I declare this month Law Of Attraction month for you!
As an actor you want to attract the opportunities and the jobs. It’s a feat to become part of the “system”, stay in it and snag the “gold ring”, the bookings. To do this, the most important thing is to attract activity to you, and the rest will come. Fair warning, most results will be indirect and unexpected.
#1. Create and gain momentum. Stay in Motion. Newton’s law that a body in motion stays in motion, applies to your acting life. While you are in motion you can gently steer and change in a particular direction you choose when you feel it is the right time.
I just scrapped my planned subject for this column. Why? Because I was going to address some nuances… some (seemly) silly subtleties of the commercial world. Unfortunately, it’s become clear over the last few casting sessions I’ve had that some bigger issues should take precedence. Knowing the finer nuances of the commercial audition will prove worthless if you are performing (knowingly or not) some giant jerk moves. You may think you know the golden rules of commercials, but I’d urge you to read with refreshed eyes and consider once again if you are causing a small to large crisis in the world of a commercial casting director.
Commercial actors should never… break the golden rules of the commercial audition.
“Can I get you something to drink?” We are constantly being offered beverages, coffee, a nightcap, and often tempted with drinks that deplete our energy, vitamin levels and promote mood swings. Gosh, if only there were magical potions that promote health, longevity, sustained energy, beauty…yes beauty, and increased memory. Well step right up to this month’s, “Health Uncensored” blog because I’ve got a taste of what you want right here!
You’ve likely heard the expression “fake it ’til you make it” or its even pithier twin, “act ‘as if’“. At least, that was my assumption: that these two motivational blurbs meant the same thing: i.e., that until such a time as you’d actually made it to the top of whatever hill you were climbing, pretend you were already there.
I also thought that these two similar sayings were equally wise, universally applicable truths, and would work on whatever stage I applied them, actual or world. After all, I’d been hearing “fake it ’til you make it” my entire life, and wasn’t aspiring to greatness (and living beyond one’s means until one got there) the American way?
HEADSHOTS that BOOK!
Andy Rooney is much more than your typical headshot photographer, he is a painter, has a BFA for digital imaging and photography and was a professional advertising photographer in Miami.
Taking headshots is like painting a picture. I pull the personality out of the talent into my canvas, using hand painted backdrops and my concept of how I see things with light and color as my photography comes into play to find my hero shot.
There are many, many different commercial audition scenarios. Just when you think you’ve experienced them all, I guarantee there will be a new curveball thrown your way. And it’s part of the fun, yes? But there are consistent scenarios that you can expect to encounter on a regular basis and those are the ones you want to know how to handle like a pro. If you are a commercial actor, you will be partnered up and placed into families on a regular basis. There are ample opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot when attending a family or partner audition, and I’m not sure actors always know when they are doing it. So let’s discuss.
Commercial actors should never… sabotage themselves in partner or “family” auditions.
Okay, so you’ve gotten your audition sides. You’re lucky enough to have 48 hours to read them, research the role and get at least functionally off book. You’ve worked with coaches and friends, mouthed the words over and over at the coffee shop, on the train, in the cab, at the supermarket and in the waiting room. You’ve got this puppy nailed. You take a breath enter the room, smile at the casting director, reader and anyone else present, get a polite-to-warm response, deliver the sides the way you’ve done them literally a million times and you hear … “that was great, but I just want you to bring more of yourself to it, loosen up, have more fun with it,” or some version thereof. Your brain blasts the music from the shower scene in “Psycho,” and you politely say “Okay! Got it!” But in your head you’re thinking, “What do they mean ‘myself?’” “What did I miss?” “What should I do differently?” “I don’t know what they want!” “I’m sure they didn’t say that to the other actors!” “What am I gonna do now!?”
A neutral performance or audition is a bad audition. You need to get to the point where you know if your performance is too big or too neutral.
Acting too big and too over-the-top is a legitimate concern, resulting in a performance that is fake and not connected. However, I’m finding that when some people bring their performance to what they think is “real,” what is actually happening is their performance becomes neutral. A performance this is neutral reveals no personality and results in us not knowing who you are. Revealing nothing gives us no chance to like or dislike you. You need to cause us to react to you. You can’t let yourself disappear.
Nothing is more exciting than the words, “You’ve got an audition!” And at the same time, that phrase can make your pits sweat, heart race and anxiety course through your blood! There are many moments in the business of entertainment and life as an entrepreneur, that require balls out courage and showing up with confidence. It’s imperative to utilize these anxious feelings and make them our bitch.
With a number of dietary and lifestyle choices that ease anxiety and nervousness, it would almost seem like self-sabotage to make choices that encourage these crappy feelings. As a performer, or anyone who wants to take control of their emotions, what we put into our bodies not only feeds our cells but our brains too! So, let’s stock up that noggin with the essentials needed to make anxiety lose the job!