Tag Archives: berlandcasting

Law Of Attraction For Actors

by Terry Berland

I declare this month Law Of Attraction month for you!

As an actor you want to attract the opportunities and the jobs.  It’s a feat to become part of the “system”, stay in it and snag the “gold ring”, the bookings. To do this, the most important thing is to attract activity to you, and the rest will come.  Fair warning, most results will be indirect and unexpected.

#1.  Create and gain momentum.  Stay in Motion. Newton’s law that a body in motion stays in motion, applies to your acting life. While you are in motion you can gently steer and change in a particular direction you choose when you feel it is the right time.

#2.  Long-Sighted goals.  Be realistic. Take one step at a time toward your long-sighted goals. Take your time to build up to the end results you have in site for yourself.  This might affect jobs you take, agents that represent you and acting classes you spend time and money on. I am certainly not advocating leaving an agent that believes in you and is working to build up your career.  If an agent is doing a good job for you, stay with that agent.  But for example, if your long-term goal is to be represented by CAA, build up to that long-term goal in a realistic way.  Another example is you declare “I want to be really great at advanced long-form improv.“  Well, you would have to take beginner and intermediate to build up to being able to handle advanced long-form.

#3.  Keep acting every way you can.  Create your own projects, act in acting class every week, do theatre, commercials, voice-over, video games, audio books, industrials, print work and even do an extra on a TV show to get on set to see how that venue works; and do every other form of acting that you can find that interests you.

#4 Work begets work.  Certainly don’t sell yourself short, but stay busy with any kind of acting work you can get.  Without selling out, take work for a fee that is not your long-term goal.

#5 Keep building your resume.   Start with the very important basic foundational strong acting technique training and then develop your resume according to the type of acting work you want to do.   If you know you are funny start taking classes that reflects being able to act with humor.  Also take improv that challenges the muscle in your brain that blocks and filters your creative thought process.  I once was interviewing an actor and after I read over her resume I asked where she thought her acting strength lies.  She said comedy.  I pointed out that there was not one play or acting class listed that reflected humor.  I told her the obvious, “you have a strong foundational resume, now start shaping it towards what your strength is and what you really want to do.”

# 6 Surround yourself with supportive people.  This is extremely important.  Walk away from negativity.  Leave it behind you and say “bye- bye”.

# 7 Surround yourself with positive people.  Positivity creates an energy around you that will attract positive situations.

# 8 Live by integrity.  Have integrity in everything you do.  Treat yourself with respect and treat others with respect.  That includes other actors, casting directors, agents and assistants.

#9 Believe in yourself :  You have to believe in yourself at every turn you make.  It starts when you walk in the room and continues when you walk out of the room and continues on your way home through that night to the next day.

# 10 Do everything with passion.  Show up at auditions interested, read all the directions given to you, analyze your scripts and sides, listen to direction given to you and make solid, committed choices.  Walk out of the room with joy that you just finished a satisfying audition.

#11  Be grateful.  Take time out to acknowledge all that you have.

Most of the time doing all these things magnetize indirect results and will bring unexpected situations your way.  I would love to hear about any of these things that you have done that have reaped you benefits.  Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

TEN FACTORS OF TRUST CASTING DIRECTORS DEPEND ON FROM ACTORS

Written for The Networker by Terry Berland

There is a huge trust factor that the commercial business is run on. If talent does not come through on their end of the trust factor, the casting process would end in failure. Here are ten factors of trust casting directors depend on from actors.

You Look Like Your Photo
If we (casting directors) do not have a reel of yours to look at, we only depend on your photo. A physical look in commercials is very important because the entire message is a “quick read”. It is devastating and maddening when you come in for your appointment and look different than your photo. Some ways you can look different are looking much younger or older, or your hair is a different style or color. Perhaps your photographer made you look prettier/more handsome or not as pretty/handsome as you really are. If you are a professional, you will want your photo to look like you, not different. Looking different than your photo has caused a casting director to give an appointment to someone who is not right for the part.

Your Acting Ability
Strive to be the best actor you can be. Don’t study dramatic acting only for a short while just to list it on your resume. Study to really get good. The same goes for improv, don’t just take a quick level-one improv class just to list it. Take more advanced levels in your acting training. Know the different acting venues you will be auditioning for.
Perhaps you have extensive dramatic or comedic acting training, but you never took a commercial technique class to learn how to apply your acting to the commercial venue. Your ability to act in a particular venue is very important. Many very good actors take my Commercial Acting workshop where they learn the similarities and differences between commercial acting and film and television acting; not to mention theatre acting. A good actor will be wise to take their good acting ability and learn each venue. There is a different technique for film as well as television, in addition to different techniques for two-camera or single-camera sitcom shows, in addition to differences in commercial acting techniques.

Truthful Resume Regarding Special Skills
Be careful not to exaggerate how well you do something. It is a waste of an audition space the casting director has to assign to an actor and a waste of your time to come in for something you are not right for; it is a mark against you if you say you do a special skill well and you don’t. If a special skill is involved such as horseback riding, we’ll hold call backs at riding stables to actually see you ride. It never fails that some talent at these auditions cannot ride well (or do whatever skill they say they could do well). If we can’t hold auditions at a location where we can see you do your special skill; second best is we request current tape on yourself doing whatever special skill is called for.

Your Submission Notes Are Accurate
A good way to catch a casting director’s attention is to write a note on your submission about your special skill. If we are looking at large volumes of talent submissions your note can easily catch our eye, and of course we take your word for it. Be truthful; don’t say anything just to get in the door.

Showing Up For Confirmed Appointments
Every appointment time counts to us. If you don’t show up that’s one less actor we are presenting as a possibility to our client. Our clients expect to see a certain amount of people at a casting session. If you don’t cancel your appointment in a timely manor, you’ve cheated another actor from a time slot. If you have to, cancel in enough time for us to fill the spot with another talent who can make it to the audition. Budgets are tight, casting directors have the day assigned to them to cast and that’s it! We have to come through for our clients on that day.

Accurate Accounts Of Conflicts
Check carefully that you are free of conflicts. When we go to book you and you then tell us you are not available, the entire process of selection has gone down the drain.

Accepting And Keeping Track Of Avails
Be very careful to coordinate with all your representatives that you are clear for the dates you say you are available. Availability is a hand-shake agreement but if it’s not adhered to, valuable selection time has gone down the drain. If you are part of an ensemble, replacing you with someone else causes the entire look and feel of the cast to change.

Accepting A Booking
Every detail of the selection process is based on trust, including the terms of agreement, until you sign the contract. Usually the contract is handed to you on set. If all details of the terms of agreement on the contract are the same as stated in the breakdown, it is not acceptable to have second thoughts at the time of signing your contract.

Showing Up At The Shoot
There is no such thing as being late on a shoot date. You show up early at the shoot. Early is on time.
Knowing How To Behave On A Set
Hopefully you are familiar with the behavior of being on set. A good idea in your preparation training stage is to get on a set through extra work to see how everything works. You are working every minute on the day of the shoot, even when you are not actually acting. This is a cell phone, text free zone. You are off the grid during the shoot day.

All this being said, we (casting directors) really depend on you. It’s a team effort and we appreciate you understanding the importance of knowing the elements it takes for casting to run smoothly from selection to the actual booking.

IS YOUR RESTING FACE CAUSING YOU TO LOSE A JOB?

Many actors think that the only thing important is to “turn on” when the camera rolls or when the scene starts. However, there is nothing farther from the truth than this.

First step of selecting “yes’s” was made. The next step is to go through all the possible yes’s and hone them down to the first choice and two backups. To do this the creatives go through the size card photos that they use as reminders and they shuffle them around for organizational purposes. They consider each person and talk about their performance and their essence that will fulfill the character

One of the actors did a great job when the camera turned on, but totally lost all personality when the camera was off. When they got to this fellow’s size card the first thing the creatives talked about was the fact that he really did a good job when he was acting, but when the camera turned off, he had no personality; he turned off. They quickly decided they were not interested in someone who turns on and off, who doesn’t have “it” all the time. It means he is just “acting”. They wanted a personality when the camera is on and the camera is off. That actor was unanimously put in the “no” pile and lost the job.

So the trick is how do you be “on” all the time without being fake? How do you “take a room”? It’s not so much that you need to be “on”. It’s more like you can’t turn “off”. Being “on” is as simple as being open, present, emotionally connected to being in a room full of people and in relationship to the other human beings in the room and to what is going on. The relationship you want is open, friendly, pleased to be there and loving what you are doing…authentically.

I would venture to believe that actor whose resting face was disinterested, removed with the lack of any joy revealed in his face, probably did not feel that way at all. I truly believe he felt really happy to be in that room and had no clue that his resting face was unengaged and disconnected from other human beings.

I’m noticing how important the resting face is. Recently I was teaching a workshop and one of the participants in the workshop looked like he hated me and everything else that was going on. His facial expression was hard and unfriendly. He was that way sitting in his seat and as he took his mark. But when the camera went on he lit up and did a great job. The huge lesson for him was not what to do when the camera went on but his awareness of who he is, or appears to be, at all other times.

“Who you are” at all times matters, and who you are must show on your face.
We are looking for people who are “engaged”, pleased, friendly and open. If you’ve never thought about it…take a look at yourself when you’re not looking…take a look at your resting face.