Carolyne Barry Commercials

Improvisation is Crucial to an Actor’s Career

I always suggest that actors take Improvisation workshop either before, during or immediately after they take a commercial class and/or acting class.  It is important in the development of your acting craft. The freedom and confidence you get from studying Improv well will be very helpful to do better Commercial and Theatrical auditions and thus help you start booking jobs.  Also, so many auditions today do not have dialogue and require Improv skills therefore commercial agents are more interested in actors (especially new actors) who have professionally studied improvisation because agents know that it will be easier to them auditions.

I strongly suggest you find a teacher or institution that specializes in Improvisation.  A lot of studios mix in the Improv training with acting, commercial and cold-reading.  This is not really offering the maximum value of studying Improvisation.  Then, some teachers offer it as an on-going class.  There are several problems with this format.

  1. You won’t be able to continually build on your progress when you are constantly going back to the basics when new people start. 
  2. Improv classes work best when it is a nurturing, supportive environment which is difficult to establish when it is not a unified group for a prolonged period of time. 
  3. It is difficult to move up the ladder of the more challenging games and technique when everyone isn’t on the same level.

I strongly believe that Improvisation should be a second training workshop along with your acting class or commercial workshop.  Your acting or audition training is focused on the techniques specific to whatever discipline of training you choose – motivation, emotional connection, subtext, character life, pre-life and after-life, etc.  Whereas strong improvisation training focuses on creativity, commitment, listening, trusting instincts, supporting the other actor and building confidence.  When both acting or audition training and Improv are studied at the same time, you will get more out of your technique class and you will be ready to start auditioning sooner.

iDalis Hosting

How to Find a Talent Agent, Part 1

By iDalis De Leon
How to Get a Talent Agent

  1. First and foremost ask yourself AM I READY FOR A TALENT AGENT?

    *Here is a guideline to determining if you are ready for an agent:

    A) If you have demo reel footage of you speaking five lines or less, you are not ready.
    B) If you don’t have great headshots, you are not ready.
    C) If you don’t have a reel with evidence of your insanely unique, fantastic talent brand abilities, then you are not ready.
    D) If you are not excited about your own talent brand, then you are not ready.
    E) If you have no idea how to sell yourself as an ACTOR or TV HOST..then you are not ready

    If you are not ready for an agent according to the criteria above then…proceed to tip #2.

  2. DO THE WORK- Do enough work that they come looking for you. The biggest misconception about agents is that they are the answer to getting you auditions and ultimately work. Actors and TV hosts get the auditions through a great presentation of marketing materials they’ve passed on to their agent. Namely your headshot, reel and resume. Securing an Agent is not a magic pill. Although talent is indeed submitted by the agent, in the end, the partnership of your great talent brand, marketing materials and your agents longstanding relationships with casting directors and producers gets the auditions. They have relationships with casting they’ve built for years. Yes they can help but the talents headshot, their acting abilities and tv host brand, the quality of their work, and reputation in the end really gets the audition. The truth is agents want you to book your 10 percent, to pull your 10 percent of weight- from the 100 percent of talents they have on their roster.

*Agents are praying that you will:

a) Be a great actor but more importantly be a great AUDITIONER.
b) Be a great actor but more importantly have great HEADSHOTS that get you in the room.
c) Be a great actor but more importantly have killer REEL that closes deals.
d) Be a great actor but more importantly have a real grasp of yourself as a HUMAN BEING & be easy to work with.

Agents need all the help they can get. Agents won’t and are not expected to do ALL THE WORK for 10% of your little paycheck. Do the work, show up and the agent will show up.

An agent wants someone who is booking. Get the work done ANY WAY YOU CAN. Do WHAT EVER IT TAKES to get it on screen. Get credits and get seen. Then and only then are you ready for an agent. When you show evidence that you are ready to go on auditions that are at a higher level then you are ready for an agent.

So if you are ready for an agent, proceed to Part 11 in the next blog- if not- get to work!

Joe Tremaine

You’ll Never Make It in This Town?

by: Joe Tremaine

Years ago in New York City, I auditioned for a choreographer from Los Angeles who was casting a series of variety shows to be shot in Amsterdam.  I booked the job!  The choreographer liked my work and when that job was done, he told me he would be choreographing a new TV variety series at NBC in “beautiful downtown Burbank” starring Jerry Lewis.  This choreographer offered me a job on the project.  I took it immediately and moved to Los Angeles one month later.
 
A couple of weeks into the Jerry Lewis TV show, another choreographer was watching our rehearsal.  He later approached and informed me, “You will never make it in this town!” 
 
Needless to say I was stunned by his frankness. 

Is that what it was, frankness?  Or was it jealousy?  Stupidity?  Bitterness? 
 
I didn’t really know what his intent was, nor did I care because that statement “put me over the edge”!  His simple statement, whatever the intent, may have been the thing that catapulted me into a very successful career in Los Angeles!  Which, I may add, has lasted for over FOUR DECADES and is still going STRONG! 
 
I am a hard worker and always have been. But somehow his single statement caused me to push a little harder and a little longer toward each thing I wanted in my career.  I am now thankful for his input, whatever the intent.
 
Always remember, especially in this day and age, that people can say/text/post the “damnedest things,” but you must rise above them and continue on your positive path.  Don’t let ANYONE derail your dreams in any way!  Stick to your “love” of this business and GO FOR IT no matter what crazy things “they” may say or do!

Donald the Dialect Coach

The Secret to Being an Engaging Speaker

by: Donald the Dialect Coach

We all want to be engaging speakers.

Some people seem to do it naturally, however it is a skill that can be learned. 

How can you make your voice interesting? How can you engage with material immediately? How can you make choices right away (even when cold reading)?

USE THE VERBS!

This trick alone will TRANSFORM your auditioning.

When you’re reading a sentence, find the action verbs and use them. A verb expresses action or a relationship between two things. Wait a minute – that’s what acting is all about! It’s no wonder that this tip will cause you grow as an actor immediately.

When we watch movies, what do we want to see? ACTION.

When we are speaking, we need to speak the action with our voice for the person listening. We can’t literally pantomime each thing we talk about, but we can milk our action verbs and make the audience feel as if they were there.

The great thing about verbs is that we can make them sound like what they mean. For example, The word trampled sounds like what it means. So does love, hate, fear, accept, deny, free, etc. 

You get the picture 🙂

Your job as actors is to make these action verbs the star of each sentence that we say. All of the meaning and emotion in the sentence should be put into the action words.

Let’s use this sentence as an example: “I know they talk about me.” You may be tempted to use the pronouns, so that it sounds something like this: “I know they talk about me.”
 
Listen up, friends!  Pronouns are an actor’s worst nightmare. Okay, that’s a bit extreme but you get the point 😉
Pronouns don’t deserve our attention 90% of the time.

Picture this: 
Your best friend walks into your house, slams his car keys down and says, “I know they talk about me.” He doesn’t need to point to himself when he says, “me” in order for you to know that he’s talking about himself, does he?  Nope, It’s understood. Likewise, he doesn’t need to point away from himself when he says, “they”. It’s understood.

When we stress a word it’s like we’re pointing at it with our voice. The meaning in the sentence is contained within the verbs.

“I know they talk about me.”The way he says the word “know” answers two important questions. 

  1. How does he know?
  2.      AND

  3. How does he feel about knowing?

The same is true for the word “talk.”The verbs are the meat of every sentence. Pronouns are just filler.  Yes, you have to say the pronouns in a sentence, but you don’t have to use them.You will be amazed at how quickly using the verbs will impact your acting.

Happy Training,
Donald www.TheAccentSwitch.com

Blue8 Productions

Stunt work is acting too!

by: Blue8 Productions

Yes, you read correctly. Action tells a story! Amazing stunt men and women know that fight sequences are not just a string of kicks and punches, but a great story telling device that can reveal a lot about the character. It takes incredible artistry to it pull off.

As actors, we are constantly looking for more ways to express ourselves, tell the story, and enrich the character. Wouldn’t it be awesome to lend more of your physicality to your work? We aren’t saying everyone needs to go practice high falls or set themselves on fire, but training yourself to be physically able to perform basic stunts and fight sequences will indeed help you to become a more versatile artist and performer.

Action drives the story forward.

How boring would some of our favorite blockbusters be without the amazing action sequences that had you sitting at the edge of your seat, white knuckling the arm rest, laughing, then crying, gasping, then sighing in relief?! Remember that awesome “hell yeah!” feeling you got at the beginning of The Avengers when the Black Widow kicks a supreme amount of ass from a chair? Not possible without action actress Heidi Moneymaker doubling for Scarlett Johansson. Anyone see Lone Survivor? Their actors went through an actual Navy Seal training program, where they did special operations conditioning and tactical training just so they could portray an incredible story.

As our own Blue8 Tactical Advisors say, “Legitimate creativity is rooted in reality.”

Looking to get started? Wanna dip your toe in the stunt pool? Come on in the water is fine! Here at Blue8 we train multiple disciplines to ready our bodies for anything the entertainment industry can throw at it! From Kung Fu to Yoga, Dance to Parkour and Military Tactics; we love it all and practice on a regular basis. Throw in a few specialty workshops and you are well on your way to feeling more confident in those action film auditions, not to mention the built in physical fitness benefits that come along with it.

Now go clear out some space on the special skills section of your resume! You’re going to need it! 🙂 

Savvy Actor Business

How to Bridge the Gap Between Actor and Working Actor

by Savvy Actor Co-Founder Kevin Urban

Let’s talk business. Starting a business is one of the riskiest things anyone can do. If an entrepreneur were starting a business, there are certain beginning steps that would be followed. They would…

  1. Create a Business Plan Which would include: (Download the 6 Savvy Steps eBook if you haven’t already!)
  2. Company Vision
  3. Action Steps to achieve that vision
  4. Branding/Product Definition
  5. Marketing
  6. Sales
  7. Financials
  8. Define Their Product
  9. Design a logo
  10. Create Their Sales Pitch
  11. Gather Financing
  12. Implement said Business Plan

Being an artist is a risky venture, yet most artists forgo step 1 mentioned above and start with steps 3 or 4. It’s understood that actors need to market, but so many leave out the product definition phase or branding. They let others define them because they are scared to make a choice and uncertain because they assume they have no control over their career.

I’m here to say that a business plan will give you the who, the how and the why of your business, while also giving you direction to the career that you desire. And ultimately, it is up to you to understand your vision, so that you can communicate that vision with the people who can help you…agents, casting directors, directors, producers, grandma…you get my point. By effectively communicating what you want, you can drive your career.

When you wing it…you take a risk. I say, why add more risk by not having a plan?

Be smart, be savvy, and be successful. Know what you want, what you sell, and what your strategy is to achieve your success. Create a business plan for your career and help yourself feel empowered to achieve your goals.

Carolyne Barry Commercials

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Teacher

By: Carolyne Barry

There are numerous acting techniques and methods. The more popular ones in the United Stares are Meisner, Strasberg, Adler and Hagen techniques. Most teachers have their own version of the established approaches. Some combine styles and others create their own technique. Investigate to see which one feels like a fit for you – the way you process and create. Then audit the teachers who specialize in that approach until you find the one with whom you connect.

AUDIT: As it relates to acting classes: to be a non-participating observer. Auditors watch and are not allowed to work, ask question or give comments.

When you audit, do you know what to look for and the factors to evaluate?

I suggest you ask about and contemplate the following:

  • * it the teacher your auditing (YOUR Teacher)
  • * compatibility
  • * number of students in the class
  • * how often you will work in each class
  • * class policies
  • * cost / payment policies
  • * class level(s)

VERY important is the teacher’s approach and atyle. To determine that: Ask yourself these questions in order to determine if the teacher(s) you are considering is a fit for you:

  • * Does their style or approach make sense and appeal to you?
  • * Is there a technique that the students understand and can apply or is he/she just teaching tricks or giving direction that produces flashy, instant performances?
  • * After he/she works with actors, do you see an improvement in their work?
  • * Does the teacher utilize the class time well: starting punctually, allotting time and giving attention equally to all the students, dealing directly with what is needed and not going off on ego trips or telling too many stories of their accomplishments or bad
    experiences?
  • * Is the teacher constructive and supportive as he/she critiques and directs students?

Audit several teachers and then compare the answers and then you can make an informed decision on who will be the best acting teacher for you and who you will want to stay with for a year or two or more.