Friday, August 30, 2013

Stumbling Over Lines in an Audition is Not the End of the World

Auditions are about whether or not you are best tomplay the character, not if you can merely recite the lines. Is it better to be off book than not to be off-book? Yes. But knowing the lines is not the essential part, not the most important. Have fun, play the role, and don't worry. You can stumble over the lines in an audition and still book.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Audience Still Wants to Watch Where and When They Want to Watch It

Let the audience watch how they want to. As I have said many times since 2006, the audience wants to watch what they want, where they want, when they want.

It's all content, it's just story.

In this speech, Kevin Spacey encapulates where we are right now with media and entertainment wonderfully:

Spacey says there will be 146 pilots made this year at the cost of $300-$400 million. Only 56 of those will actually be made into a series. "That makes our 'House of Cards' deal for two seasons really cost effective," Spacey says

(from Everyone In The Tech And TV Industries Is Passing Around This Speech By Kevin Spacey, thanks to Melinda Augustina for bringing it to my attention).

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Get Attached to Now

We actors sometimes get so consumed by what we are trying to achieve and the cuts can be so deep that it is difficult to see beyond the acute pain. We forget that there is a whole world for us that doesn’t have to do with the industry... To all those that have supported me and continue to support me, thank you. Thank you for wiping my tears, for giving me a boost and for never asking me "how long are you gonna keep at this?" You guys are my rock and you know who you are

(from When it's really bad, it's not really that bad at all).

As I've mentioned before we are living the dream and get to do amazing things, and our job (auditioning) is pretty fantastic. The bookings are the vacation, the job is auditioning. Our job, going from audition room to audition room playing make-believe, is one of the most pleasurable jobs I can imagine.

Sure bookings are the goal, and they're wonderful, but they cannot be the determiner of your happiness. Partly because if they are, you are guaranteed periods of sadness since every actor, every single actor, has times in their career when they don't have any bookings. And partly because our job is to play the roles in auditions well, and sad people tend not to do their best work in any profession. So find out how to be happy now, today.

Build a life not just a career. After all, your career is meant to be a part of your life, even if it is a significant one. So develop the skill of enjoying the work, aiming for the bookings and good stuff that comes with them, but don't stay so attached to them that if they don't materialize you are crushed. In the grand scheme of our lives, a single booking is not the be all end all. There is a sweet spot between caring so much you live and die by your professional success, and caring so little that you phone it in and never invest emotionally or never allow yourself to be vulnerable in your work. Find it. You will drift from it a bit from time to time. Feel the frustration when you do. It is only a feeling and can't hurt you permanently unless you make it something that embitters you. We are lucky, we are blessed and there is another audition or another meeting coming.

Stay in your moment, stay in right now, not some not-here-yet-future that you can't act in right now. All acting is immediate to the moment. Today you cannot act tomorrow. At some point soon I may write a post about how the world can change your plans without your permission and with no warning, but you still get to live in each moment of your life anyway. Whether I write that or not, until next time, have fun, enjoy right now and break a leg!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Kirk Douglas On Rejection

I was excited about my first acting venture. My agent sent me to the apartment of Mae West. Most young people today don't remember her. She was a diva who traveled all over the world in a stage show with six adoring males. At the appointed time, 7:00 in the evening, I went to her apartment and was ushered into the living room. I found about ten good-looking guys also waiting for the audition. Mae West sashayed down the staircase. She was, surprisingly, a small woman walking on dangerously high heels. She looked around at the applicants. I was the first one to be rejected.
I withstood many more rejections, but finally I got a part in the play The Wind is Ninety. The New York Times critic said, "Kirk Douglas was nothing short of superb." That night in bed I poked my wife in her ribs, "Nothing! Why did he say 'nothing'? Why didn't he just say, Kirk Douglas was superb?" It takes me a long time to get over rejection

(from On Rejection).

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Our Work Can Be an Ethical Playground

...there's an element in all of us that wishes we could disregard the rules and go after the thing we want without being bound by ethical constraints.

(from How Kevin Spacey Created a Schemer for the Ages in 'House of Cards').

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Acting is the Most Fun You Can Legally Have

Let's break this down. You get to walk into rooms all over town, yell, fall in love, get super sad, curse, flirt, be an absolute jerk, share your heart, etc., and then go home, drive to a 99-seat theater, dress up, put on make-up, walk out on stage in front of a bunch of people, yell, fall in love again, make those people feel a lot of things, go home, wake up the next morning, and do it all over again. And then one day, someone invites you to come to a big studio in the valley to dress up, put make-up on, yell, fall in love, etc. in front of a camera. Is it all champagne and red carpets? No. But it's just about the most fun anyone could ever have at a job

(from 5 Things To Remember Before Every Audition).

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Starting is Hard

Everything has problems starting. RT @UAB25: wish you luck on new show. Did the shield ever have problems getting started or just take off?

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) August 5, 2013

This isn't just true of starting a show, but it can apply to a role too. For each role we play, we learn how to act all over again. We just get better at doing that with each role we play.

In other twitter news, please follow me on twitter and I also have a twitter list of actors. Send me an @ reply if you'd like me to add you to it.

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Friday, August 02, 2013

Less is More

Less is More. That's one of the hottest tips I can give any young film actor. To do nothing at all can be very useful in extreme reactive situations. For example, if something terrible happens to you in the script, like you find your wife murdered, and they cut to your close-up, very often you can do a completely blank look. The audience will project their own emotions on your face. The acting is in the buildup to that moment, not in the moment itself. You don't have to do anything, and the audience will go "Blimey!" For the final shot of Greta Garbo in Queen Christina, the director told her to remain impassive and the result is an absolute tearjerker. The audience knows what Christina is feeling because the actress has lead them through Christina's emotions earlier in the film. At the end, the audience does all the work.

- Michael Caine

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

When Bad Auditions Happen

Get over it. Move on. You can't change what happened, so move forward. The repercussions will be far worse if you try to back-pedal or take that negative energy into your future work. Do not lose your confidence and sense of self. Bad days happen. Bad auditions happen. It's part of the job.
Self-sabotage is the worst form of punishment after, what you think, is a poor audition. You have worked way too hard on your career to be that cruel to yourself. Pick yourself up and nail it the next time

(from Backstage).

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Digital Device Use Now Exceeds TV Watching

American adults this year will for the first time spend more time each day using digital media than watching TV.
Adults in the U.S. are averaging five hours and nine minutes daily with digital media, up from four hours and 31 minutes last year and three hours and 50 minutes in 2011. The amount of time they spend watching TV. has essentially stayed flat in that time period. It was pegged at four hours and 31 minutes this year, down slightly from four hours and 38 minutes in 2012.

(from Ad Age). No small part of this is the increase is mobile usage. Our work will continue to be watched more and more on often smaller-screened places.

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