibilities sometimes it is just a matter of acknowledging that you have a sense of charm and a level of personality that can assist you.

An Audition is Not a Performance

In my opinion, most actors come to an audition with the idea that they have to put on a performance. This is not the best approach, because it is nearly impossible to accomplish. The key to auditioning is to show potential. The way you show potential is by setting up realistic and obtainable goals. You must recognize the limitations inherent in a first audition for a role, then set your goals accordingly. Let's look at this. The first time I audition an actor for any given role, I am in my office. That's right, an office. I sit at my desk, my computer is there, the track lighting is on, and I have no windows. For the record, the walls are painted a mystic gray. Here's my point It's an office It is not a theatre. It is not a stage. It is not even a sound stage or a set. It is what it is. You can't change that. I would say that 90 percent of the time I am playing the part of the reader for the actors who are auditioning. That means I am sitting in my chair, behind my desk, reading with...

Dont Forget to Breathe

Many young actors make the mistake of forgetting to do something in their auditions that we do every minute of every day breathe. Many actors forget to breathe. They don't pass out from this, but many simply do not regulate their breathing properly for an audition. This is directly related to nerves and vulnerability. Oxygen carries emotions in it. If you ever watch anyone who is very emotional, weeping and sobbing, she does not really crescendo her emotions until she starts to take deep breaths, which only causes her to get more emotional. The reason she needs to take deep breaths in the first place is because she is holding her breath in and fighting the emotions she has. When the body allows itself to be vulnerable, it will allow itself to breathe and, in a sense, accept the emotions associated with that oxygen. The same is true for someone who is really angry. He is usually holding his breath in as he is holding his anger in, trying to stay in control of his emotions. When he...

Significance of the Major Beat Change

There are several significant reasons for locating the major beat change. The first, and most important, is how it affects the acting component. Typically, in the real world at my office, an audition would not be going well, when all of a sudden something special would happen. There would be a very clear moment that would stand out and grab my attention. This was usually a very subtle moment. However, in the subtleness of the moment, I would be moved, and the actor would suddenly be extremely focused. That moment would force me as a casting director to give that actor some notes and work with the scene again. That moment would give the actor another shot. Before that moment, the audition was average the actor wasn't making choices. But that moment would give the actor another opportunity, even if he wasn't physically right for the role. I would mark in my notes that there was this one special moment that occurred. The moment would force me to remember the actor. I would recall writing...

Sample Workbook Submission

CASTING DIRECTOR Rob Decina AUDITIONING FOR ROLE OF Woman The casting director was an excellent reader Seriously, I found that I was My agent told me that the casting director liked me, but didn't think I was right for the role. He said he would keep me in mind for other roles. 27. Did you send a thank-you postcard or note to the casting director yet (optional)

Spontaneity and Listening

If you are successful in the early auditions, you will have to work to keep the scene new and fresh, because the further you go in the process, the longer you will have been working on the same material. You must continue to recognize this as you continue and get closer to booking the role. When you get to the screen test, it should still be believable that you are hearing this most important moment for the first time.

How to Remind Yourself

This is good in the real world, but not for auditioning, especially when you are late for auditions. I often come out into a waiting room full of non-breathing actors. The more experienced actors always seem more relaxed, but young people new to the process seem to be tense. In addition to any audition nerves they have, they are still closing themselves off from the realities of the outside world. So, get there early and shake off the world. A great relaxation exercise is to sit in the waiting room quietly and just regulate your breathing by inhaling through your nose until your diaphragm and lungs fill up, and then out through your mouth. Inhale through your nose, and then exhale out through your mouth. Repeat this exercise until you are calm.

Your Callback Audition for a New Role

Earlier, I mentioned that the key to a successful career and auditioning is the recognition that it is a long, ongoing process. You need to remember this as a motto for enduring success. Most actors do not receive a callback for the first role they audition for with a specific casting director, but instead receive one in the form of a new opportunity for a completely different role. When the casting director has a new role two weeks, two months, two years down the road, and you are right for that role, you will be considered for it largely on the basis of the first audition for the previous role. Are you following me In essence, you will receive your callback for your first role by getting an opportunity to audition for a new role.

The Audition Technique

This chapter and the next several comprise the heart and the purpose of the book. I wanted to write this book to give actors a specific audition technique that I feel would put them in the best position to succeed in each individual audition as well as in their careers. Remember that this is the technical side to the audition. This is the part that is done at home, when working and preparing for your audition. The more you apply the technique and practice with the technique, the quicker it will become second nature to you in the actual room while actively auditioning. I first realized that a lot of actors audition without a strong technique when producers would comment to me that some of the actors I was bringing in for callbacks lacked levels to their work. The producers liked the actors' look and thought they were right for the role, but knew that they did not bring anything to the audition. The choices they made (or didn't make) lacked conviction. The...

The Business

No one teaches the business side of acting I think this is one of the great misfortunes in the industry and in schools around the country. Yes, the actors coming out of the best programs are better prepared for a career because of their advanced level of understanding of the craft, but most actors learn the business by trial and error and repetition. The actor who auditions the most will have the opportunity to get better at auditioning because of that repetition. Repetition breeds familiarity. For many actors, the business will always remain a mystery. The tools of the business range from knowing what resources are available to you as an actor to many of the approaches I have discussed in this book. I discussed that mass mailings to agents and casting directors are vital, so you must learn that Ross Reports is a monthly publication that lists every agent and casting director's name and address. If you do not have an agent, then you must buy Backstage every Thursday (or you can...

Michael Bruno

Auditioning and acting, once you have the job, are two different animals. If you don't know how to audition, you can't get the job. RD What is the single most significant piece of advice you can give your clients about professionalism and auditioning MB The biggest thing for actors to know is when they did a good job at an audition and when they did a bad job. I don't care if an actor calls and tells me that he really blew it. That's fine. Everybody has a bad day. What makes me very nervous is when an actor says how great he was, and the casting director agent has just the opposite to say. RD Is that the casting director's fault or the actor's fault RD Do you ever work with your clients before their auditions If yes, why If no, why not MB Work begets work. The second one starts thinking about doing or not doing a project because of money or fame, you're in trouble. Doing a small play in the boondocks could lead to a movie. You never know. I always say, take any work...


An audition for an under-5 role may be one of the hardest auditions in television. You would think that because it is short fewer than five lines it would be easier than a contract audition, but this is not necessarily the case. This lesson on under-5 auditions can also be applied to any television audition for what would be considered a small role. The key to the under-5 audition is to recognize that the audition scene is not about you. I know that may be hard to grasp when it is your audition, but unlike the contract role, this audition is strictly about proving that you can blend into the fabric of the production. When you realize and accept that the scene is not about you that you are just a moment in a leading character's life you can approach the audition with those fundamentals in mind. Think about your real life, and how many people pass in and out of it everyday. The man at the deli, the woman standing in line in front of you at Starbucks, the taxi driver, or the man in the...

The Workbook

Now, for the majority of this book, I have preached to forget about the audition after the audition. The philosophical outlook I want you to have is that you are not going to book the job, so go in and do your work, be prepared, be professional and gracious. I still believe that, but now that you are almost finished with this book, I want you to try the technique for your next twenty-five auditions, and I want you to keep track of those twenty-five auditions. After those initial twenty-five auditions of applying the technique, you will have a better understanding of the technique and whether all or any part of it will work for you. So, we are going to make a workbook to help you keep track of those twenty-five auditions. I still don't want you to obsess about the audition in terms of will you book the job or not that is not the objective here. The objective is to monitor your progress for educational purposes.

Track Your Progress

All you have to do is after every audition take the sides, three-hole punch them, and insert them in your binder behind the first page and on top of the questions. Then, fill out the question forms that you have created. The top form will track the project you auditioned for, the role, who the casting director was, and the address of the audition. This is informational stuff. The last set of questions is vital to track your progress. You need to honestly answer these questions. Be reflective on your preparation, your choices, and the actual in-the-room audition. Your sides should be written on, and if you had any additional notes or pages from your preparation, you can include them in the workbook as well. As you continue to receive auditions, keep adding to the workbook in date order of the audition. From time to time, look back at some of the earlier choices that you made, and the feelings you had after the audition, to monitor your progress. I think this will be...

Three Minutes of

The best way to bring fun moments to the scene is to have fun yourself. Yes, I mean you. I have already depressed you by telling you how many actors are auditioning for the role, and stressed that you are probably not going to get the role. However, if you at least have fun and enjoy the actual audition, the opportunity to act for three minutes should bring you joy. Do not let the frustration and the monotony of the process bring you down. Do not let the stress of life and the real world have a negative effect on your auditions. In addition to a sense of fun, you should always bring confidence into your auditions. You should not be confident that you are going to book the role because we know what the odds of that are but you should be confident in the choices you have made. You should be confident in the fact that you are well prepared for the audition, and that the audition itself will be a rewarding experience. I don't advise you to be confident that you are going to book the job,...

The Acting Part

Many actors have natural instincts that assist them in the choices they make. Others need a lot of hard work with an endless amount of coaching and classes to keep their craft fresh. While this book lays out a very specific audition technique, you as an actor will have to bring your unique choices to the work to make it come to life. An actor's individual understanding of his own craft and his unique imagination allows him to make choices that are special to him. This is another reason why two actors auditioning for the same role, with the same audition sides, will have two completely different auditions. It is those individual choices and each individual's unique body of knowledge that will balance out the audition technique in this book.

Take Action

The major objective is about taking action. Your character is in pain and wants to relieve herself of that pain. She wants to achieve something, so she takes action to achieve what she wants. Without a major objective, there is no action. An actionless audition is passive. Passive auditions are boring. Boring auditions get lost in the large amount of actors auditioning they don't stand out. Using our scene, we have determined that the major beat change is the moment where the affair is introduced. So, if I were auditioning for the role of the Woman, an example of a major objective would be the Woman's need to confront her husband about his affair. This is the major event that the character needs to achieve in her life (to relieve the pain she is living with). The major beat change is the moment in the scene where that action is achieved. It is the moment where the character realizes that she has achieved her major objective or that she did not achieve her major objective. The major...

The Human Element

I want to tell you a real story that will highlight the uncertainty that the human decision-making process adds into all of this. This is specifically about me. I was working on a contract role one time, auditioning So, when I start reading actors in the beginning of the week, I take specific notes to refer back to. From those notes, I usually create yes, no, and maybe piles of actors. The yes actors are people who I am absolutely positive are right for the role and deserve a callback. Most likely, I will award them with a callback shortly after we meet. The no pile is comprised of actors who I am completely sure are not right for that role, or who are not ready to take on the challenge of a contract role. The maybe pile is the point of my story, because a majority of the actors I like for the role will be placed in the maybe pile as the week progresses. This pile is mostly comprised of actors who I am just not sure of, or who, because it is so early in the week for me, I am holding...

Table of Contents

1 Auditioning and the Craft of Acting 1 Choose Obtainable Goals Auditioning and Performing Are Two Different Things A Casting Director's Process The Decision-Makers The Business Side The Screen Test Day From Auditioning to Performing Screen Test Memorization Building a Relationship with the Casting Director 149 39 Casting Director Interviews 183 Daytime Casting Director Interviews Mary Clay Boland, Marnie Saitta Primetime Casting Director Interview Andra Reeve-Rabb The Television Audition Technique Look Yourself in the Mirror The Core Truth My Casting Director Perspective

Type B

The type B audition is really an opportunity for the casting director to keep an eye on your development as an actor. If you are given the opportunity to audition for a casting director several times, it just means that he likes what he sees and is trying to find the most appropriate role for you to hopefully book. This is a good thing do not get frustrated by the number of times you have to keep coming back for the same casting director, because it marks progress in your own development and in the casting director-actor relationship. It takes some actors years of auditioning for the same casting director before landing a job through him. This is simply a function of looking for the right role at the right time, and you being ready for it.

Offer Your Gift

One of my theatre mentors, Paul Austin, told me that auditioning is an opportunity for actors to present their gift. That gift is your craft, your talent. I say, keep offering your gift, and hopefully, one day someone will like what you are giving. In short, prepare the audition in the simplest, most specific manner possible. Create an environment that shows your potential. Use that audition experience to help better understand your application of craft, and the audition process. When you leave the audition, forget about the audition.

No Blocking

When you are auditioning, the casting director is looking at you. Your face, your body, your thoughts and feelings are all being observed. When you stand or sit in place, you are forcing the focus to be directly on those attributes. You are not distracting yourself from your own choices. When you block out your movement in an audition, it can do several negative things. First and most obviously, it draws focus away from you. When I see someone make deliberate movement, I begin to watch the movement. It is natural for me to do that. Is that what you want me watching in your audition I hope not. It also suggests that you have spent too much time working on the areas of the audition that you should not be focusing on when you are at home and On the Clock. If you spent an hour blocking your audition scene, that is a wasted hour that could have been spent on incorporating your acting choices so that you feel comfortable with them. I wonder sometimes whether an actor subconsciously feels...


Type 2 is when you are asked to come back for the executive producer. In my primetime experience, the writer and the director have been present with the producer in a type 2 callback. In daytime television, it is always and only the executive producer. Because I am currently in daytime television, I will just be writing with the executive producer in mind. When you receive a direct-to-producer callback, it simply means that the casting director has confidence in what you did in your first audition that you met any physical requirements associated with the role, and you displayed sound technique as an actor and an auditioner. The casting director can visualize you in the role and as part of the cast.

No Tricks Please

Please do not rely on any tricks to try to jump-start a relationship with a casting director or an agent. I personally have never (and don't know any colleagues who have ever) brought in people who have sent us balloons, candy, or anything else you can imagine, along with their head-shots or showcase invitations. Just think about yourself for a second and think about whether that is the first impression you want to put out there. In addition, I don't want actors to spend additional money on these gimmicks. It is expensive enough to do the mass mailings, without all the unnecessary bells and whistles attached. I understand the desire to stand out, but ultimately it is your talent and professionalism that will make you do that, not some scheme to be seen.


You will always be required to slate on camera before your reading. This moment usually requires the actor to state his name directly to the camera. Many times, you will also be asked to give the name of your agent manager, your height, or the name of the role you are reading for. Just make sure that you are paying attention when the casting director tells you what information she would like in the slate. You do not want to have to re-slate because you did not provide the required information.

Tag Line

If your opening line is equivalent to an entrance in a play, then your tag line is equivalent to your exit line. You want to say the line with a tone that will have the audience (casting director) wanting more. If you watch daytime television, the last line of every scene is an excellent example of how to land a tag line. The exit line should leave the audience with a sense of suspense.

Go to School

The best opportunity I know of to get an agent or manager is to go to a training program that offers an industry showcase before graduation. Many of the best programs around the country will come to New York or Los Angeles with their graduating class and do a presentation of scenes to the industry, with the hope that their students will obtain meetings with agents, casting directors, and managers. This seems to me to be the best way to start a career and get those desirable meetings. I don't care how old or young you are I am a big believer in getting training. If the program you choose is a good program, you will get anywhere from two to four years of college- or conservatory-level training. That means learning the craft and working on the best plays, doing the best roles. That industry showcase is a wonderful opportunity to transition from the study of the craft to the business of acting and a career.

Andra Reeve Rabb

RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning RD In your career as a casting director, have you ever been excited about an actor for a role, and then when he got the role, you were disappointed by his performance No names, please. RD What do you think is the hardest thing about auditioning, from the actor's perspective ARR I think the hardest thing for an actor is just getting past the nerves. There is sort of an us versus them concept that I think is so important to let go of when you go in for an audition. It would be great for actors and casting directors to recognize that we are all in this together. We need you as much as you need us. RD How about from the casting director's perspective ARR Use common sense. The simple things be on time, be prepared, and relax and enjoy yourself. Your audition starts the second you enter the building how you treat everyone from the security guard to your fellow actors is a reflection of...

Jill McGrath

JM I think it is very important for my clients to have a solid audition technique. Often, an actor is only given five minutes when auditioning for a role. Technique creates focus and the ability to combat nerves, which makes your chances of booking the job that much greater. RD What is the single most significant piece of advice you can give your clients about professionalism and auditioning JM The biggest piece of advice I can give an actor is to be prepared. Preparation is everything. Keep in mind when you go to an audition that even if you don't get the part, if you come prepared, a casting director will almost always bring you in for another role or a different project that you might be better suited for. day everyone has them. This also gives me the opportunity to call the casting director to explain and do some damage control. If the actor felt good about the audition despite the negative feedback, I would then discuss the process, explain that what the actor did in the room did...

Aubrey Dollar

AD My mom was an actor when I was growing up, so I would go to auditions with her, and then I started doing theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I grew up. RD How do you prepare for your auditions AD I think 95 percent of auditioning, because auditioning is very different from actually doing the job, is getting out of the way of yourself. I tend to usually try and trust and go with my initial instincts, because I think a lot of times, if you do that, you make strong choices and you stand out, and then if adjustments need to be made, you can make them. But if I prepare too much and then feel like I'm doing it totally wrong, I feel like I can't change it. So it's best to be free and see what happens. RD In your experience, what has been the hardest thing for you about auditioning AD A lot of times, it is that you are going in and reading with a casting director or an assistant or an intern and the scene is a love scene, and you're reading with a nineteen-year-old girl who is not...

Rhonda Price

RD What is the single most significant piece of advice you can give your clients about professionalism and auditioning RP Extremely. First, I ask the client how HE feels he did. I want to see if he feels the same way, or feels he did a great job. I always take into consideration what the feedback is and who it is from, as well. There are times when a casting director says lovely things to the actor in the room, and then calls me with a completely differing opinion. I think it is important to have a bead on what happens in the room with your client, but also to acknowledge you are not in there with him, so it's really about making sure he is present in the room and doing his best work. In the end, I say to my clients, As long as you have done your very best, and you have no regrets as to those five or ten minutes or half hour in the room, you have won. But I won't lie I do get frustrated . . . I want my clients to work RD Is that the casting director's fault or the actor's fault RP It...

Dont Project

You never want to project above the reader's head and ignore the distance that you are from the reader. So, if the reader is two feet away from you and you are projecting to someone who is seven feet away, then you are really projecting the dialogue of the scene over and beyond what is required in that space. This is when an actor will be accused of being theatrical, since the casting director will envision him on a stage because he is not making any adjustments to the person in front of him in the room.

Jordi Vilasuso

RD How do you prepare for your auditions I also try and look to play against my type, which I think is a young, romantic leading man, but I try and downplay that as much as possible in the choices I make. Then I ask myself a lot of questions. I need to know why the character is in the scene and what I am doing in the scene. I also think about bringing props into the audition, if I think they can be helpful. The worst that can happen is the casting director is going to say, No, just read with me. I make sure I try and listen in the reading. Listening is important I learned that by working on Guiding Light. RD In your experience, what has been the hardest thing for you about auditioning with it. Also, if the casting director seems intimidating, you have to not let that bring you down. Casting directors are human. They do the same things you do in their lives they've gone through the same things you've gone through. I think it helps to remind yourself of that. I think having the lines...

Marnie Saitta

Marnie Saitta (MS) is the casting director for the daytime television program The Young and the Restless. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning MS Being prepared is a necessity for actors. This is not to be confused with merely knowing one's dialogue. Being prepared consists of character and scene work. Many times, actors are auditioning with material that gives them limited background on the character. In order to be fully prepared, an actor must do the work to develop the character and the background of the character to make the scene truthful and rich, not just one-dimensional. Being off book is not required, but having a firm grasp of the dialogue gives the actor more freedom and confidence to make strong choices and makes him spend less time worrying about the next line. RD In your career as a casting director, have you ever been excited about an actor for a role, and then when he got the role, you were...

Mary Clay Boland

Mary Clay Boland (MCB) is the Emmy-nominated casting director for the daytime television program As the World Turns. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in actors when they are auditioning RD In your career as a casting director, have you ever been excited about an actor for a role, and then when he got the role, been disappointed by his performance No names, please. RD What do you think is the hardest thing about auditioning, from the actor's perspective MCB It is a very anxiety-ridden experience. The actor can just make the choices he thinks are best and hope they are what the casting director or director has in mind. I think it is the lack of control that is difficult. All the actor can do is go in, do his best, and hope it is a fit. RD How about from the casting director's perspective MCB The casting director has to figure out what the producers, director, and writers all pictured for the role. There can be eight actors who read beautifully for the...

Asking Questions

Before I start this section, I want to be clear Every actor who has an audition should and must feel confident that he has enough answers to any lingering questions he may have about the sides and the character. I like to make the actors feel comfortable before their audition and will usually ask a few conversational questions to relax the actor and to get to know him. However, as a casting director in the middle of hundreds of auditions, I prefer that actors not have any questions to ask about the reading before the reading. I would rather we just get to it. I like to see what an actor has prepared. It is my opinion that this safeguards the actor as well. I also am very hesitant to answer too many questions right before an audition. Most actors who ask questions either ask several questions or ask very long questions that require long answers. I get hesitant to answer such questions because in my mind, I am asking myself how this actor could possibly incorporate my answers in the ten...

Avoid Subtext

It has been my experience that actors love to use subtext in their auditions and in their actual work. However, subtext for the sake of subtext is not interesting enough. If it is an accompaniment to the major objective, then it creates a level of feeling and thought for the actors to play with their objectives. The subtext should be directly connected to the character's wants and needs. Subtext is like quicksand. If you rely on it, you will get stuck in it, you will begin to sink in it, you will be unable to get yourself out of the trap. If you cannot get out, you cannot progress, and you cannot move forward. An audition that does not move forward lacks a major objective, desire, and passion. You can have desire and passion, but if you get stuck in the subtextual quicksand, it will overwhelm your understanding of an objective and not allow you to move forward. be there as you strive to achieve the major objective and certainly can start to be added into your auditions as you get to...

Feeling Word

Now that you have one subject word per beat, you must determine the feeling word per beat. What is the feeling word Like the subject word, the feeling word is the word that gives you an association for the beat, but in this case, it states the overall emotions of the beat. It is the word that best describes the character's feelings on the subject during the beat. Once again, there are no right or wrong answers, just choices. I can't stress this enough. This is not a test or a scavenger hunt for the truth. Two actors auditioning for the same part and using the same sides would most likely have different subject and feeling words that is, of course, if they are using this technique. Everyone's choices will make his work individualized and specific, and that is why no two auditions are exactly the same.

Audition Philosophy

Here's my thinking, my audition philosophy. It is very simple. As actors, you must accept the fact that you are not going to book the job that you are auditioning for. Your actual chances of getting that particular role are slim to none. Now, I am not trying to set up a defeatist attitude, but rather a realistic one. What I would really like to accomplish with this philosophy is to help you avoid expectations for positive results and feedback. Actors put too much pressure on themselves when auditioning. Is this the audition that changes your life Is this the role that will allow you to quit your restaurant job Leave your temp job Is this the role that will make you famous Those pressures and anxieties are all negative influences on an actor. These pressures create an aura that is readable in the audition room. Negative elements create negative auditions. When a positive result is not accomplished, actors get down on themselves and take it personally. I am suggesting that you...

B Emmanuel Goldenberg Bucharest Romania December d January

Of short stature and lacking the conventional handsome look of leading men, Edward G. Robinson nevertheless was one of the great male stars of the studio era. Along with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, he defined Hollywood's image of the tough guy for Depression-era audiences. Beginning his acting career in the theater, Robinson made his film debut in 1923 at age thirty in The Bright Shawl (1923). He became famous in 1931 in the archetypal gangster film Little Caesar, portraying the criminal Enrico Caesar Bandello, a hoodlum who rises to the top and then makes his inevitable fall.

The Breakdown Services

The most commonly used method of communicating to agents and managers what actors are needed for which auditions is done through Breakdown Services. The Breakdown Services is an independent company that sends a list of all of the projects that are casting to all agents and managers who pay for the service. This list is sent out Monday through Friday, every week of the year, and includes all branches of the entertainment industry films, television, commercials, special appearances, and all types of theater. The producers, directors, and casting agents who post the auditions with Breakdown Services can do so free of charge. You must be a franchised agent with the three acting unions, SAG, AEA, and AFTRA, or a manager referred by three franchised agents in order to subscribe to the Breakdown Services. It is illegal for anyone else, including actors, to receive eo the breakdowns. cameo, etc. The agents and managers sign a confidentiality agreement that they will not release the breakdown...

Do It As Often As You

There are so many things that one can say about auditions and how to handle them, but I think the most important advice is to do as many of them as you possibly can. That way, you can develop your own strengths in presenting yourself experience is the best teacher in this matter. There are many aspects of yourself that will only come to light in practice they cannot be guessed at or assumed beforehand. Just as I would suggest not to prejudge your character's behavior, I would suggest not to prejudge your own behavior under the pressure of auditioning. You never know how any given situation will make you react, and often, your own assessment of the situation will be incorrect. So, don't be harsh on yourself just keep auditioning.

The Typical Movie Audition

Unlike theatrical auditions, where they normally ask you to prepare two contrasting monologues, the typical movie audition requires an actor to You arrive early, pick up the sides, go into the hallway, the stairwell, the bathroom, or if you feel there's enough time, out into the street, read the sides, decide what to do, and go in to take the audition. Sometimes, if the director is there, or the casting agent is sympathetic, you'll receive more information about the part just seconds before you are expected to do it for the camera. You're expected to be flexible and take any adjustment as a compliment that they are interested in what you are doing, but they would just like you to add something else. Always keep what you have going for you and add what they have suggested. Never let an adjustment throw you into believing that everything you have chosen is wrong just permit their adjustment to affect your work. When it's your turn to audition, you'll go into a small room (usually,...

Rehearsing the Audition Monologue

One word of caution Don't get too married to your own words. What I mean is, when I used to use some of my own monologues for auditions, there was always a part of me (the writer part) that wanted to make sure that the auditors heard every one of my terrific words. By keeping this as your intention, you can lose the focus of what you're really trying to say in your monologue. They'll hear all your fabulous words, but they won't be getting the deeper meaning, the character's intention. In rehearsal, try working more with images, thoughts, and intentions, rather than just on memorizing the words themselves.

Different Incarnations

When I started auditioning after college, I'd go into the auditions, shake the auditors' hands, and say hello, and they'd quite often say, Do you have an act I suppose they knew I was a comedienne and assumed that I had an act. At that point, I didn't. But what was bothering me at that time was that I couldn't get to the next rung in my career. I couldn't get the kind of parts that I wanted.

Preproduction The Script Casting And Locations

The casting director is responsible for auditioning and selecting the actors, as agreed with the director and producer, and for negotiating their contracts. Sometimes one casting director auditions major roles, while one or more local casting directors hire supporting actors for location filming. Extras casting may be performed by yet another person or agency.

Once the Writing Is Finished

voice off, your problems are simpler. Your key concern then becomes to find the best voice to carry the message of your film. Sometimes you have exactly the right person in mind. If you don't, try a few auditions on tape. Have your would-be narrators read a few film passages and then play them back against the picture to see which works best.

Youve Made It to the Callback

Previously, in chapters 10 and 11, you were given the golden keys to auditioning how to slate why you shouldn't rewrite scripts how to pick a good kid to work with how to work with a camera how to keep going when you screw up and so on. All of that knowledge is doubly useful at the callback because this time, it's for all the marbles. Use everything. I mean it.

What to Ask at the Initial Call

I've mentioned that casting directors rarely attend first calls (unless they want to get to know you and tape your little get-to-know-you chat), and there's a good reason for this. They're either on the phone with ad agencies and talent agents, or they're running callback sessions that require their ultimate attention since the agency and director are in the house. They're often doing all these things at the same time, so they leave first calls to their assistants. There are usually two assistants One outside in the lobby, wrangling the herd, and the video operator inside the studio. The lobby assistant (or the casting director) should answer two very important questions for you Two Ask, When are the callbacks being held If you're not going to be available for the callback, the casting director is going to wonder, Why should we bother with auditioning you and you should politely excuse yourself. If you insist on auditioning, anyway, the casting director is going to feel you're wasting...

The Eighties And Nineties

A funny bit at the Winky Dinky Hot Dog Stand, and the lead character Bobby Taylor (Townsend) auditioning for Jive Time Jimmie's Revenge where he is told he is not black enough. Townsend himself has said that when that happened to him in real life, he made the decision to make his own movie. The result is this realistic look at a black actor's life in the business.

Zhang Yimou b Xian Shaanxi China November

Zhang Yimou is a director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and cinematographer who, along with Chen Kaige, took China's cinema to an esteemed international level. A graduate of Beijing Film Academy, Zhang began his career as a cinematographer, drawing attention for his work on Yi ge he ba ge (One and Eight, 1984). He also was cinematographer for Huang tu di (Yellow Earth, 1984), which is regarded as the signature work of China's Fifth Generation of filmmakers. He also won three best actor awards from various groups for his role in Lao jing (Old Well, 1987).

What About Asking What Are You Looking

This is a real loaded question, because so often there really isn't a concise answer.There are a couple of reasons for this First, even though the agency and director have given casting specs to the casting director, many times they won't know what they want until they actually see it living and breathing in front of them. What's more, the information you receive can get lost in translation. Truth is, casting directors can't fully depend on agents to impart information to actors, because they rarely talk to the agents directly. One casting director described it this way I'll talk to some low-level assistant named 'Christy,' and she probably doesn't even know half the people she's talking to if it's a casting director or the talent or whoever and sometimes, Christy hands that information off to someone else who puts out the call to the actors. After a roundabout game of 'telephone' like that, it's amazing anybody even shows up in the correct wardrobe. If there is an answer to, What are...

What to Ask at the Callback

The casting director should be an obvious presence at the callback, and there are a couple of crucial facts you should know. If the casting director isn't too harried, you should get an answer to these questions. Commercials change all the time. Often, the agency goes to school on info gleaned from viewing the initial casting tapes, and if we find that a line or an action doesn't play, we'll rewrite it and bring the new idea to the callback. Frequently, the client may have had a hiccup over some piece of action, and that'll cause a rewrite. A hundred different events could spur script changes, and knowing this possibility gives you a legitimate reason to ask relevant questions about the concept or the part. ( This spot has changed. Is it still about the same thing ) Sometimes the casting director will even gather everybody around and impart a valuable tidbit, such as a line to be aware of or an approach to the scene. Listen up. This info may be coming from the director himself.

Casting In The Contemporary Cinema

The prevalence today of the independent casting director is one of the results of the end of the studio system. In the 1950s fewer films each year were produced, as opposed to financed or distributed, by the studios. The number of actors under contract dwindled to insignificance by the early 1960s. Casts now had to be assembled from scratch. Independent casting directors who were hired on a film-by-film basis emerged to fill the need. The first to build lasting careers were Lynn Stalmaster and Marion Dougherty. While Dougherty, based in New York, learned her craft in the breakneck world of live television drama in the 1950s, Stalmaster worked out of Hollywood, casting TV episodes just as the film studios began to reconvert many of their soundstages for the production of television series. Stalmaster's first major theatrical film was I Want to Live (1958), a realistic biopic of Barbara Graham, a convicted murderess executed in California in 1955. Its producer, Walter Wanger...

Not Knowing When Its Over

However, when a director says to the casting director, Look, can you have Michelle hang around for a minute that means he likes you enough to have you come back in and read with another actor.You know what to do. Relax, but stay focused. And try not to smile too openly. This happens a lot. After an actor exits the audition studio, the director and the agency confer and someone will pipe up, You know, there was something about that girl that was really appealing and I think we missed it. Can we get her back in here for a minute and try directing her to do such and such The director says okay and sends the casting director out to the waiting area to find her. But too late she's gone, headed for the car, thinking about what a bad job she did.

Articulating The Description

Although these standard categories are used less and less because there is so much crossing over, it is helpful to identify for the casting director or the Breakdown Service the category that your search involves. What is really needed is a specific and articulate description of the role you're trying to fill. This is where the process frays for many because the usual descriptive paragraph is often so general that it might well imply the inclusion of just about every actor in America. Let me give you an example of what I mean with a sample of a typical paragraph So the first step is to master the art of writing the character description for the casting director, the breakdown service, or the ad in such a way as to maximize communication and minimize unwanted response. Here is where the concept of specificity becomes of primary importance. Let us go back to our prototype, Ordinary People, and the role of Conrad. What are the words that would bring in actors who are as close to the...

Remember What You Wear Should Simply Indicate The Character

But what about parts that could be considered more characteristic, like a chef or a bellhop or a surgeon In cases like these the casting director should provide a white chef's toque or a bellhop's jacket or a surgeon's blue smock. Hopefully you'll be told ahead of time that there will be something on hand for you to wear. But, to be on the safe side, have some clothes available that you can use to indicate these characters. For instance, a white jacket could indicate a doctor, a dentist, a lab technician, a chef, or even a waiter. It's all you need.

The Percentwhy Some Actors Work And Most Others Dont

The 80 percent of people who come in to audition who have no clue how to audition for commercials. Ask any casting director and they'll tell you that no matter how serious actors are, 80 percent don't know what they're doing. It's obviously true. Time after time during casting sessions, some agency person will be reviewing audition tapes, stop, look up to heaven, and ask, Why are they sending us these weenies In my talks with casting directors about what they look for in an actor when he or she arrives at a call, veteran L.A. casting guru Dorothy

You Have to Be Right for the Part

Casting directors will always send their best choices of types based on our specs. Still, if you come in and we have a definite idea for the part and you ain't it, hey, that's no skin off your nose. Better luck next time. However, casting directors will often let us know they've auditioned a few actors who are against type, and they'll bring in some off-the-wall people. Every once in awhile someone will show up who makes us go, Hey, we didn't think of that kind of person And sometimes the actor will get called back.

Safeguarding Your Resume and Headshots

Performer seeking roles, you must constantly provide it, along with certain personal information, to agents, managers and casting directors. But use caution. Unauthorized strangers with bad intentions can sometimes gain access to your image and information, then repurpose, digitally alter, or sell them on the black market without your knowledge. While SAG continues to work with auction giant eBay in an effort to thwart this activity, it wants to offer some fundamental tools that will help protect you and your family. Guard your reputation and keep your confidential information private 9. Like most people these days, you probably use e-mail. We suggest you maintain multiple e-mail addresses for different purposes. For instance, it may be useful to maintain a private e-mail address a professional e-mail address for agents, casting directors and managers a registration e-mail address for registering on a website that requires your e-mail or at which you can receive general e-mail and a...

Promotion through Distribution

Our trailers are in a bunch of different places, says Ruben of Amaze Films' promotional strategy. We advertise both a short series and feature series. In addition to working with Akimbo we also do a lot of print advertisement. If you look in Filmmaker Magazine, MovieMaker, or Film Thread you might see banners advertising our films. We also have screenings in Los Angeles and New York. We have an ongoing Los Angeles event called Scene, which takes place on Wednesdays at Cinespace where we showcase films from our catalog. It's a good opportunity for our filmmakers to get additional exposure. We have production companies, casting directors, and agents come out, so it's a very industry oriented event.

Never Wanted to Be a Writer

I had graduated from the Performing Arts High School and went on to the North Carolina School for the Arts. I ultimately dropped out because the goal was to go back to New York after four years and audition for the same agents, casting directors, and producers I had auditioned for when I was at Performing Arts. I stopped looking through Back Stage and returning calls from the agents who were calling me for work that I just couldn't relate to, or didn't connect to. The material that was around just seemed ridiculous to me.

You Cant Let the Past Run Your Life Looking For Alibrandi

Looking For Alibrandi is directed by Kate Woods, one of a new generation of Australian film directors who move easily between the film and television industries. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Melena Marchetta, who also wrote the screenplay. The award-winning novel was first published by Penguin in 1992 and is an all-time favourite book for thousands of Australian teenagers. On the book's impact on teenagers of the 1990s, director Woods is quoted in media releases as saying that when actors were auditioning for parts in the film they all lined up for Marchetta to sign their copies of Looking for Alibrandi.9 She also says they wanted to meet the writer because everyone could identify with the book so much. It is, she says, 'universally loved', as indicated by its success here in Australia, as well as in Denmark, Italy, Germany, Spain, Norway and Canada. But as the director insists, the story is distinctly Australian. For Woods, it was important that the film bring...

Lynn Stalmaster b Omaha Nebraska

A pioneer of the profession, Lynn Stalmaster is credited with helping cast 228 films and 150 television series and television movies in his fifty years as an independent casting director. A former actor and a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), he began by casting television episodes. The volume of work involved in casting weekly episodes with just a few days notice moved him to open his own casting office. Stalmaster convinced the producers of the hit western Gunsmoke (1955-1975) to spread a much wider casting net and fill their show with new faces not usually seen on westerns. Stalmaster soon became a magnet for new talent from all over the world for such prime-time network television series as Have Gun, Will Travel (1957-1964), The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), and The Untouchables (1959-1963). With his partner James Lister (1926-1969), Stalmaster cast the compelling dramatic film I Want to Live (1958), and his company became a valuable resource for...

Guidelines for creating short or audition monologues

There are several attributes that a good short monologue (audition monologue, character monologue) should include. It should generally be two to eight minutes in length. Because of its brevity, your story shouldn't be too complex or convoluted. I don't advise spending too much time on exposition in a short monologue, since it tends to drag the piece down and bore your audience. Although narrative short monologues do work, monologues that include strong, immediate dialogue and have an intense, passionate, and exciting story are generally much more effective, especially for auditions where you want to wow them. You should create characters that you know you're capable of playing and 5 that are within your grasp as a writer. Take into consideration the pressure you'll be under while auditioning. This is not a time to emotionally stretch. Work on characters that show off your best assets as an actor. If you're not good at physical comedy or gut-wrenching emotions, don't create characters...

How To Get A Script To A Sag Actor

But how do you find out which actor is represented by which agent If you're working with a casting director, don't worry about it that's part of her job. But if you're trying to get a script to an actor by yourself, here again, SAG comes to the rescue.The SAG Actors to Locate service provides contact information for SAG member's agents. Simply dial the toll-free number and get agent information on up to three SAG actors per phone call. It can be extremely helpful having your script submitted by your casting agent or your attorney. Casting Directors. Hiring an experienced casting director may seem like a luxury on a low-budget independent film. However, it can mean the difference between hiring a known actor and casting a lead whose only experience is community theater. Casting directors add credibility to a project it signals to the actor's agent that you are professional. It cannot be stressed strongly enough until you have built a reputation in the film industry, you'll have to...

Howard Hawks b Goshen Indiana May d December

As well as racing cars and planes, the young Howard Hawks also worked vacations in the property department of Hollywood's Famous Players-Lasky studios. After serving as an army pilot in World War I and working in the aircraft industry, Hawks returned to Hollywood in the early 1920s as a cutter, assistant director, story editor, and casting director before writing screenplays and selling the story The Road to Glory (1926) to Fox on condition that he also direct. Thereafter, Hawks worked for over forty years in Hollywood as director, producer, and writer, one of the few filmmakers whose careers spanned the silent period, the heyday of the studio system, and the poststudio period, making over forty major features.

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After 200 auditions, James Woods was eventually cast as Max he had previously acted in The Way We Were (1973), Night Moves (1975) and David Cronenberg's controversial Videodrome (1983). Elizabeth McGovern, as Deborah, had appeared in Robert Redford's Ordinary People (1980). Tuesday Weld had debuted in Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1956) and was a veteran of such classics as Sex Kittens go to College (1960) and The Cincinnati Kid (1965). Burly New Yorker Burt Young, cast as Joe, had appeared in Chinatown and the 'Rocky' boxing series. Joe Pesci had already shared the screen with De Niro in Raging Bull, as Jake LaMotta's brother and manager Joey. Of Italian-American descent, Pesci was ideal as boss hood Frankie Menaldi. Scott Tyler was well cast as young Noodles, while to add depth to the mystery, Rusty Jacobs played both the young Max and Secretary Bailey's teenage son, David. Producer Arnon Milchan had a cameo as a limo chauffeur.

Nationalization Of The Film Industry

The formal beginning of state cinema in socialist Yugoslavia is dated 13 December 1944, when the Communist leader, Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980), established a film section in the state administration. The cultural significance of film was elevated through the centralization of the film industry which was governed by a number of federal committees between 1945 and 1951. Consequently, each republic was granted a film company (Jadran Film in Zagreb, Aval Film and Zvezda Film in Belgrade, Triglav Film in Ljubljana), and a film archive (Kinoteka, established 1949) and film school (Film Academy, established 1950) were opened in Belgrade. Films depicting the battles of Tito's partisans characterized the early films produced by the new regime. Slavica (Vjekoslav Afric, 1947) is the first Yugoslav feature film and quite predictably deals with the conquests of the resistance. The glorification of the partisans gave way to films portraying the postwar reconstruction and the building of a new...

Great Britain Director Ken Loach

Awards British Independent Film Awards for Best Director of an Independent British Film, Best British Independent Film, and Best Original Screenplay, 1998 Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award (Peter Mullan), 1998 Danish Film Critics Award (Bodil) for Best Non-American Film, 1998 Danish Film Academy Award (Robert) for Best Non-American Film, 1998 London Critics Circle Award for Best British Newcomer of the Year (Peter Mullan), 1999.

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