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It's Audition Pointers, Ya'll!

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)
 It's Audition Pointers, Ya'll!


First of all, can we discuss the photo to the left? It seriously made me laugh out loud. That squirrel looks exactly how so many of us feel! This adorable and extremely accurate photo really got me thinking.. how can we make auditions EASIER???? I mean, granted, there is only so much we can do as actors, (you never know what the Casting Director might throw at you... see #5), but when asked by my students to help them adequately prepare for auditions, I always run them from the 5 steps below. 


Auditioning well is something A LOT of actors struggle with. If you have never struggled with an audition consider yourself blessed and then bottle and sell your confidence to the rest of us! For those of us who made need a bit of guidance, feel free to check out some great tips! 


#1)Be Prepared: No people, this is not just a song from The Lion King... it's a way of life for an actor. You would not go into a test and not study, or run a marathon without months of practice. The same thing applies to auditions. Make sure you read the breakdown and make sure you are available for ALL the dates listed by your agent... SO Important! After that print out the breakdown and highlight important dates and notes from the CD or agent. Do you need head shots and resumes? How many? Do you need to fill out an audition form? Are you up on the Casting Sites the agent has specified for the audition?  Always make sure your head shot and resume is stapled together BEFORE you get to the audition and any paperwork filled out prior. Never ask to borrow a pen or stapler at the Casting Directors office. These things are crucial and can make or break your reputation with the Casting Director. They see hundreds of people in a day... make their job easier.


A huge part of being prepared means reading the story board, if attached... Do you have lines? Is there a brief description of your character and what you may be doing at the audition? Call your acting coach! Get in for a lesson and have them run your lines, or improv situations with you! It can make a HUGE difference in your audition and boost your confidence, and better confidence means better auditions!


#2) Be on time: Always... and by on time, I mean 10 minutes early. Anything sooner than that is too soon, and anything later is considered late. No excuses... believe me,  I know time is precious and auditions have to be squeezed in, but even if you arrive early and have to sit in the parking lot and run lines, or mentally prepare yourself for your audition, pray, meditate, whatever, just allow yourself plenty of time!


#3) Dress Accordingly: Casting Directors often include a description of how they may want the character to dress, and do what you can to accommodate this request. Is your character running? Wear nice workout clothes with your hair up. A doctor? See if you can borrow a lab coat from a friend. A parent? Wear quintessential parent clothes... google images if you must or check out the breakdowns that are so often attached and wear something similar to what the characters are wearing. 


When I was an agent, I once got a call from a Casting Director who was LIVID at how the actors were showing up. The casting was for a woman at home in her pajamas, relaxing and watching scary movies. The CD called up and vented to me, "You'll never believe how these girls are showing up! Full hair and make-up, dangly earrings, looking like they're ready for a night club! Not YOUR girls of course... thank you for taking the time explain to your talent to dress accordingly!" Boy was I happy I took the time to read the details and make sure my talent was on point! 


#4) Auditions are not the place to make friends: OK so there are tons of great places to meet friends, work, the gym, school, sporting events, but NOT at an audition. When you are auditioning you should be going in with one goal... to book the role or get a callback. I always tell my students, when you are at an audition, you can be friendly, but do your best to look busy so people won't chat your ear off. These people are your competition. Do not let them psych you out by talking about all the roles they book, or let them distract you with conversation, when you could be mentally preparing or running lines. Be polite, and kind, but do what you can to keep your focus at any cost. Once you book the job, you can make as many friends on set, as you want.


#5)Like Nike says, JUST DO IT!: Audition like you MEAN it! Don't psych yourself out or get so nervous you forget what to say or do. BREATHE. REMEMBER that these people want you to be what they are looking for, so show them what can bring to the table. You also never know what the casting director may ask of you so expect the unexpected. I once had a student tell me, "I did my script just like we rehearsed... and then the director asked me to do it like I was on fire..." another student said, " My audition went great, but then the director asked me to do the whole script without using any words..." I am happy to report both students did it without a second thought. Auditions can and should be fun. It's a way of showcasing your ability, so go for it, don't hold back! Remember to have fun, and auditions can make great stories to tell your friends at parties! ;)


Audition Technique is something I offer and try to go over with students regularly. If you can use help with auditioning, please feel free to contact me. This can be a very beneficial skill to rehearse with a coach. I offer in person and Skype lessons. 


Happy Auditioning!


XOXO,


Courtney



Entertainment Industry Terminology...Because they don't teach you this in school.

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)
Entertainment Industry Terminology: Because they don't teach you this in school...

 
OK, so now you or your child has signed with an agent and you're actually going on castings! Awesome! They only down side? All this crazy terminology they keep throwing your way! Just when you think you are starting to understand this industry they start saying things like SAG and 1st right or refusal (isn't that what your husband wanted when he asked you to marry him?)


I always tell my actors, never say a word if you don't know what it means, likewise before you sign a contract, or agree to a casting or job, it's an absolute MUST to know what you're getting into. Take a deep breath and check out some Industry Terminology 101 below, you can also feel free to email me anytime if you have a question about a term or phrase you have never heard before.


Union- Also known as SAG-AFTRA, Screen Actors' Guild, or the Actors' Union. You must work a certain amount of SAG jobs, and pay a membership fee before you are eligible to join the union. If you are SAG you may not participate in Non-union commercial, television or film jobs. For more information on the Union or joining the Union you can look here http://www.sagaftra.org/


Non Union- Simplified, not a member of SAG-AFTRA. When you are Non Union you may work on both Union and Non Union jobs. You will build up eligibility on every SAG job you work, but unless the job is specifically marked Union/SAG it is considered a Non Union Job.


Exclusive- This means you are held to only one Agent for the parameter set by the agency. It is important to know the area you are held to by the contract. Is it Central Florida? South Florida? Both? Make sure you do your research, and make sure the agency has plenty of clients for you to book with when signing exclusively.


Non Exclusive- You are free to sign with as many agencies as you like, and are able to book yourself on jobs. It is wise to limit yourself to 1-3 good, strong agencies when going non exclusive, too many agents will become cumbersome and loyalty speaks volumes in this industry.


Comp Pull/Picture Request/Headshot Submission- A client or Casting Director has requested to see pictures of you from your agent to see if they would like to book you or have you come in for an audition. This is every talent's best friend, it can lead to a direct booking or cut way down on the number of talent at an audition. Make sure you have good, competitive images and a strong resume to help your agent get you noticed on these!


Direct Booking- You are booked for a job right off of your photos! How awesome is that? Direct Bookings happen a lot, so it is important that you keep your photos up to date with your Agent. You must look exactly like your photos, if you don't this can make things very awkward. Keep those photos up to date!


Callback- You have already auditioned for the job and the client has narrowed it down to a few they would like to see again. These ROCK!


On Hold/First Right or Refusal- You have not yet been booked, but you are being asked to hold the shoot dates upon and not book anything else without notifying your agent. This is usually the last step before booking.


Booked- You have landed the job! Details will be sent to you as soon as they are received by your agency. Please be patient in waiting for details, often times the Agent will not get the details until the day before the shoot. You can however call your Acting Coach, so they can squeal in delight and brag on you! ;)


Released- The client is unable to use you for the job and you may now move forward with your regular schedule.


Availability Check- The client or your Agent is contacting you to see if you are available for a job on a certain date. This does not mean you are booked, but if you say yes, you are agreeing to keep your schedule free for the day or dates indicated. If something arises for the dates in question, you should contact your Agent immediately.


Conflicts- These are any jobs you may have done that would interfere with a new potential job. Most often it would be any competitors (i.e. Coke and Pepsi, Disney and Universal, etc.) Make sure you and your Agent are both up to date on your conflicts.


Usage- This entails what the material you shoot can and will be used for (print, commercial, billboard) and for how long. Keep in mind, the client may ask for a no compete (conflict) for a certain period of time, make sure you are well versed in what you are getting into. When in doubt ask your agent, or myself.

 
I hope this information was useful. Please feel free to pass it along to your friends, or to contact me at any time if you come across "things that makes you go hmmmmm..." (random 90's reference.) Have a spectacular weekend!
 

Happy Bookings!


XOXO, 

Courtney

The Acting Resume... Its an Art

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (1)

The Acting Resume... It's an Art     

Ahhhh, the "Acting" resume.  For the beginning actor, it can become quite cumbersome. What do I list? What category does a music video fall under? Should I list my ability to burp  on command? The answer is this...  The simpler, the better. Often times your Acting Coach or Agent has a specific template that can be used to help, all you have to do is ask.


Now that you are ready to put together, or brush up that talent resume, here are a few Do's and Don'ts that can help point you in the right direction!  


Don'ts:

Lie: This is the number one rule of resumes. It can be very tempting to list a bigger role than you may have had, or maybe a role you never had, after all who will know... right? WRONG! As big as the Entertainment Industry is, it is still a small, small world. You never know who worked on what project, or who the Casting Director knows.

When it comes to your resume, as my Mama always says, "Honesty is the BEST policy." It's OK if you don't have a ton of experience, you never know what they are looking for, and if you are talented enough, they aren't going to care if you played "dead body" or Agent Stabler (Awwww, Christopher Meloni) on SVU. If they like you, they like you. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) went from Limo driver to Oscar contender with no experience. Great talent will be recognized.


List Silly Talents:When it comes to the "Special Skills" section of a resume... keep it simple. Casting Directors really don't care if you can type 50 words per minute, or play a mean air guitar, that will not encourage them to book you, nor will they think it's cute. Think anything that can help book you and most importantly, anything you arewillingand able to do on the spot if asked. Don't write singing, if you are too shy to sing in front of people. Also, make sure you are talented at the skills you list, not a novice or just a dabbling.

Good examples: Swimming, Trained Singing, Hip-Hop Dancer, Horse Back Riding, Roller Skating, Teleprompter Trained, Martial Arts (brown belt), Licensed Driver, Basketball, Soccer, Dialects (French, English, Irish, Southern).

Bad Examples:  Text Messaging, Microsoft Word, Good with the Ladies, Personable, Air Guitar, Video Games, World of Warcraft.


List Personal Information:Your age, date of birth, social security number, and address never belong on a resume. I have seen this way too many times. Beautiful, young actresses and actors, with all their personal information on their resumes...ITS DANGEROUS! If you are represented by an agency you should have THEIR information on your resume so if you book a job, the client is contacting them personally. If you are not represented by an agency list your name, email address and mobile phone number only. Again, if you have an agent, you should always put them as your point of contact on your resume, its much safer.

The reason you don't put age or DOB, is you want the Casting Director to use their imagination when it comes to your age... technically you are whatever age they want you to be!


 
Do's:

 List your Training:Putting college and high schools attended with majors on your acting resume is not necessary, unless you went to a school specializing in The Arts (Julliard, AMDA, AADA, etc.) Do however, include your training. Make sure you include your teacher and the location of your training, as well. Include all the basics (Acting, Voice, Dance) and the specialty courses too (Stage Combat, Voice and Speech, Dialect Coaching etc.) These are important to remember, especially if you are a newbie. You may not have tons of experience, but it shows you are dedicated, trained, and educated enough to begin your career.


Keep it Current:Make sure you are updating your resume every time you are working. If you do it as you go, it will be a less daunting task than trying to update every six months or so. Do it while it's still fresh in your mind. Once you update remember to send an updated copy to your agent and to update it on any casting sites you may be listed on.


Check for formatting and Grammar:If you read my blog, you may know I am not known for my grammar... I chalk that up to being passionate about what I am writing and therefore room for error (insert ashamed look here), but when it comes to my resume, it is pristine. If you are not good at grammar, spelling, or formatting, have someone who is check it over... twice. Misspelled words and incorrect formatting make you look sloppy as a talent. Make sure you presenting the best headshot and resume you can.
 
Keep in mind that every agent is different and may want things listed in a distinctive way.  Always make sure you have your agent or acting coach review your resume to assure it's reaching its full potential.

XOXO,

Courtney

Monologues...Every Actor's Worst Nightmare!

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (0)
Don't let this Happen to YOU!

Let's face it, most actor's HATE monologues. They are tedious, hard to find, and most often times, it's ridiculously hard to find the right one.

Monologues are, however, necessary in the Entertainment Industry, and many times your monologue can make or break an audition.

The process for perfecting the monologue can be a long and drawn out, but working with a coach can really be beneficial. Many of my students have booked jobs, gained an Agent, or wowed audiences with their pieces. I can help you find, tailor and perfect a piece for you... contact info ishere and  below... in the mean time, here are a few tips!

1) Find the right piece for YOU: The right monologue is out there, you just have to look. There are so many ways to find great monologues. Libraries, internet, TV shows, Films. The possibilities are endless. In many ways, monologues are like a great pair of shoes. You have to try the monologue on for size, does it fit your personality? Does it inspire you with ideas? Does it compliment your skills? It has to be more personal than just googling monologues and picking the first one you see. You should try a few, until you find the perfect one. This is where a coach comes in handy. ;)


2) Make sure your monologue is age and situation appropriate: This is a BIG one! For children there should be an age range of no more than one year younger and one year older and adults can usually span about 5 years or so. Unless otherwise directed in a breakdown...As an adult, even if you look young, it's not appropriate to use a teenage monologue, and likewise for kids/teens stick to something close in age. The director can use their imagination if the need to consider you for a younger or older role.

Also, consider your audience when choosing a piece. Are you auditioning for a Children's Theatre or family friendly theme park? An Agency? A dramatic adult play? As an actor you should have a few different pieces in your repertoire. A child friendly monologue, a PG or PG-13 piece and maybe something a little more heavy. Choosing the right monologue for the situation can really save you a lot of embarrassment and keep the Casting Director, or Agent from feeling awkward.

3) Practice makes perfect: Now that you or your coach, has helped you find the right piece, you should really begin to explore the piece. Make strong choices, and think outside of the box. You should try to keep your  monologues fresh and rehearse them as much as possible, while continuing to add new pieces. Having a coach or qualified friend, view your monologue and give notes it really important, often times they can point out mistakes or give constructive criticism that you cannot see.

I offer monologue selection, and perfecting the monologue for auditions. If you need help in this area please feel free to email me. Don't let another audition go by without 100% confidence in your monologue and it's presentation. I can do in person lessons, or Skype lessons!


Happy Hunting!

Courtney XOXO

Tips to make you a GREAT talent...and an Agents BFF: Part Two

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM Comments comments (2)

Welcome to 2014! Hopefully 2013 was a great year for you, full of bookings and castings! My last blog was full of tips for how to make your Agent love you,  (if you missed it you can check it out here) and was met with such enthusiasm, that I decided to continue the series!
 
 Most of these tips are for everyone, not just Industry Newbie's. It is important to refresh and go back to basics once in awhile to make sure that you are always moving forward and continuing your education as a talent. So without further ado.......
 
#1 Agents work with you not for you: 

Now take a minute and re-read that sentence about 10 more times until it is completely en-grained in your head. It is so important to remember that you speak to your Agent in a professional, and respectful manner. Agents work day in and day out to try to book you, and deserve to be treated with respect at all times.
 
Agents are people, not robots, remember they too, have feelings. As a former Agent, I was always shocked how unprofessional some talent could be when it came to addressing myself, my colleagues and even my other agent and casting friends. Agents are not employed by you, you do not cut their paychecks or give them vacation days, and that 20% commission that they get at the end of a job, may not even go directly to them, or if it does, it barely covers the internet or phone bills they used to help book you. 
 
Make your Mom proud and remember your manners every time you email, call, or visit your Agent. Develop a good relationship with them by corresponding via friendly email, or sending a nice note in the mail. If you have a concern, do bring it to their attention, but remember that professionalism should always be at the forefront. You can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar. Trust me, your Agent will thank you...
 
 
#2 Do not question why you were not sent on a job or a casting:
Agents are smart, proficient people. They have time as a number one concern at all times. Their time, your time, the casting directors' time. There are usually multiple steps to a Casting. Many times the Casting Director calls in advance and asks to see a head-shot and resume or comp card pull to make sure they are seeing only the talent that "fit" what they are looking for. This saves us all time, and rescues us from the dreaded "Cattle Calls"we all despise.
 
Another important thing to consider is that the Casting Director may request a certain ethnicity, look, age range, height, clothing size, talent that look like they would "match" a certain family, talent with strong acting or modeling background or even something completely bizarre like carny look-alike (it's happened)... you have to trust that your Agent sends a photo or gets you an audition time for every opportunity that they think you're right for.  Calling your Agent and putting them on the spot can make them feel awkward, and make them feel as though they have to justify the way they do their job. Not OK.
 
If a period of a few months goes by and you are not getting called and you hear about multiple opportunities you may have been passed up for, it may be time to call and schedule an appointment to meet with your Agent to discuss your career and how you might be able to gain more opportunities. Just remember to see #1 before you suggest such a meeting.
 
 
#3 Industry for Beginners:

If you are working steady and you have an established resume, this section may not be for you, and you can move on... however, if you are a newbie and looking to break into the Industry, listen up! The best advice I can give you, be open to any legit work, and be available!

If you are represented by an Agent then more than likely any work they offer you is going to be on the up and up. As a newbie, you really need to focus on building your resume.  That means no role is too good for you! Don't come into this Industry thinking you will only take movie roles, or lead roles, or that commercials just aren't for you... That kind of attitude will get you NOWHERE... Every opportunity is a blessing and can lead to bigger, and better projects. Conventions, Stand-in Roles, Extra work, these are all great ways to build your resume. Extra work helps you network, familiarizes you with how to be on set and take direction, gives you an opportunity for an "upgrade", and can even help get you requested for additional jobs in the future. Front Runner Casting is a great Casting company here in Orlando, they provide tons of extra work, and even cast for principle roles. They have provided talent for numerous Television shows, movies and commercials. Get signed up with them today, if you are not already!

Secondly, if you decide to get involved in this Industry, be available. Agents cannot book you if your schedule is crazy, or not flexible.

 
#4 Don't Be a Flake:

If you commit to a casting or job, PLEASE be there. It is as simple as that. An Agent, Casting Director, or Client is taking a chance on you and you owe to them to be there. Nothing upset me more than when a talent would commit to a client and cancel last minute without a good reason, good reasons being you are dead, or dying or you're on the way to the hospital because you or immediate family is dead or dying. The client goes to great lengths to select you out of the thousands of other actors or models in Orlando, even for extra work, so be reliable and punctual. 

The same goes for audition slots. You and your Agent now have a great working relationship, because you have been reading my blogs... so when they select you for an audition slot, you need to be there. If you are not going to make it, you owe them at least a 24 hour notice so that they can replace your slot. It is not acceptable to call the day of, 1 hour before, 5 minutes before and definitely NEVER just not show up. Really be in touch with yourself and others the days leading up to an audition. Do you feel even slightly ill? Hear your engine making a weird noise? Your child  is sneezing? Dog looks funny?  Whatever it may be, you owe it to your Agent to call and ask them to send someone else. I do exaggerate slightly, but you get the point. I guarantee that if you always keep this section in mind, and commit, your Agent will not only LOVE you, but continue sending you on auditions and jobs!


So this is FINALLY the end of Part Two, hope you enjoyed! I know I can be wordy, but these blogs come from a place of experience, so the information really will help! If you ever have any questions regarding my blogs, feel free to contact me [email protected]


Happy New Year!
 
XOXO,

Courtney

Tips to make you a GREAT talent, and an Agents BFF Part: One

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)
 
In my experience as an Agent I learned a lot about talent and what makes them tick. I tried to be very understanding, and explain to them as much as I could about many things. I mean after all I was once in their shoes, and this business can be very difficult to understand and break into.
 
 Agents can get very busy, especially during "Season" (which is a good thing for the talent), so it can be difficult for them to answer questions, or completely be at the talents' disposal. The more knowledge you arm yourself with, the more Agent-Friendly you become as a talent, and therefore can become a breath of fresh air for your Agent.
 
 
I came up with a series of tips that even the most expert talent can forget to do at times. These are tips that I have accumulated as an Agent, Actress, and Coach, not only by my own experiences, but by talking with other Agents and Casting Directors in Central Florida. Some of these tips are for beginners, but many of them apply to talent in all walks of the industry.
 
 
Enjoy the following tips, and I promise, if you use them, your agent will LOVE you!
 
 
Tip #1: Check- in with your Agent Often: It is not only a good idea, but a must. I suggest checking in with your Agent on a monthly basis. It doesn't need to be lengthy or in-depth, but let them know you are available, and ready for auditions. Make sure to inform them of any dates you are not available, your current stats,  sizes, photos and attach your current resume with any changes that have been made.
 
 
Tip #2: Keep your photos current: This is so important! Your Agent can send your photos out multiple times a day. Make sure they are submitting the most current photos of you. Often times the client will book or make requests for talent to audition by photos alone, if you show up not looking like your photos, it reflects poorly on both you, and your Agent.
 
If the talent is a child they should have their photos done once a year to reflect their changes. Many times you, as a parent, cannot see the changes in your kids, but they do change BIG TIME in year. Adult talent should have their photos done every 2 years, or before, if you have any major physical changes (i.e. weight loss/gain, hair cuts/color, etc.)
 
 
Tip #3: Never repost auditions on Social Media: This seems like a no brainer, right? Unfortunately it's a huge problem. It is never OK to repost your auditions on Social Media. That isn't only limited to posting the breakdown your Agent sends you (which would blacklist you completely), it means checking in at audition locations, sharing in Facebook groups, or writing status updates like, "Little Jimmy has an audition today for SeaWorld." Even writing a status like "Jimmy has an audition today" can be a problem. Face it, inquiring minds will want to know, and nobody likes a cryptic Facebook poster. 
 
Some companies around town are finding audition information on places like Facebook and Twitter and having their talent crash these auditions. Which leads to unpleasant circumstances for everyone.  Auditions are your chance to get paid to do what you love, why invite more competition? Its best to keep auditions off of any social media sites!
 
 
Tip #4: Keep up with Classes and Coaching: You should constantly be working to better yourself as an actor. Central Florida is a small market, with a lot of people fighting for the same jobs, by continuing to cultivate your craft, you are ready for those auditions when your Agent calls. For more on this topic, check out this snazzy blog:
 
 
Tip #5: Don't forget to THANK your Agent:  I don't know about you, but my mom always made me write thank-you notes growing up. As an adult, its a habit I've kept. Not just because my mom would throw me the side eye if I didn't, but because It shows people that what they did matters to you.
 
Your Agent is one of the hardest working people on the planet! They are trying to book you all work day, after hours, on weekends, and even for many, while on vacation. Don't forget to show them some love! Remember them at Holidays, Birthdays, or just because. There are some really cute ideas, that don't cost an arm and a leg, come on we all have Pinterest, right? Sometimes a simple thank-you card, or quick email to let them know you appreciate them, will do the trick....Starbucks gift cards are also highly favorable. Let them know you recognize how hard they work! It's always nice to feel appreciated!
 
 
This concludes Part: One of this series, but it is only the beginning! I could write a book full of tips on how to be a good talent! If you ever have any questions on my tips or just questions in general on the industry, or how to find a great Agent, please contact me [email protected],com
 
 
Please feel free to share!
 
XOXO,
 
Courtney
 
 

The Importance of Classes and Coaching

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM Comments comments (1)
The Importance of Classes and Coaching
 
This is a blog post that is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. Yes, I am an Acting Coach, and that is how I make my living, but more importantly because I want to see  the actors in Central Florida start booking the roles that are going to out of state talent!
 
As an agent, I saw just how many actors were not making their craft a priority. They would get castings or request tapings, and were confused as to why they were not receiving callbacks, and many times I had to be very blunt and point out, "Its because you are not doing anything to better yourself, or your craft!" Here are just a few, among MANY reasons that as an actor, you should be working with a coach or taking classes.
 
Training is never "FINISHED":
Many actors are under the impression that because they took an 8 week course they now know all there is to know about acting and are properly trained. Wrong! If you are trying to be a professional actor you are never truly finished training! You need to start viewing the long term, instead of the short term. I work with all levels and ages, from SAG to Non Union and each and every student has something they can improve on!
 
 
In the spirit of the start of football season(Go Niners!)here is an analogy for you: Professional football players are constantly training. They don't "skip" training camp because they won the Superbowl (curse you Ravens). They are SERIOUS about what they do. They work with all kinds of coaches, take classes, watch footage, and constantly learn new plays, as a way to better themselves as players. As an actor, you should be doing the same. If you want to be a serious actor, you have to be serious about your training.
 
 
I think I really put things into perspective a few years ago. I was in my final semester of studying Drama and Musical Theater at AMDA New York, and I had to run to the Drama Book Store to get a copy of the play we were working on. While I was there, I randomly ran into Meryl Streep, and do you know what she had in her hand? A book on Acting! She was also chatting with a friend about her Acting Coach. Yes, I completely eavesdropped on Meryl Streep, but hey, wouldn't you? MERYL STREEP, Oscar winner, one of the greatest actresses of our time, and she was still trying to better herself as an actress. Makes you think... 
 
 
Rise Above the Competition:
 
A large percentage of talent that are booking jobs have been taking classes or working privately with a coach for YEARS, especially in the larger markets like LA and NY. There is a ton of filming going on in Atlanta, New Orleans, South Florida and the Carolinas. Florida talent should be booking these jobs left and right, but often, I would see the parts go to LA or NY actors and I believe lack of training and discipline is a big part of that. I've had conversations with a few of the Casting Directors and Agents in Central Florida, and they concur whole heartedly.
 
 
As an agent, I could always tell the actors who were training, it showed in their auditions and thus, they booked the jobs and were working on a regular basis!
 
 
Also, just because you have an agent, does not mean you should stop training. Agents work hard for you, so do them a service and make sure that you're audition or job ready when they call! A good agent is going to encourage you to take classes or find a coach that works for you. Make sure that you are doing your part as a talent. When you audition, you are representing them!
 
 
 
Preparing Yourself:
 
You would never try to prepare for a huge test by cramming everything in the night before. You take months to study the material, make flash cards, have someone quiz you and make sure you were more than prepared.
 
Coaching and classes are the best way to prepare yourself for a casting or audition, hands down! It can help alleviate nerves, especially if you are working privately with a coach on audition technique. When you work one-on-one with a coach they can help you find what I call your "Isms" or things that you will do when you get nervous. Whether its speeding up your copy, rocking back and forth, bobbing your head too much, etc. A coach will be able to point these things out, so when it comes to the audition you are already aware of your "Ism" and can pay attention to preventing it. They can also prepare you for unexpected casting requests, and help you learn how to really listen to the casting director's notes and directions.
 
 
Finding the Right Fit:
Some people prefer classes, they like a group setting, and maybe like studying a certain technique. Others might prefer working with a coach that can provide one-on-one attention, tailor their lesson plan to fit you and your needs, and work on many different techniques. Neither option is better than the other, and ideally you should do both at some point. This allows you an opportunity to learn different techniques, work with a group of actors, and then really crack down on improving yourself individually.  This also gives you an idea of how you like to learn and what setting and teacher would be an ideal fit for you.
 
As an actor or actress make sure that no matter where you are taking or who you are learning from that you are growing and pushing yourself to your limit. You shouldn't stay in a class because that's where your friends are taking. Bars and coffee shops are for being social, coaching/classes are for learning. When choosing a teacher or coach, make sure that above all else, this person encourages growth. When you find the right person you will know, it will click!
 
If you have made it this far, you must be serious about your craft! I know I can be kind of wordy, but like I said, this is a topic I am SUPER passionate about!
I will leave you with a great quote from a recent article in BackStage by Risa Bramon Garcia (Renowned Casting director)
 
"Find the class that's right for you! Don't just sign up for any old class. There are flavor-of-the-month classes and in-vogue teachers that some agents and fellow actors believe look good on your resumé. Of course check them all out. But make sure you really look around and find a teacher who genuinely gets you and meets you fully in the work, wherever that is.
 
So… don’t hesitate! Sure, take some time finding a class that resonates with you. But start training as soon as possible. It's imperative that you keep your skills sharp, stay engaged in the work, and keep growing as an actor and a person. If you're not on stage or on set, you've got to be in class. Embrace the back-to-school spirit and make this the perfect time to dig in."
 
 
 
XOXO,
 
Courtney 

The "Self Taped" Audition

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 1:54 PM Comments comments (0)
 
The Self Taped Audition:
 
 
At some point in every actor's career, be it Television, Film or even Commercial you will be asked to submit a "self taped" audition to your Agent. If possible, you should have a coach or a taping service help you out with these auditions. Coaches are experienced in what the Casting Directors like and can help you send out the most professional tape possible.
 
 
If it is a last minute request, and you cannot get into a coach or taping service, here are some helpful hints to ensure that your videos will look as professional as possible.
 
 
 
1.  Read the Directions: Make sure you read any and all directions. Every Casting Director has their own way of doing things, so when your agency sends you the directions, make sure you follow them to a tee, no substitutions!
 
 
2.  Slate: Always begin with your slate (unless otherwise directed). If it is indicated how they want the slate, please slate as indicated. Some Casting Directors may want you to hold a sign while slating or do a full body pan, and side to side profile shot beforehand, or simply have you slate after the scene. If no directions are indicated just do a simple slate consisting of name, age (if under 18) and agency. Make sure your slate is warm and you end with a great smile!
 
 
3. Basic Taping 101: When taping make sure you are taping from the shoulders up. The focus should be on your face, since in TV & Film that is the most important detail. You should tape in front of a neutral background, a basic colored wall is the best and have no background noise. You should never have anyone else reading on camera with you.
 
 
4. Audition with Confidence: Make sure to maintain good eye contact at all times. Eye darting is very distracting and can cause you to look unsure of your lines. Make sure your eye contact is strong and you are looking directly into the camera (unless otherwise directed) and make strong choices. Also, do not be afraid to make bold choices, this is where it comes in handy to work with a coach beforehand. You want to show the Casting Director that you have what it takes to bring the character to life! Go the extra mile to stand out, and don't be afraid to step out of the box!
 
 
5.  On Camera Appearance: When dressing for the camera, make sure you are being subtle. Light make up for women, no make up for men or kids. Make sure your hair is out of your eyes and that your appearance is nice and neat. Wear something simple on top, a nice color that compliments you and nothing too busy. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and kids should steer clear of big headbands or hair accessories. You want your talent to stand out, not your clothing!
 
 
6. Your Reader: Make sure the person that is reading with you is not too loud or distracting. They should be reading softly off camera.
 
 
7. Sending Files: When sending your taped files, you should try to download a program on your computer that can downsize file size. Agents or Casting Directors have a hard time receiving large files via email. You can also send files via wetransfer.com, yousendit.com or sendspace.com and that can help compress files for you.
 
 
*** The tips above are for a basic audition, again, make sure to READ what the Casting Director or Agent wants and follow their protocol!
 
 
If you have any tapings, please feel free to call me! I will do  my best to find a slot for you. These auditions are important and taping with a coach can definitely help you send out your best audition possible!
 
 
 
XOXO,
 
Courtney

Submitting to an Agency- The Children's Edition

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 3:39 PM Comments comments (0)
Submitting to an Agency- The Children's Edition!

Are you ready to start seeking representation for your child? Here is the correct way to do it and some important questions to ask yourself and your child BEFORE you submit.
 
 

1. Is my child social and well behaved? You may have the most gorgeous child on the planet, but if they are super shy or are a free spirit, this industry may not be a good fit. Kids as young as 2 will be asked to audition alone in a room with the casting director, or may have to wait for an extended period of time to audition or go on set for a job. It is  not always the most gorgeous child who gets the job, but many times, especially in the commercial market, it's a child who is very outgoing and easy to get along with.

2. Are you prepared to dig into your pockets?There will be financial responsibilities involved in having your child in the industry. Once you are signed to an agency, if your child is over the age of 5, they will need to have professional photos done. This means selecting a professional, commercial photographer who specializes in shooting models and talent for a living. Additionally, you will need to print comp cards and/or headshots for your agency and to take with you on castings. Photos should also be done to reflect your child's current look, meaning once every year or so, you will need to take new ones. Your agency cannot properly market you without these. Coaching, Classes and Workshops are also necessary in helping your child succeed in this industry. All successful actor's, adults and kids alike, are constantly working with a coach or taking classes to better themselves. This industry, just like any sport your kids may be involved in, will require some money to get you started and keep you active. No agency will front the cost for these materials, these are the tools you need to help your child become successful.

3. Does my child really want this? This is a very important question and needs to be answered sincerely, by your child. While working at the agency, it was very evident who the kids were that wanted this, and who the kids were whose parents were pushing them to do it. Your child, like any other hobby, or sport should be the one driving this, if they are not it is evident and is a waste of time and money. Also, it is important that your child is in it for the RIGHT reasons, there are long hours on sets, many hours of travel and auditions and some rejection that come along with the business. It can be overwhelming, make sure you and your child are prepared! Having a coach who can help act as a consultant, really helps! :)
 
 

If the answers to all the above is YES, here are some pointers for submitting!
 
 

When it comes to submitting and finding a quality agent with a good reputation you must READ what they are asking of you! The first thing you should do is go to the agency website that you are submitting for, 9 times out of 10, there will be specific instructions there. Be sure to follow them exactly as they are written (this also shows the agent that you read and comprehend instructions, a necessity when it comes to receiving castings and future information). This is not a recommendation, they are telling you EXACTLY how they want their submissions, make sure to follow directions. 
 
 
Here a few helpful hints (each agency will vary, but from experience, here are some pointers!
 
 

  1. Find out how exactly they want your materials sent, some agents prefer that you email a photo and a resume, while others will request a hard (physical) copy. If they are specific about a hard copy, do not send an email anyway. Many times agencies do this to avoid too  many large files coming in while they are trying to work on castings and bookings.
  2. Pictures, if your child is under the age of 12, it is fine to submit snapshots. When submitting snapshots, you should make sure that you provide 3 pictures of your child. All the photos should be of your child alone with no one else in the picture. All snapshots should be clear and your child should not be wearing sunglasses or hats, should have a clean face and should be looking at the camera. You should provide a close up of your child's face, a full body shot and then a random one of your choosing showcasing your child's personality.  
  3. Make sure you include an introduction letter (it need not be lengthy), but it should include your child's full name,  your email address, and your phone number. Without your proper contact information, the agent will not be able to contact you.
  4.  Lastly, you should never call an agency directly to see if they have received your child's materials. Agencies can get upwards of 100 submissions per day, they contact the talent they are interested in at that time, and are unable to contact everyone else. If you do not hear back in 4-6 weeks, it is probably safe to say that you are not being represented. You should keep sending your materials to other options at that point and try that particular agency again in 6 months to a year. Agents are busy and if you call regarding the status of your submission it takes time away from their booking schedules and also can put them in an awkward position if they cannot use you at that time.
 

Consultation is a service I provide, and if you have any further questions, you may feel free to call or email me about your inquiry. The industry is not learned overnight and it is better to have as much knowledge under your belt as possible when dealing with such a fast paced business!
 
 
 
 
 



How to Properly Submit to an Agency

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 6:02 PM Comments comments (0)
 
How to Properly Submit to an Agency:
 
A question that I get quite often is "How do I correctly submit to an agency?" and as a former agent, I can tell you a majority of talent are doing it wrong!
 
When it comes to submitting and finding a quality agent with a good reputation you must READ what they are asking of you! The first thing you should do is go to the agency website that you are submitting for, 9 times out of 10, there will be specific instructions there. Be sure to follow them exactly as they are written (this also shows the agent that you read and comprehend instructions, a necessity when it comes to receiving castings and future information). This is not a recommendation, they are telling you EXACTLY how they want their submissions, make sure to follow directions. 
 
Here a few helpful hints (each agency will vary, but from experience, here are some pointers!
 

  • Find out how exactly they want your materials sent, some agents prefer that you email a photo and a resume, while others will request a hard (physical) copy. If they are specific about a hard copy, do not send an email anyway. Many times agencies do this to avoid too  many large files coming in while they are trying to work on castings and bookings.



  • Pictures, some agencies will not see you without professional pictures, while some say a snapshot is fine. Find out the agencies policy before you send your materials. If you are looking for TV & Film, or Commercial Divisions, you should have a professional headshot taken before you start submitting to agencies. Please make sure it is a professional photographer who shoots talent for a living. If you need recommendations, please contact me. If it is a child under the age of 5, snapshots are always acceptable, and even in some cases, preferred.


  • Always include a resume attached to your photo, even if you have not done a ton of work, you should have something put together. A well written resume is key to getting yourself a good agent.
         Make sure you put all of  your contact information on your resume,          and you should also include an introduction letter (it need not be              lengthy), but it should include your full name, email address, phone          number and a website, if you have one. Without your proper                    contact information, the agent will not be able to contact you.



  •  Lastly, you should never call an agency directly to see if they have received your materials. Agencies can get upwards of 100 submissions per day, they contact the talent they are interested in at that time, and are unable to contact everyone else. If you do not hear back in 4-6 weeks, it is probably safe to say that you are not being represented. You should keep sending your materials to other options at that point and try that particular agency again in 6 months to a year. Agents are busy and if you call regarding the status of your submission it takes time away from their booking schedules and also can put them in an awkward position if they cannot use you at that time.


Consultation is a service I provide, and if you have any further questions, you may feel free to call or email me about your inquiry. The industry is not learned overnight and it is better to have as much knowledge under your belt as possible when dealing with such a fast paced business!
 
XOXO,
 
Courtney
 
 

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