Thursday, September 20, 2012

Acting Tip

An audition is not like a job interview, it is a job interview. As an actor, you should treat it as such. Dressing appropriately, being polite, and coming prepared are all important aspects, but perhaps the one facet that is most often overlooked is the necessity of being on time.

When your agent gives you a scheduled time slot, that is not the time that you should be walking in the door. That is the time you should be ready to go in the room. If an actor is scheduled at 10:15 and is walking in the door at that time, it can set everybody back. There are info sheets to fill out, potential script changes, and, at times, the need to be paired with another actor so rehearsing is beneficial to you both.

There is an allotted amount of time given to each audition. If you are late or have made the session director wait for you, that cuts into your time and an extra 30 seconds could be the difference between getting an extra take. If you walk into the room with a purse, a laptop, etc. and spend time trying to get yourself organized, this cuts into your time. It is part of being ready. If you do enter the room with personal items,  please do NOT place them on the set (which is basically any area in front of the TV monitor). If you are planning on taking your jacket and glasses off for your performance, do it before you enter the room.

We can only see the best in you when you are prepared. And we always want you to do your best.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Hello All.  We have an ongoing issue that solely rests in the actors hands and you miss potential opportunities for work.  When we, or any Casting Director, preps a job (basically when we choose who we should bring in for this specific audition), we do review your resume – the one that you posted on either Casting Networks or Breakdown Services. Yes, we may see you a hundred times a year, but when we’re looking for someone with specific skills like athletics, languages, cooking, etc., we look at your resume for those specifics. So if you want to get your foot in the door, make sure you:
a)    Update your resume
b)    Be honest about your weight and height
c)    Be honest when you say you can do an accent or skill
d)    Update your headshot. Yes, if you shaved your head, we need to know.

And most important, ALWAYS BRING IN YOUR HEADSHOT. STOP ASSUMING that we can print one out for you or the client can look at it online.  A casting director may or may not ask for them.  We don’t dictate when you need to bring in a headshot – the client does and we NEVER know when one will be asked for.  It looks bad for the performer when they don’t have one and a client asks for one.  Last week so many actors came in for auditions and the client was here and they didn’t bring a headshot. Guess what – the people who booked the job brought in headshots.  Call it a coincidence or not, that’s the facts jack.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Non-Disclosure Agreements

FB POSTING: “Hey, I’m auditioning today for a new (insert product) campaign featuring Brad Pitt.”

TWEET: “At (insert product) audition. Stupid script. Dumbest idea for a commercial ever.  And I hate their rate plans anyway.  But I’m going to rock the audition.”

See anything wrong with the above fake postings and tweets? Well clients do. Social networking has created a world where talent can easily share information about projects they’re working on. And it is dangerous. Nobody wants an actor to a) blow their secret campaign b) share their opinion on the product or project. And c) talk about an audition – period.  Do it and it could be the end of a Casting Director seeing you again or an agent representing you in the future.  Talent has lost chances at bookings because of this.

Unfortunately because of these past and present events is why clients have talent NDA’s (Non-Disclosure Agreements) aka confidentiality agreements. Bottom line is you should not EVER disclose any information about your film, TV, commercial, print auditions. EVER. Don’t tweet, post on FB, email, tell your friends, etc. about your auditions.  It’s great that you have an audition, or are excited about the project… the world doesn’t need to know your every move or thought.  Some things are better private.

It’s a little known fact that companies have services where they can pick up tweets and postings with their key words flagged. TRUST US. This happened a few years ago where an actor’s friend read a script and then tweeted their opinion about the product/script.  Two hours later we got a call from the very unhappy client telling us about the tweet. Think Big Brother isn’t watching? Think again. You can get your agent in trouble. You can get the Casting Director in trouble. And then, who will want to represent you or audition you?   So be safe, play nice and think about how your actions impact the big picture. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Time Is Here

Time to get in shape, clean out your closet of clothing that should have been burned in the 80’s, review your online photos and resumes to make sure they are current, check in with your agents to make sure they still represent you and know who you are, and count your blessings that you are lucky enough to call acting a career.

Amen All.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CONFLICTS (A Potential Nightmare In So Many Ways)

First, there are two different types of conflicts.  One is a product.  The other is a shoot/scheduling conflict.  We want you to understand what these are so you don’t accidentally talk yourself out of a potential booking! Ask yourself this - would you be willing to turn down the booking over a scheduling conflict?  If the answer is yes, then it is a conflict.  If the answer is no, then don’t bring it up.  For example, if you have to go to a wedding, but you CAN get out of it for this booking, then it is NOT a conflict.  Don’t lose a job or audition because of not understanding this… it happens all the time.

MREs and understudies…. If you have either, chances are, you don’t have a conflict.  You can always check with your agent.  If you’re up for a job shooting locally, there might not be any issue with asking for theatre releases.  Just make sure your agent is aware of your call time and where your theatre is located.  This will affect your release time from the shoot.

Just remember, we don’t get to talk to you directly, so your agent has to answer for you.  Therefore, we hold the agent responsible for knowing your life story.  You need to make them aware of all the projects you’re working on, whether it be film, theatre, travel plans, current commercials airing, etc.  They need to know what they can or can’t submit you on, based on your availability and product conflicts.  Maybe you can’t travel out of town for the next six weeks due to theatre, so your agent won’t submit you on out of town shoots.  Make sure your agent/agents know of all your current products airing or in print, so they know all your product conflicts.  This is especially important if you are multi-listed.  You need to be responsible and know that these exist and should be clearly spoken to with your agent, known to the casting people, and checked on again if you are getting booked which is just a final check.

Knowing your availability becomes much more significant if we want to put you on a first refusal.  This is where the client tells us they like you and wants to check your availability for the shoot dates so they can set up their shooting schedule.  Surprise!  You are not the only person they have to schedule for their shoot!  So when you tell your agent you are available and on a first for the shoot dates, nothing short of an emergency should come up to change that.  Later, if I tell your agent you’re booked, they should be able to confirm that booking without checking with you.  Since you’ve told them your life story, and you’ve kept them informed of any updates, the agent should have no problem confirming on your behalf.  This is common for agents to do this on your behalf. 

Hopefully this is clear.  But we will be addressing this issue in future blogs.

Peace out!  OCC

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


We’ll keep this short as it can be discussed at great length. 

Yes, you’re still supposed to bring them to every audition including callbacks. Just because you are registered on Breakdown services, Casting Networks, etc., doesn’t mean you no longer have to bring a headshot to the audition.  Why, because you just never ever ever ever know when one is needed.  We sometimes don’t know until the last moment.  And you never know when you may be pulled into another project or when you may want to slip one to that special other actor you have a crush on.  So basically you should always have several headshots with you that have your resume attached on the back. If we don’t need one, we won’t ask for one. Quite often clients will request them or they’ll actually be at the initial audition and want to see one.

The other day we had clients in the room and they requested headshots. We had 3 different actors bring us a Xeroxed photo on a flimsy sheet of paper stapled to several pages of a resume and this is what we had to give the clients. One of the clients asked, “Is this person a professional actor?”  Point taken.

The other thing about headshots is that we prep projects based on your photo and resume. So you need to update your photos – especially if you’ve changed your hair color, cut, gained or lost 10 or more pounds or haven’t had a new photo done in a few years.  There’s nothing more frustrating than bringing someone in because of their awesome hip hairstyle and then when they come in, their hair is totally different. Or bringing someone in because he’s got a rocking body and then seeing he’s gained 15 pounds and is no longer viable for the role. And yes, it’s important to get a great picture of yourself, but please make sure the person in the photo looks like YOU and what you will look like when you walk into an audition room. It also helps to have a nice close-up and a full body shot. Oh and those posed photos of you as a sailor, samurai, nurse, etc. really aren’t necessary unless you are the ultimate character actor. 

As far as quality and types of photos necessary… well we leave that to you and your agent.  And also suggesting headshot photographers.  As a Casting Director we know what works, and who is good, but our job is not to manage your career… it is your agent or managers call.  Please do note that you should always have choices when it comes to who you shoot with and should always interview them for the job.  You are paying them for their services so they better know you, the market you live in, and how you plan on using the shots to fit your abilities, talents, hopes and dreams of roles.

Also, make sure you have updated searchable criteria on those websites.  Sometimes we need to know if you are fluent in French or can powerlift a car and the only way to find you easily is by having those marked.  It’s aids your agents all the more in getting you potential work.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Should I Wear To An Audition?

Clothing for one… or lack of - if the role calls for it.  The reason this is an Actor Tip is because we’ve recently had a lot of requests for hip/trendy/edgy types and sadly talent have greatly missed the mark on the fashion aspect of these “looks”. If a client doesn’t think you fit the “look”, they might just skip over your audition and move on to the next. Don’t be a fashion victim.

One big thing to do is ask your agent if there are wardrobe notes. If there aren’t, then use some common sense on today’s fashion and dress for the role.  Chicago has some amazing talent, but one thing it lacks a bit sometimes is fashion sense. Some of the actors get it, most don’t.  This applies to men AND women.  Models typically are decent at picking good clothes to wear and how to dress.  Why is that?  Well, it’s because they are more directly involved with fashion, beauty, and presentation and the fact that their agents demand that they not only look good, but dress well… to get the role or to get a good chance at the role.  Why is this so important?  Because this is a very superficial business!!!!!  Clients are often based in New York and Los Angeles where fashion is a pretty high priority. They know what is hip and trendy just from living in the city. They are also doing current advertising so they are up to speed on what is hot or not so hot… get the drift.  So, if you don’t travel much to those places and see what is fashionable, then read fashion magazines, watch fashion shows and stay up to speed on current fashion. Doesn’t mean the “E Network” needs to be on 24/7, but the occasional glance can do wonders for you and maybe even give you some compliments along the way.

Besides how you look physically, and your haircut, wardrobe says the most about you on a first impression.  Think of it as a first date.  It can add to a character, or it can distract so badly that you won’t get to first base much less a callback.  So, how do you dress for the part?  Use common sense and think about the character. Stick with simple style rules… and generally?  Less is more. Anything too garish, too colorful, or too ill fitting (if you lost or gained weight it might be time for some shopping) will not help… that is UNLESS it’s explicitly called for.  Sometimes a shirt that’s too tight or pants that are too loose may be funny for a spot… but they’re not very funny when we are going for the urban hip look.  (Remember, you want clients to laugh WITH you, not AT you.)  If you are totally clueless, then stick with a basic shirt (FYI we have a blue background so don’t wear that same colored blue shirt or you will be a floating head), stylish jeans (if you haven’t purchased a new CURRENTLY STYLISH pair in 6 months, then go get a cool pair for auditions) and nice, CLEAN, stylish shoes. And if you are really, really not sure what to wear, bring some options to the audition. The Session Director will point you in the right direction.

So a few tangents about bad choices:  Ladies, lose the 80’s and 90’s stuff (hair and make-up included)… it’s dated, and unless you’re M.I.A. you CANNOT pull it off. These things DO NOT WORK: Big shoulder pads, muumuus / sack dresses (flowy dresses without a belt to highlight your waist), ruffles that enlarge your features rather than diminish, and those scarfs tied around your neck that are currently hip only make you look heavier and bulkier. Whoever said big earrings are the way to go has never had them jingle on a microphone or bang from side to side in a close-up.  Fitted tops work when you have the figure… but when you don’t it might be better to loosen it up and hide the rolls.  DRESS FOR YOUR FIGURE.

Men… there’s so much to say.  Please purchase an iron and use it before you arrive. Plaid shirts aren’t always the best way to go. If the role calls for a suit, then WEAR A SUIT and not your T-shirt that you slept in last night. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for you guys to do is wear clean, well fitted, ironed clothing with no armpit stains (speaking of – if you’re biking or walking to the audition, bring a shirt change. Wet armpits are very distracting and sloppy). This isn’t a dinner date where a woman will dress to the nines, but the guy can show up looking like a slob and still fit in.  (You’re not a Belushi and this isn’t “Animal House.”)  But again, if it’s a character look and that’s what we need then dress for it.  Also, the grunge look is out. High-waisted pants, floods, and pleated cargos were never “in” to be “out.” Invest in your career and go to a store and ask a stylish salesperson to fit you with a nice shirt, pants and pair of shoes.

We say this in good humor, but also out of concern.  We fight for you in so many ways… help us make you look good… Dress for success and dress accordingly.