Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

Welcome- I am so glad you're here! Bite-Size Business is a program created to help actors navigate the business in a way that is fun, empowering and educational.

Use the "Blog Topics" on the left to find hundreds of articles covering all areas of acting, or browse the archives for a title that sounds groovy. Feel free to leave a comment- and be sure to check each post to see if a comment was left.

And if you enjoy this blog...

• Subscribe (<--- look to the left!) so you can be updated when future articles are posted.
• You can also share this article by clicking on an icon below. Cheers!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Market Your Career (Tip #11): Promoting Your Website

* Bookmark and Share

Matt just left this comment on another one of my blog posts, and I thought I would answer with a new blog:
"How would you suggest politely ask people to visit your site, and do you think they are likely to actually do so?

Thanks, Matt

I am sure that every actor has grappled with this concern at least once in his/her life: How do you promote yourself without seeming too needy or pushy. First, let’s talk about where you can promote your website, and then we’ll discuss the “how.”

Places to Promote Your Website

• Social Networks
Your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, MySpace, and other places where you interact with people online

• Casting Websites
IMDB, Actors Access, Backstage, Now Casting, LACasting, NYCasting, etc.

• Your newsletters/updates
Whenever you send out announcements about your projects

• Printed Marketing Materials
Postcards, Business Cards, Resume

• Search Engines
Google, Yahoo, etc -- make sure your website is added to their databases

• Your Email Signature
That section automatically added to the bottom of each email you send

• Your Email Address
If you have a professional website, you should also have an email address associated with that website, eg: yourname@yourfullname.com



The “How” of Promoting Your Website
The key to good marketing and PR involves understanding your audience and having a steady and simple plan of action. We already discussed the places you can promote your website, so you now have a good sense of creating a steady presence. To keep your messages simple, you now need to keep the message Targeted, Understated and Succinct.


• Targeted
In marketing, we explain effective communications as: “The right message, to the right person, at the right time.” When you first launch your website, or have any major updates, consider sending an email to everyone on your list to announce what they can find on the site. By “List” I mean, anyone who has a direct interest in your acting career: close friends, family, fellow actors, industry folks. Really think about for whom your website is useful, and delete anyone from the list who might not be interested.

To make this possible, consider having an opt-in newsletter, and/or professional page on Facebook, which will allow people to “opt-in” to receive communications from you regarding your acting career. (Twitter is already an “opt-in” system, where people choose to follow you.) To create an opt-in system, you simply need to send an invitation to folks (either by email or Facebook’s invite system) and ask them if they’d like to be included. Save the email addresses of those who “opt-in” to a special list, and only that list will receive these kind of communications. You can do this through a traditional email program, or you can pay for a newsletter service like iContact to manage and send communications to your list.

If you handle your contacts in this way, you never have to worry that your message is reaching the wrong audience. The next step is to make sure you are messaging them with relevant information. If this is a mailing list for your acting career, don’t bombard them with non-acting related requests or information. This is what “targeting” is all about, and it will help guarantee that they will stop by your website when requested.


• Understated
One of the things that actors fear most when promoting themselves is looking pushy or arrogant. So when you are promoting your website, make sure your communications are understated. One of the easiest ways to do this is to think about your audience and what their needs are. What would they need to know about you that can offer some kind of support to them? If you start thinking about the needs of your list members, it will be easier to compose your communications. With regard to website promotion, here are some ideas as to why some people on your list might want to know about your website:

Friends/Family - They may want to see all of the exciting things happening in your career (some even living vicariously through you!)

Fellow Actors - Many actors refer their friends for jobs, and it is important that they have your web address in case there’s a potential job you might be right for.

Industry Folks - This goes without saying -- these folks need to know where they can find your resume, headshots and examples of your work.

Again, if you put the other person first in your communications (be via email, social network, in writing or networking in person), you will easily avoid feeling like you are showing off or pandering to others.


• Succinct
This has many meanings, but ultimately it means that you want to avoid beating people over the head with multiple messages or longwinded content. You may wonder, “How can I tell if my message is succinct?” There’s a special trick to determining what is right for you and your business -- When thinking about marketing, remember that you are a consumer too. You receive communications from businesses every day- through commercials, emails, advertising in magazines, on billboards, mailing (“junk” or otherwise,) and so on. Think about what works for you, and what doesn’t. My guess is that when you see the same message over and over, you become “delete” happy. And when someone gushes on and on about themselves, you probably want to grab yourself a barf bag. Neither of these situations bode well for developing a supportive fan base.

When you send these updates, make sure that your website is listed, front and center, so that they’ll know where to find further information. But keep your communications short and sweet. Nowadays people are contending with hundreds of emails per day, and the short time you have their attention is precious. Consider using your website to house the full information about an event or update, and use an email, postcard, or status update to encourage people to visit your website for more information.

Just as important, don’t send the same message over and over. Sure, you want people to view your website and all of the wonderful things it has to offer. But if you send that communication over and over with the same information, you’re going to irritate your audience. Think about those times when you see the same commercial several times during a TV show. It becomes annoying and usually pushes the audience away from the product/company rather than toward it.


I hope this has been a helpful answer to your question, Matt. And for those of you who want to discuss this topic further, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Books on the Business and Craft of Acting

* Bookmark and Share

I have a lot of actors asking me about which books I read when researching the business, as well as the craft of acting. So, I thought I would give a brief run down of the books that I currently have on my bookshelf (or have come highly recommended), along with links to buy those books if you find them interesting. This list is, by no means, complete -- and I reserve the right to add to it as the days, weeks and months go on. But I think it is a great place to start.

I also want to say that I am not a book reviewer and don’t intend to give “yays” or “nays” to anything that list. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the books are useful to you or not. The books have either been listed because a) the book came recommended, or b) I found the book at a time when I was searching for that specific topic, and I found it helpful. So, hopefully these books will give you the same support and inspiration that I was searching for. I have listed them in no particular order.

(Note: as I pulled the links for all of these books, I noticed that Amazon has a bunch of them on sale. Add them to your Wishlist!)


Business of Acting

Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business
by Bonnie Gillespie

The Actor Takes a Meeting
by Stephen Book

How to Be a Working Actor
By Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers

Acting as a Business
by Brian O’Neil

Acting: Working in the Theater
stories from dozens of well known actors, including Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane, Dana Ivey, Vanessa Redgrave, Cherry Jones, etc.

Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Top
stories from Broadway actors, edited by David Wienir, Jodie Langel

How to Act & Eat at the Same Time
by Tom Logan

Hitting Your Mark: Making a Life - and a Living - As a Film Actor
by Steve Carlson

An Agent Tells All
by Tony Martinez

Contracts for the Film & Television​ Industry
by Mark Litwak

The Backstage Actors Handbook
by Backstage, edited by Sherry Eaker

The Color of Style: A Fashion Expert Helps You Find Colors...
by David Zyla

Reinventing Your Style: 7 Strategies for Looking Powerful, Dynamic and Inspiring
by Jennifer Butler



The Casting Process/Auditioning

A Star is Found: Our Adventures in Casting Some of Hollywood’s Biggest Movies
by Janet Hirshenson & Jane Jenkins

The Art of Auditioning: Techniques For Television
by Rob Decina

Audition
by Michael Shurtleff

Casting Director’s Secrets
Ginger Howard Friedman

Auditioning: An Actor-Friendly Guide
by Joanna Merlin

The Perfect Audition Monologue
by Glenn Alterman

Winning Auditions: 101 Strategies for Actors
by Mark Brandon

The Actor’s Audition
by David Black



Voiceover / Speech / Dialects / Singing

Freeing the Natural Voice
by Kristin Linklater

Speak with Distinction: Textbook & CD
by Edith Skinner

Accents & Dialects for Stage & Screen
by Paul Meier

On Singing OnStage
by David Craig

You Can Bank on Your Voice: Your Guide to a Successful Career in Voiceovers
by Rodney Saulsberry



The Craft of Acting

Strasberg at the Actors Studio
Tape Recorded Sessions, edited by Robert H. Hethmon

Respect for Acting
by Uta Hagen

True & False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
by David Mamet

How to Stop Acting
by Harold Guskin

The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor
by Larry Moss

The Fervent Years: The Group Theatre and the Thirties
by Harold Clurman

How to Get the Part... Without Falling Apart
by Margie Haber

Being an Actor
by Simon Callow

Zen and the Art of the Monologue
Jay Sankey

An Actor Behaves
by Tom Markus

Training of the American Actor
by TCG, edited by Arthur Bartow

Acting Teachers of America: A Vital Tradition
by Ronald Rand and Luigi Scorcia

Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation
by Charna Halpern, Del Close & edited by Kim “Howard” Johnson

Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making
by Michael Caine



General Business / Networking / Marketing Books

The Artist’s Way
by Julia Cameron

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
by Steven Pressfield

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
by Harvey Mackay

Never Eat Alone, and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
by Keith Ferrazzi

Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen

Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution
by Justin Kirby

Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End
by Rosabeth Moss Kanter


If you have a book you’d like to recommend, please send me an email. I’d like to read the book, and then add it to the list at a later date. I would prefer not to have people promote their books in my comments section - I don’t want this blog be too sales-y. Thanks!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recommendations: Thanks to My Team



One of the fun things about working with actors is being able to promote some of my favorite people/services to them, thereby helping those who have helped me over the course of my career. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would give a warm thank you and special shot out to my team who has made my coaching & acting career possible.


My Acting Teacher: Alan Gordon, of the Alan Gordon Acting Studio
I met Alan at a workshop for actors, where we both brought on as panelists to give actors a little bit of advice for their careers. After we both heard each other speak, we realized that our philosophies were very much aligned, and we started an easy friendship. We then began to refer students back and forth to one another, and finally began working together in the classroom. Alan is nurturing but tough, and challenges me every week using the techniques of Sanford Meisner. Not only is he a great teacher, but he is also a great friend.

Honorable Mention: Larry Singer Studios, and Art & Soul Acting - both studios who I’ve highly recommended to students.


My Voice Teacher/Vocal Coach: Carolann Sanita
I met Carolann originally through her husband, an actor with whom I did a show. One of the first things that I noticed when coaching with Carolann is how positive the sessions were. Working on the voice can be a stressful and arduous process, but every time I leave lessons with Carolann I feel empowered and accepted, and that my voice has a place in the industry. Not only that, but I have deepened the power of my voice, raised my confidence, and she introduced me to Craig Carnelia, with whom I’ve studied Acting for Musical Theater since June 2009.

Honorable Mention: Michelle Hakala, Bill Zeffiro, Anita Vasan, Joan Barber - All of whom I have sung with and I highly recommend.


My Dance Teacher: Christine Cox
Christine started out as a coaching student, but very quickly I joined her as a student in her classes as well. Christine is very passionate about training actors & singers ways to express themselves on the dance floor, and is an excellent private teacher for actors who are preparing for a big audition. She’s youthful, quirky and fun, and very supportive.

Honorable Mention: Jessica Leigh Brown - Jessica is a friend and marvelous teacher as well, with several Broadway credits under her belt.


My Accompanist/Transcriber: Cory Hibbs
I have known Cory for years and years, since we did a show together in San Diego. In the show, not only did he act, but he was our show’s on stage accompanist and the arranger for all of our songs. This guy really knows what he is doing. In your session, he can easy play your music, and can arrange transpositions and do transcriptions, so virtually anything is possible. Oh, and he has a PHD in Music Composition.

Honorable Mention: Bill Zeffiro, Tony Colombo, Jeff Caldwell - I have sung with all three of these gentleman, and I just adore them.


My Dialect Coach: Pamela Vanderway of Dialect 411
Pamela and I first met via Twitter. That’s right, Twitter. We shared advice back and forth and helped promote each other online, so it became natural for us to start working together to support each other’s businesses offline. I highly, highly recommend her blog, Dialect 411. As for coaching, she normally works as a consultant on major feature films & TV shows, but she takes on private clients on a case-by-case basis. At the very least, she’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Honorable Mention: Gerritt VenderMeer - an amazing talented actor, and gifted voice/speech technician.


My Photographer: Matthew Sussman Photography
There was something very special about my time shooting with Matthew. Perhaps it is because he started his career as an actor before transitioning into teaching & photography, but there is a very relaxed way he approaches the headshot session which brings out the very best in actors. Almost without exception, the students I have sent to Matthew have been blown away by the shots he’s taken, which is why I will continue to promote him.

Honorable Mentions: Straley Photos, Peter Dressel - I have shot with both of these photographers and have loved their work.


My Graphic Designer: That would be ME!
At the risk of patting myself on the back too much, I think I have done a heck of a job designing my materials, as well as the materials of dozens of other actors across the country. To see samples of my designs for websites, business cards & postcards, visit my site by clicking above.


My Life Coach/Mentor: Rhonda Musak of Art & Soul Coaching
I met Rhonda at a fundraiser event, where she and I had donated our services for the evening to any of the guests who wanted a little bit of coaching. Who knew that 3 years later we would be working together supporting each other’s careers? Rhonda’s life coaching is much different than therapy - instead of focusing on therapeutic methods to solving problems, her life coaching uses brainstorming and visualizations to help reach peace, set and achieve goals, and find happiness. It has been wonderful having her as a part of my life.


My Massage Therapist: Bryant Lanier
Bryant is a dear, dear friend of mine and an amazing massage therapist. He does classic Swedish massage and also deep tissue, and he throws in a little Alexander Technique and Reiki. He is actor friendly, and is willing to work out a rate if you are short of his hourly rate (but don’t push it, he’s an artist just like we are!)


My Hair Stylist: Linda, with Hair Shapers
When I moved to NYC, I was a bit fussy about my locks. After all, I had gone from a really dark brunette to a light blonde, and I needed to make sure my hair looked natural and would easily be maintained. So, my first month in NYC, I traveled from my apartment in Astoria to Manhattan, where I assumed good hair styling would be. Of course, you can get amazing service in Manhattan (they even serve wine!) but at a price point of $500 and up, and a snootiness I couldn't stomach, I returned to Astoria, dejected. Then my roommate told me about Hairshapers, which was one block away from my apartment, and I gave them a shot. I have been a faithful client of Linda's for 5 years now, even after I moved to Manhattan in 2006. I have sent dozens of people to her, and everyone has been thrilled with her great work, friendly service, and low prices. Please mention my name if you stop by.


Some other folks you may want to add to your team:


Production Services: Michael Roderick, Small Pond Entertainment
Michael is an amazing resource for anyone who is interesting in producing a show. Not only can you hire him to take on one or more production aspects of your project, but he can also teach you the tools to handle these things on your own.


Demo Reel Editing: Reel Spiel Productions
Allison and Chris, with Reel Spiel, are absolutely wonderful to work with, and they turn out reels that my students love. They also have a successful production company, producing shorts, web series, and feature length films.


Small Business Legal Services: Nance Schick
Nance specializes in employment law, and typically works with employers to help them draft policies and practices that keep things legitimate and working smoothly. But she has a soft spot in her heart for artists, and having worked as a sports agent she has lots of great advice for actors who need support in legally pursuing their business as either an employee, or independent contractor. She is especially useful for actors who own side businesses, and for those who are producers as well.


Contract / Legal Services: Michael Bond
In January 2010, Michael will be starting his law practice, specializing in Entertainment Law / Contracts (as well as LGBT issues.) If you ever need a contract review, Michael is a wonderful person to contact.


Financial Education: Abundance Bound
I have known Miata and Adam for several years now, and really admire and respect the work they do for actors. They take the phrase “starving artist” and turn it inside out, helping actors take control of their finances and plan for their futures.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Twitter Questions: Contracts, Credits and Representation

* Bookmark and Share

From time to time, my followers on Twitter will ask me questions, and I respond to them using the traditional 140 character responses. I thought I would take some of those and compile them here for your viewing enjoyment! (To get in on the action, join me over on Twitter by clicking here.)


@KevinScottT asks:
What should I put on my resume for a role that was credited, but no lines?


Was it a principal role, or an extra role that they were kind enough to credit? The smallest principal roles in film are credited as “featured” (1 of 2)
Some casting directors have recommended writing “featured/principal” since so many BG actors list “featured” on their resume for BG roles (2 of 2)


@blankethouse asks:
Hi. What does it mean when a job has the pay rate as Scale non-sag? I'm guessing, it depends on the role ur playing. :)


That's odd- there's no such thing as non-sag scale. Could mean that they pay similar wages as sag scale but aren't on a union contract (1 of 2)
Or that they are on a union contract but they don’t have to hire all union actors (this can happen on lower budget indie contracts) (2 of 2)


@blankethouse asks:
I have a talent agency that wants to sign me, but they want to first take their acting classes to brush up. Is that normal?


No! Run away screaming! That's not normal at all. Agents should not be linked to a school, and should never require a specific class to be considered for representation.


Anonymous asks:
I’m submitting for a feature w/ credible names attached. The role requires her to flash her breast. whats your opinion on any nudity?


Nudity in itself won't jeopardize your career. Lots of folks do nudity. Question is: is it representative of the roles you want to play? (1 of 2)
Make sure the script is aligned with your preferred type of material & make sure there is a nudity rider in the contract stipulating use. (2 of 2)


Anonymous asks (via Formspring.me):
Can actors who are apart of the guild participate in web series


Yes! Many web series are covered by union contracts. You just need to make sure that the producer has spoken with the union to make sure that the right contract is being used. There is a lot of wiggle room in the mew media contracts because not a lot of precedent has been set, so this is a very good time to be a part of an AFTRA or SAG web series.


Anonymous asks (via Formspring.me):
what are the laws regarding non union actors appearing in corporate videos that get put up on the web?


The only laws that would govern non-union actors in this area would be traditional labor laws, and the terms of the contract an actor signs. Remember that all contracts can be amended or riders can be added, so always look over the contract and negotiate any sticking points before you sign.


Have a question? Join me on Twitter or Formspring, or shoot me an email. I am always happy to help!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Market Your Acting Career (Tip #10): Typecasting

* Bookmark and Share

(photo from Carolyn Sewell’s
 “Postcards To My Parents”)
This article was picked up by Backstage Magazine as a part of their Backstage Experts column!

I was on the subway a couple of days ago when two kids entered the train. They seemed to be around 15 or 16 years old and wore clothes typical of the age - lots of torn edges and pants that were both too tight (the girl) and too baggy (the guy), along with a few minor piercings and tattoos. Despite their “devil may care” appearance so typical for teenagers, they were good looking kids- the girl had long brown hair that was straightened perfectly; the boy had an athlete’s build. It was mid-afternoon and they were carrying backpacks, so it was obvious that they were coming from school.

They talked loud enough so I could hear their conversation without effort, with thick New York accents. As I do with most noisy school kids, I immediately tried to tune them out so I could concentrate on my reading. After all, there is only so much information I need about Justin Bieber, cat fights, and the lack of good snacks at school. Despite my attempts to tune them out, something they were saying caught my attention; not only the words... but the topic. They were talking about their pre-calculus class, and how they knew they were going to breeze through with As. They talked about their teacher, and how excited they were to be in the advanced class at such a young age (apparently they tested into the class earlier than most students.) The girl told the boy that the reason they got the great teacher was because of their school’s high national ranking, and responded excitedly about the academic excellence of their school versus the other schools in the district. They further discussed their classmates, and the boy expressed his disappointment that his friends were slacking off and weren’t living up to their full potential in the classroom.

Say, wha????

As I exited the train on the Upper East Side and watched them continue to the Bronx, I marveled at how profound my profiling was. Based on how these students looked, I made an immediate assessment about who they were, what their interests were, and how much I could (or could not) relate to them. So color-me-shocked when instead of violence they talked about calculus. Instead of swearing profanity, they professed pride in their school. As a human being, it shook me out of my comfort zone and humbled me into seeing people for more than what stereotypes would allow. But as an actor (and a coach) it causes me to look more deeply at these assessments for what they are worth.

Human beings look at the world and, in a nano-second, compare what they see to what they know. Commonly known as “generalizing,” we are hardwired to categorize the people we meet and compare them to our past experience so that we may easily understand them. Stereotyping take this one step further, and promotes these generalizations as truth. We start to make instant assessments of people until they prove the opposite, rather that keeping an open mind to all of the possibilities. And, we do this in a split second, as if via instinct. So, how does this affect our work as actors?

Since acting involves the art of conveying the human experience, and humans experience the world as generalizations, it stands to reason that acting would involve generalizations as well. Actors have come to know this as type-casting, and most actors shudder and cringe at the mere mention of the phrase. But type-casting is responsible for most of the work you and I are blessed to do. The trick is, knowing yourself well enough to know what “type” you default to, making choices about what kind of work we want to do, then making sure these two things are synchronized perfectly. Actors who hate type-casting are the ones who lack control over it. If you control your type (or in marketing terms, your “brand”) you can take advantage of our human tendencies and use them to your advantage in the audition room.

Here are a few tips to creating your own type/brand:

• Start by thinking about what kind of medium(s) you want to work in: film, TV, theater, musical theater, commercials, industrials, etc... What are the similarities between the actors in this medium? What are the differences? Where do you fit in?

• What kind of genre(s) are you interested in: comedy, drama, horror, thriller, romance, etc... Again, look at the main players and then see how you compare. Is there anything lacking that you think would be useful?

• Who are some of the people who have the career you could easily step into? What do they have going for them that you could add to your arsenal? How are you different and, thus, will be able to stand out?


Ignoring typecasting is not going to make your career any easier - the more you can take control over your career and present yourself in a clear, unique, and easy to understand fashion, the easier it will be for you to do the kind of work that inspires you.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Musical Theater Actors Breaking into On-Camera Work

* Bookmark and Share

I recently received an email from Meredith, a musical theater actor who wanted to know how to break into film & television. Here in New York City, this is a very common question, especially as the economy starts to rebound and production tax credits get handed out, which lure more and more production to NYC.

She says:

Hi Erin, I love your blog, very helpful. I know you must get thousands of these questions but I was wondering what your advice is about starting a career in TV and Film. I have a degree in Musical Theater but I want to crossover into TV and film. I have been thinking about registering with Central Casting. Are there auditions I can get other than background acting? I know to get an agent you need to have at least a few credits to your name. I just wanted to get your input. Thanks very much! Sincerely, Meredith

Hi, Meredith! I’m very glad to answer this- thank you for writing. First off, having an on-camera career is not as different as one might think from musical theater (I’m sorry, what?) It’s true. I was working on a singer’s showcase, and the director and I were talking about my deep love for both musicals and film/TV (which I pursue equally and passionately.) Let’s face it, they seem to have opposing viewpoints- musicals are larger than life, and film/TV focuses on the inner life of the character. Further, one of the biggest differences between on-camera and theater is where the audience’s attention is focused. On film/tv, by editing the footage a very specific way the director tells the audience where they need to look. In theater, it is up to the audience member to create their experience using their own lens, looking at whatever part of the stage (and whatever actor) they choose. However, in musical theater, this focus is sharpened when an actor begins to sing a solo. When the music plays, and the spotlight lands on the principal singer, you get a similar effect as a director slowly zooming in on its lead actor - everyone’s attention is on that singer, and the singer has a rare moment to let their inner life show. It’s very similar to having a camera on you on set/

When I coach actors on transitioning from theater to film, I often hear actors’ concern about being “too big for the camera.” Being too big is a huge problem in any acting arena, regardless of whether you’re acting on stage or on set. One way to combat over-acting is to understand where your audience is. In a theater, this is easy - you can see your audience. And a theater actor naturally knows how to modify their performance to reach the back of a 300 seat house versus a 3000 seat house. But when working on set (or in an audition) with a camera, it is hard to tell where your audience is. To make sure that you aren’t overdoing it, ask the casting director (or director, if you’re on a shoot) what the framing of the shot is. Is it a close up? If so, you imagine that your audience is right in front of your face, and you modify your performance accordingly. Is it a two-shot, featuring both you and your scene partner sitting at a table? Most likely, your audience will be as close as a nearby table, so your performance will be a little bigger than the close-up but still smaller than a wide angle or a “master shot” which takes in the entire scene. To reiterate, theater actors already know how to do this, you simply need to apply what you know to this new medium. If you remember that your audience is the person sitting at home or in the theater, and you ask the director what the framing is, you’ll have a good idea how to adjust your performance.

On to your second question about finding auditions - I am assuming, since you mentioned Central Casting, that you live in NYC (or perhaps LA?) Regardless, one of the best ways to get started in on-camera work is to submit for student films. There are nearly a dozen film programs in NYC, all of whom need actors to contribute to their projects. The most highly regarded programs are from the 4 years schools (like NYU, Columbia, Hofstra) but you can also look into the other programs (School of Visual Arts/SVA, NY Film Academy/NYFA, School of Film & Television/SFT, etc.)

You can find audition notices for these kinds of projects in the traditional casting arenas. You can check out one of my other posts on Reputable Casting Sites for Auditions to find out the best places to find film/TV auditions.

I hope this is useful - please let me know if you have any other questions! You can shoot me an email or leave a comment on this blog.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Forgetting Your Lines: Deal-breaker?

* Bookmark and Share

Picture this: You finally get cast in the role of your dreams, and you’ll be working with a fantastic group of people to bring the play to the masses. You rehearse for weeks (some, even months) and can't wait to get the show on its feet. You know your lines, you have your motivations, and your present to your scene partners, making it possible to create the "illusion of the first time" every time you do the show. And then, it happens... you "dry" on stage (more commonly known as "going blank" or "forgetting your lines.") What is an actor to do?

I just received a question on this topic from a reader named Christopher:

"I have just finished a successful run in a play in which I played the lead male part in 'Arsenic and Old Lace.' The only blot in the show (at least as far as I was aware) was me dropping a line and corpsing for a few moments on the last night. I was mystified and am extremely angry with myself as I knew the lines very well having worked my socks off in preparing for and performing the role. I know anything unpredicted (almost) can happen in live theatre. Is there any advice, however, or comment you can give to encourage actors who will face similar situations?"

Hi, Christopher- thanks for your question! I am sure there are tons of actors in the same predicament, and I am so thrilled to be able to address this on the blog. The best encouragement I can offer is two-fold:

1) Give yourself a break. It happens to everyone, even the best of actors, and it's part of what makes live theater exciting.
2) Audiences rarely notice that an actor misses a line. They may notice something shifted in the performance, but they rarely know what causes it. And in those rare moments where they do notice it, it reminds the audience that they are seeing live theater, which is exciting!

Losing your lines can happen for many reasons, most notably: a) being too tense and not being present in the scene; or b) being too relaxed and not focused on the action of the scene. Make sure that you are really listening to your scene partner and working off them- this should help in those moments when you think you might go blank.

Since it is inevitable that, at some, point, every actor goes blank on stage, the best way to handle it in the moment is to try to move forward with a sense of humor. Try going onto YouTube and looking for clips of live performances where actors forget their lines- often times they say something funny, the audience starts to laugh, and once everyone relaxes they are able to move into the next moment. Even in a drama, where laughing is less desirable, keeping your humor about you will help you to get through the moment with more ease -- which is better for everyone involved.

Lastly, shake it off when the show is over. Like I said, the audience will rarely notice what the problem is. And luckily, you'll have another day to try again, another thing of beauty in live theater.

I hope this helps- please let me know if you need anything else!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Twitter Questions: Monologues & Auditions

* Bookmark and Share

From time to time, my followers on Twitter will ask me questions, and I respond to them using the traditional 140 character responses. I thought I would take some of those and compile them here for your viewing enjoyment! (To get in on the action, join me over on Twitter by clicking here.)

@willis_trips asks: Need a good 1 minute #monologue recommendation that fits my type. MUST BE from #film or #tv. Any suggestions?

(1) You want to choose something unrecognizable, so that folks don't try to compare you to the original actor
(2) I'd do some research on up-and-coming actors who are your type, find out what movies they've done, and find those scripts
(3) Try to find indies or straight to video projects that no one has seen. For TV, research shows that hire actors of your type.


@blankethouse asks: So I have an audition tomorrow. They asked me to do a 2-3 min monologue, so I wrote one. What tips do u have for me? :)

Bring as much of yourself to the room as possible, do your best to start your piece already emotionally full, and let your joy of performing shine through!


Anonymous asks: I am going on for one of the these “Twitter Generals” with an agent in LA. What questions should I ask?

(1) Good questions would be about your marketing package- does your headshot/resume match the person that walks in the room.
(2) If you do an audition piece, does the piece you selected match the person who walked in the room as well as the marketing materials
(3) Also, you can ask his opinion about your marketing plan to see if he has suggestions for attracting better work, and...
(4) Ask questions about how he helps actors at your level of career.


Anonymous asks (via Formspring.me): Hi There, I have a blinking problem! Whenever I recently took an acting course and saw my dvd after and couldn't believe how much I blinked, according to my friends, I don't do it often in real life except when I'm nervous, or tired. Have you ever heard of this?

Yes- I have heard of this problem, and it usually comes from a lack of focus... in real life and on stage. When, as an actor, you are focused on the action of the scene, nervous ticks like blinking and trembling usually disappear. This is normally handled by staying in an ongoing acting class where you can practice these skills, but also by getting up in front of people as much as possible to become more comfortable.


Have a question? Join me on Twitter or Formspring, or shoot me an email. I am always happy to help!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gifts for Casting Directors- Yay or Nay?

* Bookmark and Share

From time to time I received emails from actors who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or through the various websites where I am a guest blogger. This week I received a message from Justin, who had a specific question about the protocol for thanking casting directors after an audition. In an age where it is becoming increasingly difficult to make yourself stand ou from the pack, what is appropriate?

Here’s what he wrote:
Hi Erin!

I follow you on twitter and I wanted to ask you a quick question. I love all your tweets and advice and totally plan on setting up a meeting with you once I get in a better place financially. I recently crashed an audition for the 1st national tour of a well known musical, for a role I’m totally right for. The casting director had no problem seeing me for it but I didn't end up booking it. I wanted to send him a thank you card and I have heard of people putting gift cards (usually Starbucks) in them. Do you think that’s a good idea or does it seem creepy/desperate actor type? Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks!
Justin

Hi, Justin! Thank you so much for your email- you posed a really good question, one that I think a lot of actors would like the answer to.

There are only one occasion where I would suggest sending a gift, and that would be AFTER you booked a role. Actually being cast is a good reason to send a little token of appreciation, because their faith in you has resulted in a good credit (along with a pay check!) But I would avoid sending gifts to casting directors for any other reason. Some will interpret that as a bribe, and it won't always work out in your favor.

The same goes for agents - you may consider sending a gift to them AFTER they have negotiated a deal for you, or at the end of the year as a holiday gift -- but only if you are signed/freelancing with them. Try to avoid giving gifts if you do not already have a strong working relationship.

That all being said, thank-you cards are always appreciated, so I highly encourage you do send one. Be sure to include your photo somehow - I usually insert my photo business card into the thank-you card, that way they can connect a face with a name.

I hope this helps- I would love to work with you, so let me know if you need any other support!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Testimonial for Design Services - Yay!

* Bookmark and Share

As many of you know, I have been doing graphic/web design for actors for many years now, but recently I have been collecting feedback from my clients about how their materials have been incorporated into their overall marketing plan. I have been humbled and warmed by the responses I have received, including this incredible testimonial from one of my clients, and I wanted to share it with you all:

Erin offers a unique mix of business sense and real-world acting experience that makes her unbeatable when it comes to career advice. She is extremely professional and fun to work with, and really knows how to craft a “brand” out of a working actor’s career.  She created a stunning set of business cards and a polished, professional website for me, helping me to better promote myself with coordinated marketing materials that always earn compliments from my colleagues. Living in another city, I was amazed at Erin’s ability to gauge my personality and preferences from afar. She made recommendations that were spot-on, helping me to better hone my “type” and then translating that image into a focused set of products.  Most importantly, she empowers actors to take charge of their own careers – no matter where they’re starting from, or where they’re headed. Working with Erin is a sound investment for any actor at any stage of their career.

Mark Linehan- Boston, Mass
(click here to see Mark's website)


So, what are you waiting for? Check out my design services, or shoot me an email to find out how coordinating your marketing materials can make a big difference for your career. (And the best news is... it’s less expensive than you think!)

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Being Open to Help

I meet many, many people through my journeys as an actor and a coach, and a lot of those conversations revolve around business, marketing and motivation (I guess I'm a magnet for that kind of talk!) I have seen people at all levels of success and achievement, and everyone's story varies - where they grew up, how much support they had from their families, whether or not they went to theater school, what city they chose to ply their wares, etc, etc... Along with all of these differences, there's one element that was evident in nearly every successful person I've met:

The willingness to ask for help.

When I was growing up, my parents didn't have money to spend on dance classes or drama camp- the training I received was through the public school arts programs. After choir concerts or school plays, people often asked me where I had gotten my training, and they seemed shocked and enthralled when my parents said, "Nowhere- this is just her natural talent." I began feeling like my natural talent made me something special, in a way that training since the age of 5 could not. "After all," I thought to myself, "ANYONE can train, but not everyone can have natural talent."

But once I got to college, things got turned around a bit. All of the sudden, I was surrounded by people who had the same talent as me, and even (gasp!) MORE. Raw talent was no longer something that was unique- it was a given. People were now giving reverence to those who had solid training and industry references. So I, like every other good little college student, trained and studied and worked and walked away from school with a degree AND raw talent. And armed with my shiny diploma, I stopped asking for help. After all, I Had Made It.

Why do we stop asking for help once our formal training is done? Is there a rule that says we must figure everything else out by ourselves?

If you ask a successful businessman how they achieved their success, most will have gone to business school, yes. But most will also share a story of a mentor who guided them through their journey. Sure, they also read books and taught themselves through observation and practice. But the foundation of their careers was based on the support they received from the people around them. They asked for help.

They recognized that other people had paved the road with their mistakes and their discoveries. They understood that you can never truly achieve greatness without the help of others. They asked smart questions, eagerly gathered copious amounts of information, and were not afraid of appearing dumb.

I am here to challenge you to ask for help. No one said that you had to figure out this business all on your own. There are no medals to be awarded for, say, figuring out the perfect cover letter or building the best contact database from the ground up. So why martyr yourself that way? Someone out there has charted the course and if you authentically seek support, most people will give openly. That's not to say that you should leech off of people and steal their ideas without putting in the work. Instead, create a network of people you can trust and solicit advice from those above you whose position you are striving to match. Ask to take people out to lunch so you can "pick their brain" and think of ways that you can help them in return. Above all, make yourself available to those who are just starting out - mentoring others will give your career a little more shape and purpose.

As human beings, we are never done learning - and it is the same in our work as actors. You owe it to yourself to compete fully in this wonderful industry- so get out there and get the help you deserve!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Friday, August 27, 2010

You like me! You really like me!

* Bookmark and Share

Wanted to pass on this amazing message I just received in my inbox:
“Hello Erin- 

I wanted to send a personal note to say hello and to thank you for your post 'Market Your Career', it really resonated with me and the tips about prioritizing, scheduling and research are so great, I kind of can't wait to sit down and work it all out for myself. Figuring out this crazy acting world can be so hard sometimes! I'm slowly working my way through some more of your posts, and seriously what you’re posting about is exactly the info that needs to be out there. So keep it coming! 

Thank You!

Lilly”

I am so glad you are finding value in the posts I am writing - let me know if you have any specific questions you want answered!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New York Production Listings - 2010

* Bookmark and Share

It’s that time again! Here is a list of TV shows in production in New York City this fall, or shows that have completed production but were shot or cast out of NYC. Information on casting is also included. If you have additions or updates, please add them to the comments section of this blog post.

TV IN PRODUCTION / AIRING THIS FALL -- NEW YORK CITY (and surrounding areas)


30 Rock: single camera sitcom for NBC. Liz Lemon, head writer of the sketch comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan", must deal with an arrogant new boss and a crazy new star, all while trying to run a successful TV show without losing her mind. Principals: Jennifer McNamara, NBC Primetime Casting, 30 Rockefeller Plaza Suite 1623E, New York, NY 10112. Background: Barbara McNamara Casting, 249 West 34th St, Suite 500, NYC 10001.

Are We There Yet?: Production wrapped, no present casting. Sitcom from TBS, shot in Connecticut. Stars Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris) and Essence Atkins (Half and Half) as Nick and Suzanne, a newly married couple whose blended family faces the challenges of everyday life. Principals: Todd Thaler Casting, c/o Actors Alliance, 330 West 38th Street, Suite #507, NYC 10018. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Army Wives: (South Carolina) Four women and one man share the common bond of loving someone enlisted in the U.S. Army. Principals: James Calleri Casting, 70A Greenwich Ave #162, New York, NY 10011. Background: cast out of South Carolina.

The Big C: a comedy for Showtime in which a suburban housewife's cancer diagnosis leads her to try to change her life for the better. Shooting through August. With Laura Linney and Oliver Platt. Principals: Julie Tucker and Ross Meyerson, Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, NYC 10012. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Big Lake: Production wrapped, no present casting. Multi-Camera Sitcom for Comedy Central, From Writer-Producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay And Chris Henchy. Starring Jon Heder. Principals: Jennifer Euston Casting, c/o Post Factory, 233 Spring Street, 4th Floor, NYC 10013. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Blue Bloods: an hourlong crime series for CBS. Shooting begins July 26. With Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, and Len Cariou. Principals: Bowling/Miscia Casting, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, NYC 10014. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Boardwalk Empire: Production wrapped, no present casting. Period drama about the rise of Atlantic City and the related buildup of organized crime. Produced by Martin Scorsese and Tim Van Patten. Steve Buscemi stars. Casting: Boardwalk Casting, 330 W. 38th St., Ste. 710, New York, NY 10018. Premieres Sept. 2010.

Body of Proof: hourlong drama for ABC. Medical examiner Megan Hunt's unique approach to solving crimes puts her at odds with her superiors. Shot in Rhode Island. Principals: Rosalie Joseph, ABC Primetime Casting, 157 Columbus Ave, 2nd Flr. NYC 10023.

Bored to Death: Production wrapped, no present casting. For HBO. Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), a struggling Brooklyn writer with a drinking problem, tries to cope with his recent breakup with his girlfriend by reinventing his life as a private detective and offering his services through an online ad. Principals: Goulder/Keller Casting, HBO, 1100 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor NYC, 10036. Background: Comer & Gallucio Casting, 336 West 37th Street, Suite 315 NYC, 10018.

Castle (Drama, ABC) Castle is a 1 hour witty drama based on a famous crime and horror novelist [Nathan Fillion] who helps the NYPD homicide detective [Stana Katic] solve crimes. Casting (based in LA): Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Production wrapped, no present casting. A half-hour comedy for HBO. Shooting five episodes in the NYC area beginning the end of July. With Larry David, Cheryl Hines, and Jeff Garlin. Principals: Cindy Tolan Casting, 609 Greenwich Street, 6th Floor, NYC, 10014. Background: Grant Wilfley Casting, 123 W. 18th St., 8th floor, NYC 10011.

Delocated: a half-hour live-action mock reality show for Adult Swim. Shooting continues to Aug. 6. With Jon Glaser, Nadia Dajani, Jacob Kogan, and Eugene Mirman. Principals: Bowling/Miscia Casting, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, NYC 10014. Background: Sylvia Fay/Lee Genick & Associates Casting, 71 Park Ave., NYC 10016. AFTRA project.

Failure to Fly: On Starz. A group of people contemplate taking their own lives. Written by Eric Schaeffer and Jill Franklyn. Casting: Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee, Barden/Schnee Casting, 150 W. 28th St., Ste. 402, New York, NY 10001. Premiered April 23.

The Good Wife: an hourlong drama for CBS about the wife of a politician who returns to her law practice after her husband goes to jail. Shooting continues to spring 2011. Principals: Mark Saks Casting, 1201 W. 5th St. Suite M160, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Background: Comer & Gallucio Casting, 336 W. 37th St., Ste. 315, NYC 10018 or candgcasting@gmail.com. AFTRA project.

Gossip Girl: an hourlong drama for the CW about young socialites, based on the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar. Shooting for the new season began July 7 and continues through mid-March 2011. Principals: Bowling/Miscia Casting, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, NYC 10014. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

In Treatment: a half-hour drama for HBO about a psychotherapist. Continues to Sept. 3. With Gabriel Byrne and Dane DeHaan. Principals: Julie Tucker Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, NYC 10012. Background: Sylvia Fay/Lee Genick & Associates Casting, 71 Park Ave., NYC 10016.

Law & OrderSpecial Victims Unit: an hourlong NBC drama. Shooting continues through April 2011. Principals: Jonathan Strauss, Lynn Kressel Casting, Pier 62, Room 304, West 23rd Street and Hudson River, NYC 10011. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Law & OrderCriminal Intent: an hour long drama and the third "Law and Order" series, involves the criminal justice system from the criminal's point of view. Lynn Kressel Casting, Pier 62, Rm. 304, West 23rd Street and Hudson River, New York, NY 10011

Lights Out: an hourlong drama for FX about a retired boxer. Shooting continues to July. With Holt McCallany, Catherine McCormack, Stacy Keach, and Pablo Schreiber. Principals: Alexa Fogel Casting, c/o Beech Hill Films, 330 W. 38th St., Ste. 1405, New York, NY 10018. Background: Grant Wilfley Casting, 123 W. 18th St., 8th floor, NYC 10011.

Nurse Jackie (Drama, Showtime) A nurse struggles to find a balance between the demands of her frenetic job at a New York City hospital and an array of personal dramas. Starring Edie Falco. Tucker/Meyerson Casting (Ross Meyerson), 568 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10012

Rescue Me: Tommy Gavin deals with the fears of his job as a firefighter and seeing his ex-wife dating other men. Julie Tucker and Ross Meyerson, Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, New York, NY 10012.

Royal Pains: an hourlong comedy for the USA Network about a physician treating the rich and fashionable. Shooting now through the summer. With Mark Feurstein. Principals: Finnegan/Jacobs Casting, c/o Actors Alliance, 330 West 38th St, Room 507, New York, NY 10018. Background: Grant Wilfley Casting, 123 W. 18th St., 8th floor, NYC 10011. Seeking AFTRA members only.

Rubicon: an hourlong political drama for AMC. Shooting from March 29 until Aug. 10. With James Badge Dale, Miranda Richardson, Jessica Collins, Christopher Evan Welch, and Lauren Hodge. Principals: MelCap Casting, 260 West 44th St, 3rd Floor, New York NY 10036 Background: Amerifilm Casting, 151 First Ave., Ste. 225, NYC 10003 or amerifilmcasting@yahoo.com. Email submissions encouraged.

Running Wilde: a sitcom for Fox. A Beverly Hills goof falls for an environmental activist. With Will Arnett and Keri Russell. Principals: Jennifer Euston Casting, c/o Post Factory, 233 Spring Street, 4th Floor, NYC 10013. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.

Sherri (Comedy, Lifetime) Production wrapped, no present casting. Centers around a newly single mom, paralegal and part-time comedienne/actress who is trying to get back into the dating scene and move on with her life after divorcing her cheating husband. Principals: Rosalie Joseph, VP Casting, ABC Entertainment, 157 Columbus Ave. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10023. Background: Sylvia Fay/Lee Genick & Associates Casting, 71 Park Ave., NYC 10016. AFTRA project.

Tremé: (New Orleans) Follow the lives of survivors of Katrina in New Orleans and how they are making their way through life trying to rebuild the city.. Principals: Alexa Fogel, c/o Beech Hill Films, 330 W. 38th St., Ste. 1405, New York, NY 10018.   (This show is shot in New Orleans but is cast out of NYC.)

White Collar: an hourlong drama for the USA Network about a con man and an FBI agent. Shooting resumes April 15 and continues through October. With Matthew Bomer, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, Willie Garson, and Natalie Morales. Principals: Julie Tucker Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, NYC 10012. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th floor, NYC 10001.


DAYTIME DRAMA

As the World Turns (CBS). Mary Clay Boland (principals and day players), LaMont Craig (under-fives), Kate Martineau (background), 1268 E. 14th St., Brooklyn, NY 11230. Series is slated to end in September.

One Life to Live (ABC). Julie Madison (casting director, principals), Victoria Visgilio (day players & under-fives), Sheryl Baker-Fisher (background), 125 West End Ave, 5th Floor, NYC 10023.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Losing Your Voice

* Bookmark and Share

As a singer, I can relate to this comic! It made me laugh pretty hard...


Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Non-Union Auditioning for Union Theater: Part II

* Bookmark and Share

As you know, I often take questions from readers who either have a new question or need to know more information about a topic I have already covered. One of my fabulous readers wrote to me after reading my first article on Non-Equity actors at Equity Auditions. She asks:

Dear Erin,

I really enjoy your website and I just read your article about attending EPAs as a non-union actor.  I hope you don't mind my asking, but I am honestly not sure what to expect and I am hoping to attend a call next week. The details:

I'm currently non-union.  I am planning on attending an EPA for a company that's casting most of its 2010-2011 season.  The audition notice states the audition will be at the AEA center in NYC, and the audition starts at 9:30 am. What time should I arrive at the AEA center to have the best chances of putting my name at the top of the non-union list? Will I be sitting on a line outside of the building all day?  Is there a waiting room?  What if I need to go to the bathroom? I know this all seems a little silly, but I want to prepare myself as much as possible for the logistical aspects.

Many thanks!

(Readers: please note that this response pertains to the logistics of the NYC Equity Building- some logistics may be different in your hometown...) Here’s my response:


Hi there! Great question- and I am very happy to help.

The time an actor should arrive at the Equity building varies for a lot of reasons. The more auditions being held that day, the bigger chance that lots of people will show up, so getting there early is recommended. The Equity building opens just before 8am- and though it seems that 1.5 hours before the audition would be plenty of time to get on the list, actors are often there much earlier. Depending on how popular the theater is, you may want to get there at 7 or 7:30am (you'll be waiting outdoors until the doors open.) Some shows, like Wicked and Rock of Ages, have people lining up as early as 5:30am.

Once inside, you'll put your name on the Non-Equity list and then you'll be free to get out of line. Normally, the monitor will tell the Non-Equity actors to come back at a certain time, after which they will know if the producers are seeing Non-Equity actors. Usually, with a start time of 9:30am, they'll ask you to come back at around 9:30am or 10am and then they'll give you an update. They will let you know as soon as they can if the producer opts against seeing non-union actors, that way you can move on with your day. At that point, you will be able to leave your headshot & resume for consideration.

As a Non-Equity actor, you'll remain in the 2nd floor waiting area where there are benches for you to wait to get into the Equity lounge. Non-Equity actors are invited into the lounge only when they've been given a time slot. As far as bathrooms- unfortunately, at the Equity building the bathrooms are located inside the lounge, which means they are only usable when the Non-Equity actor is given a time slot. Most Non-Equity actors, therefore, use the restrooms at McDonalds (just down the back stairs.) My favorite place to recommend if you have a little bit of time is one of the many hotels in the area (The Marriott Marquis, on 45th and 7th has a great set of bathrooms on the 8th Floor.) Of course, hotels are private properties so their facilities should be used with care, but I have never had an actor report back with any problems in using their restrooms.

The most frustrating thing you'll likely encounter is when they ARE seeing Non-Equity actors, but they don't get to your name on the list before the auditions are done. That does happen sometimes, and it is just something you'll have to deal with. To maximize my time, I always make sure to bring a industry related task to do while I am waiting for an audition slot. This could include:

• Writing Postcards (updates or thank you's)
• Updating my database
• Reading a play
• Reading industry blogs/publications
• Studying scenes/monologues for class
• Putting together a mailing
• Bringing my laptop and preparing "catch-up" emails for actors, writers, producers, directors that I haven't talked to in a while (Note: The AEA building did not have WIFI that last time I was there, so you'll have to send those emails when you find a connection.)

Ultimately, at the end of the day you will want to make sure you did everything you could to be seen, and that you filled your time wisely in the meantime so that it wasn't a waste of effort. Hopefully the suggestions above will give you some ideas to keep your spirits up. It's a really tough process for Non-Equity actors, but EPAs are a valuable tool and one I hope you'll continue to utilize.

I hope this has shed some light on what to expect at the EPAs next week. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

THE FINE PRINT

This content is offered under a Creative Commons by-NC-ND License.That means you're free to share it, republish it, refer to it, include it in your wedding vows, whatever... - PROVIDED you

a) you don't change anything.
b) you don't use it to make money.
c) credit me (with my blog's name, and a link back to my site.)
d) it's not required, but it would be awesome if you'd email me to let me know you're using it, and then I can help promote your post!

If you are copying an article in its entirely, you MUST include the following acknowledgment at the top of the post: "This blog was pulled, in its entirety, from Bite-Size Business for Actors, a blog published by The Actors' Enterprise. To learn more, visit http://www.BiteSizeBusiness.org."

To view the license, click here. To learn more about Creative Commons, click here.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-
No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
.



Follow Bite-Size Business for Actors
Directory for New York, NY
Blog Directory
TopOfBlogs
TopOfBlogs
Arts
Blog Directory

Blog Directory & Business Pages - OnToplist.com