Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ad: Actors Can Make Casting Decisions Too

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By VP Boyle, Chair of Musical Theater & Film Conservatory, New York Film Academy

In my book, Audition Freedom: The Irreverent Wellness Guide for Theatre People - written for actors who want to know better ways to audition and live the life as an actor - I talk about the financial equation of acting and theater in general. In a short chapter titled "The Time & Money Gun is Always Loaded," I inform actors that all members of productions live with budget limitations and finite choices. Producers have financial concerns as much as the actors, and that applies as much in film as in live theater.

But, I also include a chapter ("Who Thought To Put Pineapple on Pizza?") that is about ignoring money. Certainly, money makes the world go around as much as it enables all of us to be in the creative field of our choice. No money would translate into falling back on those bookkeeping skills your parents insisted that you develop. But a key question for all working actors to address is what kind of work do they not need?

This may sound heretical to many in the craft. Work is our lifeblood. Work is something that may at times be in thin supply. So why not take every job that comes our way? Whether you never studied acting or you went to one of the best film schools in LA, these are common thoughts and emotions.

As the chapter title suggests, everyone has their tastes. I like pepperoni pizza, but other people like pineapple-ham pizza. So be it. The part that one actor craves another may reject. We need to discerning about the work we do.

What most actors find disconcerting about this is it fights an ingrained attitude that casting directors have all the choices and make all the decisions when assembling a cast. In fact, they are in control of who is selected from an audition. But the actor can choose too. You can select which parts you audition for and which ones not. Your reasons are entirely up to you: is it about the role, the money, the other cast members or the producer? It can be one, several or all of these things. This is about more than rejecting the kinds of work that may not please you. It's about zeroing in on the work that you know how to do well.

How you come upon your own criteria or standards is entirely up to you, and by its very nature the decision is personal. You need to get information, ask questions and research online as much as you can about a production and the people associated with it. For the most part, it comes from the gut, from feelings - but not everyone is naturally in touch with those. Some people are barreling through life at lightening speed without paying attention to their instincts. Instead, I suggest when mulling an opportunity to audition for a role to quiet your brain and listen to your body. Do you feel calm, centered or at peace with the prospect? You really want to know how you feel about what you're doing.

Of course, you need to discuss this with your agent. He or she needs to know what kind of money you are willing to work for and what kinds of roles you really want. If you have a working relationship that is intelligent, responsible and respectful, you and your agent will more likely find the jobs you want.

Sure, the "money gun" is always loaded and you're not always sure how things will work out. But with a focused approach - one that is selective wherever possible - you develop the audition freedom of trying out for the right parts at the right times for you. No pineapple pizza required!

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VP Boyle serves as the creator and chair of the New York Film Academy's new cutting-edge Musical Theatre & Film Conservatory Program. The two-year program merges conservatory musical theatre training with Broadway professionals and an intensive acting for film curriculum that culminates with an original movie musical. One of the most sought after Broadway audition and life coaches for professionals in New York City, VP created The Musical Theatre Forum, a professional casting workshop with every major Broadway casting agency in NYC. His book, AUDITION FREEDOM: The Irreverent Wellness Guide for Theatre People is available at, Barnes & Noble and Drama Book Shop NYC.

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this posted by David August at 12:48 PM 

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