#StopTwitterCasting | Auditions, Actors & Social Media

Actors desperate for work and attention are complicit in becoming social media whores at the whims of their pimps: casting directors, directors, and producers.

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Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell
PaulRussell.net

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.There’s a malicious trend of false popularity trumping talent killing the art of acting. And actors desperate for auditions, work and attention are complicit in becoming social media whores at the whims of their pimps: casting directors, directors, and producers. Want an audition? Casting now requires on a growing number of projects that an actor, not a celeb, but a journeyman actor have a large social media following. At a prominent New England regional theater the casting of a dance track during call-backs had two viable candidates. The producers went with the female dancer who had the larger social media following.

For the Millennial actor this whoring social media followers to get an audition or to be cast in a project may seem routine. Let’s turn the clock back 20 years…

Before present day social media, and ‘followers’, and ‘friends’ you’ve never met but to whom you reveal the most intimate aspects of your private life publicly; before the narcissistic swamps which are not receding any time soon, the casting of journeyman actors was based on talent. Not an actor’s Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook following. Celebs? Sure, there was always a ‘box-office’ or ‘Q’ consideration. But now in the age of “look-at-me” diarrhea indulgence producers, directors, and writers are asking of no-name journeyman actors to have a set minimum of social media followers before the actor submit themselves for an audition. Have a paltry 50 to 200 social media followers the response is, “Don’t bother submitting. You’re not worthy.” Have over 100K, 500K or more followers then, “Yes! Let’s see that actor! Never mind the talent. If we hire 10 actors with each of them having a social media following of 200K per actor, that’s 2 million eyes on our project!”

A major flaw with that sweat-shop thinking. Followers does not equal commerce. If it did then my 60K followers across various platforms should have all bought my acting book, letting me enjoy the luxury of not having to constantly plug the pulp puppy. The percentage of sales for my acting book—hailed by industry, actors, and universities as a must-read—compared to my following is not equal.

Actors are encouraged to “buy” followers. Problem: all followers are not necessarily what is sought as a demographic. Through no choice of mine I have followers I never sought or want: hardware stores, plumbing companies, convenience stores, and many other non-arts related followers.

And while the employers of talent believe hiring actors with large followings will get the project more eye-time online that will only occur if their actors pay the social media platforms to bring eyes on the actor’s Tweets and updates.

This trend of followers over talent isn’t artful. We’re compromising the integrity of creating by buying into the false reality of reality entertainment. I dread the day I see on an actor’s resume placed in the Special Skills section, or worse as a credit, the number of social network followers the actor has.

Sir Laurence Olivier had talent: not a Twitter following.

#StopTwitterCasting

My best,
Paul

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over 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 visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“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!

Audition Successes & Failures: Actor Tell-All from The Casting Table

Greetings fellow artists. I recently had a great opportunity as an active auditioning NYC actor: to sit on the other side of the table. It was a three-day masterclass, and it changed the way I now audition.

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Welcome Guest Blogger, actress Holly Williams who recently jumped to behind the casting table. Oh–what she witnessed. Holly shares insight on how actors can soar with success. Or flame out in failure. Holly is an AEA actress, having recently returned from 5 continuous years of work at the TONY-recognized Barter Theatre.

Holly WilliamsHolly Williams
holly-williams.com

Guest Blogger

Greetings my fellow artists. Currently, I am writing this blog on my phone waiting to sign up for an EPA appointment. I recognize a lot of you. I see you almost every morning at the crack of dawn at AEA, Telsey, Pearl, Nola and/or Ripley. We stand in line together. Crowd around the mirrors and put on our makeup. Or stretch, and make small talk. Or do our best to silently hum vocal warm ups while we wait to snag a slot. 

 

A few weeks ago, I switched places. I had a great opportunity as an active, auditioning NYC actor: to sit on the other side of the casting table. This time I didn’t see you in your cute pajamas, lugging over-sized bags and winter coats. This time I was seeing bright-eyed and bushy tailed actors accomplish a savvy quick change into your audition-ready selves. I observed the notes casting director, and director, Paul Russell would write on your resumes to remember you by, the impression you gave when you walked into the room and when you left. In between auditions, he whispered what was working, what was not and why. I learned about the complications of solving the casting puzzle by listening to the creative team’s comments. It was a three-day masterclass, and it changed the way I now audition.

 

Look like your headshot:  

Like you, I have heard this a hundred times from various well-respected sources. One of those, “Duh- everyone knows that” truths, right? But more often than not, I wouldn’t recognize the person walking into the room based on your photo. Your headshot is the first thing I see. If your picture has a hair color/cut that changes your appearance, looks like you five or ten years ago (be honest with yourself about that) or is a super glamorous shot with makeup and hair fit for the cover of a magazine but not for the you walking into the room right now: I will not remember who you are at the end of the day. When all I have to look at and remember you by is your photo, let it look like you. So much of casting is outside your control. Looking like you headshot is not one of them..

 

Make your resumes easy to read:

I spent more time trying to hunt for information on your resume than I did watching your audition. Go to Paul Russell’s ACTING: MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS book, turn to page 86 and follow the industry standard. I probably missed a marvelous part of your audition because I was searching for something that I should be able to find at a glance.

[As an aside: I thought my resume was FINE. I showed it to Paul on our break and he made all kinds of edits to it- and this is AFTER taking his class! So, for those of you like me who think, “Oh, this doesn’t apply to me.”….maybe get a second opinion just to be safe. Again, this IS within your control.]

 

Keep your audition material up to date!:

Our artistic producer LOVED asking people for something contrasting. And then he would ask for another piece–and another! I know this is rare. Most of us are used to only having time for one monologue or one 16-32 bar cut, and then leaving. But what surprised me the most was watching you have a panic attack at these requests. Some of you did not have another contrasting piece, or you flipped through your book frantically trying to find something and couldn’t decide, or you walked around in circles trying to remember another monologue you haven’t done in years. And even though I was on the other side of the table, rooting for you to remember your other material because I wanted to see more of your magic, I got nervous for you. Really nervous. So make it a goal to keep your audition material polished and ready to go when unexpectedly requested. This is in your control (see the pattern here?).

 

Be yourself. Have fun:

Okay- this is the thing that clicked the most for me. Now, I’ve taken Paul Russell’s masterclass twice and have taken advantage of his private coaching sessions. With all the notes I’ve taken on the business, marketing and audition strategy…two phrases I wrote down the most: ‘Be yourself’ and ‘Have fun.’

 

Easy, right? “How can I be anything other than myself? I get the chance to act and sing today. That’s always fun! Easy.”  After about the 30th audition witnessed, the phrases ‘Be yourself’ and ‘Have fun’ I had written down over and over again in my notes took on a new meaning. 

 

I realized I wasn’t being myself or having that much fun. Why? Because I would walk into an audition as my guarded self: Don’t speak unless spoken to. Put your professional game face on. Live in the moment once your audition begins. Politely thank them for their time and leave. If they are interested in more they will ask.

 

Do these also sound like your thoughts? They may–because I saw about 350 of you do the same thing. And you know what the result was? I had no idea who you were at the end of the day. 

 

‘Being yourself,’ and ‘having fun’ means allowing your authentic personality, all your wonderful quirks; your natural disposition; your likable and unique individuality to come into the room with you come through in the pieces you’re doing and also through the clothes you choose to wear. This is another way we get a glimpse of who you are in the limited amount of time we have with you in the room.

 

Those of you who found opportunities to let your authenticity come through made me remember you at the end of the day because I got a glimpse of your specific personality and I wanted to know you more and work with you one day. Even if you did not fit our casting puzzle: I remembered you.

 

Paul tried to engage your authenticity when you walked into the room: He greeted you, he would ask questions about you, and compliment your work or attire. But like me, you gave a very short guarded answer, and then ended with “Thank you” and you left the room. It was a missed an opportunity to know you more!  I learned that asking you questions behind the table is to get an idea of who you are and imagine if we might like working with you. Don’t recite your resume to me- it’s right in front of me. Tell me something. A quick story about a unique experience you’ve had or enjoyed, and then let that personality fly!

 

And here’s the best part about being yourself: it’s so freeing. The nuances of your artistic gifts come through more which is a lot of fun!  Your energy changed mine. Watching you enjoy your audition resulted in my own enjoyment and I had fun with you. 

 

So drop that guard, find (appropriate) opportunities to have a quick conversation or a moment to potentially create relationships with someone on the other side of the table by being your authentic self. Because one day, for some project, your gifts, craft, particular attributes, and individualism will be the solution to a casting dilemma. And you will have the advantage of being someone that casting will remember who then say, “Oh, I like this person a lot. I’ve been wanting to work with them.”

 

So be yourself! Have fun!

_____

AMIYB_AmazonBernard Telsey, casting director for HAMILTON, The Intern, and The Wiz – Live! hails of Paul Russell’s book for actors, ACTING: Make It Your Business:

“Actors everywhere trying to succeed…

THIS IS YOUR ROADMAP!”

 Check out ACTING: Make It Your Business!

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over 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 visit www.PaulRussell.net.

When to Join an Actor Union? (AEA, SAG-AFTRA, AGVA)

The debate of ‘going union’ or not, and ‘when’ or ‘if” is a juggernaut of career soul-searching. When is going from a non-union actor to a union actor best?

UnionJoin

When is going from a non-union actor to a union actor best? Each actor has their own journey to one of those favored union cards be it from Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, or AGVA or all three: the triple crown of union status.

Once there was an impatient, young actor hired as a non-union performer by one of my L.O.R.T. clients. The actor strongly believed that if he didn’t get his Actors’ Equity card by age twenty-one his career would be over. When hired he’d hit his self-imposed card deadline but we hired him as a non-union performer (the producer’s budget dictated the necessity of a non-union actor to work alongside AEA actors). During his contract at the AEA theater he was miffed when he wasn’t bumped up from ensemble into an understudy vacancy. He threatened to quit. I intervened. We offered him his AEA card to remain.

While the solution provided immediate gratification for all sides, especially for the actor, it didn’t help him much past the near-term. Being young, developmental (i.e. new to the business), and a physical type that isn’t easily marketable for an actor he didn’t work much (nearly not at all) after receiving his AEA card. He was competing against stronger-skilled, union performers. Had he remained non-union for his early to mid-twenties he more than likely would have worked more often. As a non-union talent he was more valuable and desirable to union houses that hire non-union. Plus, he could work the lucrative market of non-union tours. I know of a good number of actors who played a non-union tour of a Broadway musical, and then were “upgraded” to making their Broadway debut in the NY counterpart of the show. Union card snagged.

For each creative participant in entertainment the ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘what’ for becoming ‘union’ varies. For some, joining a union is a status symbol. Recognition as being ‘a professional.’ Union membership does not equal professionalism. Anyone working in entertainment has witnessed a portion of union actors, directors, designers, and stage craftspeople who behave worse than the worst tyrannical community theater artist. I was once heartened when sitting on a panel that included a Vice-President from Actors’ Equity Association who had said without reservation, “Being a member of Equity does not mean you’re a professional. That’s a myth.”

Whatever union represents your field of expertise know that the initials that follow your name designating inclusion into the club will not make you better at what you do. Only you can do that; not a union card. A union is for protection not perfection.

Pros & Cons of Becoming Union:

Pros:

–          Basic salary minimums set by each union

–          Health & Pension benefits (if employed a certain amount of weeks per year)

–          Arbitration should there be a dispute between the union member and his employer

–          Elevates professional status (but that doesn’t mean the talent rises as well. There are union actors who are outclassed by non-union talent)

Cons:

–          Less opportunities for work (unions forbid and fine members for accepting work without a union contract attached)

–          More competition (and often of higher caliber)

–          As a union member you cost the producer more to hire as they pay bigger bucks for your larger union salary, and also the producer must pay into your pension & health payments funds. (Producers are looking for ways to stay economically viable in a modern market where audience share is harder to obtain as competition arises from an overload of various entertainment platforms.)

Going union for an actor can not be answered by a blog, agent, casting director or by an actor’s peers. The answer must come from each actor’s circumstances (work history, marketability against other union actors, desire for the abundance of opportunities of non-union gigs vs. sparseness of landing union gigs). Before an actor makes the choice of joining an actors’ union, when the opportunity is offered, the actor needs to query themselves:

Do I (the actor) want to work near continuously (non-union)?  Or do I want to work occasionally with the possibility of better pay, benefits, and possibly better working conditions (union)? As a performer; does my age, skill set and experience equal that of my union peers?

The debate of ‘going union’ or not, and ‘when’ or ‘if” is a juggernaut of career soul-searching. The when, if, and why can only be answered by each actor’s circumstances, desires, and most importantly; needs.

My Best,
Paul
www.PaulRussell.net

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Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“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
(The InternHamiltonNBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Wicked)
“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!

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over 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, Temple and the University of the Arts. 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.

How Actors Get Auditions & Agents Via Google ‘Secret’

Google has a little known digital aggregate spy that will let an actor know about projects to be cast long before a casting notice or breakdown is released to industry. The handy snoop also keeps track of what agents are expanding their client base, and/or where the talent rep will next be making a heralded public appearance.

Google

Think you know where casting notices lurk? Breakdown Services, Actors Access, Back Stage, Casting Networks, Playbill, Google app… wait, what, huh Google what?

Google has a little known digital aggregate spy that will let an actor know about projects to be cast long before a casting notice or breakdown is released to industry. The handy snoop also keeps track of what agents are expanding their client base, and/or where the talent rep will next be making a heralded public appearance.

Google Alerts. What’s Google Alerts? And how does this nifty feature utilized mostly by media and political campaigns benefit an actor to get auditions and/or a talent agent and manager?

Simple.

Google Alerts is a Google app that tracks online names (or titles) when published, and then alerts the user of when specified names previously programmed by the app’s user appear online.

Want to know, or keep track, of a director’s or casting director’s next project? Program their name(s) into Google Alerts and you’ll be notified of when that casting director or director next appears online such as in an announcement “Steven Spielberg to Helm Upcoming Tom Hanks Thriller.”

Or maybe you know through the industry grapevine that “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is rumored to be bound for a Broadway musical and you’d sell your nana’s dentures to be first seen and considered for casting. Program into Google Alerts ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel musical’ and you’ll get an alert the first time the whispered rumor is put into font online.

With alerts like the Spielberg and Best Hotel… you’ll receive additional alerts when creatives are named such as casting, director, et. al. You can then reach out to the people named well before a casting notice is released. You’re first in their thought and line.

Talent Representation

Want to target specific agents for your representation but don’t know at what seminar they will be at next? Program the name(s) of the agent(s), and their agency, into Google Alerts and you’ll be notified of their next public appearance. Additionally if the agent is mentioned in a press release in regard to a client’s work (or the agent jumps to another agency) you can personally congratulate the agent via their Twitter feed.

Google Alerts can be utilized to follow announcements on any title, studio, person (directors, writers, producers, managers, choreographers, agents), or entity (production company, theater, touring company, studio). How the actor leverages the information and the success of such depends on the actor.

Place this author’s name in Google Alerts and you’ll soon be getting an alert “Paul Russell to Direct U.S. Regional Premiere of [title].’ Yes, that’s a tease but there will be casting involved for the project I’m keeping mum about. Google Alerts will let you know when my producer makes the announcement official… One example of the many profitable ways Google Alerts assists an actor’s career.

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned 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 over two-dozen universities including Yale, Elon, Wright State University and Rutgers. 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.

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

How to Audition On-Camera Auditions for Modern Casting

Is the traditional actor’s reel a hipster man-bun bound for extinction? Yes.

Are on-camera auditions recorded in a casting director’s office (or in the office of the actor’s rep.) as relevant to the modern casting process as is Kim Kardashian is to winning a Pulitzer for literature? Yes.

On camera

PR_headshot_A4AIs the traditional actor’s reel a hipster man-bun bound for extinction? Yes.

Are on-camera auditions recorded in a casting director’s office (or in the office of the actor’s rep.) as relevant to the modern casting process as is Kim Kardashian is to winning a Pulitzer for literature? Yes.

Casting directors for the screen, whether TV network, indie films, online outlets like Netflix, or Hollywood film blockbusters rarely view an actor’s reel in today’s Twitter-paced world. The worry for actors is no longer, “How long is my reel?” The worry for actors, and actor representation, is: does the actor have digital real estate online with audition competitive clips that target project-casting specificity?

Digital Real (reel) Estate:

When casting is seeking actors for a screen project the director, producers, writer(s), and casting only want to view quickly one (maaaybe two) clips of the actor’s screen work that matches the project being cast. That’s it. No reel.

The record of the actor’s relevant on-camera history must be industry-accessible beyond Breakdown Services / Actors Access, and definitely not on YouTube which restricts the posting of protected material. (Plus YouTube is the public digital landfill taunting with distractions; pulling away with cute kitty clips a viewer’s attention from the actor.)

So what to do with that reel dormant on a drive? Old fashion reel, real estate (clips disjointedly mashed together as a whole) is strictly for seeking representation.

What does an actor need now to be casting-competitive digitally? We’ll get to that new industry standard shortly…

Auditioning On-Camera:

When creatives involved in casting for a screen project (and sometimes for stage projects) want to see the actor with material from that project the actor must often participate in Eco-casting: record themselves utilizing provided audition material, and then make available to the casting office the recorded audition. No longer do actors with representation go to their agent’s office to be ‘put on tape.’ Represented or not the actor must be both director, editor, and actor recording themselves. A daunting proposition for the actor that is today’s producer budget-tightening reality spawned by the digital revolution.

The changes have come swiftly. And too many actors haven’t caught up to the modern demands of on-camera auditioning, and digital real estate.

Two respected screen casting directors and a successful bi-coastal talent agency owner join my office for a 3-week on-camera intensive. The executive entertainment panel includes guests associated with major studio and indie films including projects for: HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, American Horror Story, and many more successful screen outlets.

Together we share the importance not only on Eco-casting on-camera audition technique but also on the changes required for relevance for the modern actor’s digital real estate. The entertainment executives view and provide feedback on the actor’s work. Plus, participating actors receive an online, private link to their in-class on-camera work. The video files can be downloaded and saved.

WEEK 1: Mastering Media Real Estate (Having a reel is not necessary for participation.)

Discover the gold-standard for what Prime-Time TV & major film casting expect of proper and effective actor media in the digital revolution.

For the class participants with reels: Evaluation & advisement of modernizing your screen media for agents, and casting.

For actors without reels: A valuable insight for what is required to audition in an Eco-casting realm that is modern casting.

WEEK 2: Commanding the On-Camera Audition & Actor Branding – Getting the Job

Plus…

Analysis of Improvements 

Strengthen acting & live on-camera audition skills via scene study; define & leverage your type; Perfect your brand for when meeting industry employers; Target what makes you excel during an on-camera audition.

Utilizing audition scenes—from screen projects—I and my trusted assistant work with each actor to command every on-camera audition encountered.

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

Plus…

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

Audit and consult on improvement of: on-camera technique; effectively commanding the audition, text analysis, and dressing right for your brand.

For actors with digital media: a review of their improved material.

Wrap-up Q&A preparing the actor for the panel.

Panel Showcase & Feedback

Prepared, actors individuality meet and present their improved on-camera skills to the adviser panel. Actors with digital media will have their material presented to the panel as well.

At the end of the evening individual written feedback is provided by the panel on the actor’s scene work. A wrap-up Q & A follows.

Two-dozen universities including Yale to Elon to Wright State annually invite me share my NYC master classes on their campuses with their acting-major seniors. You can get a jump on those actors, plus share with the entertainment executive panel what you and I worked on together to showcase your improvements.

The On-Camera Master Class that has as guest advisers: casting directors for HBO, ABC, NBC, CBS, major films and indie-films. Plus a Hollywood agent with clients on American Horror Story. Only 5 Seats remain between both series!

Grab your treat at: http://paulrussell.net/AMIYB_MasterClass.html

Dates, Executive Panel, & Registration @ http://paulrussell.net/AMIYB_MasterClass.html

Let’s get to work, my friend.

My best,
Paul Russell
www.PaulRussell.net

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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 over two-dozen universities including Yale, Elon, Wright State University and Rutgers. 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.

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
!

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A Casting Director’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

ACTING: Make It Your Business

How Actors Successfully Accept Criticism

Everyone has got a f—ing opinion. Opinions can either stall our desires or mislead into self-delusion.

Everyone has got a f—ing opinion. Opinions can either stall our desires or mislead into self-delusion.

Human nature is wired to focus on the negative over the positive. We’re drawn to it like injury claim lawyers are to car crashes on the Jersey Turnpike. Before shaking your head in denial that you yourself are not guilty of this non-pleasurable foible lets slide down the slippery slope of your psyche.

How many times have you received praise for a performance or deed but then in the midst of that praise there was one critical response? A less than enthusiastic kneel at your feet or rejection at drinking the Kool-Aid of your brilliance? Recall the nasty, snide remark slandered by someone who pleasures in pointing out fault over favor? Now that your memory is jogged how much did the one critical comment obscure the plethora of praise? Come on, be honest. It had to irk you a bit. If so, you stepped on to the land mine that is the negative booby-trap.

Screw the negative.

And recall that criticism is a synonym for opinion. Got it? It’s not a judgment chiseled in granite. There is no Supreme Court (other than your parents) handing out verdicts of shame upon you. Only you (and yes maybe the parental units) do that. Stop it. Turn your back on the negative.

And caution on the positive…

Praise positive and critics negative can not be the barometer of which you measure your success or failure.  If you focus on either you’ll become lost in a forest of distorted mirrors. Forever seeing reflections that are projections provided by others. Smash the mirrors. Govern your own way out of the thicket of thorns and protective pines. What’s your opinion of you? How do you favor or critique your artistry? How are you honest with the person who’s opinion you most honor, and value? The opinionated of your whole that is you. Be kind to yourself, while being objective of improvement and praise to your goals and ideals.

Pre-P.S. And please, no opinion notes to me that this was an opinion about opinions. Infinity mirrors belong in one of two places; cheap motels with day rates and South Philly row homes.

And yes that was an opinion about having an opinion within an opinion piece.  At least that’s my opinion.

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!

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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

Surprising Actor “Must-haves” for Successful Auditions

[Author’s Note: This post is not related to April Fools Days]

What was the most recent occasion in which you pocketed condoms to an audition? 2% of actors responding to a poll on what actors need for a comfortable audition are Trojan-toting warriors hoping to spear a part. What part, remains questionable. Breath spray and/or mints are often associated with the condom response…

Audition Actors

What was the most recent occasion in which you pocketed condoms to an audition? 2% of actors responding to a poll on what actors need for a comfortable audition are Trojan-toting warriors hoping to spear a part. What part, remains questionable. Breath spray and/or mints are often associated with the condom response.

Excluding an actor’s headshot and audition material actors participating in the survey were asked to list in order of importance what they bring to auditions to comfort and help them succeed for what is often remarked as the most awkward of job interviews. Some “Must-haves” items submitted are eyebrow raising. But the #1 auditioning actor “must-have” is one you may unknowingly carry into an audition studio as a priority.

Water: the #1 “Must-have” for auditions according to the actor’s polled. In personal bottles or commercially branded, actors overwhelmingly responded with the need for hydration at an audition. Hydration reduces stress as is routinely documented in studies. Dehydration raises stress levels.

“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” says Amanda Carlson, RD in an interview on WebMD. Carlson is director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance, a trainer of world-class athletes.

“Cortisol is one of those stress hormones,” Carlson continues. “Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.” Sufferers of clinical depression are often instructed to maintain hydration as part of their therapy to mental wellness.

A prevailing thematic response of the polled actors placed mental comfort, and calming distractions as a priority at auditions. Music, books, and personal journals were the dominate distractions actors bring to auditions. If a fully prepared actor insists, while waiting for their escort into an audition studio, on constant visualization of what is to come minutes before the audition itself; stress levels increase. Confidence begins prior to arrival. The prepared actor reduces the nagging importance of each audition by having a comforting distraction such as a book or music. Importance of advancement is to be for an actor’s overall career; not each audition within the career.

Other items of comfort polled for an actor at an audition include objects most actors may not consider relevant to personal success. But for a number of actors unusual is the norm. Among the eyebrow raising “Must-have” items are:

“Clean underwear” (Underwear was quite popular including the response, “My lucky underwear.”)

“My statement lipstick” (“Maybe it’s Maybelline” does not an actress make.)

“I wear special socks for luck”

“Playbill from the first musical I was in”

“Constant texts from my girlfriend” (Codependency vibrating in your pocket.)

“My fake front tooth”

PollAnswersExcluding periodontal necessities luck and spirituality is key to comfort for a number of the responding actors. Whether found in a believed-to-be lucky heirloom, energizing crystals and/or minerals, physical distance from fellow actors, or as one actor responded, “Open heart and clear mind as much as possible” all items physical or psychological are each borne by faith and hope. Objects themselves like the dozen crystals and minerals lining the shelf over my desk are not the deliverers of fortune. The bearers’ belief is what comforts and motivates.

What items of comfort for success each actor brings to auditions is unique in that the actor has an individual reasoning for being accompanied by the object or thought of faith. While Actor A and B may both tote bottled water to an audition Actor A may do so because buying bottled water is beyond their budget.
Actor B does so for the necessity of hydration and comfort.

Bring to each audition what is most important to your comfort and success. Your peers may provide you laundry lists of audition “Must-haves.” Those lists contain only what is important to their comfort, not yours.

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
Read Paul’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

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E-mail Post to Friends…

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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.

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ACTING: Make It Your Business