Don’t worry so much about the words. Of COURSE, do your homework, but keep in mind that WE are the missing ingredient. They HAVE the words. There are hundreds of copies of the words in dozens of people’s hands. They’re not going anywhere. Will they change? Sure. Will some be cut? Totes. Will this fuck you up? NOPE. Why? Because we have the luxury (YES, LUXURY) of not dealing with formulas, equations, or stenography in our chosen profession; we get to merely tell our story. OUR story. The story that’s NOT on the page. The story that the WORDS they handed us CAN’T TELL because they’ve been so pasteurized and homogenized that they need to be brought back to life. Like astronaut food- they just need some water. They HAVE the other shit. DO NOT. OBSESS. WITH THE WORDS. It siphons the life out of your acting.

“DO NOT. OBSESS. WITH THE WORDS. It siphons the life out of your acting.” – Yours Truly

Check out this great artcile from Backstage, discussing how it’s the smallest of roles that have the greatest potential to blossom into something great. I’ll give you a taste test here, then click the link to read the article in full! GREAT read and IMPORTANT for us actors to realize it’s not just the series regulars and leading roles we should be salivating after; in fact, it might just be the opposite…

“You never know which roles are going to provide the greatest opportunities. A part may not look like much on paper, but if you invest yourself fully and viewers sit up and take notice, sometimes it can morph into something greater. ‘It’s like an actor fantasy.’

Vik Sahay regularly steals scenes—and has amassed an admirable fan base—as antagonistic Buy More grunt Lester on NBC’s Chuck. Sahay initially auditioned for the role of Chuck’s friendlier sidekick, Morgan, but was passed over in favor of Joshua Gomez. ‘My manager called and said, “They are now offering you the role of Lester,”‘ Sahay recalls. ‘I remember looking through the script, and it was literally one line here, a word there. I was like, “I don’t want to do this.” My manager, smartly, was like, ‘Yeah, who do you think you are to say no to anything?'”

Sahay, who had journeyed to Los Angeles from his native Canada for pilot season, assumed the role was a one-off…until he was asked back. And then asked back again. Each time, the number of words Lester had to say grew a little, and the character developed into a cantankerous social misfit with, as Sahay puts it, an ‘unrequited rivalry’ with leading man Chuck. When the show kicked off its second season, Sahay was promoted to series regular.”

FULL ARTICLE HERE!

Here is a great GREAT article from Now Casting’s ‘Actors Ink’ (Volume 9, #4). Read it then send me your thank you cards.

“Countless actors pour into Hollywood and New York every day. All after the same dream. But what is it that everybody is chasing? Why do so many people want to act? First of all … It looks so easy.

When a small town boy or girl with stars in their eyes watches tv or movies, it is really easy to sit back and think “I can do that”. But what small town America (and all those with similar dreams around the world) are not shown is that with very few exceptions, most successful actors have been working at it for years. If not decades. Remember that the good ones make it look easy. That is part of the job.

Also, media shows only the fun and glitz and glamour.

It is easy to buy into the facade that actors spend most of their time shopping and at spas, at parties, and on red carpets, because, well… That is what is shown in the media. If someone only sees what is shown on entertainment shows, the life of an actor looks pretty darn easy. In fact, the only time any negativity is shown associated with actors is when it is so sensational that it makes headlines. A starlet shoplifts, or an angry star punches a photographer, a legend overdoses, etc…

An interesting question that actors should ask themselves is, WHY do I want to be an actor in the first place? If someone wants fame, one might suggest that there are a lot quicker ways to become famous. And if an individual wants fortune, statistics would show that acting as a profession is probably one of the very worst ways to achieve wealth. 

Yet they still come.

An interesting phenomenon that is prevalent in the acting community is the belief among certain actors that just because they moved to Hollywood and bought some headshots, took some acting classes, and got an agent, they should suddenly have a professional acting career. Just imagine if it were that simple! Just put in a few hours of training and a couple hundred dollars and then in return receive fame and fortune! What a deal! This way of thinking may seem exaggerated to some, yet on many levels, it is actually quite commonplace.

Can you even imagine someone who wants to be a surgeon thinking that they could just practice with a scalpel for a few hours, buy a lab coat, and then just go out there ans operate? Or picture someone who wants to be a professional basketball player just shooting hoops for a few hours and buying some sneakers then sit back and wait for the millions in endorsement deals to pour in? No. Of course not. This only happens with actors. 

This also can be one of the reasons that the majority of actors quit and go back home when the truth of the business starts to seep in. Like many things in Hollywood, a true career as a working actor is not what it appears. When actors get frustrated with their careers and “the biz” it is almost always because their career does not live up to their expectations. This is partially because their expectations were unrealistic to begin with.

Again… Getting a headshot, an acting class, an agent, (and any number of other steps in an acting career) does not mean one should automatically receive in return, the fame, fortune, fun, and artistic fulfillment so many desire. 

This is not to say however, that there aren’t thousands upon thousands of brilliant, hardworking, talented, proactive and positive actors out there that HAVE paid their dues and have put in the time and effort. There are so many actors who are absolutely deserving of a great career. Some have gotten rewarded for their hard work. Many have not. Well at least not in the way they desire.

To the talented hard workers out there… DO NOT QUIT. Plain and simple. You never know what is right around the corner.

Since the competition may at times seem insurmountable, it is vitally important that actors take the time to really understand the game. Make peace with the game. And then actually PLAY the game 100%! And one last thing…. When you allow it to be, The Game can be quite FUN!

Prepare to live truthfully in the moment. In THE moment that you are IN at THAT moment. This means NOT GETTING STUCK IN LINE READINGS OR WHAT YOU PREPPED IN REHEARSAL! What if you were on safari in some wild-ass jungle with the best guide money could buy? Awesome, right? You know where you’re going cuz you have your guide leading the way and all is swell. Until some snake darts down from a tree and swallows him whole right in front of you. Would you just stop and stand there? This wasn’t part of the plan, was it?? So what do you do??? My guess is that you still VERY much wanna get the fuck out of there, tour guide or not, and you keep on going, using what you know, what you recognize, what your instincts are telling you, etc. You ADAPT to whatever the world you’re standing in at the moment throws at you. Right? Why should our acting be any different? LET THAT VERY MOMENT AFFECT YOU. It will affect your acting. It will affect your audience. The audience will wanna blow you.

– scottyB

“Creative risks will always outweigh technical mistakes.” – Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef, Chopped)

Borden Quote

March 22, 2014

“Let your inner dick/bitch out of its cage and maul some people every now and then. It’s exciting to see someone get mauled.” – Borden

W-W-W-W-W-W-W-Wipeout!!!

March 22, 2014

Fail in new ways. Fail BIG. A massive wipeout gets just as many cheers from the crowd as does the winner, simply because the massive risk you are taking is just as mesmerizing to witness. Skin those knees, baby! Band-Aids and Bactine ain’t that expensive!

SHARON MOIST is a former talent agent and author of ‘101 Tips For Actors’ who now works as a leading career consultant. I read a great article she wrote with some tips on getting out of our bouts of stagnance, and they’re much easier and simpler than you might expect!

“During her career as an agent, Sharon Moist saw thousands of actors shoot themselves in the foot, on a regular basis, through the choices they made and the actions they took while pursuing their careers. And, while they weren’t doing it on purpose, it happened because they didn’t have the information and the resources they needed to make better decisions and better choices.

I recently had a conversation with a potential client who talks a really good game.

The challenge with this person is that I’ve ‘been there and done that,’ so I’m very familiar with the ‘talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk’ syndrome. Up until two years ago, I could talk just about anyone under the table with all of my big plans. Unfortunately, all I did was talk. I never took action on anything. Just ask my former trainer; he’ll tell you just how true that statement really is!

Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. Now I talk the talk AND walk the walk, and my life has changed 360 degrees because of it.

So what changed? Just one thing: I stopped talking and started walking. (i.e. I actually took the first step on something.)

Here’s an example of what I mean: When it came to exercise, I started working out at the gym for just 10 minutes at a time. (This area is definitely a challenge for me, as I’m not a big fan of exercising, but I’m getting there!) When it came to nutrition, I drank one extra glass of water a day. (Soda is my preferred beverage of choice!) When it came to getting my office organized, I set the timer for 10 minutes and worked on a pile of papers. (My assistant lives in Canada, so when it comes to keeping my office straight, it really is up to me!)

See how simple it was? The most important thing was to make each step I took small enough for me to succeed and feel like I had actually accomplished something. After that, momentum built on momentum, and the steps I took got a little bit larger each time, until I was no longer talking, but actually walking!

Now, let’s be honest: The exercise thing and the water thing are still a challenge for me, as I’d still rather sit on the couch reading a good book and drinking a can of soda, than working out, drinking a bottle of water. But, I’m working on it!

You see, I don’t think that most people who talk a good game intend to just talk. I really do believe that they want to accomplish the things they talk about. I know I did. I’ve also come to realize that the reason I wasn’t getting anywhere was two-fold: (1) I wanted to do everything perfectly and (2) If there was too much to do, I became completely overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. 

Finally, after many conversations with one of my own coaches, I realized that the perfection thing was never going to happen! And once I understood that, she helped me break things down into bite-size pieces, which gave me a place to start.

So what about you? Do you talk the talk or walk the walk? 

If you discover that you’re doing more talking than walking, I would encourage you to take an hour or two and figure out exactly what’s holding you back from actively pursuing your goals.

Could it be fear? If so, you’ve heard what f.e.a.r. stands for, haven’t you? If not, here’s the definition: False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember, it’s very easy to let fear stop us in our tracks. However, until you know something for a fact, it might actually be nothing more than ‘false evidence appearing real.’

Is doubt getting in your way? If so, what exactly is it that you’re doubting? Your talent? Then maybe it’s time to get back in class and get your confidence back. Your headshots? Then think about giving yourself the gift of new pictures. Your demo reel? If it’s not a good representation of your work today, then don’t send it out right now, as I can promise you that hundreds of actors have gotten auditions and/or representation without a demo reel!

And if, for some reason, you can’t figure it out on your own, talk to your friends or even consider hiring a coach to help you. 

Once you have the answers you need to break through your stuck spots, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve!”

– Now Casting, Actors Ink, Volume 6, #40

Here are some appetizers to nibble on before digging into the meat of the sides you are working on:
* WHAT THE FUCK’S GOING ON??? What is the STORY of the scene? What is the ARC, of both the full script AND the audition sides?
* What is the style/genre,/environment, etc?
* What is EACH SCENE about in relation to, AND independent of, each other and how do they contribute to the overall story?
* Where does each scene take place in the overall story?
Once we have a firm grasp of the above, we must then figure out the answer to the following question, one most actors have probably never stopped to think about:
* WHY did CASTING pick THESE particular scenes to audition their actors with for this project???
Once we find out what the simple story is that they’re trying to tell, we know what they NEED AND WANT TO SEE IN THE ROOM. They pick the sides they pick for a reason; my guess is that it’s a taste test of their story- these moments are key bullet points of the characters and their personalities, these moments mirror the arc of the full script, this monologue shows their proficiency at spouting off facts about snorkling, etc. The sides we are given- in some way or another- are probably some sampler platter of their story’s full menu.
Allow me to take this food reference of mine and run with it:  they’re hosting a dinner party and we’re the caterers. They need us to serve up what’s printed on the menu so they don’t look stupid to their snotty guests that pay their rent.
(Let’s eat!)
– Borden