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    Creating your own work as an actor

    You are stuck. You are jobless. You haven’t booked a gig in forever or never. You don’t know what to do. Acting seems very hard. You are losing all this money on classes. You are doing everything possible to get more work. But you feel like you are not getting any where. So what do you do ? Do you continue to feel helpless, and sulk about your problems?

    No you decide to grow up about it and decide to take charge of your career. How do you do that? You create your own work. Is it possible to create your own? Possible? Yes. Realistic? No Why is isn’t it realistic? Well because Film is a collaborative art. A real production has hundreds of professionals working at the same time. You can’t expect to do all their jobs at once.

    You have to find some like minded people to work with. That is the best way you can create some synergy and great film projects. Although it would be great to find professionals to work with, you can just do it several other actors. When an actor begins to understand all the aspects of film making, he will realize that acting is not just medium to show emotion, but a visual storytelling medium that is told by a bunch of artists from all sides of the camera.

    Even the TV producer and Casting Director. We all want to put our stamp on our work.

     

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    Become the next Shahrukh Khan or Robert Downey Jr

    The click bait, attention seeking headline is really like what it seems, to get you to click this damn article. But what do these great actors have which make us so glued to the screen when they come on? Well both of them have a superhero movie under their belt (although one of them has made a really bad one).

    They are very, very damn good at grabbing your attention. They provide enough substance where you as the audience want to see more of. That’s what great story telling is about. Yes he can be bad actor (which is for another article) but he can be a fantastic story teller. If after watching him or any actor that you might admire, you find yourself intrigued to know more, curious, relating to him, or just fantasizing the ideas or the messages the movie has given, well then he is a fantastic story teller. (Just like we are terrible grammar people). They own it.

    Whatever choices they make, they give it their 100%. It’s time for you as an actor to do the same. Fully commit if you want to succeed in this art, professionally, and make a lot of money. Films, TV, and even theatre, are indeed an art. But they are also more importantly a business. And businesses want you to come back and repeat. So you as an actor have to make the audience come back to you and give you their hard earned money (and time).

    You are asking for potentially millions of people to give you 2 hours of their time for a film. Now why earn those 2 hours?

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    How to Get a Role On Game Of Thrones

    Yes I know that this is probably looks like click bait because for Game of Thrones (It actually is but we’re going to pretend like we’re not pretending). So you wanna be on the epic show? What do you do?

    Realistically you only have a chance of being on the show if you are European or Peter Dinklage. Well why is that? And not just for Game of Thrones.  It seem that there is a European actor on every show or film these days. All the American actors are going extinct! Why? Do viewers not love us Americans any more!?

    Now we are going to be extremely general with this conclusion, but Americans (and American Acting Schools) make the emotions (and personal issues) the center of attention. Visual art is not about you, it’s about the art through you. The story being told through your eyes. Actors tend to think that their pain or hurt is the greatest in the world. As a result it becomes the focus of the story, rather than the actual story. And that leads to…well let’s just say it won’t be long career.

    So what do the great actors on Game of Thrones do so well (Even the ones that you love to hate or hate to love)? Well they do a very good job of telling the story, it’s themes, and messages. There have been very few moments on the show where you felt that it stagnated because every actor did and does a very good job of moving the story forward.

    Also ask yourself, how are all the characters different? The actors also do an exceptional job of differentiating from each other. No two actors are the same in the show. Which is exactly what you need to do if you want to book the part.

    So if you want to book a role on GoT, you have to be able to move the story forward, and differentiate yourself from the others actors on the show. And also it would be helpful to know the world of the show you are auditioning for.

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    Can Stand up help your Acting Career?

    Wanna be the next Louis CK ? Or the next Kevin Hart, Asis Ansari or Jerry Seinfield? Become an A-list actor that started off as a Stand up comedian? Or better yet, can it really help your acting career?

    To answer these questions, let’s first look at  what are the differences with stand up comedy and Acting? In stand up you are putting yourself out there in front of everyone. In Acting, you get to hide behind the text and character.

    It’s actually not true, the two are not really any different from each other. You have to be present, engaged, and in the moment To be successful in both genres. The key to remember that you are telling a story to the audience. In stand up it’s from your perspective. In acting, it’s from the perspective of the character and story.

    So what are some of the benefits? Because stand ups pretty much write their own material, they understand the meaning of the lines, and the message it’s trying to convey. They understand the backbone and point of saying these lines. Many actors tend to get lost in their character and forget to tell the story.

    What else? Stand up helps you get “balls”. When you fail miserably and blow up while doing stand up, and then live to tell the tale, you realize it’s not the end of the world and whatever one thinks of you is not really important as long as you are doing your job. Plus if you are funny, you can get anywhere in this world. Especially when everything is going downhill.

     

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    Figuring Out Your Type

    For years many many famous people and civil rights leaders have fought for equality and equal opportunity for all. But actors are the exception. We actors struggle with the super racist, discriminatory concept of figuring out what our type is. We have to. Because if we do, we can book a ton more work and be very successful. And if we don’t, we end up hating the world, blaming everyone besides our self for failure.

    So how do we figure out our type? Yea…Yeah. I know we actors are supposed to be well versed in everything. Have all the tools. But that’s in a perfect world or if you are Robert Downey Jr. Until you get there, let’s figure out how to get you more pesos.

    First of look at yourself from an unbiased perspective. If you can’t, google a photo of a man or woman. Once you have the photo. Ask yourself, if you were a casting director, what is the very first things that come to your mind when you look at the photos. What would you cast them in if you didn’t know who they were?  Now, if possible look at any YouTube Video. Before you click the video, what do you see in the thumbnail of the user? Does he or she look wacky? Does he or she look sexy? Now watch the video? Does your initial opinion match watch your post watching the video opinion.

    Casting Directors are the same way. They want to see your personality. And they want to see it without doing all the guess work. So what do you do? You try your damn best to show your strengths in the couple min you have with them or in your reel or headshot.  Make it easier for them and you’re already halfway there to booking it.

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    Improve Your Acting with Improv

    What is improv and how can it improve your acting ? Well just like any art, it’s a complicated question to answer. But simple layman terms, Improv is a unplanned, unscripted, spontaneous performance by an individual or group of people.

    So what the heck can it do for your acting? Well the core of improv is exactly what evvery actor needs to be. He needs to be spontaneous, natural, and in the moment. Every performance an actor gives has to come out exactly the same way an improv performer would. It has to look unplanned, and unscripted.

    The audience needs to see you living in the moment and experiencing the circumstances of the script for the first time. Even if you have rehearsed it thousands of times or maybe more. Put in all the work beforehand and then live it. Talk and listen and experience it. Let the lines affect you rather than you affecting it. And best of all, improv can help your auditions.

    How can it help your auditioning? Improv helps you build the confidence to take more risks. Even if the Casting Director decides to give you an adjustment you can seamlessly complete it.

    Bottom line is the casting director or whomever is in the room wants to feel like you have solved one of their problems. If you do that, then they will hire you

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    Why we Love Bad Films & TV

    You have a favorite show or movie. Something that you can watch over and over again with pleasure. You know what’s going to happen in next but you don’t care. You still love it, enjoy it and watch it the same way you did the first time. Why is that? Even if it’s terrible acting. How can it be?

    Because films (or even theatre) is not just focused on ones performances. Yea there are actors that give extraordinary performances (Daniel Day Lewis we are looking at you). Their dedication to the character is fascinating. But many actors forget one key thing which we believe is the reason they are not booking enough.

    And that is Film, TV, and theatre are visual story telling mediums. And at the end of the day you aren’t just showing the world your character that you worked so hard to create, but you are also telling a story.

    Yes, Wolf of Wall street shows how crazy, and reckless the character Jordan Belfort is but in the grand scheme of things the movie and Leonardo Dicaprio wonderfully showed how when one who thinks they are immortal can come quickly come crashing down very hard.

    So the next time you go into an audition, and you have multiple scenes to do. Ask yourself: What is the story? How am I moving the story along in every scene? Why is this scene here? Ask yourself the technical questions. Then remember to live it don’t play the answers. Meaning if it’s a breakup scene, don’t play it knowing that your character will break up. Play it moment to moment, just like we do in real life.

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    Is College (BFA) worth it ?

    This is tricky situation. One that can get hate from all sides.  We’ll try to look at it from a couple perspectives to see if we can come to a reasonable conclusion.

    What are your goals?

    Are you looking to build a foundation? Are you looking to have a basic tool set to use as an actor for the rest of your career? Do you want to meet like minded artists around your age that can potentially lead to great collaborative projects?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then attending a reputable Acting school (Not just BFA) is worth it. Acting schools provide something that 99% of actors don’t have and that’s any sort of solid structure. You can expect yourself to be devoting and allocating time of your day to do a series of exercise to build your skill set.

    Now it is certainly possible to acquire all of these great tools and knowledge without going to school. But you have to be very disciplined, smart and proactive with your career. Our major concern with acting schools is that sometimes they don’t necessarily teach you the proper or all the tools you need to succeed in the real world.

    Acting schools teach you to focus on building character when really it should be more focused on driving the story. After all you are telling a visual story when you are acting, not just “pretending to be someone else”.

    You don’t know where or who to go to once you graduate. You can be stuck and lost in limbo hoping to find an agent or manager that will get you auditions. But then you don’t know who’s good or bad or specifically right for you.

    This is all of which you have to learn on your own but it is actually a blessing because you learn it the cold hearted, no nonsense way. With it will come a lot of failure. If you can make sure to be able to learn from it, you will grow the most.

    Bottom line is you can acquire all the knowledge outside of an acting program but if you do decide to go to school, focus on the business side too along with the artistic side.

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    How to work on physicality

    Wanna become an insanely better actor in under 5 min? Seriously I have this crazy thing you can apply to your acting right now that can revolutionize the way you approach every role. And it doesn’t even have to be during a performance. Your future genius self can even use this for all your auditions. And that is to be more physical as an actor.

    Every actor can be more physical. Whether you are a newbie or a pro veteran of the craft. In fact the best actor, the ones not named Kardashian that we love are physical and able to tell the story through their bodies. Mute the volume and watch the best work. You can see the play, or movie being told through their body.

    It all goes back to our article about How to be more specific. Start asking yourself questions. All based on the circumstances of the script. How would my character walk. Where would my character hold his energy? What does my character lead with ( Chest, feet, chin or..?). How does my character look around and see the world. How does he feel in that body of his and the potentially fly clothes he’s wearing.

    And if there’s props in the scene. How does he hold them? The way my home boy Brown holds the phone is not the same as how a mother, waiting for the call from the police for her missing child, would. It’s always good to be on point as possible so we can get that cookie at the end for doing it the right way.

    Remember physical is something that can take hours and hours to master because after all you are trying replicate someone who is X amount of years old in the span of whatever turnaround time you have. With practice comes skill, so keep it and you will get better. Maybe one day become a master jedi of physicality.

    *For demonstration reasons and clarity and continuity we used he but can be for any character.

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    How to Audition for a TV Pilot

    So you finally got that opportunity to make that moolah and become an OG. Maybe even have some fanboys follow you around at comic con in the very near future. Ok yes that might be for another day lads, for when you have some supernatural superhero show. But now is the time to talk about auditioning for a TV Pilot.

    Right off the bat before you dive into the script. Ask yourself the questions that nobody does. Who are the makers of the show? What works have they done previously? People in this industry tend to stick to genres that they have been doing. So if the creators of the show, Suits, decide to do a new show, you can put your money on the new show being fast, and stylish.

    Then, ask yourself, what network is the show on ? Every network is different. Even the way one loses his mind and goes ape sh*t on each network is different. HBO is darker, smarter, and more open. ABC is more of a step down from being a Soap Opera.

    Now that you got the technical stuff out of the way, we can go the analytical. What is your character’s role in the show. What purpose does he give to the story. What arch will he have? You have to make sure you create a character that is bad boy enough for a producer and writer wanting to create for you for 5 seasons. Creators are looking at the long term goal.

    So can you show them enough good stuff in the audition that give them ideas 5 years into the future?

    Pay attention to how the character changes throughout the script. Which scenes have you been given to audition. What purpose does the scene serve in order to move the story forward? Why is the scene here? Why was it chosen for you to audition? What are they trying to see in your scenes?

    TV auditioning is not easy, especially for pilots. But the more you get specific about all of these tools, the higher you will be on the dog chain of being chosen.Actors are not chosen because they’re lucky, it’s because they are smart enough to understand their character and the show.

     

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