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.
Director and actress Aurora Fearnley has been making enormous waves on the UK film scene for some time now. Recently back from a trip to Sydney to attend the Sydney Film Festival with her short film Struck, there’s not many festivals her award-winning shorts haven’t been in locally, and even further beyond Britain. We were thrilled when Aurora agreed to be interviewed and talk about what it’s like to cast and direct shorts, to be an actress herself, and what she has coming up on the horizon with her thrilling sci-fi short Pulsar.
This month we got up close and personal with four very talented, but also all round lovely actors, based in the UK who you’ve probably seen in films, on television, and treading the boards at various extraordinary theatres in and around London. Our aim was to find out exactly how they got started in the acting game, and what they do now to keep going week after week.
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!
“Theatre is a huge part of my experience … Having connections with so many veteran actors in the industry certainly helped the casting process.” – Martin Sharpe
“I truly believe that theatre opens many doors. It is the gateway for any actor, director or even producer to understand the craft and work ethic required to achieve any form of success in our industry. “
– Ivan Bradara
Scene from ‘Serving Joy’, featuring a theatrically star-studded cast of some of Australia’s premier talent
Do you ever feel like acting is a mug’s game? That no matter what you do, you just never get exactly to where you want to be. And when you do, you’re so busy focusing on the next goal, you forget to celebrate the one you’ve just arrived at. And then along comes a movie like Wonder Woman, swords swishing, horses galloping, and you’re transfixed. Transported even. Everything is possible again. Maybe you can do it all after all.
And don’t we all want to feel like that every day? Like we can do anything we want. Like we can save the world. Like we can have it all as an actor. Dreamy right?
The cast of Life of the Party at the Brisbane Premiere: Damian Sommerlad, Georgia Chara, Director Michael Budd, Holly Brisley and Greg Eccleston
Friendships and carefree fun are just some of the things we associate with youth. Long Summer nights, partying till dawn and road trips into the unknown all play a part in the prelude of our lives. When we are young, time seems to move rapidly yet it is as though a day never passes. Then the inevitable sound of routine and responsibility sealed with a two drink minimum rears its distinctive head. There is no turning back and sadly, no amount of Aspirin can save us.