Commercials – A Slice Of Life

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Hundreds of years ago (well maybe it just seems that long ago) I moved to Los Angeles to be an actress and a singer. Like most people, I was told the way to become an actress and get a TV/film career was to start out in commercials. Well, in those years I did fit the qualifications for a young mom, a girl who loved pizza and someone who loved to be traveling on an airline. So I immediately went out and found a commercial agent who agreed that I had the perfect look. They even gave me a commercial copy to read – I don’t think I was very good at it but they traded my lack of knowledge for my bubbly personality.

I was a speech therapist during my early 20’s so after I taught I would go on these auditions where I would get to know all of the commercial actress’s in my category. In the beginning, it was intimidating as I recognized many of them from actual television commercials. The process was the same. I would get a call from my agent telling me to show up at a certain casting office. I would sign in and then be given the copy of the commercial. I was very nervous because all I did was read it over a few times and hope that I wouldn’t bomb in the audition! That did happen a lot but eventually I began to understand what they were looking for and started to book them. I did so well that I bought a house with the money that I had earned. It was a fun game. Run home to open the mailbox and guess how much money I made that month on a national commercial.

Looking back, the only thing I liked about commercials was the money. I didn’t have “Margie Haber” to teach me that a commercial is a small slice of life. The creation of one line, 2 lines, 2 paragraphs or 2 pages is the same for a commercial, a co-star or guest star, a series regular or a film. It is all about creating the life. All of the commercials I did would have been so much more awarding if I understood that premise. Pizza Hut, American Airlines, Formula 409 and Tang were opportunities to experience the life – to use my imagination and live it.   One commercial was Tang with Florence Henderson. In that commercial I had a child and went to visit my neighbor (Florence Henderson) and we sat on her patio drinking her Tang loving the taste of it. I didn’t know that I could actually create a life for my “character” rather than worry about my lines. I could have said,” I am this person living this life” – what was it like to have a child?  Did I watch her play sports or listen to her playing the piano? What was our ritual before I tucked her in bed? Create my relationship with my neighbor. How often did we come over on a hot summer and sit on the porch drinking Tang and sharing stories of our day – not trying to sell the drink Tang. If you want to see my commercials in the 70s and 80s they are on my “Stop acting” app that you can find on your iphone/ipad or vimeo on demand.

My advice – don’t be technical – create any life and enjoy the process!

 


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With 40 years of experience, Margie Haber is known as Hollywood’s top audition coach. What is it that Margie teaches? The answer to that question is within title of her book:  Margie teaches actorsHow to Get the Part Without Falling Apart.  Margie takes away the “three p’s”- Pain, Panic, and Performance Anxiety- from the cold-reading & audition process and gives back the “Big P” – POWER- to the actor.  She teaches actors her philosophy, “Stop Acting and Start Living the Life”, using her unique 10-step approach to breakdown the slice of life physically and emotionally, rather than intellectually.  Her revolutionary Haber Phrase Technique has helped thousands of actors use to use the page without losing the life, while supporting relationship and purpose. MargieHaber.com (310) 854-0870

Tips to Analyze Scripts

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The skill set of script analysis is a powerful, if not vital, tool for actors. This applies to small parts, starring roles, and anything in between. To understand, move, breathe, and speak for another person, actors must dig into the internal life of the character. And how much time and effort an actor invests in their character shows. Indeed, preparation can be the key to unlocking a truly moving performance.

New York acting coach, John Windsor-Cunningham tells a story of Anthony Hopkins who once answered questions before a reading, saying sometimes there are actors who read a play 20 times to prepare. Continuing, he’s quoted to say, “I don’t understand that…everyone’s welcome to work in their own way, but it wouldn’t enter my head…To read a script in advance 20 times. Because it wouldn’t enter my head to turn up at a first rehearsal of a play or a film without having read it at least a hundred and twenty times.”

While that might sound extreme, properly analyzing a script can indeed take several reads. The journey of exploring the material starts with getting acquainted with the storyline and characters, but soon moves on to interpretation. Actors can notice similarities with their own experiences, or what they’ve observed in others. Interpreting the material also requires a curious mind to ask questions like “Why?” and “How?”

Kimberly Jentzen, the author of Acting with Impact urges actors to, “Remember that history justifies behavior. So if you don’t understand why a character does what they do, the best thing to do is to read the whole script or the whole play, and you’ll really get some clues. A script is laden with clues and dynamic, interesting thoughts and ideas and metaphors that give us the meaning and the understanding and lead us to our interpretation.” Jentzen strongly believes that any time actors sense they are being general about something, then that is not good. When it comes to matters like a character’s history, intentions, or personality, she insists, “Everything must be specific.” 

Also in pursuit of interpreting a script, many performers make a point to experiment with which word to emphasize in each sentence. Robin Wright, for example, chooses a word that she loves in each sentence, and one she hates–as well as the reasons why her character feels this way. For practical purposes, once actors have decided on which word to emphasize, they can pencil mark their decision onto the page before continuing with the script. Also, many actors find it advantageous to pencil mark their script where changes in emotion occur. For example, if a portion of a particular sentence starts off tearful, an actor can mark precisely where those tears shift to outright anger. For this reason, a script can get messy with markings and notations. Pencils are always handy because they allow for changes later on.

Script interpretation comes in many shapes and forms though. Christopher Walken, for example, has described breaking down his scripts in a unique way. He describes his process saying, “I cross out all the stage directions, I cross out all the places where it says, you know, ‘He says this angrily;’ I cross out all the punctuation. And I just speak without punctuation. I mean, except the way it happens…No periods, no commas, no nothing. Really. A period comes when it comes. But it’s a good thing really. If you, next time you take a script, take all of that out and read it. Because the other actors are going to tell you what their talking about anyway. And it’s better to hear it from them.”

Regardless of your personal approach, it’s vital to come to understand your character without passing judgement on him or her. Uncovering the character’s true nature along with his or her vulnerabilities and flaws is much more important than if you personally like the person he or she is. And really getting to know your character frees you up to be spontaneous when new approaches to the material are thrown at you. After all, many people on set might be involved with the details of your character including wardrobe specialists or, of course, the project’s director. Directors likely have their own vision, and have a say about creative decisions for your character. Whether the director gives suggestions or specific directions, actors need to be ready to adapt, while maintaining a firm understanding of their character. Often times, the collaboration between a well-prepared actor and the director takes the depth of a character to the next level.

Mila Kunis Pens Gender-Bias Essay

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Mila Kunis describes herself as “livid” in a recently penned essay calling out Hollywood on issues of gender bias. The essay was published on her husband, Ashton Kutcher’s website aplus.com.

The Black Swan star describes her experience with an unnamed producer who was pressuring her to pose semi-nude for a men’s magazine to promote an undisclosed film. However, Kunis writes, “I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naive compromise that I had previously been willing to.” This refusal was met with a threat by the producer: “You’ll never work in this town again.” Feeling livid and objectified, Mila stood her ground for the first time despite fearing the possible repercussions to her career. Much to her relief, she states, “And guess what? The world didn’t end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again.”

Mila joins a growing list of women who have called out industry sexism over the years. Other actresses taking a stand include Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Sandra Bullock, Kerry Washington and Geena Davis. Indeed, according to research from Geena Davis’ Institute on Gender in Media, women are underrepresented in film, and when they do appear, they are seen and heard far less than their male counterparts. They are also paid less, and are three times as likely to appear nude in scenes as their fellow male actors.

However, Kunis describes several kinds of “microaggressions” she’s encountered along her career path, saying:

“Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it’s b***! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.”

To rise above this treatment, Kunis formed a production company with three women she admires. Together they develop shows for television, and work with many professionals who demonstrate equity and respect while tending to project details. However, Kunis describes how from time to time she continues to encounter “appalling” comments from others.

In turn, she concludes with purpose:

“I’m done compromising; even more so I’m done with being compromised. So from this point forward, when I am confronted with one of these comments, subtle or overt, I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate. I cannot guarantee that my objections will be taken to heart, but at least now I am part of creating an environment where there is the opportunity for growth. And if my comments fall on deaf ears, I will choose to walk away.”

She hopes other women who experience similar unwanted remarks and diminishing treatment in the workplace will be inspired to assert themselves more readily.

Mark Duplass Shares How He Made Films with Limited Resources

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“If you really want to be in the business of being an actor, the days of thinking only as an actor are probably over. The most frustrated actors I know are the ones that are waiting for someone to give them the gig. You must make the gig….And the tools to make stuff now are available to everybody. You could make a movie on your phone. And people do.” —Jason Alexander

Duplass Brothers Productions is an independent film and television company founded by Mark Duplass and his brother Jay. Together they write, direct, produce and act in their projects. Known for creating movies on limited budgets, their work comes to life with a strong emphasis on improvisation and collaboration. And it especially digs deeply into what people attempt to hide from others, namely their vulnerabilities, insecurities, fears as well as moments of joy associated with what’s often considered to be small events. As a team, they don’t allow skimpy resources to stop them from creating projects that they’re passionate about.

Originally inspired to be like the Coen brothers, they followed the “rules” that seemed to be laid clearly before them; that is, work hard, go to film school, and learn all the required and practical production skills. “And we got so obsessed with the propriety of everything,” Mark recalls, that they neglected to tend to the most important part of filmmaking: “the meat.”

Years passed, and although the brothers felt the conviction that they indeed had “something to offer,” they weren’t really yet achieving their creative goals. In this Off Camera interview, Mark describes how one day he spontaneously told his brother, “Forget all the **** we learned in film school–forget it all. Like Mom and Dad’s video camera, I’m going to get a tape, and I’m coming back.” By the time Mark returned, Jay had given some thought as to what subject matter might work. Jay described a time when he nearly had an identity crisis while struggling to record an outgoing greeting on his answering machine. The brothers went with the idea–just the two of them–right then, and improvised as they worked. Mark describes the process of making the seven-minute short film This Is John by saying:

“This felt like us when we were little following our instincts. All communication was nonverbal–very Neanderthal-like. And we edited it down, and it was our first movie that got into Sundance. And that has set the tone for everything we’re doing today, which is–as much as possible–to trust that weird little voice that’s inside of us…And the more I do that, the better off I am generally.”

Their subsequent work includes The Puffy Chair which also screened in Sundance and attracted the attention of major studios; the comedy-drama film Jeff, Who Lives at Home; they co-created HBO’s series Togetherness; and the duo recently finished the comedy romance about two ex-high school sweethearts who cross paths 20 years later in the film Blue Jay which will be released on Netflix this coming December.

Mark firmly believes in allowing actors to go off script in the quest of capturing an authentic emotional moment. “If you’re locked to the words on the script, as good as those scripted words are, if you didn’t have the time to rehearse them correctly or if the perceived dynamic between the actors is different from what the writer imagined, and you’re not allowed to stray from that, you’re going to have a stilted scene,” he insists.

Here is the short This Is John–the film that had such an impact on their careers. Mark and John’s work serves as both a reminder and an inspiration that it’s indeed possible to produce quality work with limited resources.

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Seven Signs You Have A Professional Acting Career

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I’ll never forget the eye-opening moment when I was asked by an agent whether or not I wanted to be an actor. I was crushed. After all, this was years in to my ‘career’ (or what I thought was my career). As difficult as it was to have that question asked, it changed my perspective. It made me realize that there is an industry standard and that – maybe – I wasn’t playing my cards right.

Now, I look at things differently. I learned to judge my work from the viewpoint of someone who would want to hire me.

Becoming a professional actor is all about a series of step-by-step accomplishments, much like in a college program. It will take hundreds or thousands of hours of studying, preparation, application, and practice to get to a professional level. The actor hobbyist and the professional are vastly different. Curious which category you fall under? In this blog post, I’m going to provide some qualities that all professionals share in order to move themselves forward and ultimately… to make money.

  1. Getting paid for your work

I would say that the first time you get booked for a paid project through an agent is a pretty good indication that you are on your way to being, or already are, a professional actor! Having said that, don’t’ skip out on your acting training just because you are booking work. Continuing your education feeds your momentum. If you’ve been working but haven’t taken a class in a while, consider taking something that is new to you or something that will strengthen a big weakness of yours.

  1. You have a professional headshot

A portrait session with a reputable photographer (recommended by your agent or manager, most likely) that produces at least one theatrical headshot and one commercial headshot is essential. A simple black border with your name at the bottom (legibly- i.e. not in cursive!) will suffice. A snap shot or Instagram photo will instantly make you less of a professional. It could be seriously damaging your getting a booking.

  1. You have an Agent and/or ‘Team’

A top requirement to become a professional working actor, right after your training, is having a quality agent. Although the majority of your work should come through them, you may also find

work yourself, and most actors are constantly looking. Try a range of agents until you meet one that really jives with you and understands your goals. Not all agents are created equal! One agent may not be enough, however and you may require a manager, publicist, lawyer, PR agent or more in order to be adequately represented. You may also choose to have different agents representing you in different areas (one for voice, one for theatrical, one for commercial, one for print, one for stunts, etc). The more helping hands you have, the greater the chance for success.

  1. You invest in yourself

Acting is an investment. Headshots, acting web sites (such as CastingFrontier.com or IMDB.com), classes, etc. all take a significant chunk of change to maintain. However, those who take their careers seriously do not skimp on ways to further their careers. Of course some things you can do on your own, such as social media updates, and maybe even writing and producing your own productions (Ben Affleck or Matt Damon often do this). Use your own voice to create what you want to see in the industry.

  1. You put acting first

This comes off as a simple one, however it is far from it. Auditions happen fast, with little notice and often with high expectations. An actor who is constantly missing auditions, requesting a change of time slots or is available with limitations such as: only on weekends, only on nights or only during the day, may not be cut out for a position in the film industry. Give yourself the best shot possible, and that means putting acting first.

  1. You’ve found your ‘sweet spot’

Many people struggle for years with good acting talent, or having a ‘look’ that is not in demand. You may find that your hair color or length is not catching the attention of professionals. For example, commercial spots love a good hair cut, shoulder length and above. If you are not getting in the door, something may be off with your look or may not be on trend. Actors do not always get the perk of looking exactly how they want, and I’ll never forget hearing Jennifer Garner mention how she just wanted to gain some weight without the scrutiny of everyone in the world. Professionals learn to find their best ‘looks’ and stick to it.

  1. You know how to fake it ’til you make it

That’s your golden ticket and your secret weapon. When you walk into the audition room, every casting director expects a professional regardless of experience level. A professional actor knows the rules of the casting room, is courteous and polite. He or she keeps their nerves in check, studies the scene before arriving and is familiar with the script. If you’re a pro, you know how to slate well and have possibly seen the director’s previous work. These little things will make big impacts on the individuals you need to impress.

Whether or not you are a professional, aspiring, or acting as a hobby – remember to keep pushing forward, keep studying and keep showing up. Work on your positivity, support your industry peers, embrace your competition… and always, always be fearless!

 


 

taylortunesTaylor Tunes (too-ness) is an actor located in Portland, Oregon. Look for her in an upcoming Netflix original film (still to be titled), starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey.

Your child is so cute, they should be on TV!

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How many times have parents heard that? As an actress and acting coach, many parents ask me about how to get their kids started in the business, oftentimes because they’ve been told their child is cute!

My first thought is,”has the child expressed an interest in wanting to act?” If the answer is yes, then get them into an on-camera acting class.   It’s no different than if your child was interested in dancing, gymnastics or playing a sport. You’d enroll them in a sports league or class, right? Do the same for a child who wants to act.

Like many things kids try, some will love acting and others will decide they’d rather be on the playground, or WATCHING TV rather than being ON TV. But if they love it, having taken a class will give them the beginning tools and confidence they need to walk into an audition room knowing what to expect. THAT can make a huge difference in which cute child gets the job.

The Top 3 Things a Hosting Agent Looks for in a Reel

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If you want a successful career in broadcast hosting, one of the first things you need to do is find a great agent to represent you. It may sound simple, but it’s tougher to get your foot in the door than you might think.

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One key to getting agent representation is to put together a great reel. You know, we live in a digital world. Anyone with a camera can shoot and post a hosting video online— and tons of people do—but only a few of them really stand out. So, the question is…

How do you make a reel that showcases your work and grabs the attention of potential agents?

Mark Turner who started the Host/Broadcast division at Abrams Artists Agency over two decades ago shared the top three things every agent looks for in a reel.

  1. Authenticity: Make sure your reel is authentic to who you are and the brand you want to convey to viewers. For instance, if you love to cook, you could film yourself preparing your favorite dish or interviewing the chef at a restaurant.
  2. Personality: It is absolutely critical to show your personality. It doesn’t matter how passionate or knowledgeable you are about a subject, if you can’t be engaging and fun on camera, you’re never going to get noticed. Are you funny? Quirky? Charming? Figure out what your strongest assets are and make sure we see them on your reel.
  3. Editing: Don’t forget to keep the focus on you versus other people in your video and avoid long interviews. Stick to quick edits that show off good one-­liners and important points. Make sure the clips move quickly to keep the viewer engaged, and keep the reel to 2-3 minutes max.

Something I’ve learned in my 20 years as a TV host, and 15 as a media coach, is that successful on-air talent never try to be anyone other than him or herself. Don’t do something on camera just because you saw someone else do it. Find elements of your personality that make YOU stand out. Watch yourself on camera and notice how you’re coming across. Would you want to watch you? Who would?

Remember: If you’re uncomfortable, so is your audience.

The truth is, anyone viewing your reel will know within the first 30 seconds whether they like you and want to see more. So, never include anything you don’t love. Once you create a video you feel great about, it’s time to start sharing it with agents who represent TV hosts and on-air experts. Mark points out that he looks at every video he receives, so go ahead and send that reel!

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to develop your on-­camera personality, build confidence and connect with your audience, sign up for our one-­day intensive TV Host Training Workshop on December 3 at One on One in New York City. Space is limited. Learn more and register at www.tvhosttraining.com.


markturnertMARK TURNER

VP, Alternative & Digital Programming Division, Abrams Artists Agency

Upon graduation from Connecticut College in 1993, Mark started working as an assistant to the head of the commercial dept. at Abrams Artists Agency.  After 2.5 years, he was promoted to agent and started up the Host/Broadcast Division. Over the last 2 decades, the department, now titled, the Alternative & Digital Division, has morphed into a one-stop shop for all things under the non-fiction umbrella. Mark has represented top on air hosts, experts, personalities, producers, and digital influencers, in all aspects of unscripted TV and digital. He’s worked with, and placed talent, and sold shows, with every major production company, cable channel, broadcast network, syndicator, and digital platform, across the country. In 2014, Mark was elevated to a Vice President with Abrams Artists Agency.

leilaLEILA SBITANI

TV Host & Media Coach

Leila has hosted a wide variety of TV Shows that have taken her all over the world and enabled her to work with numerous celebrities. Including, most recently, Jennifer Lawrence, Antonio Banderas and Chris Hemsworth. Working on Entertainment Tonight, E!, Style, WE, Metro TV, Oxygen, [email protected], and TV Land to name a few. She also has extensive experience as an actress in film, theater, commercials, voice-overs and industrials. Leila has been working as a media coach and teacher for the past 15 years. Teaching master classes at colleges, high schools, and workshops in New York. And working with production companies as well as independently taking on clients for one on one coaching. Leila has coached talent that have appeared on various networks including VHI, BET, HGTV, Fuse, CBS, FX, and MTV

 

Successful People Avoid Doing These Things

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What contributes to one’s success is a complex matter. Skill level, attitude, social deftness, one’s ability to listen and to take initiative represent just a few of the innumerable qualities that can contribute to favorable outcomes in one’s career.

But according to Travis Bradberry, the president at TalentSmart and the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, an important attribute in the quest for achieving success is the ability to manage emotions and remain calm especially while under pressure. TalentSmart studied over a million subjects and found that the “upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence.” Indeed, the company’s research found that a whopping 90 percent of top performers demonstrate high emotional intelligence. So, here are a few of the behavioral patterns observed–specifically, things that highly successful people deliberately avoid in order to remain calm and controlled in all circumstances.

Avoid living in the past

Sometimes it’s quite a challenge to overcome the perceived failures of the past. People often prefer to stick with what’s safe and comfortable. But according to Bradberry, “Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past.” He continues, “Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow [past disappointments] to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.”

Don’t dwell on problems or holding grudges

What you choose to focus your attention on directly affects you emotional state. Therefore, Bradberry says, “When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance.” In other words, simply taking steps to seek solutions can make a big difference in both how you feel and in what you accomplish.

Similarly, those who tend to be successful avoid holding grudges. He explains that when you repeatedly relive a negative conversation or experience, you trigger a fight-or-flight physical response. “When a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time,” he states.

Don’t say “yes” too often

Studies have shown that people who overextend themselves increase their chances of feeling stressed out and depressed. Although it can be surprisingly hard for people to say “no” to others in various circumstances, Bradberry insists it’s a “powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield.” Successful people don’t soften their “no” responses with explanations like, “I’m sorry but I don’t think I can….” Rather, they are direct and stand firm knowing they are prioritizing the fulfillment of their current responsibilities and commitments.

Don’t get stuck on the idea of perfection

It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect–nor is anyone’s work without its flaws. Bradberry’s wisdom imparted to perfectionists might help them to see the bigger picture, and better appreciate their efforts. He says, “Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.”

Avoid negative people

As you’ve surely noticed, people who tend to complain as a matter of habit can really bring you down. “They wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves, “ Bradberry says. If you find yourself feeling obliged to listen to persistent complaints out of a desire to be polite, kind, and sensitive, he reminds us, “There’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.” He recommends people keep a distance from chronic complainers much the same way one might purposefully keep away from a chainsmoker.

In the spirit of avoiding negative people, here is a video clip created by entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David that addresses “eight personality traits that repel good people out of your life.”

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Top Actors Describe What They Believe Makes a Good Actor

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Being an exceptional actor takes a whole lot of skill level, dedication, experience, and sacrifice. Add to that, the mysterious “it” quality that great actors always seem to possess. But what do actors, from their unique perspective, say is important to cultivate what it takes to become a truly great actor? Although the required personal qualities or habits could fill countless books, here are a few examples of what actors have mentioned among their various interviews over the years.

Set a clear goal to become a great actor

Gary Oldman: “Wanting to be a good actor is not good enough. You must want to be a great actor. You just have to have that.”

Pierce Brosnan: “The word ‘star’ doesn’t mean an awful lot to me. ‘Good actor’ and having the respect of one’s peers means more.”

Tom Sizemore: “I didn’t come to Hollywood to drink or get high, and I don’t want to be considered a cool actor–I want to be a great actor.”

 

Take Risks

Lena Olin: “To be a good actor, you have to be very smart. But to be a great actor, you also have to have a streak of, ‘I’m an idiot, a complete lunatic.'”

Nicolas Cage: “To be a good actor you have to be something like a criminal, to be willing to break the rules to strive for something new.”

 

Stay Open to Life

Lane Garrison: “To be a good actor you have to feel life and observe life.”

Sarah Bernhardt: “He who is incapable of feeling strong passions, of being shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the word, will never be a good actor.”

Peter Berg: “You know to me, being a good actor, the most important quality is you’ve got to love to play, and to just be open to anything.”

 

Be on the outlook for opportunity

Denzel Washington: “Black or white good parts are hard to come by. A good actor with a good opportunity has a shot; without the opportunity it doesn’t matter how good you are.”

Bryan Cranston: “When you’re an actor in grade school, high school, college, whatever, you start to realize what you’re really good at, what you’re kinda good at, what you’re okay at, and you start to compartmentalize. But if you know yourself and what you’re capable of, it’s just a matter of opportunity.”

Kristin Stewart: “I really, specifically, love acting, and I think it’s a really cool thing to be really indulgent and follow that. I have a lot of ambitions in life, but for the next few years, I just want to be an actor. That’s a lucky opportunity, and that drives me to want to be good at that.”

 

Keep acting in perspective

Gary Busey: “There has got to be more to life than being a really, really, ridiculously good actor.”

Katherine Heigl: “If I spread myself too thin, I’m not a good actor, I’m not a good mother, and I’m just really high-strung–and everybody hates me.”

Shia LaBeouf: “If people perceive you as a good actor then they’ll wish for you to be a good actor and they’ll root for you when they watch you. But if you come out and you’re going to clubs every night, people don’t root for you anymore.”

James Dean: “Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.”

Daniel Radcliffe: “There’s no blueprint for where I should be. I see myself as a young, good actor who still has a lot to learn. There’s nobody at any point in their career who is the finished article.”

Anna Faris: “Blythe Danner is somebody whose career I admire. She’s a great actress and does good work, but also has a life of her own. I love my job but, at the end of the day, I want to come home and watch a movie and drink a bottle of wine with my husband.”

 

A Dose of Ego

Robert Redford: “I had just arrived in New York from California. I was nineteen years old and excited beyond belief. I was an art student and an acting student and behaved as most young actors did–meaning that there was no such thing as a good actor, ’cause you yourself hadn’t shown up yet.”

Jean Anouilh: “A good actor must never be in love with anyone but himself.”

Sibel Kekilli: “Acting for me is like a ping-pong game. That’s the secret of acting. When you have a really good actor, I always want to be as good as he is or she is.”

What personal qualities or habits do you feel are critical for actors to have in order to become great actors?

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We all need affirmation! (part 3)

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In parts one and two of ‘We All Need Affirmation!’ we discussed the power of positive affirmations and a number of exercises of changing negative thoughts to positive ones combating those lingering, counter-productive thoughts.  In this final installment, are two exercises on building self-confidence and belief in oneself.

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Exercise: I believe in myself.

This next Affirmation will help you believe that you are good enough to be great.

Once again, write this down in your Actor’s Journal.

I believe in myself.

Then take a breath and say it out loud:

I believe in myself.

Say it again, quietly to yourself.

I believe in myself.

Feel it, own it and live by it. This should become your mantra, part of your morning ritual. Before you brush your teeth, drink your coffee, or pick up your cell phone, you need to look in the mirror and say “I believe in myself” three times.

You will immediately see a difference in yourself. You will gain a stronger desire to achieve your Want and you will be more positive about your prospects. Incorporate your mantra into your daily life. Say it to yourself three times before you go to class. Say it before you go into a meeting with an agent. Say it after a rough day before you go to sleep.

I believe in myself.

This Affirmation is especially effective before auditions. It will counteract any prior self-doubt and negative thoughts and statements about failing such as “I’m going to screw up this audition.” It’s equally as valuable after auditions to block any negative thoughts from re-entering your subconscious like “I just screwed up that audition.”

Also, to complement this Affirmation, try the following visualization exercise at home or sitting in your car before any audition:

Once again, relax, take a deep breath and imagine the inside of the casting room. Picture yourself standing in the middle of the room performing your scene with focus, energy, passion and the Confidence that comes with being fully prepared. Picture a casting director, writer, producer and director all sitting across from you, smiling, interested, taking notes and circling your name on their call sheet. As you finish your audition, visualize them smiling, thanking you for your work and telling you with a wink that they’ll be in touch. See yourself walking out of the audition with your shoulders back and your head held high, proud and satisfied with your audition, confident that you did your best.

Visualizing a positive outcome will fuel you with Confidence.

Exercise: I am a confident actor.

In this final Affirmation, I’m going to help you build upon the Confidence you already have. I’m going to help you find something you’re confident about and translate that into your acting. I’m going to help you accept that you can be a confident actor.

First, let’s find out where else in your life you feel the most confident. Steer it away from acting. Think of something you know you are good at, something that you believe you can do and do well. We all feel confident about something. Do you feel most confident about your relationships, at your job, playing a sport, schoolwork, giving advice, in sex?

Where are you most confident? Write it down in your Actor’s Journal.

I am very confident when I …

Let’s say you wrote down, “I am very confident when I am driving.” That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert or a professional racecar driver. It just means that driving is something you feel sure of doing.

In other words, when you drive, you are not fearful of the road or other motorists. You feel relaxed, yet in control. When driving, you are cautious even when you’re talking to your passenger, singing to the radio, or talking on your headset. You feel free, at ease, your thoughts are flowing. You feel confident and the Confidence surges through your body.

Well, that’s how you should ultimately feel about your acting, whether it’s in classes, auditions or on the set. You should feel comfortable with the material. You should feel at ease in the room. You should feel strong about your intentions. You should feel confident. You should feel like you’re a good actor.

I want you to think about that activity, the one that makes you feel confident. Picture yourself doing it in your mind and feel the Confidence rise in you. Attach that powerful feeling to the following words. Write it down and say it out loud three times:

I am a confident person!

Carry that feeling and that positive thought into the classroom, meeting or your next audition. Experience the difference it makes.

Translate those feelings of Confidence into your acting. Say it out loud:

I am a confident actor!

As you work on your Confidence in and out of acting class, this mantra will ultimately become your personal truth.

Now you have four personal Affirmations to work with in gaining Confidence and sustaining it on a daily basis. Take these Affirmations and write them on a Post It. Hang the Post It on your computer, your bathroom mirror, your dashboard or put it in your wallet to always carry with you as a reminder.

I am good enough to be great. I believe in myself. I am a confident actor.

 


SeditaImgWhether you’re auditioning for a co-star or a series regular on a half hour comedy, sitcom guru and acting coach Scott Sedita will teach you The Sedita Method of sitcom acting, which comes with it’s own terminology, coined phrases and unique glossary.

Scott’s internationally best-selling book, “The Eight Characters of Comedy. A Guide to Sitcom Acting & Writing, 2nd Edition” has sold over 100,000 copies and has become a “bible” to Hollywood comedy writers, directors, producers, and actors and is used as a textbook in over 100 colleges and universities. Find Scott and his staff of professional actors, teachers and coaches at ScottSeditaActing.com.