Two Ways Actors Can Use Snapchat

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Snapchat’s photo-sharing platform with its ten-second shot restriction, amusing filters, editing features, and geotags are popular among kids and adults alike. But the trendy app can also be quite a resource for actors. Whether actors utilize Snapchat to promote their personal brand or use it to create short movies, the possibilities are endless.

Promoting Your Personal Brand

Promoting yourself can include snapping humorous videos, selfies, behind-the-scenes footage, and glimpses of your personal life. Here are some celebrity actors Snapchat who have open-to-the-public accounts to make sure they stay on the minds of their fans.

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Nick Jonas (jicknonas)

One of the Jonas Brothers, Nick is known for both his singing as well as his acting. He starred in the Disney Channel’s Camp Rock, had a recurring role in Fox’s Scream Queens, and is cast with Dwayne Johnson in Jumanji to be released later this year. Nick often snaps while casually roaming about Hollywood. In this one, he simply gives his fans a quick glimpse of his New Year’s vacation snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain.

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Shay Mitchell (officialshaym)

Shay Mitchell snaps often. Her content includes adventures on the Pretty Little Liars set, her mega workout routines, and moments with family and friends galore. In this snap, she documents her grief while leaving her beloved Pretty Little Liars cast and crew on their final day of shooting. But not to worry; Shay also has snapped about the new movie she stars in, Cadaver, in which she plays an ex-cop who works the graveyard shift at the morgue.

Certainly, not all actors’ careers are quite at the level of Jonas and Mitchell, but snapping about current or upcoming roles, or sharing anything that seems unique or interesting is made easy via the Snapchat platform. And it’s a great way to keep yourself on the radar of those who matter in your career.

Creating Short Movies

Originally, Snapchat provided a platform in which users were unable to go back and edit sequences. But in July of last year, it added a feature called “Memories” which works like a holding bin for photos and videos that can be added to a Snapchat story later on. This affords more editing power for the user. However, before Memories was added, the Tribeca Film Festival partnered up with Samsung Electronics America to invite Snapchat filmmakers to screen their movies at their festival. Entries had to be shot exclusively on the app, and could not exceed 200 seconds. So, with the 10-second shot restriction, and the inability to edit their shots or sequences, the ten winning filmmakers in the festival demonstrated how such tight restrictions could produce imaginative works. Here are two of the winners.

The Secret Stash

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No Pencils

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The top-ten Snapchat movies at Tribeca were described as uniquely intimate and having serious cinematic value. And now since Snapchat added the Memories feature with more editing control, filmmakers have a more pliable medium with which to work. And there’s really no limit as to how long a Snapchat movie can run. In fact, Indigenous Media has already released a feature-length film entitled Sickhouse using the app, and released it via Snapchat and later on Vimeo. While this kind of filming is not for everyone, for those low on technical or financial resources, it has potential.

Comedian YouTube Stars

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Aspiring comedians these days can put their humorous commodity out to audiences without ever having to step foot on a stand-up stage. Thanks to avenues like YouTube, comics can take their creativity and freedom, and connect with potentially multitudes of fans with relative ease. Here are some comic artists who have found a way to follow their hearts and talent, and make a lucrative living in the process.

Internet comedy duo Rhett and Link consists of Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III. Their content includes comedy songs, a daily morning talk-show called Good Mythical Morning, and their YouTube Red series Buddy System. Among their channels, they’ve garnered over 18 million subscribers. A steady output of viral videos reportedly earns them about 486 thousand dollars per year. The two men met in first grade in North Carolina. Because they both were caught writing swear words on tables, they had to stay inside the classroom during recess time. Their friendship was born, and continued to blossom. In middle-school, they signed a blood oath stating: “We will do something together some day.” Rhett and Link attended college together and were even roommates–and their bond remains strong as ever with both men living in Los Angeles running the production company Mythical Entertainment. Here is their Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek which has about 34,000,000 views.

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Canadian YouTube comedian, actress, vlogger Lilly Singh, also known as Superwoman, specializes in voices, accents, and impersonations. As her parents are originally from Punjab, India, Lilly often portrays Punjabi culture in her satirical videos. She delves into topics about everyday life, controversies, as well as humorous complaints. Singh also launched a talk-show series called #GirlLove which serves as a platform to promote a support system within the female population. Her videos have received more than 1.6 billion views, and garnered over 10.6 million subscribers. This makes her one of the most successful YouTube personalities yet. In fact, Forbes reported that she earned a whopping 7.5 million dollars in 2016. Singh released her first feature film in 2016 entitled A Trip to Unicorn Island. Before creating YouTube content, Singh was suffering from depression and feeling very lonely during her last year of college. But she discovered uploading a video to YouTube caused her to feel happy. And at this rate, she must be very, very happy.

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Smosh is a web-based sketch comedy duo consisting of Ian Hecox and Daniel “Anthony” Padilla. In the beginning, Padilla built a website called smosh.com to post Flash animations. But it wasn’t long before his sixth-grade science-class friend, Hecox, joined him as the two discovered their comedic rapport. At first, their funny videos were intended for their own viewing pleasure and sharing with friends. But when they received positive feedback for their lip-syncing videos to theme songs like Power Rangers, they decided to create a YouTube channel. Indeed, when they posted a Pokemon-theme music video, it garnered over 24 million views, but it had to be removed for copyright reasons. Smosh then started creating more channels for their YouTube videos including skits like Food Battle; a games section along with video-game themed music videos; they delved into pop-culture trivia; and launched several web series. Most recently, Smosh created the film Ghostmates for YouTube Red which was released in December. Smosh has over 22 million subscribers, 6 billion video views, and reportedly makes about 4.5 million dollars per year.

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These YouTube comedians dared to start their channels not knowing where their adventure would take them. They embraced who they were and maintained a strong emphasis on their personal relationships. When they received positive feedback from viewers, they went with it and evolved over time. And they continue to evolve and expand their horizons, making a good living all the while.

Carrie Fisher and Her Mother Debbie Reynolds Die One Day Apart

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2016 has been a year marked with much loss in the celebrity world, and this past week the passing of the beloved stars Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds has only added to the grief.

Carrie Fisher was born in the spotlight to her famous parents entertainer Eddie Fisher and legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. Carrie debuted in the movie Shampoo in 1975 when she was 18 years old opposite Warren Beatty. But her defining role was playing the iconic heroine Princess Leia in the sci-fi series Star Wars. Her character was feisty, wise, and bold enough to stand up to Darth Vader. Fisher reprised the role of Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the age of 59. She also appeared in more than 90 film and tv productions including Hannah and Her Sisters, When Harry Met Sally…, and The Blues Brothers.

Fisher was also an acclaimed author, writing screenplays and eight books including the semi-autobiographical comedic novel Postcards from the Edge about an actress who is a recovering addict. It was later turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep. And just recently, she released the memoire entitled The Princess Diarist in which she revealed she had an affair with her Star Wars costar Harrison Ford when she was 19 years old.

Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60 due to a heart attack just days after falling critically ill while traveling on an airplane. She left behind her mother, the talented Debbie Reynolds, who in turn posted, “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carrie’s Mother.”

But in a sudden turn of events, Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, describes how his mom said, “I want to be with Carrie.” He told the AP, “And then she was gone. She’s now with Carrie, and we’re all heartbroken.” Sadly, Debbie died at the age of 84 just one day after losing her daughter. The cause of death has been described as a severe stroke, but many argue she died from a broken heart. Indeed, Reynolds was at her daughter’s home in Beverly Hills helping to plan Carrie’s funeral when she suffered the stroke.

Debbie Reynolds is most remembered for the iconic role of Kathy Selden in the celebrated musical film Singin’ in the Rain. In one of the popular scenes, a 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds, alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, performs the exuberant song-and-dance number Good Morning which can be seen in the clip below. Other films the multi-talented Reynolds starred in include How the West Was Won, Tammy and the Bachelor, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The mother and daughter were known to be very devoted to one another through all the ups and downs in their relationship. Carrie had a brutally honest demeanor and spoke openly about her personal struggles over the years. Whether it be her challenges with bipolar disorder, drug addictions, or the strained relationship with her mother, Carrie felt compelled to share these stories with the world. Even in the end, the mother and daughter’s homes shared the same driveway, and they spoke with each other every day.

The upcoming HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher chronicles the unbreakable bond between the two stars over the past 60 years. The HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told Variety that it’s a “love story about a mother and daughter” which “Carrie wanted to make…for Debbie, and Debbie wanted to make it for Carrie.” The premiere for the documentary will only be set after careful consideration due to the circumstances.

But here are some quotes by Carrie about her mother to give a glimpse of their rapport:

“If anything, my mother taught me how to sur-thrive. That’s my word for it. She would go through these amazingly difficult things, and the message was clear: Doing the impossible is possible. It’s just not fun,” she once told the New York Times during an interview.

During a 2015 SAG Awards speech Carrie said of her mom, “She has been more than a mother to me. Not much, but definitely more. She’s been an unsolicited stylist, interior decorator, and marriage counselor.”

And earlier this year, Carrie told NPR, “She annoys me sometimes when she’s mad at the nurses, but she’s an extraordinary woman. Extraordinary. There’s very few women from her generation who worked like that, who just kept going all her life, and raised children, and had horrible relationships, and lost all her money, and got it back again. I mean, she’s had an amazing life, and she’s someone to admire.”

Rest in peace, Carrie and Debbie.

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Underrated Holiday Movies

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Have you been enjoying a few of your favorite holiday movies this season, but are in the mood for more? Not sure what to choose next? Here are a few underrated holiday films to consider during this festive time of the year.

Jingle All the Way 

Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t bench press his way out of the fact that he’s forgotten to buy his son’s favorite action figure, Turbo Man, for Christmas. So, on Christmas eve the Terminator goes on an epic crusade to procure the toy of the year. Along the way, he encounters a determined enemy in Myron Larabee, played by Sinbad, who’s gradually going postal; a lecherous womanizer in the smarmy and duplicitous Ted Maltin played by a deliciously disgusting Phil Hartman; as well as a host of concerned parents, bumbling police officers, and obnoxious store clerks. The insanity of Christmas shopping is in full effect when Ah-nold goes Christmas shopping–just check out the Santa brawl!

Home Alone 2

It may seem blasphemous to rate Home Alone 2 as worthy Christmas faire given its predecessor’s monumental reputation, and the fact that the plot is pretty much exactly the same as the first incarnation. But, the sequel to the Home Alone mega-hit has its own charm and peculiar appeal. Once again we find poor defenseless Kevin battling the Wet Bandits and it seems the rest of New York City, but this time he’s holed up in a posh NYC Plaza hotel room, and he’s macking out like a boss! Haven’t we all dreamed of eating ice cream sundaes and chocolate cake while watching cheese-ball gangster films on a stolen credit card? If not, well, this film is not for you! Favorite exchange is when Kevin’s mom asks the woman at the front desk, “What kind of idiots do you have working here?” to which the proud attendant replies, “The finest in New York.”

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, has been adapted for the stage and screen with so many different interpretations it’s hard to keep track of its theatrical oeuvre. Indeed, the sad tale of a life wasted on miserly greed and enduring compunction has struck such a chord in human consciousness that the story and phraseology has become part of the very fabric of our collective existence. And there have been many wonderful adaptations along the way, including Alastair Sim’s strange and frightening turn as the old miser; the musical Scrooge in 1970 with a frail and pathetic Albert Finney; George C. Scott cutting a cantankerous and menacing Bah-Humbug; and of course Bill Murray’s unhinged but lovable take on the classic which seems to play every December. But it is Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol which captures the poignant and terrifying essence of a lonely and abandoned boy who found laconic refuge from his suffering in the pursuit of personal wealth. The musical numbers are lively and wonderful, and young Magoo’s “All Alone in the World” just might bring a lonely tear to your eye.

Krampus

There are so few Christmas horror films out there that Christmas horror can hardly be considered a genre, or even a sub genre. But regardless, Krampus does Christmas horror, and does it right. The film revolves around a little boy, Max, who has lost faith in Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the ancient evil of the Krampus on his extended family. What follows is a breakneck battle with Krampus and his demonic elves and malevolent toys. The film itself is unique in that it is funny, heartwarming, and truly horrifying! If you’re in the mood for a different kind of Christmas movie this holiday season, and you can brave the Christmas nightmares, Krampus is a joyful and wildly imaginative romp through hell!

Trading Places

In some circles, Trading Places is not considered a holiday movie. But check out Dan Ackroyd as the beleaguered Louis Winthorpe the Third drunk out of his gourd and brandishing a pistol while wearing a Santa Claus outfit; it’s Christmas time in the city! Trading Places follows Louis (a perfect snob and unapologetic one percenter) and Billy Ray Valentine played by Eddie Murphy (a grifter with a heart for the streets, and a mind for business). Both Ackroyd and Murphy give spot-on performances in this farcical tale of class warfare and holiday insanity. And Jamie Lee Curtis gives a breath of fresh air to the hooker with a heart-of-gold cliche. Yes, Trading Places is a bit dated with its 80s jokes and over-the-top situations, but it’s nonetheless hilarious and heartfelt.

What are your favorite underrated holiday films?

Riz Ahmed’s Determination to Land His ‘Rogue’ Role

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Riz Ahmed plays the volatile Rebel pilot Bodhi Rook in the huge box-office hit Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In this BBC Radio clip, he admits to being relieved when he found out he landed a part in the film. After all, he thought he’d burned all his bridges with the director. Ahmed explains it this way:

“I started spamming [Director Gareth Edwards] really aggressively….He sent me the kind of script to record the audition, and he made the mistake of giving me his email address. And I’m like a bit psycho-obsessive with my work. I love it, but I go down a black hole. It stops even being about getting a result. It’s like, ‘Oh, what if I did it like this?’ So, over the next three days I sent him like fourteen different versions of the scene. I just kept spamming him.”

Right off the bat, Ahmed emailed two approaches to the material. But when he awoke the following day and realized Edwards had not yet replied, Ahmed says:

“So instead of thinking, ‘He must be busy,’ I thought, ‘Let me just send him more.’ I just kept doing that every few hours….I kept doing like different accents and different costumes.”

Continuing, he says Edwards eventually emailed him back, writing, “Thank you for sending me all the auditions. Please stop sending me all these auditions. I’ll let you know.” A few weeks later, Ahmed was offered the role! Ahmed now jokes, “It’s amazing that I’m not in prison with a restraining order to be honest.”

Ahmed’s career is certainly on the upswing these days. He also starred in HBO’s critically lauded crime drama The Night Of playing accused murderer Nasir Khan opposite John Turturro. Indeed, both Ahmed and Turturro have received Golden Globe nominations for best actor in a miniseries or television film for their performances. Ahmed is stunned by the popularity of the eight-episode series, describing the process of getting it made “a rollercoaster.”

Riz Ahmed was born in Wembley to Pakistani parents who moved to the UK in the 1970s. His breakout role was in Nightcrawler as Rick, a jittery sidekick of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, the thief Lou Bloom. When first invited to audition, Ahmed was told he was not fit for the role, but was still permitted to audition. One of 75 actors to try for the part, Ahmed managed to stand out. Within the first minute of his audition tape, the director Dan Gilroy grew confident in Ahmed’s capabilities. Ahmed also recently played Aaron Kalloor, CEO of a social media enterprise, in Jason Bourne.

Additionally, Ahmed is a rapper known as Riz MC–half of the hip-hop duo Swet Shop Boys along with Himanshu Suri. Riz MC is featured on The Hamilton Mixtape performing in the song Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) with K’naan, Snow Tha Product, and Residente. This means two of Ahmed’s projects are simultaneously rated number-one: The Hamilton Mixtape nabbed the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart, and Rogue One ranked number one on the movie box-office chart.

It’s most likely unwise to “spam” a director you’d like to work with, or even a casting director or a producer. But it’s clear Ahmed’s single-minded focus and determination has yielded significant results in relation to his career goals. Riz has made a habit of trusting his talent and instincts with both acting and music–and it’s certainly paid off.

They Break Me Down

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A number of years ago, The Acting Center was interviewing students about their careers and experiences as actors. Many students had recounted stories of ranting teachers, trying to use tortured memories for scene work and being embarrassed in front of their fellow classmates in an effort to learn acting. One interview, from an experienced actor, stood out that day. “They all say they are breaking you down to build you back up,” he said, “but where’s the ‘building back up’ part? I just feel broken.”

He laughed. I was floored by his comment and it still haunts me.

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Acting is like any skill. Do it a lot and you get good at it. But just like riding a bike or learning to cook a soufflé, you have to get in there with the training wheels or practice making an omelet first. You certainly don’t gain confidence in yourself in an environment where you’re made to feel embarrassed or uncertain about your work.

Actor training is exactly that: it is training to know how to become a character and learning to identify and express each emotion as that unique person. A trained actor should also be able to layer on each part of a character and deliver the whole personality package—physical traits, attitudes about life, thoughts, rhythms, what the character has to say and more. And when an experienced performer does it well? The audience believes the character and is swept away in the story.

So what’s all this about “breaking down” a performer?

A performer needs to be BUILT UP at every turn. An acting school needs to provide lots of effective exercises that drill each particular skill an actor needs to be their very best at auditions, on set and on stage.

A school needs to provide lots of time during class for an actor to practice so they gain self-confidence.

A school needs to provide lots of stage time so the actor can overcome nerves and get comfortable in front of an audience.

And a school needs a kind, caring staff that is helping each artist succeed in achieving their dreams.

So get into a class where you can gain certainty in your work, one that builds you up—not breaks you down.

At The Acting Center, we are committed to building up artists, one-by-one, in every class.


Written by April Biggs, Executive Director of The Acting Center

Remembering Zsa Zsa Gabor, Actress and Socialite

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“Dahling, just be yourself!” –Zsa Zsa Gabor

The glamorous Hungarian-born actress Zsa Zsa Gabor died today at the age of 99 from heart failure. She was surrounded by family and friends.

In her youth Zsa Zsa attended private schools, and was ushered into stardom taking classes in acting, dancing, and music. She was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, and then moved to America just before the start of World War II with her sisters Eva and Magda in pursuit of careers in acting. The three of them became famous for their film careers and garnered public intrigue with their love lives. Indeed, they were often hot topics in society magazines. Merv Griffin once described their charm and popularity by saying, “All these years later, it’s hard to describe the phenomenon of the three glamorous Gabor girls….They burst onto the society pages and into the gossip columns so suddenly, and with such force, it was as if they’d been dropped out of the sky.” Zsa Zsa lived the Hollywood lifestyle, and flaunted her diamonds and fur coats. Because she was famous for being famous, she has been described as the original Kim Kardashian. Watch this Hollywood Backstage clip, and you might see why.

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Gabor’s film career peaked during the 1950s with memorable roles in films like Moulin Rouge, Lovely to Look At, Lili, Orson Welles’s classic Touch of Evil, and the camp-favorite Queen of Outer Space. She also appeared in over 60 TV movies. Most of her roles were in American productions, but she also appeared in French, Italian, and German films. Zsa Zsa’s career extended into the 1990s as she appeared on talk shows, game shows, comedy specials, and more.

But it’s hard to talk about Zsa Zsa without mentioning the fact that she had nine husbands including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, actor George Sanders, and the toy designer who helped create Barbie, Jack Ryan.

Her famous divorces inspired her to make many quotable one-liners. Here are a few examples:

“A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.”

“Getting divorced just because you don’t love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.”

“Husbands are like fires–they go out when unattended.”

“You never really know a man until you have divorced him.”

“We were both in love with him. I fell out of love with him, but he didn’t.”

“A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.”

“I don’t take gifts from perfect strangers–but then, nobody is perfect.”

“I’m a great housekeeper. I get divorced. I keep the house.”

“A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never her age.”

With her thick Hungarian accent, Zsa Zsa frequently and famously referred to people as “dahling” (darling)–she once said because she can’t remember their names.

In response to the news of her passing, Piers Morgan tweeted, “RIP Zsa Zsa Gabor. 99 years old, 9 husbands, Miss Hungary & Hollywood star. What a life!” Larry King tweeted. “There will only be one Zsa Zsa Gabor. And, I liked her a lot. Rest in Peace, my dear.”

Gabor is survived by her last husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.

Whole Body Auditioning

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During a recent meeting with some casting and film director friends about what actors needed to do to book work, two words were repeated again and again: Embodied and personal.

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It is no longer enough to play your idea of the role, you need to be a living, breathing embodiment of the role.

To achieve this high level it’s essential to center your preparation in the body and heart – not the mind. The mind is a literal organ that exists primarily to keep you safe. It will tell you what the piece is about and give you a few obvious ways to play it. If you prepare from the mind – and too many actors do – you won’t be showing the people in the room who you are and how you feel, only what you think.

Your brain will have an opinion about how you feel, your body will know how you feel.

Everything that we experience is taken in thorough the 3 sense doors of the mind, body and heart. The body is the least explored and also the most revealing. We have a physical reaction to everything that happens to us and that reaction is the truest one that we can have, because the body has no agenda but to show you how you feel.

Remember though, it all starts at the very beginning. How you start is how you finish and many actors start their “preparation” before they have relaxed the mind and connected with their body. You only get the first chance with the material once, so make sure that before you begin your mind is calm and focused and your body is awake and energized. This mental and physical positioning will ensure that you are operating at the full strength of your creative (not mental) powers from the very start and that you will continue to do so throughout your preparation.

Here is a way to start your process by establishing a deep connection to the body so that you have access to all of the honest, clear, compelling information that lives there.

Read the piece through out loud feeling your physical reaction to all of your character’s words and all of the other characters words. Let your body tell you how you feel by where you might be tightening or relaxing. Do certain words make your stomach clench or your breath catch in your throat? Do others relax your shoulders and open your chest? Note it all – it’s the most specific information you’ll get about how you truly feel.

Now, note the emotions that the body sensation trigger. For instance, if someone says something that scares you and you tightened the stomach and held the breath, the associated emotions could be fear, or panic or even anger. Allow your body to instruct your heart and reveal your true feelings. These feeling will become strong, connected and honest choices – choices that the brain, by the way, probably wouldn’t have allowed you access to.

Working this way you become the actor who have instills the role with all of the power and truth that results from wrapping your body and heart completely around the words on the page.

The people watching will not be able to separate you from the words and will have no choice but to hire you – they have to, you’re already are the role.

Embodiment in audition is the ability to physically manifest the words on the page. If you have prepared correctly, you arrive at the audition needing to do nothing more than speak, listen and be. You are no longer an actor acting or reading the words, trying to communicate the thoughts of the brain. You are a person being.

Personal embodiment isn’t just the new battle cry in casting, it should be the goal of every actor who is in this not just to book the occasional job, but to have a long, successful career. This is not a time for shortcuts and tricks. It’s a time for the real actors to learn how to connect to their bodies and hearts, step up to the plate and start booking. You’ll never have a better chance than right now.

 


CraigWallace

Craig Wallace’s background in script development combined with his 16 years of coaching actors enables him to find the job getting moments that others miss. His expertise in breaking down text and years of coaching experience has made him “L.A.’s go to private coach.” Sign up for his group or private classes at wallaceauditiontechnique.com

Awkward Auditions

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The uplifting musical love story La La Land pulled in seven Golden Globe nominations earlier this week. The film is up for consideration for best picture, best director, and best actor and actress awards for its stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The story follows the journey of two aspiring performers in Los Angeles. At one point, Stone’s character auditions for a small film role before a casting director who takes a phone call in the middle of her read.

During an interview, Gosling revealed that this scenario actually once happened to him during an audition. “Yeah, where I had to cry and this lady took a call in the middle of it. And then just told me to go on, ‘Pick up where I left off.’ That was part of what was great about making this film was [writer-director Damien Chazelle] encouraged us to bring our experiences to these characters,” Gosling recalled. Stone likewise relayed her own set of audition stories to Chazelle. Taking notes, he soon found a way to weave these experiences into the movie that’s being described as an “ode to those who dream of making it big.”

If there’s one thing for sure, when actors enter the audition room, it’s that they have to be ready for just about anything. Among the many actors who have shared their unexpected and awkward audition-room tales is Broadway’s Tracie Thoms. Here she describes something that just seemed to take over her as she auditioned before Quentin Tarantino for Death Proof.

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And Color Purple star Heather Headley recounts the time casting seemed to pay her no notice as she sang her heart out with stunning brilliance.

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Another singing audition came from CBS’ Two Broke Girls actress Beth Behrs. She recalls a bit of an embarrassing audition in which she sang with a mismatched style before casting. In return, she received feedback that opened her eyes as far as which kind of roles to pursue in her career.

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And lastly, the next time you hear the Aflac duck in a commercial, you might think of Will & Grace actor Sean Hayes who did not land the role of the silly duck.

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Have you ever had an absurd or awkward incident along these lines while auditioning? Please share!

 

 

 

Do You Have An Acting Approach?

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What do you do when you first approach a script? Think about it. What’s going through your head? Are you thinking, “How should I say this?” Or maybe it’s, “I have no idea what they want from me. I wish I had some direction.” Do you find yourself ramping up into your performance and trying to accommodate direction you never got in the first place, then settling on a delivery that only pleased your comfort zone? Well, you’re not alone.

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Regardless of your experience level, most talent settle for ‘good enough’, especially when we’re trying to turnaround 5 or more auditions a day from their home recording set ups. No wonder the failure rate is so steep for voiceovers. To add to this it’s very likely you’re attacking every audition with the same cadence, tempo, volume, and possibly even the same inflection, whether it was appropriate or not. Mostly out of habit more than anything else. The problem with this approach is it’s no approach at all.

Proper technique training develops performance agility, expression, and, among other things, challenges your imagination. It does if you’ve coached with us, that is. Much like circuit training fine-tunes your physical acuity with continued use, technique training conditions your performance muscle. You can’t expect to run a marathon if you don’t train. And, if you consider what your conditioning has been up till the present, coaching adds value to who you are and instills stamina to go the distance in your career. This is why every skill level benefits from proper coaching.

It’s always a challenge to bite the bullet and commit to training, and not just from the onset of your career. All talent need a couple of good coaching sessions no less than twice a year, especially once you’ve been given an approach that allows you to consistently discover the very best performance options and you’re able to fluidly adapt to direction when its offered.

Granted it’s commonly considered there’s no single approach more effective than another. However, that line of thinking tends leave far too many talent without any effective approach whatsoever.

‘Winging it’ isn’t professional because it’s unreliable, and could explain why there are so many one-hit wonders in this profession. You need training.

Every reputable agent, producer, and director wants to be reassured you’ve been well trained as a talent. Natural ability is never enough. Without an effective approach, the adage ‘vision without execution is hallucination’ applies. Technique gives you a process that might not be immediately intuitive, but will achieve improved results in your performance when applied with some routine. It takes practice!

The fact remains that in nearly every performance scenario you’re expected to offer options, rather than a single, solitary take. But, left to your own devices, if you inadvertently condition yourself to only deliver one repetitive performance option, then you will limit your delivery options and only be capable of a single solitary delivery. What makes you valuable as a talent, above all else is the simple fact that you’re capable of a limitless number of remarkable deliveries. Make it your mission at the onset of every audition and every session to discover just a few of them. It’s what you’re paid to deliver. No one is interested in hiring a robot. You’re paid to have a pulse.

Our goal, when we coach, is to man you with exceptional techniques and tools that will condition you to deliver your best while developing your ability to self-direct. Mastering these techniques will make you indispensable to every production you’re involved in, regardless the medium.


kate_mcclanaghan-jpg-644x0_q100Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, and founder of both Big House Casting & Audio (Chicago and Los Angeles) and Actors’ Sound Advice. She’s a seasoned industry veteran and actor who has trained actors and produced demos for more than 5,000 performers over her 30 years in the business. 

McClanaghan has cast and produced thousands of national commercials, including spots for McDonald’s, J.C. Penney, State Farm, Sprint, Chase, and IBM, to name a few, and has produced documentaries and assorted narratives for the likes of HGTV, Discovery Channel, and A&E.

McClanaghan’s unique, custom-tailored approach to establishing, expanding, and maintaining a professional career as a working actor and voiceover performer is detailed in her book “The Sound Advice Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent.”

For more information, please visit: http://voiceoverinfo.com