The acting hype is real. Believe everything you read about it. It’s wonderful. Walking the red carpet, applause at a premiere, learning a new character, trying to nail that moment when the characters fall in love, meeting the big stars, waiting to be called on set. The only bit that’s not real is that silly voice in your head that tells you to be terrified. Don’t be. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t star in a movie with Brad Pitt? So what. Trillions of other people never will either.
To take the most beautiful lines from my favourite Aussie musician Pete Murray “Don’t be scared of what you can not see, your only fear is possibility.”
B.a.b.e is about you creating your future.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Disney Auditions - why your demo reel is important
- Marie Skillern
How Important Are Demo Reels?
Demo reels are important in this fast-paced, highly innovative world. They are one of the means for soliciting approval during auditions and casting calls. Getting agents or agencies to represent you is one way of using these reels. But, their main purpose is to be presented to casting directors.
Before, when they were still in videotape format, these reels were used as audition mediums. Now, they are still being used by aspiring actors and performers, but in a more advanced form. Creating a high-quality audio-visual demo reel through the use of a software program is already quite fast and easy today. But, why area lot of demo reels rejected even with the availability of advanced technology?
It is not in the format of the demo reel, but in the content. Below are several of the strongest tips that will make your demo reels interesting to watch and eligible for earning the approval of casting directors:
Effective Ways to Create Attention-Grabbing Demo Reels
1. Keep your demo reel shorter than 2-3 minutes: Always empathise with casting directors, or agents, when it comes to demo reels. You have to think like the casting director and consider whether or not you will be pleased about watching lengthy demo reels. Thousands of demo reels will be presented by hopefuls hoping to have a chance to be spotted by casting directors.
Videotapes, CDs and URLs are sent everyday for casting directors to watch. So, you need to shorten your demo reels as much as possible. If you are lucky, casting directors like those for Disney Channel may give 10 seconds of his or her time to view your demo reel. If you fail to make them sit up and pay attention, you failed in your reel's main purpose.
2. Start strong on the first few seconds: The first few seconds of your demo reel is critical. Make it as interesting as you can. The first scene or cut should create such a lasting impression that even when the casting directors are viewing another actor's demo reel, they are still thinking about yours.
3. Show different character types: Create contrasting characters on your demo reels. Also, you have to place real cuts from your previous work on your reels. If you've played parts in movies and television shows, these cuts should definitely be included. But, do not limit yourself on these materials. You can also us monologue performances, script reading, student film productions and on-class workshops.
4. Make sure that they get to see your face first: Your face should register first on the demo reel so that the casting director will recognise you on the next cuts. Keep your face large and close to the camera or screen.
5. Must contain only quality content: The audio and video quality must be of high quality. Use a software program that will bring out the best in your acting. If you have to use background music, ensure that it is fitting to the clips you've included. The transition should be clear as well so that it won't be disturbing for the casting directors.
6. As much as possible, keep the focus on you: Even when you have a scene with award winning actors, keep them away from the casting director's eyes. Keep the focus on you and not on the other actors on the scenes. It is your demo reel, so it should be about you only.
7. Ask professional help: If you're not too proficient in making demo reels, you should ask for expert advice. If not, have your reels done by a professional or a group so they can be sure that they get approval ratings, even in auditions for Disney.
As you can see, there are ways for you to ensure that your demo reels will help you succeed in any casting call. Just remember that in such auditions as Disney auditions, they should catch the attention of the people you want to impress.
Marie Skillern enjoys blogging about disney auditions and the rags to riches stories that goes with it. Over the last four years, Marie has written and published numerous articles on celebrities in different local and international publications.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
There's so much beauty in the world that I would hate for a second to miss it. And the great thing about this friend was that she saw that beauty and she shared that beauty constantly with those around her. I am so so grateful she was a part of my life. I am so thankful I met her.
And I guess our challenge as actors is to keep our chins up high and see that beauty and celebrate the small wins as often as possible so we don't miss them, or miss out on life in general.
Well my friends, if we don't spend all our time worrying about "that" possibility, and instead focus on how wonderful the role is that we have right now, then perhaps "that" won't even happen. Perhaps there will continue to be a steady stream of exciting auditions, paid jobs, and more opportunities coming our way than we can poke a stick at.
See worry doesn't fill the void of not knowing what is next. Worry just feeds fear. Worry means we are sending out signals to the world that say 'don't give me more of the good stuff, no. Just give me more of this stuff I'm worrying about'. And we don't want that. When instead, you are sitting there thinking about how great this acting is that you're doing, you are telling the universe you LOVE YOUR LIFE and you WANT MORE OF JUST THE SAME.
Yes, there are going to be dry patches and times when we don't have much going on. There are going to be weeks when we are pulling our hair out, and months where we are going to be frantic with excitement and trepidation about the next job. But isn't that the whole reason we enrolled into this crazy acting business? Didn't we turn up to acting school so we could live this wonderful life where every single day is different from the next.
Our one and only job is to turn up to the audition, reading or job and be the best actor we possibly can be. Bryan Cranston summed it up perfectly in this video. I actually think it's the single best acting video I have ever seen...all 1.23 seconds of it.
I want to remember the things I need to spend more time doing....
More time reading books and opening my heart to strangers and less time sweating the small stuff.
More time smiling and sharing and less time fussing with my hair that might be out of place.
More time laughing when I've done something silly and less time fretting about looking dumb.
More time enjoying ice-cream and less time worrying about wrinkling my clothes.
More time smelling flowers and less time worrying about my next audition.
Less time on Twitter and Facebook and more time looking at the sky and seeing the beauty.
Less time pleasing people and more time just loving them.
Less time trying to like myself more and more time just being.
Less time fretting and more time hugging.
I know that as winter hits and the days get shorter, we are more inclined to hibernate and crawl away into our little cocoons. We are more likely to fret, more likely to worry, more likely to fuss. But just for today, just at this moment, take stock of how much you've achieved already this year. This is you, out there being an actor in every job, every audition, every opportunity. You are doing it.
Worry more about how you are going to fit in any time to read B.A.B.E. when you're busy learning lines for that next television role! Now that's a good problem to have :)
Photo credit: *Zephyrance - don't wake me up. / Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: KlaireLee / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Monday, 14 October 2013
Those two little words, when written down, appear at first glance to mean so little, but actually mean so much. Doing it!
But then something happens. The course we set ourselves on doesn’t quite work and before long we are sailing in the wrong direction. Finally we realign with our ‘projected’ path and battle on. Then a huge storm hits, sometimes a ferocious one, and we are struggling again. This time the battle involves whether we will get another role ever in the whole entire world, if we have just blown yet another audition, or perhaps if we might just stop altogether. Phew, we correct our course again and continue on our merry way. No bumps are going to stop us.
And yet they do. Time and time again the biggest complaint I hear from actors is “there’s no work out there”, or “it’s really quiet”, or “I just can’t seem to get seen by anyone”. And this is where this magical talk I listened to comes into play.
“Doing it”. Doing it means you get our there and make it happen. If the work isn’t coming to you then it is about time you created the work and made it for yourself. I can certainly tell you, hand on my heart, that Tarantino probably isn’t sitting at home penning a screenplay for you to be his lead in at this particular moment. And rarely is the director you worked with on a short film just last week, doing that either. Or the Casting Director you auditioned for for that shampoo advert. Nope, they have their own work to crack on with. If you want to get seen, if you want to steer your boat in the direction of your destination and avoid major collision courses, the best way to do it will be to make something happen yourself by doing it.
Write that play that you always wanted to star in and submit it to Off Cuts. Make a brilliant snappy two minute short film and put it up for Virgin Media Shorts (as a side note, once it is screened you'll also get an IMDB credit). Get ambitious and make a feature film with the very best director and DOP and actors you have a working relationship with right now. Check out the offers around town on YouTube and Vimeo for funding. By doing it you create your own acting luck. By creating it you actually stand a chance of sailing that ship straight into the directions of your dreams.
DOING IT!Who would ever have guessed those two little words could be so darn inspiring.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Experiment with different choices (remain flexible)
Hear your recordings (yes that means playback!)
Express through the voice (not just inflection)
Allocate time for rehearsal
Respond to your scene partner
Speak the lines with intention
Affect your scene partner with objectives
Listen during the scene allowing your body to respond
Friday, 13 September 2013
And so B.A.B.E. went on a share quest to find the answer on how to be the most sharing actor we can be. I went to...google (of course). I guess what surprised me the most was when I googled how to be a sharing actor, I realised no one had blogged about it. Or at least, if they have, it's not getting high up in the google rankings. I mean yes of course we know that acting is a competitive environment where it's all about eat or be eaten, but the best moments are usually when actors are sharing, giving, offering, and providing. The round table of female Oscar nominees last year was nothing short of spectacular. Listening to huge A-list gals say "Oh when you did this, I was so inspired" was a mind blowing treat to watch.
Hearing a mate today tell me that they cycled over to their acting friend's house to help them self tape for a film was delightful. Having a mate call you when you're having one of those bummy awful actor days (technical term) can literally make your heart sing again.
So in earnest, I want to create share moments. I have literally been spending the afternoon thinking and writing down some of the ways we can touch another actor, in a metaphorical sense.
Here are a few sweet sweet ways to have a share moment:
|Rides aren't half as fun alone.|
- Call your mates to share their wins. Earnestly wish them well on their successful casting or booking or new agent. This love and support will come back on you tenfold as well but more importantly, you will feel incredible by going that extra mile with an act of kindness that will make their day. (Ever want to read more about giving, check out TDL. Martin literally writes about love daily.)
- Be there if your co-star wants to practise lines or discuss characters. You can also check if they want to run lines. Just never say it in a way that suggests that you are doubting they've done the work.
- Offer to sit in on their close-ups so the other actor(s) get your character's reactions and can play off you. I can't even tell you how much this helps when you're trying to capture the same essence as you had achieved in your two shot. And if you do this for them, I bet they'll want to return the favour.
- Show appreciation. Offer to make the runner a cup of tea. Watch their eyes nearly pop out of their heads when you do. Better yet, ask your fellow actors while you are at it.
- Humility begs a million lives. I swear the more humble you are, the more sexy points you are earning. When another actor is sharing something marvellous, don't trump it with a better story. Just listen and enjoy it as if it may be the last story that will ever touch your ears. (if you need to, pretend it's Ryan Gosling telling you the story as I bet you wouldn't try to one-up him).
- Create a safe space for your acting buddy to work. Literally warm them up with a smile and a handshake. Connect with them by making eye contact and really share the space you are in. Breathe positive energy into the room.
- Compliment your fellow actor on something genuinely wonderful about them - their hairstyle, their cool clothes, their attention to detail. The great thing about us as people is we are all born wonderful. Sometimes we just forget to remind the person sitting next to us.
- Go crazy and bake something and bring it with you to share. If you aren't that much of a baker (I'm not) then maybe buy a little bag of sweeties instead.
- Meet your actor buddy for a coffee if they're having a bad week and offer to listen for as long as they need to blurt it all out. It's cathartic to talk about the crappy stuff, so long as we don't dwell on it.
- Send your mates a great audition that you know they'd be perfect for. Light up their sky with love.
Having allies and sharing on set isn't about being an artful dodger and scrambling to get the most out of others. It's about being a giving human who wants to make their co-stars look good.
You only get one chance, so you can choose to spend it one of two ways. Hoarding the good stuff, being negative and even potentially a bit evil, or alternatively, sharing like a care bear on his first summer camp. You be the judge of which one will have you sleeping more soundly at night.
And if you want to get zen about sharing outside of the acting arena, check out what is suggested on Zen Habits.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
I got dropped. I actually got dropped off a project. It is near enough to a year ago now so it isn't fresh and I'm not rocking myself to sleep each night crying. But I did feel a little (read that a lot) resentment at the time.
Actors take their jobs seriously. We work hard on characters, lines, motivations and truths. You name it we work on it. So when you land a big part in a film you take all that actor energy and pour it into your whole being. You create a world for your character that resides in pretend land and eventually becomes real on the big screen.
Imagine that. You are flicking about on a Friday morning getting a coffee, looking up to the sky and thinking life is sweeeeeet, I am so lucky. You see a young boy flying a kite into the big blue sky, and a man whistles as he walks past walking his dalmatian.... STOP...hold up. Okay maybe the kite and the dog bit was a slight exaggeration. But I really was sipping a fresh coffee and happily almost skipping down the high street when that fated call came. He had to tell me they had changed the character and needed something different. Simple as that. The producer felt awful. I could hear it in his voice. He felt like a kid in a candy store who had been scolded for taking one piece of candy too many. He didn't want to have this conversation, he didn't know what to say, he couldn't get off the phone fast enough. Simple. In this instance, he wasn't calling all the shots, just some of them. And he didn't want to be on the phone to me saying this after we had had any number of professional meetings about the production.
After the resentment and frustration passes, and we get down to the nitty gritty of it there is not much we can do. Actors will eventually have this happen to them just like if you rock climb you WILL eventually fall. You can be on a pencil until the eleventh hour and then get told they went with the other girl. You can not hear about a job for weeks and then suddenly book it at the last minute. And you can just as easily lose a role that you thought was 'in the bag'.
I don't want to sound flippant. I just want to be realistic. If you are a good actor and you are good at your craft, this is no reflection on you or your talent. The biggest error I have seen actors make is to assume being dropped is because they are a rubbish actor. It is rarely that. You may be a diva and that will get you dropped. You may have the wrong look to the leading guy and that may get you dropped (or not booked at all), you may have the wrong accent and that may get you dropped. But if you are a great actor, it is never about your acting chops.
You must get away from immediately making the assumption that you losing a job to someone else is about your ability to act. It's not. I'm sure you heard the story of the incredible audition that Jennifer Lawrence gave for Silver Linings Playbook, and how allegedly before that Angelina Jolie was up for the part? Right...so it happens to A listers too. I wonder if Jolie was also happily sitting at home enjoying a freshly brewed coffee and thinking how sweet life was when she was told that that younger, pretty, soon-to-be-biggest-name-in-Hollywood-right-now actor had just booked her gig.
Yeah so hey, I got dumped and it hurt. And I felt duped. And I felt a bit silly for taking it so seriously. And I felt dumb for a moment. I realised, it's not all about me. I'm not an awful being and actor. I am not the first person this has happened to and I won't be the last. I got back up again on the horse and kept on riding. And it feels really great to acknowledge it, share it and move the hell on! I mean, we get dumped in the playground from aged 5, surely we can handle a little bit of rejection in cinema land too.
Be a B.A.B.E., never a diva.
Monday, 19 August 2013
Your personal entourage is extremely important. I bet if you sit down right now and make a list, there is a very good chance you have half a dozen people in that list already...if not more. Think about it. Let's start with the easy ones. You probably have a hairdresser, a beauty therapist, an acting teacher... Yes? Well there are three people in your entourage already. Maybe you have an agent, a voice over agent, an accountant? There are three more. And perhaps you have a favourite DOP you love working with?
You forge relationships, often without even realising it, that can become long term and can contribute to your long term acting career. And sometimes, while these people we stumble upon may seem insignificant at first, they can go on to be massively important. For instance, just recently a wonderful makeup artist I know came to mind when a director friend of mine was looking for someone to help with his production. Karla is massively talented and I can't wait to work with her again. She's part of my mini Entourage. That means Karla is someone I recommend to others, and someone who I want to work with again and again (I do have other wonderful makeup artists in my toolkit as well - to the other makeup ladies I know and love who might be reading this...<3 U!).
|Harry doesn't know it but he's in my entourage!|
My most successful acting mates, in my personal experience, are the most humble and sincere. They don't boast, carry on or big themselves up. But they do genuinely receive offers with open humble arms and if they ever decline something they are as courteous and polite as the Queen. See, they get it. And we all should. People aren't here just to be walked over, used or trodden on. And thinking you can just "get in touch" with someone when you need to is about as transparent as cling wrap.
If you have spent all that time building your entourage, then play by the rules to keep them. Be the person you see in others. You know her, that humble girl that exudes equal amounts of charm, charisma and kindness. I guess the other point to note is that if you don't do this, while you might think others are in your entourage, they may not be so forthcoming when the time comes for them to answer your call.
So why not drop one of your contacts an email today and just say, hey I saw your work in such and such and you were amazing!
p.s. yes I know that entourage typically is defined as "A group of people attending or surrounding an important person."** Umm you ARE that important person. Der!
* Photos thanks to Foter: happykiddo [dead] / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
** Definition by Dictionary.com