Actors: Presenting thier Best Professional Image (EXCLUSIVE Video)

Casting director, director, and author Paul Russell in 2011 joined Broadway and Off-Broadway producer Randall Wreghitt (multiple TONY & Drama Desk winner) and acclaimed director, writer and lyricist Bill Russell who wrote Side ShowPageant and The Texas Chainsaw Musical. The powerhouse panel shared with actors industry insider’s tips for actors that are rarely spoken publicly beyond the closed doors of casting sessions. Combed from over 75 years of high profile experience in show business the trio was welcomed by an intimate sold-out gathering of artists. In this exclusive 90 second clip Paul Russell candidly devulges actor audacities that are leathal miscalculations that were killing several actor’s professional hopes.

Self-awareness as an actor is just as vital as is the actor’s skills, and business savy.

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 taught master classes at acting programs at over two dozen universities including Hofstra, Elon, Yale, Temple, LSU, 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 on Paul’s projects, visit www.PaulRussell.net. And scroll down below to see what A-lister casting directors like Bernie Telsey, esteemed talent reps, university programs, and actors are raving about Russell’s best-selling book for actors!

Share this:

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
(Mary Poppins Returns, Hamilton, This Is Us,NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar – LIVE!Wicked)

“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”

— SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & Order, Deception, 666 Park Ave., Unforgettable)

“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 Agency Partner
Harden Curtis Kirsten Riley Agency

“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 Businesscame out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!

— Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

AMIYB_Amazon

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!

How to Keep Facebook Friends & Twitter Followers

There’s a war of self-indulgence blasting on social media that’s causing your friends and followers to fall away…

FallingOffGrid

There’s a war of self-indulgence blasting on social media that’s causing your friends and followers to fall away…

“Heads-up!!!! people!!!! Dropping Facebook peeps who don’t respond to this cut-n-paste update.”

“Another day of the world hating me.”

“Dropping Trump supporters on my FB friends list.”

“Muting Clinton supporters on my Twitter feed #byefelicia”

“Ten years ago today my goldfish Goliath floated to the top of the bowl.”

Social media has become anything but social. It’s an online muddy battleground where few sprouts of positive growth spring. That was my dismayed belief for several years until recently one month I noticed on my Facebook newsfeed a longtime friend of mine posting daily posts that include the following examples:

“I am grateful to anyone who had to clean up my mess.”

“I am grateful for all the good good friends I have made and known over the many years and wish I could see more of every one of you.”

“I am truly grateful for the chance to entertain as many people as I have in my career and grateful to have helped anyone I have ever been lucky enough to help.”

“I am grateful for antibiotics, anesthesia and the widespread use of soap.”

“I am so grateful to my parents for all the sacrifices and beautiful labors they endured and I never thanked them for. Childhood is entitlement and parenting is responsibility.”

“I am grateful for avocados.”

Paul Romero, an actor I truly call ‘friend,’ is the author of the above ‘grateful posts’ and many more like them.

Each day Facebook algorithms placed the grateful posts in my newsfeed because Romero’s grateful posts garnered more ‘likes’ and comments. Many of his other posts I found on his Facebook page never appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. They didn’t generate enough ‘likes’ or comments for Facebook algorithms to deem each worthy of attention.

I was curious as to the why of Romero’s grateful posts and the reaction generated. When I inquired Romero responded:

“I was in a job I wasn’t very happy with or proud of, and it presented me
[only] a single day-off in two months.  During that single day-off I moped around how I only had one day-off and had to go back to work, and how hard it was for me that I had pissed away two-thirds of the day and it suddenly occurred to me I had pissed two-thirds of my only day off I really ought to try to look at things from a different perspective. I came to the conclusion the thing to do was to look at the things I was grateful for. Not waste my time pitying myself or thinking how hard things are for me. So I decided to kick it over and look to something everyday that I was grateful for; to remind myself that things aren’t really that bad.”

Romero’s seasonal job was financially rewarding but left his creativity in debt. He re-examined how his artistically bereft employment, and his career in general, affected his online relationships.

 “I have about 800 friends,” Romero said of his Facebook friends. “If I post something [career related] 10 – 20 people might chime-in.”

That’s a low ‘interest number’ for Facebook algorithms. Low interest posts with few ‘likes’ and/or comments or shares signals to those algorithms to not re-distribute the poor performing post to the newsfeeds of others. Same happens on Twitter and Linked-In. But Romero noticed a difference with his grateful posts. With a newly found objective to view his life more positively posting daily grateful posts Romero was surprised the response his grateful posts generated.

“I’m amazed at the [large] amount of attention that activity garnered,” he said. “My grateful posts generated 50 – 100 people being involved.”

The ratio of ‘likes’ to comments was vast. Possibly because Facebook users prefer to ‘like’ a post rather than place a comment. A ‘like’ involves less interaction. Facebook users find annoyance receiving notifications to a post on which they commented. Romero noticed this. “I roughly get 10% comments the rest are likes,” he noted.

Did any of Romero’s grateful posts generate a larger response / audience from his Facebook friends? Several did.

“Being grateful,” Romero began, “for the friendship for the friends that are already gone, and being grateful for the opportunity to entertain people in the many, many ways I can entertain people. And being grateful to my parents for the education and the support that they have given me. Those are the three posts that got the most attention.”

But did the positive posts generate new Facebook friends? Did being positive grow his audience?

“As a marketing tool it’s essentially insular,” Romero believes. “You’re only reaching people that are already in your ‘data base’ for lack of a better word. It [the grateful post] doesn’t encourage activity outside of your present world. It does raise your attention with people who are already there. It’s a good way to shake hands within your world but I don’t think anybody new comes tripping across unless people in your world are sharing-out [your] posts.”

Romero was keeping the interest of his audience; his friends.

People who utilize Facebook as a marketing tool can overlook the personal value of social media. Social media is not exclusive to generating new ‘friends’ or followers. Social media as a marketing tool is about keeping those who already follow you. And Romero has keen insight on who people on Facebook value or discard. In such, he sees others on Facebook utilizing the platform that is disdainful to him and likely just as unappealing to most Facebook users.

“There’s nothing that annoys us most than the things that we embody that we dislike in ourselves,” Romero began on what troubles him mostly about societal usage of Facebook. “People’s need to ask for other people’s attention, and pity because they’re having a bad day. Or because something bad has happened to them. Or just because they stubbed their toe. I think I was that person when I initially came on Facebook so I try very hard never to be negative. The converse of that is the thing that annoys me most professionally on Facebook is people who use Facebook purely as a tool to promote themselves without ever expressing themselves in any way. I certainly am as guilty as anyone using Facebook to promote myself especially when I’m working to direct traffic to my career. Facebook is useful to getting 10 or 12 people to any play that I do which is small potatoes but is useful. But I am offended by people that promote through Facebook and don’t ever have an actual dialogue on it.”

A lesson this author knows well. I intersperse my social network posts of career promotion with posts that offer information of benefit to those who asked to, or voluntarily, joined my platform(s). The vast majority of my ‘friends’ and followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In found me so as to possibly leverage my position in entertainment for their benefit. I don’t begrudge their intent. But I don’t fool myself as to what is reality and what is career promotion. Romero has a clear view on this situation as well.

“I deliberately attempt to be sincere as opposed to having another agenda,” Romero said. “If my sincerity causes people to gravitate towards me that’s great. It was important to me because of the reason I started the project [is] that all the posts be legitimately ‘grateful.’

“I could post that, ‘I’m grateful that The Oldcastle Theater cast me as Big Daddy’ and tag all the individuals that were a part of that and that would be a much more savvy choice than trying to open my arms up to the world.” But Romero knows in his heart that some may view honesty as self-promotion.

Did Romero’s grateful posts inspire his social media friends to follow in his digital footsteps?”

“F*ck yeah!” he said. “There are people who shared-out. And then there are people who picked up the ball and ran with it on their own… and are continuing to post grateful posts. It’s fascinating to me the worlds from which people came out of to say that they liked something. You would think that if the [post] was particularly appropriate to them in some way whether it was career orientated or youth orientated, or family orientated, then you would get a higher proportion of people from those worlds that were involved but the truth is I was amazed at names I had probably forgotten on my friends lists who were jumping on. In the spirit of fair play I tried to reach out to those people whenever they showed up [in response to a grateful post] and say “Hey! Thanks for saying ‘hello.’ I’m saying ‘hello’ back” because the weird identified anonymity of Facebook is a strange thing to me.”

Romero’s saying ‘hello’ back is the ‘social’ that social media has steamed rolled flat. The perceived usage of social media’s platform is to focus us on the “I” and not so much the “we.” The digital world needs more “we” than “me.”

Will Romero continue his positive ‘grateful’ posts?

“I’ve decided I’m going to continue in a less formal fashion for as long as I’ve something to be grateful for,” he said. “I assume I’ll find three or four times a week something that I’m grateful for and that life ain’t so bad.”

Share this:

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.

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

Don’t Be This Actor! – #1 Professional Relationship Killer

Casting directors, directors, talent representatives and producers often encounter the-world-belongs-to-me thespians who pretend friendship in hopes of leveraging career opportunities. Repulsed they avoid actors who…

Justin—never one to be mistaken for for Mr. Congeniality—turned to his buddy and quipped, “If I go to a bar I’m bound to get laid before the ugly lights burn.”

Sean peered at him. “Just because you’re single and breathing doesn’t mean everyone will drop a condom for you.”

Justin’s blind sense of entitlement excels in some opportunistic actors who masquerade as friends to colleagues but under their congenial masks they’re social piranhas: feeding their career’s insatiable ambition appetite from a trough of other’s good will.

Casting directors, directors, talent representatives,  producers, and universally aware actors often encounter the-world-belongs-to-me thespians who pretend friendship in hopes of leveraging career opportunities. Repulsed by repetitious actor retailing, talent champions, entertainment employers, and artists favoring integrity over an ambitious agenda, avoid the egocentric actor who leverages career momentum by offering a false friendship.

Recently a friend, who has furthered the career goals of many industry and household known actors, wearily commented that the actors he’d helped for decades and purported to term him ‘friend’ no longer contact him or return his ‘how are you’ inquiries since his pursuing a new career beyond entertainment. He’s no longer of use to their business aspirations. On occasion an actor will randomly e-mail him inquiring halfheartedly, “How’s life?” Then follows quickly the true outreach’s purpose; the social piranha desires career advancement assistance.

Another entertainment industry peer voiced similar of her being wanted by actors only for what she had to offer to representing their careers. As an agent of three-plus decades, who was formerly an actress, she provides her knowledge of audition technique and scene study at various studios. When she’s approached by actors seeking her for classes too many of the actors don’t first ask, “How can you guide me with this challenge in my skills I’m having?” Instead the actors ask, “If I study with you, will you also represent me?” Her response is, “One of my loves is sharing my experience and industry knowledge in order to benefit an actor’s skill set. I don’t teach for pay-to-play. I teach because I love actors.” She’ s lost many prospective students with her answer.

I received an e-mail, similar to many sent from actors never met:

“Thanks for all the info you post and opportunities to learn – I ordered your book from Amazon earlier today.”

I smile, until…

“Do you have a role for me? I want your feedback on my reel at **********.”

The actress doesn’t hear the shower beckoning her.

Ability and appropriateness are the first major factors to winning career goals. Honest intent, without exploitation, of your relations is equally as important a factor. No one is entitled to anything beyond living freely in pursuit of joy.

When reflecting upon your industry relations, or you’re tempted to link via a social network with industry ask yourself,  “Do I want to leverage (i.e. use) this person for my goals? Or do I want to build a relationship with this person I get so we both get to know the other for ourselves, and not for what we each do?”

Honest friendships foster mutual success, and opportunity…

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 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 Elon, 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.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace
ACTING: Make It Your Business

Entertainment’s Gay Mafia | Answers for Actors

“The gay mafia,” Name Withheld [hereinafter referred to as N.H.] begins to name past and present casting directors, directors, who were/are both powerful in the industry and gay. “They’ve locked up the business which in my world, at least, is oriented towards a narrower perspective.

Paul Russell
Photo Credit: JackMenashe.com

Deemed too litigious for print when the 1st edition of ACTING: Make It Your Business was released an entertainment industry power-player included in my book for actors strapped them-self to entertainment industry’s St. Andrews Cross: the gay mafia. Do attorneys have too weak a gag reflex?

To protect the identity of the interviewee–and my pauper assets of two cats and a single winery tasting takeaway glass–the power player’s identity here is concealed.

——

“Pet peeves?” I asked.

“The gay mafia,” Name Withheld [hereinafter referred to as N.H.] begins to name past and present casting directors, directors, who were/are both powerful in the industry and gay.  “They’ve locked up the business which in my world, at least, is oriented towards a narrower perspective.

“There is a sense of their work that is limiting,” NH continues. “For example certain directors hire the same actors. Now I am the beneficiary of that and the opposite of that. I’m not casting any aspersions about homosexuality. I [work in the arts]. I know how to camp with the best of them. I was in the dressing room for five years. I have no problems. None. Except for,” and N.H. speaks of a past Broadway play, its lead and director, both male, whose relationship N.H. feels was, “a weird relationship with director and actor that had nothing to do with the play. Not to say it doesn’t exist elsewhere, it does, but in the theater, particularly, and I’m not talking about myself but women have been so discriminated against. Remarkably so.”

N.H. begins to name gay male directors of high visibility within the theater. “I’ve seen women suffer. Heterosexual and homosexual. The sadism of that,” N.H. then begins to impersonate a director who consistently snapped his fingers as a means of directing an actress. The snapping is relentless. No words spoken, and then, “There’s always a whipping boy somewhere in the production. Always. More often than not, it’s the woman of a gay director or a guy of a straight director. It’s bizarre. I can’t explain it to you. I abhor that,” N.H. discards with distinct disdain.

“The gay casting director is a perfect example of the gay mafia,” N.H. asserts. “It’s not sexual gender. It’s vision. You want the role to be realized based on the talent and character of the actor.”

In our conversation I mention the gay casting director who asked of me to give him a massage. N.H. affirms that is the type of power giver who happens to be gay of which he speaks.

Though gay by coincidence myself I do understand N.H.’s complaint. But I never tagged abuse of authority by gay colleagues as being the gay mafia. What would be the warning-sign of bitchiness you’ve disrespected the lavender mob? Keds in your bed?

I voice to N.H. that the phenomena is aligned to a general abuse of power no matter to whom the gate-keeper raises their heels to heaven to. Power brokers (gay or straight) giddy with misplaced gate-keeper regency place themselves in a position of uncompromising authority; fashioning themselves as the givers and destroyers of careers.

The casting director who continually harassed me sexually is one such person. I recall to N.H. the day when my gay employer was on the phone with an agent. The casting director of TV and Broadway with his bloated face flushed red barking into the phone to the agent, “Do you know who you’re talking to?! Do you know who this is?!” His tirade ending with his slamming the phone unapologetically into the cradle, and then demanding I haul my “hot ass” to him “pronto.” One could remark that that same gay casting director had self-respect issues. He routinely discriminates against gay actors, proudly chiding that he will not audition gay actors of whom my former employer remarks as being, “too much of a faggot.” Yet on the other hand with erotic excitement he’ll verbally exercise his imagination about the straight male actors he wishes the chance to bed.

“Gay/straight is not the issue,” N.H. continued. “The issue is the foibles of man, in our perceptions. The director is heterosexual, and beating up on a woman with snapping his fingers; he’s paid a cost.”

N.H. goes on to reflect of a play that he/she did in New York. “It became corrupted by Friday night dates [between the director and their actors].” N.H. then points to this type of  “professional” behavior spurring his own career path alteration. “I went away from musicals because I didn’t like entertainment,” N.H. states.

I laugh in agreement, “There’s a lot of that today.”

“Exactly,” N.H. shoots back. “Entertainment wasn’t as interesting to me as art. Call me Julliard. Call me arrogant, call me whatever. Art to me has a responsibility. There’s a social contract with art. Us as artists to our audience. And the audience to the stage. That social contract I relish. And when it’s corrupted — gay, straight, yellow, green, doesn’t matter — that bothers me,” N.H. reflects with disappointment but not with naïveté.

“I’ve seen many actors who get the job not because they’re brilliant but because they’re the friend of the director. Director’s fire and hire actors because they’re the friend of. That corruption bothers me.

“I’m talking about the corruption of the promise of art. Lawrence Olivier, when I was doing [title withheld], came backstage and he said about actors, ‘What are we? Angels and whores.’ We’re a little bit of both. The whore aspect of myself and the business I’m in, that’s what bothers me. I’m not speaking from a high moral plane. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do that. This is the place and time for it, whatever it is. I’ve been in too many shows where a lot of the time the show’s [been] corrupted by both straight and gay. The opportunities that present themselves that,” N.H. repeatedly slaps hand to desk to emphasize the following, “have nothing to do with the purpose at hand.”

Our conversation drifted back to my inquiring further on defining ‘the gay mafia.’

“I don’t really mean the gay mafia,” N.H. responds. “What I mean is the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers have a different point of view and different purpose than what I think they should have.”

N.H. references a quote by a once powerful Broadway casting director; “He said he would cast all day and then go to the bar at night. And he made mention that when he would die you could always find him at Rawhide.”

N.H. points to an example of academia to demonstrate his/her view that it’s the gatekeeper and not necessarily the sexual preference of the person in ‘power’ that rules decisions.

“Michael Kahn was the dean of the Julliard school of Music; the drama department,” N.H. begins. “Most heralded school in the country, creating the next generation of artists. The word on the street is that the graduating class of late; they’re all pretty boys, coming out of Michael Kahn. That’s not acting. That’s not what the theater needs, necessarily. If they’re pretty boys and the best actors he can find, I have no contest. That is why it’s not the gay mafia, per say. But it’s that perspective, that inhibits, the promise of the theater. Whether it be gay or straight.” Then N.H. smirks with sarcasm, “Cause God knows there have been no straight people who have taken advantage of women.  Hence the casting couch in LA to say the least. It’s the promise that’s corrupted that I can’t stand. Because of, and I’ve been guilty, I haven’t slept with [talent] I was going to hire. I’ve never done that. But God knows I’ve slept with [talent], who I was working with to get something out of them for the role that I was playing. So I’m as guilty. But that corruption, which I’ve now come to realize, is awful.”

What’s more curious and possibly just as corruptible

Paul Russell's Best-Selling Book for Actors!
Paul Russell’s
Best-Selling Book
for Actors!

are the gay gate keepers of talent (casting, talent reps., directors and producers) who are turncoat against fellows gays like Jews turning-in Jews to Gestapo in order to delay the inevitable gas chamber.

Paul Russell’s career as an author, casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned three decades. His projects involve major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul teaches acting class annually at MFA and BFA acting programs in the U.S. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. In addition to his books for actors Paul has written several gay fiction novels including a murder mystery. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

 

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

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace

VIDEO – 5 Must-Do Tips to Getting What You Want

This Week: Simple Steps for Actor Success

Ever wonder how Tom Cruise got to be the lucrative franchise that is Tom Cruise? Or marvel with disbelief and disdain how some politicians have risen to prominent positions in their career? Particularly the newspaper-avoiding, history-ignorant, “You betcha! I can see Jesus from my home spa bidet” philistines? Both successful pol and actor know how to effectively leverage life to their advantage. For your career journey you can do the same (just spare us your reality program and Oprah couch acrobatics).

Chris Matthews, the jack-hammer host of Hardball, has spent his entire life observing politicians win what they want. Before forcing politicos to be forthright he was a speech writer for the Carter administration and an aide to the gruff-n-gregarious House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Several years ago Matthews wrote a wonderful, no-nonsense manual, instructing how anyone outside of politics can maneuver like a pol to get what they want. Life’s A Campaign is a must-read that applies to actors. But this week I bring you Matthews “live”.

Recently Matthews was the commencement speaker for Temple University. He offered the graduating class five tips for getting ahead in life. Below are two videos in which Matthews candidly targets these steps for success in any career journey. I know of many actors who plotted or unknowingly followed these journey propelling advisories. Will you be one more?

And if Matthews’ delivery in the second video seems reminiscent of someone who was an actor and is now a director, casting director and author; you’d be right. One of the original working titles for ACTING: Make It Your Business was Hardball for Actors.

 Enjoy.

Five Tips To Getting Ahead in Life & Career| Hardball – Let Me Finish

The Temple University Address

Bookmark and Share

E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

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, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and 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 New Insights:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace

X The Rules

There was a major failure and hullabaloo recently. A cruise-line began taking on water and its image was about to founder. And actors had need only witness the disaster unfold in order to enhance their own career longevity.

This week: Actor Marketing & Branding | Disaster or Success?

There was a major failure and hullabaloo recently. A cruise-line began taking on water and its image was about to founder. And actors had need only witness the disaster unfold in order to enhance their own career longevity.

Readers of ACTING: Make It Your Business know that I stress this industry of ours is all about “image, image and image”. What you display in your marketing materials, in auditions/performance, and off camera/stage is what lingers within the memories of those you encounter. This holds true for individuals as strongly as it does for corporations. And if you’re familiar with Celebrity Cruise lines then you know Celebrity recently X-ed themselves with the new branding ‘X The Rules’. Don’t let this happen to you.

For those not familiar with the upscale, mass market, cruise carrier each passenger of the line is to be treated as a “celebrity”. Formal nights in the MDR (Main Dinning Room for the cruise phobic) have tuxes and gowns that smatter among the smarter dressers. Celebrity Cruises for years has been one of Condé Nast’s top-rated lines (and by-the-by, Celebrity’s offerings are amazingly affordable for the starving artist).

Recently Celebrity, with its iconic ‘X’ branding, changed tactics in marketing. And when the company launched what loyal customers viewed as a misguided tag line ‘X The Rules’ many of those passengers wanted to abandon ship. On cruise chat boards and Celebrity’s Facebook page the customer feedback was tumultuous with heated rhetoric and disdain. The new ‘X The Rules’ was interpreted as ‘Fuck-the-rules-and-do-anything-you-damn-well-please-on-our-ships-as-we’re-lowering-our-standards-to-the-party barges-of-Carnival’.

Celebrity within hours of the new launch had a major image crisis that was dangerously listing their leverage in the upscale cruise market. A tilt that could potentially scuttle long standing customers’ positive image of the line. This was not Celebrity’s intent with the ‘X The Rules’ folly. As part of damage control Celebrity’s CEO, Dan Hanrahan fielded questions from consumers on a popular cruise web-forum. Corporate released a lengthy advisory statement on Celebrity’s Facebook page explaining that the new tag line ‘X The Rules’ in no means was a reflection upon a change in image for Celebrity but a herald announcing life and work have too many rules and the only way to combat such is to take a cruise on Celebrity. With marketing —  as just like the punch-line of a joke told  — if explanation of meaning is required then the message fails. And fail terribly Celebrity’s new  marketing launch has. (Update: A week after  “X The Rules” debuted, Celebrity’s CEO Dan Hanrahan announced the campaign would be scuttled.)

This happens repeatedly with actors who don’t know or understand what their own brand is. In ACTING: Make It Your Business I and colleagues (actors and agents) detail extensively the importance of knowing what is your brand. But self-awareness is not enough. Execution is equally important. How do you effectively display that ‘image’ to your professional peers and audience?

When the name Lindsay Lohan is mentioned what comes to mind? The images, nouns and adjectives of ‘lush’ and ‘spoiled starlet’ possibly sizzle the synapses of your cranium. Those flash card-like images were placed in your mind by the actress herself by how Ms. Lohan has handled her own image. When the name Tom Hanks is offered you possibly think ‘stability’, ‘good-humored’ and ‘affable’. That’s his branding.

Your brand begins from the moment you sit at your computer and keystroke your resume. You have two choices. First and preferable; follow the industry format for an actor’s resume (three columns, training at the bottom, directors listed, and crisp attention to detail). Recipients viewing your work history on paper will think of you as, ‘professional’, ‘organized’ and ‘straight-to-the-point’. The lesser option would be to do as many actors who try too hard with dumping information haphazardly upon colored paper peppered with entertainment related clip art. Recipients of the trashed text will perceive you as, ‘amateur’, ‘tries too hard’, ‘sloppy’ and/or ‘is masking deficiencies of talent’. (And please if you really need to know what is industry format for an actor’s resume turn to Chapter 4 of ACTING: Make It Your Business… and to those who are presently scowling that that was a cheap plug; no it wasn’t. I can only repeat advice in font so many times before my fingers and sanity rebel.)

How you dress, how you speak, the quality of your picture… all of this is your brand. Oh, and then comes that thing called talent. Which of course is also a key to your image; your brand. How strong is that message within your marketing? Are you pursuing roles fit for your abilities and type?  Or are you like a middle-aged, character woman who foolishly clings to the belief that she can play ingénue but because directors and casting have limited imaginations are miffed you’re not being considered for roles beyond your type. (Note to those who follow this folly: It’s not us behind the table but the audience – which often includes you – that accepts or rejects ‘brand/type’.)

If you offer, like Celebrity, a message that is confusing or in contrast to your product then you’ll fail at attracting the attention you seek. Know your brand. Keep clear the message of your image; from talent, type, offstage stage/camera interactions, to resume and picture. You’re the CEO of your business. What is the most effective image that matches your product? ‘Dem’s da rules.

And now a related note… the one and only scheduled Spring TV/Film non-musical Access to Agents is registering. Faithful readers know that many actors who participated prior in this four week seminar (which includes branding and audition technique) have gotten agents and/or work as a result of Access to Agents. My schedule permits this to be the only New York, TV/Film non-musical Access to Agents for the Spring of 2011. 10 actors only per series. Details @ http://paulrussell.net/Access_to_Agents_TVandFilm.html.

My Best,
Paul

Bookmark and Share

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

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, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and 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 New Insights:

Get The Feed:

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

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul   Russell on Facebook Paul   on Twitter Paul on   MySpace