actors Tag

Good morning class!  You!… Yes you at the back… I’m talking to you! Sit up straight boy!

Today’s class… err sorry I mean blog…  is going to focus on casting children, but rather than passing on advice to our youngest thespians my advice is aimed at parents and guardians.

Casting sessions can be stressful enough for participants, but throw into the mix nervous parents and highly strung kids then you have a stress cocktail more potent than any mixologist could whip up.

I have done a LOT of children’s casting both for drama and commercials and so here is your homework – my top ten stress-busting tips that every loving parent should check out.

 

 1. Vicarious Ambition

No this is not a dodgy one-hit-wonder girl group from the 90’s or the name of a failed Madonna tour –  it is something altogether more timeless and sadly altogether more common.

Parents really do need to take a reality check and ask themselves a fundamental question –  “does my little love bundle really want to tread the boards or promote washing powder etc, or would they much rather be designing a robot or kicking a football around or even playing computer games.”

I get it, I really do. You loved acting or having your photo taken when you were their age, but maybe you didn’t have parents who were supportive or had the money to fulfil your dreams.  Now you have the ability, you want to make sure that your kids have everything you didn’t have. Being supportive and nurturing is indeed what great parenting is all about, but you do need to ascertain whether this is really what THEY want and IS THIS THEIR DREAM or YOURS?

Ask the question of your child and listen VERY CAREFULLY to the answer and how they say it otherwise you are wasting everybody’s time.

 

2. A Den of Bribery and Corruption

casting kids - no junk foodSadly this is often what casting studios can become. If your child does not want to be at a casting, please do not be the pushy parent and start bribing your child with a McDonalds.

If they do not want to be at the casting the chances are is that they will not want to perform on the shoot. and you will just waste everybody’s time and build up resentment in the fruit of your loins.

 

3. Say Cheese

Kids Casting - up to date photosMake sure that you have up to date photos of your kids. Nothing is more frustrating (apart from maybe the Sky box failing to record the last episode of this season’s Game of Thrones) than the young talent turning up having just lost some teeth or with a radically different haircut.

 

4. War…Huh… What is it Good For?…

…absolutely nothing. Edwin Starr and Frankie were not wrong and we don’t want any competitive wars in the casting studio either.

Casting WarsSome parents really don’t know when to rein in their competitive natures and although I’m glad to say that I’ve never witnessed some of the violence seen at football touchlines, I have been witness to some decidedly crazy antics .

If you really want your child to be a professional actor both now and going forward then you too need to behave professionally. This is imperative – you wouldn’t behave badly and aggressively at your own work so why would you do so at your child’s?

So, no psyching-other parents out, no tricks, no lying, just good old-fashioned decency and integrity. Traits you should want to demonstrate to your child in any event.

If you don’t behave like this then you won’t be invited to other castings and we will obviously report back to your agent as they too would not want to be associated with such behaviour.

 

5. Listen to Your Child’s Agent

This one is easy and does what it says on the tin – respect and take on board their advice. They understand this market and can really help you and your child succeed.

 

6. Crush The Candy

kids casting - no sweets

Please do not try not to give your child too many sweets or fizzy drinks before a casting. The last thing that the session needs is a glucose-fired hyperactive child running round the casting studio.

I’m no nutritionist, but think about bringing healthy food and fruit than can give your child energy without the spikes. Bananas, pasta salads and bottles of water will ensure that your little artisites perform to the best of their abilities

 

7. Paperwork

Make sure the agency has all the up to date paper work for your child – this is really important in terms of licensing.

 

kids casting - dont overdress8.Don’t Step on My Blue Suede Shoes…

… or even dress your child in them.

And don’t dress them in a party frock (especially if it’s a boy!) or anything overly skimpy. In fact be sensible and just let your child dress in clothes they feel comfortable in.

There may be occasions where you will be asked to come dressed specifically, but unless asked to do so treat it as a normal RELAXED Saturday or Sunday chilling with their friends.

 

9. Parents Should be Seen and Not Heard

Parents can be sometimes a distraction to their child in a casting. If you are in the casting suite please try to keep out of their way and eye-sight and let them get on with their job without any prompting or involvement from you. This can affect their performance.

 

10. Keep Smiling

If your child does not get the part, try not to be too disheartened, it could be that the casting director is trying to form a family and they might not quite fit in, they may decide to go for someone slightly older or younger – there could be a multitude  of reasons. Nobody is saying that your child is talentless though or not worthy of being there.

Here Comes The Serious Bit…

Being an actor is a tough job and rejection is sadly part of the day-to-day aspect of that job. If you don’t feel your child can cope with this then you should seriously consider another vocation. Exposing a vulnerable child to constant rejection could have a lasting effect on their mental health and could cause issues of self-worth and negative body image.

I will be covering the mental health issues of being an actor in another blog, but in the meantime, be very careful with your child’s mental wellbeing it is not worth jeopardising over a TV spot or a short film.

If you have any tips or advice I’d love to hear from you too. Feel free to comment below.

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to our mailing list:

Activity

10 Ways to Get Your First Acting Jobs

12 Aug 2016, Posted by Nicci in Casting Tips

I often hear the plaintive sobs of actors at the start of their career that’s usually goes something like… “That’s all well and good, but how do I break into the industry. I’m not on Spotlight. I don’t have an agent, it’s a conspiracy…”

HOW DO I GET MY FIRST ACTING JOB???

Firstly bear in mind there is no conspiracy theory: they really did land on the moon, there are no aliens in Area 51, Elvis and Margaret Thatcher did not have a love child and oh yes most importantly…

Nobody is conspiring to keep you out of the industry.

The first challenge of the industry is getting in the industry. This applies all across the board in film and TV, and we will give some other examples generally in another blog, but today we will look at some strategies for getting yourself started as an actor.

 

1. Act!

actors-tips-#11

To paraphrase Basil Fawlty this might sound like “stating the bleedin’ obvious“, but to be an actor you need to act. It has to become like breathing and eating.

Take. Every. Opportunity. To. Act.

It bears repeating!

Take. Every. Opportunity. To. Act.

Not only will this allow you to perfect your art, but it will help you network and also it will give you something for a showreel.

This is the most important rule. Everything else is just detail.

 

2. Weebles wobble…

actors-tips-#12

But they don’t fall down! If you are younger than 30 this will probably mean nothing to you. Let me explain.

When I was growing up there was an egg-shaped toy that if you pushed it over it would just right itself. The Weeble is the perfect metaphor for what an actor must be.

You can wobble, but you can’t fall down. You have to get back up again. There will be MANY MANY MANY rejections. After each one you have to pull yourself together and live to fight another day and to do that you have to be hungry. You have to want it. You will have to be resilient. You will have to work HARD. You have to channel the Weeble. You will have to earn EVERY role.

 

3. Build Relationships

Take every opportunity to build strong and deep relationships with other creatives. And not just the obvious ones like directors and producers but also other actors, It’s not a competition. Even if two actors are going for the same part, you just need to be the best YOU can be and hope that everything else on the CD and director or producer’s list is aligned. Then hope that the Gods of casting smile down on you.

Building relationships with other actors means that you can recommend each other and have a support network. Being an actor is the best crap job in the world or is it the crappest best job in the world – either way having a safety net who REALLY understand your situation is vital and something that even the most supportive friends and family have no frame of reference for.

 

4. Practice

If you can’t act then practice. Work with your actor chums that you have build relationships with (see 3 above) on scenes to hone your craft. Video it on your phone, critique, adjust then rinse and repeat.

 

5. The University of Life

actors-tips-#15

Life is an education. Always approach EVERY situation as an opportunity to learn. Dissect it. Log it. Recall it. Your life’s journey’s and experiences will help you be a better actor. Your performance will then always be informed by real life. Be an emotional magpie. Create a diary (paper or even something like Evernote). Think like an actor. Become an actor.

 

6. Be a Class Act

actors-tips-#16

There are some great classes out there, go forth and Google. Classes enable you to keep trying out new techniques that may or may not work for you, but why worry remember… In Classes Nobody Can Hear You Fail. What you got to lose?

You will also work with different actors which is always a plus and again there are opportunities to build relationships.

 

7. Educating Actor

The internet is great, but also make sure you read real books. There are also some great books that can help your education process I will blog with a list of these sometime soon, but make sure you know Stanislavski from “Stan’s Lav Key” and Meisner from Miserly

Another opportunity to learn is by reading film and TV scripts. There are many dodgy transcripts of film and TV scripts online, but you should ignore these. Invest some money in the “reel deal” at Script City – it will be a revelation!

 

8. Actor For Hire

When you are confident that you have read and practiced and have channeled said Weeble and attended classes then why not contact film schools and see if there looking for actors for any of their films. Sometimes there are just not enough actors to populate the filmmakers focussed on the practical and technical side of filmmaking

 

9. Networking

Part of the building relationships tip really, but you should attend networking events where ever you can. I know many very confident actors who can get on stage in front of hundreds of people and not be phased, but put them in a room of 10 people as themselves and they are knackered.

It can be daunting when you don’t know anybody and they are all talking in their little cliques or groups, but this is a perfect example of putting your acting talents to use. Pretend to be confident and “Fake it until you Make it.” Act like a confident person would.

As I said in a previous blog keep your ear to the ground and get in the middle of projects – Be Part of The Solution Not Part of The Problem.

 

10. Marketing

We will explore making a showreel in a future blog post, but you do need to try and find ways to let the world how bloody great you are. Why not start to blog about what you are up to, try to build up a following use it as a platform for your showreel. Self-promote. Tweet. Facebook. Instagram whatever spread the word.

But bear in mind make sure it is QUALITY. The interwebs doesn’t need to see what you have had for your dinner or to see you slag off your BFF’s ex.

 

A Final Thought

You could marry a sugar daddy and get him to fund a $10m feature film starring you. Maybe not so useful if you are an overweight 53 year old ex builder called Barry. Possibly more applicable if you are a young ingenue.

In fact strike this. This is a rubbish idea. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m obviously past my best. See my other post… Respect yourself!

This is like Rule 1. VITAL.

 

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to our mailing list:

Activity

I have been casting everything from commercials to feature films for almost 20 years, and one thing that actors often ask me is “Why do some actors get all the best jobs?”

After sitting in thousands of casting sessions and looking at countless submissions there are some obvious trends that I thought I would share with you.  In no particular order here are some of my casting tips…

 

1 – They make sure that they actually look like their headshot.

actors tips #1This may be a controversial opinion, but if a director and casting director have a particular look in mind and select you based upon your headshot, hey they kinda do expect who turns up to look like that.

They are unlikely to take one look at you and say, “What the hell, those extra 10 years or 10lbs (up or down) don’t matter.”

 

 

2 – They sleep with the director…

actors-tips-#2

No only joking. The actors who get the best jobs don’t flirt outrageously, they behave with professionalism, integrity and have a genuine enthusiasm for the part. They respect themselves because if they don’t why would others?

 

3 – They don’t lie about their previous work.

actors tips #3As an FYI CV does not stand for Create a Very-misleading-document. Listen, people know people. If your CV lists the work you did with Leo and Keira and the campaign for Porsche, it won’t be long before you’re found out – unless of course you were in that product placement scene with the Porsche Cayenne in “Bend It Like The Revenant.”

Trust me, deceit is a fast track way to ensure you’re not even “what they’re looking for” when they’re casting that role for a guy wearing a chicken suit in the web commercial for the Slough branch of “Chick-u-Like.”
actors-tips-#4

4 – They don’t lie about their age.

Makes sure you look your playing age – it’s important not to lie about your age if you are casting for a financial services commercial or an alcohol commercial or both if it’s for a Pay Day Vodka Company.

 

5 – They actually can do accents.

actors-tips-#5 Achtung listen up y’all. Åré Yøü TalkÎn’ Tö Me? Une actor avec talent will do the research and PRACTICE, this way they can sprechen like ein proper native. There are so many great resources on You Tube and other places that there is no excuse.

And please avoid stereotypes: remember not all German’s speak like the an SS General in Colditz and not all French people speak like Rene in ‘Allo “Allo.

 

 

6- They keep their ear to the ground…

actors-tips-#6…or even to the internet. And what better way of doing that than by being a slick networker.

Try and build your connections and get yourself in the middle of conversations about projects that are happening or might be happening.

And by “in the middle of” I don’t mean following Steven Speilberg on Twitter – be part of the solution not part of the problem!

 

7- They don’t act like a Diva.

actors-tips-#7In fact they go out of their way to treat people with respect and work as a team. They collaborate willingly, they try things out they may not initially agree with, they come up with fresh intelligent ideas and they have a positive attitde and wear a smile. They understand that they are just ONE part of a creative machine.

EGO ALERT! Be gracious when taking criticism, and be aware that not everybody will agree with your Mum that you are a indeed a little princess, just waiting for all these IDIOTs to recognize your talent.

 

actors-tips-#88 – They have at least two testimonials.

Everybody is looking for ways to mitigate risk and without a Trip Advisor.com for actors insider knowledge from their industry peers that you are easy to work with, diligent and responsive to suggestions will go a long  way to helping directors and casting directors convert that great casting session into a part.

 

9- They remember to Hi-Five other actors on the way up the ladder.

actors-tips-#9They are generous both in acting process and with their advice and help.

Today’s nervous wannabe on their first job could be tomorrow’s Olivia Colman and you too may fall from grace and have to make ends meet at the aforementioned Slough branch of Chick-U-Like and be on the outside looking in once again.

Anyhow the better their performance the better you all look. And remember we all started somewhere.

 

10 – They remember every casting director they meet.

actors-tips-#10They build relationships and make themselves memorable for all the right reasons.

Although you might not be right for this role a strong relationship with a casting director could make you top of the list for the next one.

And remember no stalking on Twitter now! Be respectful they are not looking for a new BFF just strong professional relationships.

 

 

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to our mailing list:

Activity