Ask Me!: A good 1 week workshop?

QUESTION FROM: Dominique Hi there, I’m looking for a workshop or ’1′ week course in New York. I’m from the Netherlands, so are there any you can recommend and is affordable?

Hello Dominique,

Thanks for asking. However, I’m not familiar with any…

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I just HAD to post this. This is the comedian I have been working with for the last year on her show NAKED PEOPLE. Her promo video shoot (where she runs around the city trying to escape censorship) got snapped by a number of publications the other day and it went viral. The comments at the links are as insightful and hilarious as the show!
theangeladee:

NAKED PEOPLE and Julia Wiedeman featured on NYMagazine, HuffPo, Refinery29, ChicRenegade, FashionIndie.com and TheGloss.com. One of the few times the words NAKED and VIRAL work well together : )
[BE WARNED! NSFW!!!]

I just HAD to post this. This is the comedian I have been working with for the last year on her show NAKED PEOPLE. Her promo video shoot (where she runs around the city trying to escape censorship) got snapped by a number of publications the other day and it went viral. The comments at the links are as insightful and hilarious as the show!

theangeladee:

NAKED PEOPLE and Julia Wiedeman featured on NYMagazine, HuffPo, Refinery29, ChicRenegade, FashionIndie.com and TheGloss.com. One of the few times the words NAKED and VIRAL work well together : )

[BE WARNED! NSFW!!!]

In keeping with the theme of the day (D.I.Y.) I just HAD to post this.
This is the comedian I have been working with for the last year on her show NAKED PEOPLE. One of the promo video shoots where she runs around the city trying to escape censorship got snapped by a number of publications the other day and it went viral!
The comments over at the links are as insightful and hilarious as the show!

poupak:

womenimproviserstrust:

sarahrainone:

theangeladee:

NAKED PEOPLE and Julia Wiedeman featured on NYMagazine, HuffPo, Refinery29, ChicRenegade, FashionIndie.com and TheGloss.com. One of the few times the words NAKED and VIRAL work well together : )
[BE WARNED! NSFW!!!]

I think we can all agree that the word “ballsy” should from this day forth be replaced by “boobsy.” Julia is a force! A very awesome and funny force!
Julia Weideman’s show is moving and funny - definitely the kind of humor that leaves you thinking and appreciating your womanhood.  She’s also boobsy!
NAKED PEOPLE,  directed by Angela Dee, has a run at the UCB Theatre New York right now.  If you’re in New York, it’s definitely one NOT to miss!

Yes. YES. YEEESSSS!!!!

In keeping with the theme of the day (D.I.Y.) I just HAD to post this.

This is the comedian I have been working with for the last year on her show NAKED PEOPLE. One of the promo video shoots where she runs around the city trying to escape censorship got snapped by a number of publications the other day and it went viral!

The comments over at the links are as insightful and hilarious as the show!

poupak:

womenimproviserstrust:

sarahrainone:

theangeladee:

NAKED PEOPLE and Julia Wiedeman featured on NYMagazine, HuffPo, Refinery29, ChicRenegade, FashionIndie.com and TheGloss.com. One of the few times the words NAKED and VIRAL work well together : )

[BE WARNED! NSFW!!!]

I think we can all agree that the word “ballsy” should from this day forth be replaced by “boobsy.” Julia is a force! A very awesome and funny force!

Julia Weideman’s show is moving and funny - definitely the kind of humor that leaves you thinking and appreciating your womanhood.  She’s also boobsy!

NAKED PEOPLE,  directed by Angela Dee, has a run at the UCB Theatre New York right now.  If you’re in New York, it’s definitely one NOT to miss!

Yes. YES. YEEESSSS!!!!

Good morning, and a Happy New Year to you!

Have questions about the industry? Ask me anything about acting HERE!

Learn to ignore First Refusals!

One day I hope to be at a point in my carreer where a “First Refusal” for a job has zero impact on my day. It’s very exciting to get any kind of positive feedback for an audition - especially if it’s for a big job - but it’s imperative for your sanity to keep your feet on the ground.

What is a First Refusal?

A first refusal is kind of like being put on the bench in sports (for those people who know me, you may take a moment to titter at my using a sports reference..).  It is not a booking. You have not got the job, but you are a potential backup for the role if the person they offer it to cannot do it. The likelihood of this happening is very slim, by the way.

Why is it called a first refusal?

It is basically a way for the producers of a given job to ensure they have talent for the shoot. If you were to book another job that was scheduled on the same day as your first refusal, you would have to check in with the producer/director (via your agent) and request permission to be released. At this point the producer/director of the first refusal job has the right to your time and talent. It is up to them to either book you or release you - aka “refuse” you. You can only accept the second job if you have been released from the first refusal job.

One of the frustrating things about first refusals is that it can create a lot of excitement for you and your agency, but realistically it is a glorified offer. In fact, as far as I can tell from my experiences, you don’t even have to be officially released from a first refusal whereas you do if you have been placed “On Hold.” So your agent can call you and say that you may have a job tomorrow, but then never call back to tell you that you don’t.

Commercially, in general, when you get a call-back for a job you are immediately put on first refusal. But you can be put on first refusal at any point during the audition process - even, in some cases, if you haven’t even auditioned, as happened to me this week. It’s these moments where one can forget the basic irrelevance of a first refusal and get a little over-excited about the prospect of a job. Of course you still have to abide by the laws of the industry but unless you actually do get another booking that conflicts with the schedule of the first refusal job, I’d encourage you to take the whole encounter with a grain of salt and pretend it didn’t happen.

Another thing I’ve noticed in relation to how important an offer is comes down to how your agency handles it. If you work with a larger agency, one like CESD or Paradigm, you will hear directly from the agent if the job is a sure thing or they are excited about it. You will hear from their assistants if it is less than.

What to do if you get a first refusal?

First things first, make sure you are technically free and available for the job. Call your agent to confirm - they will contact the producer/director (by the way, I’ve never been offered a first refusal without an agent. Perhaps, it is purely a term used by agencies? It could also be a union term. I’m not really sure). Then FORGET ABOUT IT! Carry on with your life as if nothing has happened. If you freelance, you could inform the other agencies you work with of this news as it never hurts for them to know you are in demand, but as far as canceling all your regular plans for that day, don’t do it unless you have to.

For more reading about the audition process:

http://thenycactor.blogspot.com/2009/09/hold-your-horses.html

http://thenycactor.blogspot.com/2010/03/auditioning-jitters.html

Or ASK ME A QUESTION!

Building the Perfect Actor Website

These days an actor website is a MUST-HAVE. It’s really important. Primarily because the industry that is not connected through your agent (if you have one) is online. There are so many casting websites that an actor should be linked up to and one thing you’ll find you need is a link to a website.


There are many ways to do this and many of the casting websites out there offer you hosting and a page on their site. However you do it, if you have a website on your resume and/or business cards you are making it THAT much easier for a prospective employer to see your work - which’ll make getting hired easier.


Here’s mine as a sample: http://www.angeladee.com/


However you do it here are some elements that I would consider vitally important to the make-up of your site:


OBVIOUSLY:

Headshot

Resume (which can be printed if need be)


NOT SO OBVIOUS AND VARYING ON WHAT YOU DO AS AN ACTOR:

Film reel

Audio demo

Model comp card

A contact page which can have your info AND your agents if you have any


ALTERNATIVELY:

Links to other important sites (i.e, if you’re also a comedian and have videos on Funny or Die, YouTube, etc)

A News page to keep visitors updated on your employment (I would only do this if you are very busy, otherwise it can have the reverse affect on you and make it seem like you don’t work at all)

Candid polaroid shot (if you go out for commercial work at all you will know that the CDs and clients prefer to see a candid shot of you as opposed to the headshot. You don’t NEED this on your site but every now and then I run across a posting that requires one - but I don’t even have one..)



That’s about it.

If anyone has any other points, of course feel free to post it!

Book Out!

For those of you who don’t yet know, “booking out” is when you alert your agent of an upcoming conflict in your schedule that would inhibit you from going out for an audition, etc.For example, I am shooting a film in Memphis at the end of September. This will take me out of commission for roughly a week as far as auditioning is concerned. So it is important that when it gets closer to the date, I let ALL my representation and other ongoing industry employers (eg: producers/directors who hire me consistently) know that I will not be here.
This a really good idea for a number of reasons.
a) Potentially the most important factor: It is considerate.Generally, agents submit you for an audition before letting you know about it. This means that a Casting Director (CD) has submitted a breakdown (job description and character details) to the agent. The agent has considered their talent roster and replied with a list of submissions along with their stamp of approval that this is the best bunch of actors for the job. The CD then responds in kind with their “OK”. THEN the agent sends out a round of calls to the talent followed by a confirmation to the CD of all the attending actors.If the agent calls you the wheels are already in motion. The Casting Director is already considering you for the role. This doesn’t mean that you will book it of course, that part is up to you and a huge line-up of other variables. But this is the proverbial “foot in the door” as it were. If the agent calls you and you say “Oh! I’m out of town” or “I have another booking” this can make the agent look like they don’t have a grasp on their talent or that you don’t care. And it can make the agent resent you for not acknowledging the work and time they’ve put in to try and book you/them work. Also, it is even possible that if the CD has seen your work before and likes you, they may be excited to get you in because they think you’re right for the job - i.e. making their job easier. So when the agent calls to withdraw you from the audition the CD might get irked. And if I’ve learned anything about this industry, Casting Directors have precise and knife-sharp memories.So if you book out with your agent in advance, the agent appreciates it as it saves an awfully lot of time and energy for everyone.
b) You are alive and working.It can be a helpful reminder to the agent that you’re out here and not only that, but that you are WORKING.Work = $$$$ = happy everyone : )I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been called in for auditions by an agent after months of nothingness within a week of booking-out with them. It is possibly coincidental, but I don’t think so.
How you contact the agent to book-out is up to you and that agent and warrants a chat with them if you can. Some agents like to receive an email, some prefer a phone call or even that you speak with their assistant. It all depends on the person. So the next time you hear from them, just ask them quickly what the best way is to book-out.
So BOOK-OUT! It’ll be the best for everyone concerned and you just may rekindle that stagnant relationship with your agent..
As a post script, I would urge you to refrain from booking-out when you haven’t really got anything going on or just for the sake of it. Agents are exceptionally busy folks and it doesn’t take a lot to piss them off. But a sure-fire way to do it is to be a pest by calling them constantly - unless you are truly THAT busy. In which case, congratulations!Above all else, I would encourage you to develop and foster a considerate personality. That in itself seldom goes unnoticed in this rather ego-centric idustry.

VO Agents Won’t Sign Foreigners!

I was just given some fascinating information about representation as a foreign voiceover artist.
I currently freelance with a few different agencies in the city and after booking a number of “big” spots was curious why no one was signing me. Then, thanks to the insight and wisdom of my new voiceover coach, Peter Rofé, I learned something that I’ve never heard before:Voiceover agents won’t sign foreigners!Why? As a foreign VO artist I am considered “specialty” talent and due to the rarity of available work in this field most agencies will refrain from entering into a contractual relationship with me - avoiding the contention that will undoubtedly arise when there aren’t any jobs to send me on and I start harassing them about their “obligation” to me, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.
Pretty straight forward, I suppose.
It’s a little disheartening to be frank, but now, at least this gives me (and hopefully you if you happen to be a foreigner) something to work with. I do have friends who are foreign who are signed with one of these agencies, but they are signed for on-camera and print work, too. So the field is broadened slightly making the agents job easier.
Conclusion? If, as foreigners, you or I wish to make money in the commercial field and be aided in this pursuit by an agency, it is imperative that we nail that US accent. That way we become not only a “specialty” or foreign talent but one who can spill over into the US market blessing our representation with a big ol’ slice of talent pie (read $$) in which to dip.

Headshots

Ahhh. This is an interesting element to being an actor.Knowing what a good headshot is is like knowing when to shelve those high-waisted mom-jeans. It is a trend that is as changeable as any you read about in fashion magazines. Black and white shots? Or color? Horizontal framing? Or traditional vertical/portraiture framing? Full-body shot? Or 3/4? OR tight in at the face? Glossy printing or Matte? Border or no? Name on the front?, etc., etc.
Today(mid 2009) a good NY headshot might look a little like the one’s on this page by Chia Messina. Clean, simple, head and shoulders, color, bright-eyes. I say NY, because the demands seem to differ slightly between NY and LA. So, as I am a NYC actress, I am going to stick with what I know and let the LA readers (… ?) provide any alternate info through comments.
Now, regardless of whether you go for a shot like the one’s here or you do something completely different, one of the most important factors in a headshot is that it looks like you. I know that must sound pathetically simplified. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand this fact. If you run out and get a make-up artist to completely glam you up like you were going to the Oscars, and sit in front of a photographer who over/under-lights you, then you finish up by having a retoucher remove EVERY blemish you have and over air-brush your skin, then you photo is not going to look much like the person who walks into the audition room. This is a number-1 pet-peeve of all casting directors and agents. It completely defeats the purpose of a headshot. All a headshot really is is a quick, visual reference for the casting director or other industry person. If they come across your photo and like what they see, how do you expect to get to the next level with them if you walk into the room looking like a completely different human being. Trust me. It is a complete waste of EVERYONE’S time. Not to mention your money.
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