How to Find the Best Acting Coach, Voice Teacher, & Actor Friendly Bathroom

If trumpeting for votes to receive an ‘award’ was the basis for legitimate honor then how soon until Donald Trump rallies his followers to vote him a Nobel Prize?

An actor reached out to me regarding an acting coach who touts prolifically online to his being “a Back Stage award-winning acting coach.” When researching the acting teacher’s credentials and professional history I discovered multiple empty resume pages on casting’s and representation’s go-to casting resource Breakdown Services. Odd that the actor/acting coach created several profiles but left each space for a resume blank. These entries are only seen by the entrant and by entertainment’s gatekeepers who have been granted private access by Breakdown Services. One of his three profiles did contain substance within his Special Skills section. Although I question the validity. The white actor/acting teacher has Russian, Puerto Rican, Irish, and New England accents while promoting he’s of African descent and speaks fluent Korean. Perhaps he should receive a Back Stage award for Most Likely to Page at the U.N.

Back Stage, like other publicly polled award benefactors, has no vetting process for their ‘honors.’ No academy of learned entertainment peers who owl over the scope of entertainment professionals. No red carpet ceremony leading to a hall of seated professionals. No precious mineral or Swarovski statutes handed to masters of craft. Recipients of the Back Stage nod for ‘best’ of whatever: audition studios, acting or vocal coach must rely on their soliciting votes themselves as do politicians running for elected office. If trumpeting for votes to receive an ‘award’ was the basis for legitimate honor then how soon until Donald Trump rallies his followers to vote him a Nobel Prize? Fortunately the Nordic organization which has honored Einstein, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Madame Currie, and Malala Yousafzai has no laureate honoring bluster, and best blonde from a bottle.

Want to know what acting coach, voice teacher, or audition studio is best for you? Ask working professionals and peers whose values and opinions you trust and respect. With awards by solicitation you’re relying on votes cast anonymously by the nominees; uninformed neophytes; the prejudiced; and those who check-box a ‘yes’ because the nominee’s name appears vaguely familiar. And what of the numbers who participated in the open poll? The tally could be a few as a single vote to as many as several hundred. Is that a fair and broad range of insight to serve your craft well?

To be objectively informed research beyond the award-by-poll nominee’s and recipient’s marketing and website. The praise on a virtual home base is too often stolen from a thesaurus. And don’t click to outside websites such as IMDB. IMDB’s content is not reliable. The information within is likely supplied by the subject and/or the subject’s publicist. Trust the values network you’ve built to inform and guide your journey.

A polled award is a marketing tool leveraged to expand exposure by both the awarder and the solicitor for votes awardee. A true honor is earned, and then rewarded by the value of the craft generated by the recipient. For these people or institutions there often is no ‘best of’ public recognition. Often the best are quietly at their prime: focused on the doing rather than ‘look how others believe I’m doing.’

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Share this:

Skype With Paul
A Casting Director’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

ACTING: Make It Your Business

A Casting Director’s Bait & Switch with Actors? – Caution!

A NYC casting director for background and commercial casting is baiting actors.

bait and switch

.

.

Paul Russell_Headshot

Paul Russell
PaulRussell.net

.

A NYC casting director for background and commercial casting is baiting actors.

The hook begins promising. The casting director entices actors to read for the casting director as an exploration of the actor’s abilities. The cold read lasts 30 – 60 seconds. Not too long please, there are other actors in the audition studio hallway backed-up waiting for their fleeting spotlight. Once the casting director dismisses the actor, the actor is then handed over to the assistant. The assistant gaily leads the actor to a secluded hallway. There begins what the actor believes is a one-on-one career consultation. It lasts no more than 2 minutes. And it ends with a snare.

The assistant (almost always a 20-something young woman) asks the actor for their resume. She reviews the resume with a cursory glance, and then begins the script. Having overheard the assistants for over a year the script leads the actor as follows:

The assistant to the actor: “Where do you get most of your auditions from? (Occasionally she’ll be adventurous and deviate from the script and say ‘work.’)

The actor generally replies, “Back Stage. Actors Access. Casting Networks,” and obscure websites that often have the same information as the preceding casting notice outlets.

The assistant then restates the websites the actor stated adding her casting office utilizes those website too! (There’s always a reminder from the assistant that the actor keep up-to-date membership fees to the casting notice websites.) No matter if the actor has stated one, two, or more of these sites the assistant does not deviate from her script. The assistant also emphasizes to each actor, “We cast 24 hours a day. Log-in to Casting Networks often. Submit to us if you see a project you’d like to be considered for.”

Then comes the snaring scripted question asked by the assistant of every actor in this private career consultation, “Do you have any questions?”

And as if the actor is being voiced by a ventriloquist each actor queries, “[Name of casting director] asked me to ask you about her upcoming workshops.”

The assistant always feigns surprise, “Oh! She did?” And then begins the sell for on-camera classes. And even as I watch an actor take the bait and buy into the class the assistant tells every actor before and after, “We only have two seats left.” It’s a car salesman ploy not worthy of our industry.

How do these actors get snared firstly? They’re contacted by the casting director’s office after the actor has submitted materials to the casting director. You too can have an introductory read with the casting director. There’s a nominal fee. As reported by one actor who participated, he paid $20 for the privilege of a thirty-second read for the casting director before he was pulled aside by the assistant for the bait-and-switch.

On the website ClassActOrHack.com an actor states paying $39. for the initial reading. The actor then goes on further to say of the experience: “…fraud extraordinaire… Rushed everyone. Scammer, scammer, scammer. Grade F.”

There’s nothing illegal happening here. One can state that no one is being harmed. But for the industry professionals who work as actors, casting directors, or talent representatives who also teach actors from a desire of heart not with wish of meager disposable income, what of their reputations? Sullied by the few industry players who play actors for their wallets.

The practice is stomach-turning. And the practice will continue as long as actors let themselves be the prey of the bait-and-switch.

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Share this:

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:
Make It Your Business
!

Skype With Paul
A Casting Director’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

ACTING: Make It Your Business

A Rotten Tomato Grows in NJ? – Talent ‘Agent’ Requires Upfront Registration Fee

Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike isn’t the only source for a rotten smell in the Garden State… A New Jersey modeling and talent services organization offers the potential for talent representation partly dependent upon a fee.

Image6

Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike isn’t the only source for a rotten smell in the Garden State… And New Jersey Consumer Affairs, via Superior Court rulings, have in the past fined in the 6-figure range some deceptive NJ talent representatives to clean up their stench.

Talent representatives in New Jersey are governed by New Jersey Employment and Personnel Services code NJSA 34:8‐43 et seq and NJSA 56:8‐1 et seq.

Section 34:8‐51: Requirements, section b, paragraph 6 of the New Jersey statute states:

“ b.   In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection a., each employment agency which charges or may charge the job seeker a fee shall:

  “(6)  Obtain a bona fide order for employment prior to collecting any fee from a job seeker or sending out a job seeker to any place of employment…

“…no charge or advance fee of any kind shall be charged, demanded, collected, or received by the agency from a job seeker seeking employment until employment has been obtained by or through the efforts of the agency;”

Section 34:8‐65, paragraph i states:

    “Not more than one‐third of any fee, charge or commission shall be collected by the registered organization for its services or products more than 60 days in advance of the date on which the registrant provides its services or products as stated in its contract.”

‘Registrant’ being the person represented for the outreach of employment. In this case i.e. ‘actor.’

Presently, a northern New Jersey modeling and talent services organization offers the potential for talent representation partly upon an up-front fee. Located in a bucolic suburb of New York the NJ talent company charges the advance registration fee for as advertised on their website:

“One of the top child talent agencies in the NYC area, [We’re] proud to open doors of opportunity to any child or teen wanting to work in showbiz…. [Our company] also offers amazing bookings and castings… representing young talent just beginning a career in the business. Highly regarded as the go-to source for extras casting by top production companies, our actors in both Divisions work frequently in top television and film productions, commercials and print campaigns and are an elite group of budding professionals enjoying early successes.”

The talent representation company in which the owner is self-described as an agent further stresses online:

“OUR DIVISION BOOKS CHILDREN AND TEENS WITH LITTLE TO NO EXPERIENCE IN NON-SPEAKING ROLES FOR FILM, TELEVISION AND BOUTIQUE MODELING PROJECTS.”

Past readers of Answers for Actors may note a commonality of ALL CAPS UTILIZED in claims made on the websites of the alleged pay-to-play operators.

The NJ talent company charges a $249 registration fee for a division of their clients. An up-front payable for an initial interview with young actors between the ages of 2 – 17. The registration fee is lessened $50 if a code, provided on the company’s website, is utilized in the online registration process.

Along with the registration fee is an additional fee that is be checked-off and agreed to. Whether or not the additional fee is required is not made clear on the company website:

“MONTHLY FEE FOR [OUR] EXTRAS DIVISION BOOKING SOFTWARE PROFILE IS $20/mo.”

The talent company’s website advises that the interview and registration fee do not guarantee representation. Representation that, at first blush, seems mostly for background work which can be found by any civilian for virtually free on their own.

The company does have two divisions of clients. One division for background actors. The other division apparently includes: “established and emerging professional children who can be seen regularly in television, film and print projects such as Disney and Nickelodeon commercials…” After paying for the lower division how and when does the representation for talent graduate beyond background work into the second division of “professional children who can be seen regularly in television, film and print projects?” Is the registration fee for the lesser division returned once the child is submitted in response to a Breakdown to which the child is cast as a principal?

Answers for Actors learned via Thom Goff, Director of Operations, East Coast at Breakdown Services, Ltd. that the northern New Jersey operation does hold a subscription to BreakdownsBreakdowns which include principal casting (commercials, pilots, episodics, Broadway, major studio films, and respected regional theaters). The self-proclaimed “Child and Teen Self-Management” company openly advertises to book more than just background:

“OUR CURRENT ROSTER OF ACTORS AND MODELS HAVE ENJOYED TOP BOOKINGS IN MAJOR NETWORK TV SHOWS, PILOTS AND COMMERCIALS, STUDIO FEATURE FILMS ALONGSIDE A-LIST ACTORS AND DIRECTORS…”

Breakdown Services in the past has strongly frowned upon representation, with a subscription to Breakdowns, charging clients any fees beyond allowable commission (10% for franchised agents and whatever percentage a manager gets their client to agree to). Answers for Actors reached out to SAG-AFTRA’s Megan Capuano, Associate National Director, Professional Representatives for verification if the self-defined agent and company is franchised to represent union members. SAG-AFTRA’s Communications Department responded that the company in question is not franchised with SAG-AFTRA. New Jersey statute permits employment agencies and talent companies seeking work on behalf of their clients to be termed ‘agent.’ The northern New Jersey talent company is a licensed business in New Jersey to operate as an employment agency. As documented in New Jersey Employment and Personnel Services code NJSA 34:8‐43 et seq and NJSA 56:8‐1 et seq, employment agencies are not to seek or request up-front fees of clients. Actor unions also have policies barring pay-to-play representation of actors.

In addition to talent representation, acting classes, and in-house extras casting for outside production companies the northern New Jersey talent company also offers headshot packages for children at $199 advertised as being, “Child & Teen Photo Shoots by a Kids Talent Agent.” Blow-outs and make-up available at an additional $100. The $599 acting classes have check-out options during registration: Order a headshot session. Or add ‘Keep Calm & Call My Agent’ t-shirts. Two color choices. All sizes. $26.50 each.

The talent company operates in an upscale town with hillside mansions overlooking New York City in the distance. Residents include a famous, late-night talk show host. Broadway and Hollywood talent. Franchised talent agents. C.S.A. casting directors. And behind-the-scenes creatives of the entertainment industry. But several blocks from 8-figure manses that are home to entertainment pros is the talent agency requiring up-front fees for a division of the talent they represent. The talent company also has an in-house casting director whose prior experience before casting is detailed online as having, “a previous career in book publishing and store management.”

Pay-to-play-to-be-submitted-for-casting consideration operations are no longer confined to malls and McMansion bedroom communities. The questionable practices thrive and exist online, and in our backyards. Supported by neighbors we believe to be educated on questionable practices within entertainment industry’s ranks. But as long as there are the star-struck wishing to be famous there will be hands and websites holding open doors for dollars. And as long as there are adults chasing the stage and screen ambitions of their prodigy and established entertainment professionals harvesting the children to fill roles these companies, some well-known like the New Jersey operation and others existing under entertainment industry’s radar, the pay-to-play game continues.

[Author’s Note: Sourced quotes from the talent company’s website are documented via time and date stamped screen captures.]

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

ACTING: Make It Your Business

10 Tips On How to be a Professional [Actor]

Merriam-Webster’s clinical definition for professional is slightly incorrect… someone is waiting to take advantage of your misstep(s).

Merriam-Webster’s clinical definition for professional is slightly incorrect:

pro·fes·sion·al / adjective

(1) :  characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) :  exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

Professional behavior extends beyond the jobs in which we toil to survive–life’s everyday interactions requires personal professional behavior. An actor, whether household name, developing, or amateur is a public figure once they take to the stage or screen. Off-screen and off-stage manners are scrutinized by peers intensively. And often surreptitiously as does supposedly the NSA with our daily email interactions. The actor is always “on” whether they wish to be or not. Everyone watches your personal professional behavior. In an insular industry in which is often joked that only six people are working in it because everyone knows everyone via a connection… your image, persona, and personal and work ethic is being watched. And someone is waiting to take advantage of your misstep(s).

10 Tips On How to be a Professional [Actor]:

1. Approach Peers in Your Trade as Individuals—Not for What the Individual Does as Their Trade

When I encounter an actor unfamiliar with my work as a director and casting director often the next phrase from the actor is, “What are you casting and/or directing now? Anything right for me?” When arriving early to teach classes in New York I hide in a back hallway. If I don’t several actors in my class will ask for me to correct their homework; give additional instruction and/or both. This personal-time intrusion is as equally dismissive of me as a person as if in the civilian world when a doctor, lawyer, or any trade professional is routinely asked for professional advice by strangers and acquaintances during the trade keeper’s personal time.

Before engaging with trade peers beyond their work recall that like you the person is more than what they do to earn a paycheck.

  1. Arrive Prepared

Audition, interview, performance or class; if you’re not prepared due to lack of self-interest and/or self-time management the only person at fault is yourself. You’re not entitled to sympathy or re-dos for your inability to prepare. Showing-up is half of what is required of you. Showing-up prepared is the other 50% of attaining success.

  1. Accepting & Owning Mistakes

Not even the most persnickety perfectionist is immune to airor (pardon me: error). Colleagues and peers hold in higher regard co-workers who fess-up to misjudgment, error, or inappropriate comments and/or actions. A deflector or liar is rarely, honestly admired. Politicians are the worst actors for spinning fiction.

  1. Living Happily is Life’s Only Entitlement

Believing you’re right for a role, or believing that because you played a role previously prompts your entitlement to an audition and/or hire is behavior not worthy of a playground let alone a chosen profession.

Accept that nothing is inevitable. The inevitable is one of many possibilities.

  1. Good Manners is Responding to Emails, Voice-mails, Text and Inquiries

Just as you appreciate recognition so do the people reaching out to you. Silence screams a lack of respect and courtesy for others.

  1. Let Peers Participate

In group situations, rehearsals, class settings, meetings the lone attention-hog repeatedly asking self-serving questions is the person who’ll eventually be alone. Let peers and colleagues participate in group endeavors.

  1. Pitch. Don’t Bitch.

The backstabbing, snarky whisperer soon finds their pool of light diminishing. The Barter Theatre’s curtain speech quotes their founder Robert Porterfield: “If you like us, talk about us. And if you dont, just keep your mouth shut.”

If negativity is an admirable trait more children would aspire to be cable news commentators.

8. Focus on Your Duties, Desires and Efforts Not the Responsibilities and Career Advances of Co-workers

9. Spontaneous Compliments to Peers are as Welcomed as is Water to the Parched

10. Accepting Tough Love Criticism Equals That You’re Open to Improvement and Love

My ego and work is often thrashed. Once particularly from a woman I never met. But, if I ignored her tough love criticism you and I would not be sharing this conversation.

The gracious and generous Brian O’Neill nudged along my first book ACTING: Make It Your Business. He discovered a blog post of mine on an obscure website for actors. He introduced me to his publisher and editor. His editor read my work. She loved the book proposal, and was ready to begin offering a contract. She then tragically passed due to cancer. The publisher put all of the editor’s pending projects on hold. Mixed emotions indeed were mine.

I held out hope the journey with Brian O’Neill’s publisher would continue. Months passed—a nano-second in publishing—no forward movement with the publisher. I then put out to other publishers the same book proposal the deceased editor praised prior to her too-young passing. I received one response. Highly critical. A pass. What?! But this was the same material for which an editor was ready to provide a contract! How could my words and proposal fail elsewhere? I fumed. I vented (privately to my partner and cats… the cats licked their paws). My email in-box remained empty of returns from other publishers. Weeks passed. Still nothing. I re-opened the critical editor’s email. I began making changes based on the woman’s insight and critique.

I sent the book out to more publishers. Months later, a phone call came mid-day. “Have you sold your book yet?” asked an editor with Watson-Guptil (an imprint of Penguin-Random House). The editor sought to buy my book. The one based on changes I made. Changes prompted by the tough love criticism made by a stranger. Several days later Brian O’Neill’s publisher placed an offer on my pre-critiqued proposal. Which door should I choose?

If I had not listened to the tough love advice of a stranger I doubt ACTING: Make It Your Business would exist. Brian O’Neill’s publisher dropped their books on acting a year later. I was damn lucky I got over my ego and listened to tough love advice from a stranger. She was being a friend. A friend I have yet to meet.

Listen and your ego will subside.

The 10 tips prior on how to be a professional [actor] are applicable to a career in nearly any trade. More importantly, the tips on professional behavior are for life itself. When considering a future decision, discussion, and/or interaction reflect as well this: is the action you’re about to take one that you admire in others? Will your next step be equally admired by a majority of strangers and peers? If answered ‘yes’ then you’re being professional–both in career, and in life.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Share this:

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

ACTING: Make It Your Business

How to Create the Best Acting Reel…

Modern actor reel_3

The traditional actor’s reel is dead.

The term ‘actor’s reel’ soon will rest aside the, “Fax me your résumé’s” crypt. Talent agents, managers and their clients no longer share with casting a 3.5-minute historical compilation of an actor’s on-camera work. Doing so is akin to a lumbersexual parading skinny jeans at a Chick-fil-A. Très passé gauche.

An actor’s modern digital media doesn’t rely on old rules. Length? Roll back your counter. There’s a new running time for efficient, and industry-acceptable length. Fancy editing? Oh. My. Gawd. So 80s MTV. Modern actor digital media requires a new and simplistic format that directly targets specific casting.

And then there’s media real estate. Actors are being overlooked if they haven’t staked prime media real estate. The free—to nearly free—properties with the best digital curb appeal that attracts more industry views to an actor’s on-camera landscape. If you’re thinking YouTube; please rewind to 2009. Actors need to be looking to Vimeo, Actors Access or better the digital content platforms that representation utilizes to submit clients to casting: Active Pitch.

So what is the modern actor’s reel? It’s not a reel, nor should it be termed such just as a recorded sitcom should no longer be archaically termed ‘videotaped.’ The digital revolution has dramatically changed both live and recorded auditions. Reels are now segmented. Reduced to targeting projects specifically. Yes, some talent representation review an actor’s traditional reel when considering talent. But when that talent becomes a new client the reel is sliced and diced as if a filet on Top Chef. And when the talent is unrepresented the actor in relation to casting is no longer burdened by:

Reel length

Contrasting content

Dynamic editing

An actor’s digital media representing skill and work history is much simpler thanks in part to modern attention spans being compacted in the age of where 140 characters abbreviates content. And secondly, by the ease of sharing content online without need of a disc drive or the more ancient and bulky VHS player.

To further support, navigate and bring actors into the modern actor reel movement that casting and representation expect and utilize: I’m sharing the expectations for both digital and live on-camera auditions that I provide to MFA & BFA acting programs. A new master class for actors with or without screen history. A panel of film, TV, commercial and theatrical casting directors, and agents join me.

Yes, this is a post out of the norm for Answers for Actors. (And to be quite honest an uncomfortable posting by its author.) The posts here are generally of a prescriptive narrative. General advisories in text here for an actor’s digital media will not fully serve the individual. My sharing the casting clips utilized by actors on Prime Time TV, and the effectiveness of such may only be done privately in a class setting. Comparing an actor’s digital media to that of peers can only be done in a class setting. A blog post limits my ability to further advise beyond general umbrella statements.

Whether or not you’re available for the master class know that for your digital media representation to be effective to casting should:

-Target specific projects utilizing your media history that reflects the casting project targeted

– Showcase media that has production values (lighting, camera work, the work of peers) that you want to best represent you

– Have media real estate beyond public outlets that often distract the viewer from your media (i.e. YouTube is not an actor’s prime media real estate)

Master Class Curriculum:

WEEK 1: Mastering Your Media Real Estate to be Effective & Competitive (Having a reel is not necessary for participation.)

WEEK 2: Analysis of Actors’ Media Improvements

Plus…

Commanding the LIVE On-Camera Audition & Actor Branding – Getting the Job

WEEK 3: LIVE On-Camera Audition Technique & Branding Follow-up

Plus…

Final Analysis of Media Prior to Presentation to the Entertainment Industry Panel

WEEK 4: Panel Feedback

Lead instructor and guest advisers’ participation does not connote offers of employment or representation to class participants. These classes are for educational purposes only and will not secure or provide opportunity for employment in the field or representation by an agent. 

For details on the panel and the on-camera master class visit: http://paulrussell.net/AMIYB_MasterClass.html

 

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

 

ACTING: Make It Your Business

Actor Jealousy & Comparisons

This week: Jealousy Losses. Ambition Wins

Comparisons; they happen. Especially in group settings such as the collaboration that is the performing arts. And they can destroy the harmony and productivity of any project. The comparison can be a seemingly innocent thought such as a dance captain musing to themselves that one the dancers in the theatrical company has a better extension.  Or it can be a morale damaging comment carelessly (or with malicious intent) spoken by a secondary role actor that they believe they have superior skills than the actor playing the leading role. Comparisons do damage. Whether spoken or silently pondered. While you may think comparing is helpful to better oneself; careful. Human nature often goes towards the negative like a sexual compulsive to a bathhouse. Either situation; the chatterer or the salacious sex fiend, leaves them feeling empty and less than their worth. Jealousies fester.

We all do comparisons of ourselves to others. My partner constantly reprimands me for diving into the infested waters of the comparison swamp. I’ll comment about peers who I assume or know to have more profitable careers than I. And then I’ll mope. For days. Sometimes weeks. Thinking ‘I’m not good enough.’ When my book ACTING: Make It Your Business was first released I was daily, almost hourly, obsessed with going to Amazon.com to see where my sales rank rated and how it compared with similar books. When my high school friend Kevin Murphy, the creative behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Reefer Madness – The Musical, became an executive producer and writer for Desperate Housewives I wallowed in the soulless self-pity of ‘Why can’t that be me?’ None of these actions were helpful to my moving forward in my goals. Nor was I a happy camper to be around in the company of others. And this wallow and worry was also a major waste of time and energy. Energy that could have been put to better use elsewhere; like an ambition to looking for new opportunities for growth. As I often say (but seldom follow) ‘Worry is a waste.’ Eventually I’ll slap myself and stop what is essentially career momentum stopping behavior.  We all have our moments but when they build from moments to eras then you need to fix your comparison problem.

Positive comparisons are fine such as one actor complimenting another on their performance, “It’s wonderful how you ground your character and keep the tension of the story; I’m learning much from your work.” With a comment similar to that you’re not only providing positive reinforcement to a fellow company member (who may be in their own comparison swamp) you’re also displaying your desire for growth.

BackstabA potential negative comparison such as one actor to another in a regional theater setting, “Your comedic timing is fascinating; I’ll never be as good as you.” opens a Pandora’s Box for trouble. It may have seemed that what was expressed was a compliment. But words have a funny way of being twisted and carrying meaning beyond what we intend. Let’s take a look at where the statement crashed. First; the comment, “I’ll never be as good as you” belittles your contributions and openly announces insecurities which others in the company seize upon as a confessed weakness and gives an invitation to dismiss you. Secondly, you empower the person to whom you’re speaking. And thirdly, the vagueness of the comment “fascinating” could be viewed as sarcasm by the recipient.

The comparison statement doesn’t even have to be made by you to the person you admire (or are jealous of). Some people with insecurities (and that’s the heart to where this problem stems) will whisper to others in a company that they believe their skills to be far superior to someone else within the same company. That statement then, like the childhood game of telephone, is spread from one company member to another. The telling of the comparison changes as the information is disseminated and distorted between exchanges. Eventually this brings attention of the person(s) you were comparing yourself to. Gone is company moral. Unnecessary tensions build. Distrust breeds. Negativity manifests within the production.

Making comparisons is not healthy if you continually focus on your faults or the faults of others.

One of the traps in the comparison swamp is perception. While you may look at someone else who dabbles in your field of expertise and think them to be wildly successful you never truly know what their life is like. To the public they may seem as if they have a sweetly composed life accompanied by a healthy bank account. But in reality they may be like you; comparing their career (or lack thereof) to someone else while wishing their own were better.

If you wallow in the “I wish that were me” then you’ll always be mired in the comparison swamp. Lost in the reeds. Drowning. When the comparatives surface in your cranium think carefully before giving them validity. Is it jealousy that prompted the thought or is it a desire to better yourself? If it’s the former, toss the thought of, “I could be better than so-and-so…” away. If it’s for the betterment of you and invigorates your ambition for improvement then embrace and keep the thought to yourself while working on finding means to be content with what you presently can develop or keep from your talents. You’ll be a much happier artist if you do so.

My best,
Paul

Read advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Share this:

Skype With Paul
Read Paul’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

ACTING: Make It Your Business

Who Labels Actors as Frauds? – A Surprising Answer

“An actor? You’re only as good as your last performance/audition/job.” “You’re not an actor are unless you’re a working actor.” …if you’re not working now as an actor; you’re not an actor. Truth or fiction…?

Paul Russell
“Actor? You’re only as good as your last performance.”

“You’re not an actor unless you’re a working actor.”

Civilians slap actors with these damning comments; but worse are actors who abuse themselves:

A4A_NotAnActor

Alissa’s above undermined self-confidence or similar update on social media “I’m-not-working-in-my-profession-means-I’m-a-fraud” may have once mirrored your own damaging thoughts to your career.

You and I have been preached these and similar falsehoods so many times that we—like the short-sighted who have dumped on us that limiting historical perspective—gorge on the empty career-confidence calories the slights provide.

I’ve a family member who has been unemployed for nearly a year. I’ve never understood what his civilian toil is—my mother once claimed he worked for the CIA because of his foreign travels. (My mother should be the family writer.) My family member’s long-term unemployment—just like a doctor’s, lawyer’s, or mason’s does not make them—or him any lesser than who he is. He’s just unemployed. He actively seeks employment in his areas of expertise. If you met an unemployed marketing guru would toss in their face, “Oh you’re not a marketer. You don’t have a job as one.” No. With civilians and their careers, you and I don’t have a civilian’s limited scope of a person’s ambitions and history.

Do Not ActorBut when, as an actor, you’re asked what you do for a living by a civilian or colleague and you’re unemployed are you sheepish? Do you fear the next questions that will invariably come? “What have I seen you in?” “What are you doing now?” You probably do dread those inquiries because you’ve been whipped repeatedly by civilians (and by insecure colleagues) uneducated to an acting career’s challenges that if you’re not working now as an actor; you’re not an actor.

You have a history. Own it. Your present does not reflect your entirety. I too tire of the question “What have you done lately?” I answer: “Do you have time for me to recount my thirty-plus years of experience as an actor, casting director, director, acting teacher, and author? A thousand-plus projects is what I’ve done recently. My history is longer than yesterday or an hour ago.” My answer is not bitterness or smug. My answer is to educate civilians—and immature artists—that a person is more than their current employment. We are not our jobs.

Stop drinking the poisoned Kool-Aid that if unemployed you’re not your career. Unemployment in the arts is as common to the profession as are splinters to a carpenter. The wood smith is no less proficient a carpenter because of the lack of pine slivers piercing their skin. And you are no less an actor because you’re unemployed. If you believe opposite; it’s you who is saying, “I’m not an actor. I’m a fraud.”

My best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Skype With Paul
Read Paul’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

ACTING: Make It Your Business