Category Archives: Acting

What is a Casting Director Looking For?

Written by Terry Berland | for Casting Networks

I like reading blogs about the industry. I wish I had time to read them all. A blog that comes up on occasion, not written by a casting director, tries to solve the big mystery of “What Is A Casting Director Looking For?” The question always revolves in and around the performance. So since I’m a casting director, I thought it would be a great idea for me to answer that question

I think my answer might disappoint you. I don’t believe anyone can answer that question. Why?  Because for both theatrical and commercial, the casting director is looking for you to bring us a performance with creative choices that makes the character come alive. I can’t spell out what creative choices are.

Having said that, I can answer the question in a different way and I can give you a list of what casting directors are looking for.

Good actors. Casting directors are only as good as the actors they bring in to audition. Bring creative choices to your performance that make the character come alive.

Do not give a neutral performance. Any good actor knows that and would never deliver a neutral performance. Working out in acting classes will bring you discoveries every week that you can deliver with confidence.

Reliability. This business is built on trust. We need actors that show up for their appointments and bookings well prepared. In other words if we have sent you scripts or sides along with the audition, be familiar with your lines. If we have referenced a subject, TV show, or anything else, do your research.

Easy To Work With Actors. We are impressed with actors who are in a good mood, happy with what they are doing and happy to be given the moments to perform in the audition.

Up To Date Photos and Resume. You must look like your photo. Maintain your resume every time there is a change.

Honesty. It’s a waste of your time and the casting director’s time if you are not telling the truth or exaggerating. If you say you do an accent well, you most do it well. Confer with fellow actors or coaches for a reality check.

Good reels. You need a demo of your on camera and voice over acting (if you do voice overs). If you are reading this and don’t have a reel yet, this should be a goal that you are working towards.

In conclusion, work on your acting in your classes and get the best that you can be.  Blow us away with your choices and performance. Make us laugh, cry, feel compassion, feel something….. and give us goose bumps. Those who study commercial acting technique with me know I have a goose-bump-read body meter. When someone “gets it” the better the read, my goose bumps travel up and down my arms for quite a while. In an audition, make the goose bump scale go way high and leave the room feeling great.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.

Veteran L.A. Casting Director Terry Berland On Helping Actors Make The Connection

Written by Kurtis Bright for NYCastings website

Most of the time, casting directors have very specific areas they focus on: commercial, film, or television, for instance. Especially when it comes to voiceover versus on-camera work, most CDs do one or other — rarely both.

But Terry Berland of Berland Casting in Los Angeles isn’t your typical casting director.  A New Yorker born and bred, Berland got her start working in advertising on Madison Avenue, cutting her teeth casting both the actors to be used on camera in agency-produced spots, as well as those who would do the voiceover. By the time that kind of in-house commercial casting had started to decline, Berland had climbed to the top of the profession, heading up casting at Madison Avenue ad powerhouse BBDO Worldwide.

So it made perfect sense that she would continue casting commercials, opting to head out West to open up and partner in running the commercial division of Liberman Hirschfeld Casting for a time before opening her own shop. It also made sense that she would continue casting both voice and on-camera talent, as she has done for the past 25 years, and continues to do out of her Wilshire Boulevard offices.

When she’s not casting projects like “Invader Zim,” or “Whining Low,” Berland enjoys helping out actors by teaching high-quality classes and dispensing her accumulated wisdom from sitting behind the table in thousands of casting sessions through her book, “Breaking Into Commercials.”

She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to chat and offer some thoughts for actors.

On The Relationship Between Casting Directors And Actors:

Casting directors are only as good as the actors they bring in. So an actor needs to feel very much a part of the process, equal to the casting director. They should come in with the attitude: ‘I’m here to solve your problem. [I] have a creative choice, and it’s my way of solving your problem. Your problem is that you want to find the right person to make this character come alive.’ So maybe a big mistake is for an actor to walk into a casting and not feel like a part of the process. A big part of the process.

On The Similarities And Differences Between Voice And On-Camera Acting:

A similarity for the actors is you have to connect. And obviously there’s different techniques. There’s techniques for connecting on camera: for on-camera it’s like a short scene. For voiceover, you have to connect also, so that’s similar. The difference with voice acting is, because you’re only hearing the voice, the actor has to know how to subtly change things, and convey their message with a lot of nuances in their read. In on-camera you have the visual to help the message along, but with voiceover you only have your voice. There’s transitions in copy: maybe you start out bright, then there’s a discovery, then there’s an invitation to do something, and then a result. And that all has to come from nuances in your voice.

On Teaching:

I’ve been teaching for years. I love educating. I teach on-camera based on short scene study.  Voice-over is based on fundamental acting techniques too. The method I use is proven; people book more, get more callbacks, get agents. So it’s very satisfying. We just have to be very, very clear, when we’re a casting director that they’re coming to learn from us, and they’re not coming to audition. It’s teaching.  The rules that we follow to teach are very strict in Los Angeles.

On Giving A Good Audition:

Auditioning well is based on acting. The biggest mistake is not realizing they need to be an actor. Even when it comes to, ‘Slate your name and tell me something about yourself,’ it takes a certain way. In commercials, you need to look at that camera and be open and friendly and decide what you’re going to say with a personality. If its an improv they have to know how to do a commercial improv.

On Being Needy As An Actor: 

There’s just so many different things that can go wrong when talent is in the room. I would say one big thing is they should know what they’re doing – they should be confident, yet friendly, not above it all, they should know what empowers them, and they should not come off as needy. Because when there are clients in the room, you’re with the very people that can book you. And some people behave in a very needy way. We can feel it, and it’s not attractive.

On Dealing With Mistakes In An Audition:

If you’re doing a commercial read, and you make a mistake, improv around your mistake and try to get back on track. One of the worst things to do is to apologize and be down on yourself and make it a big tragedy that you made a mistake. Someone that’s really trained, in a fun way will try to improv around their mistake, and then either they get back on track or they don’t. A mistake can actually be a little gift. Knowing how to improv around that mistake can be a real gift.

On Crossing Lines:

When it’s a callback don’t cross a line figuratively or literally. You wanna stay on the mark that you’re given, and don’t walk over to [the clients] and start shaking their hands and saying ‘It’s so nice to meet you!’

On Connecting With The Casting Team Without Being Needy:

The best way to make a connection is to be good at what you do. Be friendly, open, say hello. But you don’t want anything from them. Don’t be attached to getting the job. The best actors go in, they do the best work they can, they’re well-trained, they know they did a good job, they leave, and forget about it, and go to the next one. And it’s an interesting dance, because of course you want the job. Let’s not pretend you don’t want the job. But you can’t have so much invested in that one particular job. Your job is to go in and give a good audition, and then the next one, and the next one.

On Being Neutral:

So I’d say another bad mistake actors make is they’re afraid to make strong choices, and they neutralize their audition choices. If you’re neutral you’re no place. You have to be distinct. We love when everybody’s good. I could have 25 actors come in and read for the same role and they’re all really good, they’re all just a little different. And then it’s subjective from the people who are choosing them, because the casting director doesn’t book them, it goes to the selection process.

On Choosing Where To Plant Your Flag As An Actor:

I would say go where you feel more comfortable, where you like the lifestyle. Good things are going to happen in [New York or L.A.], but the main thing is that you like the lifestyle initially. You should be happy with how you’re living, and where you’re living and then the right things will come to you. I know a lot of actors who do this: once they get started in one place, they then see thing more clearly and they reassess things and realize they want to live on the other coast because of their needs, their career needs, so they just make the switch. And say you start out in New York – there’s great training that’s really respected. Make sure you take full advantage of where you are. If you decide at a later time that you got everything you’re going to get out of that market, then you can always switch. But enrich your resume wherever you are.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.

How To Turn A Bad Audition Partner Into A Good Audition Experience

Written by Terry Berland | for Casting Networks

It is a given if you have a good audition partner that you have a good audition experience and you walk out of the audition feeling like you have a good shot at the call back.

Let’s define what a good audition partner is. A good audition partner has good timing and good chemistry with you. I teach commercial acting based on strong fundamental acting skills in a short scene format. A commercial is actually a short scene. In a short scene you have to know how to bring the best of yourself out quickly and if there is someone else in the scene both you and your partner have to know how to bring out the best in each other. You walk out of an audition with a good partner feeling you have a good shot at a call back or the booking.

Let’s talk about the auditions where you don’t gel with your partner at all. You feel the other actor has brought your performance down and you leave the audition feeling defeated, pretty sure you will never receive the coveted call back. This scenario can play out with kids auditions too. You can get paired with a kid who does not respond and you feel left in a lurch and bummed.

However, fret not. You can turn the situation around where you walk out of the audition happy, positive, with a bounce in your step, assured you have a chance at the call back.

Here are seven ways to handle a difficult audition.

Stay smiling and open. Don’t react negatively to a partner that is not auditioning well. Stay friendly, open and true to your choices. Incorporate the other actor in the scene by trying to gently finesse a reaction. Keep doing this and you will shine and the other actor will fall short.

Incorporate any flaws into the audition. Improv around something that is not working. For instance, make a funny remark about it. If your partner is till not responding, in good humor you may even start answering yourself. Always keep good humor and stay open with positive energy flowing.

Never get your back up and have a defensive, defeatist or irritable attitude. Keep on track to what you are trying to achieve in the scene; always trying to include the other person.

Show patience. Never loose your patience. You’re your good humor, letting your personality flow trying to uplift the scene, staying on track executing your choices towards the end result that you know is being called for.

Treat the situation with humor. This is actually a good time to build in humorous beats. Beats are little pockets to play in. The beats that you create are giving you more opportunity to show who you are and what you are all about.

Give a feeling you are a team player. Try to carry the person to where you know the scene should emotionally be. Keep being inclusive.

Show generosity. A bookable trait in an actor is generosity. Staying open with good humor and including the other actor in the scene makes you a generous actor.

When the creative team views the audition the actor who cannot hold up to their end of the audition will fall by the waist side, and not be considered.

You, the actor who is basically acting alone will shine.

You can walk out feeling YOU gave a good audition. I can reassure you in most group reads not everyone gets a call back in the group.

There are times people who work together get called back together, but not often. The call back is the time for chemistry reads. The creatives will pair together who they have a feeling will work well together. Sometimes there are several mixes and matches. Everyone at the call back should be a top-notch quality actor. If you are mixed and matched each experience will gel differently with each person.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.

Relationships Between Talent, Casting Directors, Agents and Managers

Written by Terry Berland | for Casting Networks

Living in the age of on-line and self-submissions, self-taping, and massive competition, in the commercial acting world, I am finding talent is not understanding the importance of the relationship between casting, agents and managers.

Bottom line is casting director’s depend on your representatives (agents and managers) to understand industry rules and regulations and keep order to the submission and booking system.  If a non-union breakdown goes out, 98% of the time there is a plus 10, 15 or 20% added on to talent payment for your agent and/or manager. I can assure you, as a casting director, when I receive the specs (details on the project), if a percentage has been left off of the payment for a rep (representative: agent or manager), I bring it to the attention of my client and they add it on to the payment.

As a casting director if I put a non-union breakdown out directly to talent and they book it without a rep, 75% of the time, at the time of the booking the talent informs me there is a rep involved. I then start communicating with the rep about the final details during client approval and bookings.

Talent should be sure when you ultimately turn the job over to your rep, after you have come to the call back and accepted the avail, that your agent knows you have accepted the job with the terms of agreement. You want to take seriously the fact that you have accepted the terms of agreement.

Casting would rather deal with an agent or manager than talent directly because there is a layer of professionalism and accountability added to the situation. We want to feel assured you understand all terms of agreement and you’ll show up on time for the wardrobe and shoot. You want a rep involved to protect you in case the terms of agreement get changed at the time of the booking or on the written agreement, or anything that you consider unfair happens on the set.

There is a mutual respect between casting directors, talent agents and managers.  Casting knows your rep is a business professional, devoting their time to making things happen for you and making sure everything runs smoothly such as you getting paid, to name one important factor.

Don’t ever think because a breakdown is released directly to talent that a casting director is by-passing your representative.  A direct-to-talent submission is usually only for non-union or harder to find special skill situations.

For a career with longevity you ultimately want representation and protection.  You want a team who is working for and with you, whom you have a good working and loyal relationship with.  You also want a career in an industry where you have protection and benefits.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.

WHAT YOU SHOULD FOCUS ON TO GET THE JOB

Written for The Networker by Terry Berland

The one thing you should not focus on is booking the job.  What you should focus on is being present.

If you are not present there are many hidden, not-so-obvious opportunities that will be missed.   Many of these opportunities need time to germinate, take their course and circle back to you unexpectedly, sometimes taking twists and turns with the booking being the by-product.

Let’s start from when you are getting ready to leave your house for the audition.  FOCUS ON FEELING BALANCED, POSITIVE AND GRATEFUL.  This will give you a strong foundation for the day as things, not in your control, go not quite in the way you would like them to.

Walking Into The Reception area.  BE AWARE OF AND FRIENDLY TO THE SESSION RUNNER. Don’t just rush in, sign in and ignore the people involved in this part of the process.  The session runner is the person organizing the outside of the audition room.  That person could very well be helping the casting director make selections when he/she is not running the outside of that room.  In addition, that person might be running sessions working their way into being a casting director in the not too distant future. They will remember if you are a pleasant person or not. Even if this is not the case, it is better for who you are vibrationally to be nice to people, than not.

Entering the casting room:  FEEL EMPOWERED AND PART OF THE PROCESS.  It is very important to be in touch with what empowers you; what makes you feel good and connected, In commercials, the creative team is looking for choices in a performance.  They are looking for someone who can make decisions and can express their opinions. You can call on your empowerment when you feel insecure about your decisions. You can also use your empowerment when anything in that room makes you feel insecure or nervous.  Maybe there are more people in the room watching you than you expected or there are negative vibrations in the room from something else going on.  Whatever it is, focus on what empowers you.

Leaving the casting room:  Say goodbye and LEAVE FEELING GOOD.  To get in touch with feeling good be thankful you know your technique, you had a moment to show your stuff and you have your freedom to leave and go on with the rest of your day.

Waiting for a call back and/or booking.  SET YOUR LIFE UP WITH CREATIVE FULLMENT.  The majority of your job is auditioning. Callbacks and bookings come in-between.  Leave the audition and move on to other things in your life such as acting classes and projects you’ve created.
Of course you need to know your technique, do your networking and read everything you can to gain knowledge.   Check yourself out and make sure you are being present.  Being present is being aware of yourself, the people around you and your surroundings.  Who you are as a person is very important in attracting bookings.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.

How Your Casting Profile Can Get You An Audition (Or Not)

Written for the Networker by Terry Berland

There are certain things I would never chose to write about because they are trite, and I assume everyone knows the do’s or don’t regarding them.  However, recently prepping casting sessions, I started to take note of recurring “no-no” things that some talent are doing that I would consider “no brainers” to do right. Apparently it’s time for this trite, but important reminder list.

Warning!  Some of you think “of course I have that in place’.  But, it has come to my attention that things might not be as you assume they are on your casting profiles and you should check to make sure everything is as you wish them to be.

Your resume is not attached to your profile.

I am assuming you think your resume is attached, because how could you think you can compete against someone who does have a resume attached?  You can’t. Yes, we (casting directors) look at your resume to get a feel for who you are. On occasion, I have contacted someone asking them why they don’t have a resume online, and they are shocked to find out they have no resume on their profile. By the way, a fledgling resume is better than no resume at all.  Not having a resume attached to your photo quickly puts you into the “viewed /no” category. With an average of 4,000 submissions per project, casting is looking for ways to weed people out.

Your profile indicates there is a reel and there is not one attached.

The quickest way for us to see who you are is to look at a reel.  I am noticing on many profiles there is a reel icon and when I happily click on it, there is no reel.  It’s exasperating, disappointing and a waste of time. I wish I had time to get in touch with every actor to let them know their account is showing up that way.  But the reality is there is no time. Hopefully, reading this blog will help many of you.

Stay Away From Links To Your Reel.

Speaking of having a reel attached to your profile. Don’t give us a link to chase down instead of a reel attached.  It’s another step that can cause us to eliminate you due to lack of time. Looking through 4,000 photos, resumes and reels is daunting.  For pure survival, we will start doing what’s quickest, which is to just click on the reels that are there and not take the extra step of following a link.

Have the right number of photos attached to your profile.  

One photo is not enough  It’s a stingy choice that does you no good.  As a casting director, when I see one photo, you lose my interest right away. I can’t see enough of you in one photo.  Two photos are not enough either. My trained eye can see what I am looking for in four to five photos. I have been on many panels and the industry consensus is the same.

Clear old photos from your profile.

I lose interest if I see you with short hair and long hair and different color hair in varying photos.  I don’t trust who will show up so I don’t take the chance of having you in. There are two reasons to have this confusing range of photos.  Either you are not aware that it’s detrimental for you to show different looks that are not possible for you to have at the same time, or you have not put the time into cleaning up your profile.  Many times, I am told by talent “Oh, my photo choices have not been cleaned up, I still have the old ones on there”. They tell me this, truly with no conception that it makes a difference.

Check that foreign languages are correct.

I was casting several films recently that called for different foreign languages. I was shocked that “all” foreign languages were checked on more than 75% of resumes.  It’s obvious that there’s an option to click, and talent are apparently blindly clicking “all”, without any thought of the effect it has on casting. Loading our submissions with 2500 photos that do not fit the requirements of what we are looking for is maddening.  Have pity on us…..Please. Only languages that you speak fluently should be checked. In addition add an extra section that specifically mentions languages you speak fluently.

Don’t list your commercials.

Recently people are starting to list their commercials.  There is such a thing as conflicts, and you will not be considered for a product if you have a conflicting product listed.  Even if it’s a non-union commercial where there are technically no conflicts…you actually do have a conflict.

Check your profile every once in a while to see that it is up to speed.

You are in a very competitive field.  Every little thing I mentioned above can drop you in or out of the running. Imagine the pressure a casting director is under having to look through an average of 4,000 photos in the short time frame given to us by our clients.  Making sure the aforementioned is in place will place you more in harmony with the casting director/actor relationship. Ommmmmm….let’s go for the harmony.

To gain the most advanced up-to-date commercial acting technique you can study with Terry Berland. Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting Workshop.

One Surprising Element That Can Calm Your Nerves

Written for the Networker by Terry Berland

I’m going to start out with ways to calm your nerves that you have all heard before. One element that can get rid of your jitters, and can calm your nerves is certainly knowing your technique. In addition, understanding the venue you are working in, including who the players are. In addition understanding the selection process and the booking process will also give you more of a comfort level, and certainly we can add getting familiar with the casting community…. And let’s not forget being good at improv. You learn all this in my Commercial Acting Workshop. But…….

The one element that can calm your nerves that I’ve never heard been talked about before is Understanding Similarities Between A Casting job and an Acting job.

I think you’ll be surprised at the similarities that casting folks and actors go through. If you really understand that casting directors are in many ways the same as you, the actor, I believe you can come into an audition room feeling less nervous and more on an equal footing.

Lets look at some similarities that may surprise you. The title of the situation is the same, although there are variations in the details. This list could very well be the day in an actor’s life, but no….. it is the day of a casting director’s life. Hopefully you will come away saying “what, you go through that too?????#####”

Not knowing at all what that day will bring: The day of a casting director starts with waking up and not knowing what the day will bring. We can have no job at all and the day can continue like that, or the e mail will come in with a heads up about a casting coming in. We may first be asked for an estimate for our client to figure out a budget to be able to award the job, or the job can be awarded right then and there with the client telling us how much they have for casting.

The Need to be flexible. Many things can change along the way, like the shoot and call back dates; casting days and characters can also change. We start the job and ride the wave of changes.

Fees Not As High As They Used To Be: Sometimes the casting director gets their full quoted rate (you can look at that in actor speak as scale), and sometimes the client tells us a lower rate they have for the casting budget. We either take the job or leave it….and someone else gets the job.

Sometimes having to travel for work: Many of us are housed out of one particular casting studio that is close to where we live and have a comfortable working relationship with. Sometimes a client tells us what part of town they want their call backs to take place that is convenience for them. We go! Yes, it is what is convenient for the client, and not us.

Are the situations sounding familiar? Here’s some more.

Nerves kick in: Every time we start a casting session we are nervous. Some things that make us nervous are that our early morning talent will not show up on time to get us started. Yes, there has been a few times that no one shows up for an entire half hour. That means we don’t have enough people for that character to present to our client. That can’t happen. This is not a dress rehearsal. We have no second chances. I quickly have to get more people in at the end of the day.

Nerves also kick in with us counting on talent to look like their photos and demo reels and doing a good acting job with the particular script. We are only as good as the talent we bring in.

Book a trip/book a job. Why is it whenever any of us book a trip or book out for any reason, a job comes in?

Trouble collecting copies of the spots: We would love to have a copy of the spot for our reels and archives. We are told the spot cannot be released until it is finished with its run.

Getting no answers. Many months after we are well aware the spot has stopped running, we contact the producer again for a copy of the spot, and the producer will not answer our e mails or calls. The client disappears until the next time they need us.

I am hoping you have read this list and are saying “that could my list as an actor”. I am a firm believer that feeling more familiar with a situation can help you feel more connected and comfortable, hence, a better audition. I hope understanding our similarities will bring a smile to your face and an “ah ha” moment that will bring a lighthearted feeling with you to your next audition.

The One Question You Shouldn’t Be Asking Is “What Do They Want?”

Written by Terry Berland for The Networker

Don’t Look For A Cookie Cutter To Shape Your Audition.

The other day I was in the reception area of a project I was casting and one of the actors asked me “what are they looking for”? I cringed inside and answered, they are looking for an actor to bring them “something”.

The one thing you should not be trying to figure out when you are preparing copy both commercially and theatrically is what do they want.

The person who gets the call back is the person whose performance makes the character come alive. Don’t look for a “cookie cutter” to shape your audition.

Don’t worry; I did help out the inquiring actor. I asked him if he understood his character? Understanding your character and the following other steps listed below will help you figure out your choices to give a good audition.

Embrace that you are in a creative business.
Understand the writer has written the words and the creatives are looking for a personality to make the character and the situation come alive.

Understand The Character
It is very important to understand who your character is. Is your character sympathetic, a looser or a winner, congenial, above-it-all, optimistic, pessimistic, etc.

Know How To Find Hints Given To You In The Copy
Commercial copy has many hints in it. Some of these hints are: what is their sell, where are you, what is your attitude, what are your relationships, what are your back stories, what was your life like before this particular moment and what is your life going to be like after this moment?

Take Risks
Know the difference between being bigger, rather than smaller, yet know how to work appropriately in the space.

Feeling loose and connected to your gut is a risk in itself. Not holding yourself back, feeling joy and letting go of your inner critical voice are all risks.

Connect
Feeling and acting connected is the key. You will be able to feel connected if you truly know who you are and what your relationships are, all the while giving your situation backstories.

Act with confidence
If you realty feel connected, you will act with confidence. Feeling and acting hesitant keeps you in an uncreative, limited zone.

Approach Commercial Copy as a short scene

For those of you who also act in film and television, have you noticed that everything I am suggesting are the same elements it takes to execute a good theatrical scene? Yes, commercials are a short scene. Anyone who studies with me knows in my Commercial Acting Workshop I teach you how to approach a commercial as a short scene.

Walk Out Of the Audition Space Feeling Good
Appreciate that you created a character and took chances. Feeling good will give you energy to have a great day, stay positive and attract opportunities.

It is a thrill for me to guide and teach you to be the best that you can be. You are unique. For your next audition preparation, don’t open that drawer and look for a cookie cutter. Have fun creating and know you will be great.

Five Reasons Why You May Not Book After A Great Audition

Written by Terry Berland for the Networker

A really good audition makes the casting director, the producer, and the director really happy. You gave a good audition, you got put on avail . . . and then you didn’t get booked. Why?

I can assure you it is nothing that you did wrong. So if it’s nothing you did wrong, what could it be?

The callback is the time the spot takes shape. Many variables come into play.

Here Are Five Reasons Why You Might Not Get Booked

1. The Spot Has A Certain Look

All variations and combinations of looks are considered. During the callback selection process, as the spot takes shape, your look might not quite fit in. I have seen a group of six people chosen and upon final consideration, the creative team noticed everyone was brunette. One person was randomly taken out of the group and replaced with a person with lighter hair. I remember feeling an “ouch” for the person taken out of the group.

You might look too upscale, not upscale enough, too pretty, not pretty enough, etc. You can’t change how the creatives decide how their spot should look.

2. The Spot Has A Certain Feel

As the spot comes alive at the callback, the creative team sees more clearly what is going to work for the feel they want. The essence of your personality might not work. You might feel too humorous, not humorous enough, too serious, not serous enough, or too intellectual. I’ve even seen an actor with a wonderful performance lose the job during final consideration because one person on the creative team felt he did not feel “trustworthy” enough. The “feel” of who you are is your essence, and you can’t change your essence. You have no control over the feel of a spot.

3. Character Relationships In A Spot

When a group is being put together, you might not gel well with the other person they definitely want. You may gel well, but someone else gels better or differently.

Chemistry comes into play during mixing and matching of people being considered. Sometimes you will actually be asked to stay to be mixed and matched. If you are not asked to stay, the creative team actually mixes and matches by shuffling around the size cards. They discuss the different feel of people together. You can’t change chemistry between people.

4. Change In Direction

There is always the chance that the direction of the spot, or your particular character is changed. You have no control over the ad agency or director making these changes.

5. Luck Of The Draw

Everyone is unique. Put two really good actor’s performances toe to toe in front of the creatives for them to choose, and they can only choose one.

All you can do is give your best performance, which you can learn in Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting Workshop and other working’s around town.  In addition, be knowledgeable about how the system works, feel fortunate you got to audition, got a call back and (most importantly) know that even though you didn’t get booked, you pleased everyone. Really know you will be remembered for the next opportunity.

Seven Things That Make An Actor Successful (that you can’t learn in class)

Written by Terry Berland for The Networker

Welcome to the start of 2018.  It’s that time of year.  You are refreshed and pumped up, renewed and ready to start the New Year on the right foot.

I’m always asked what makes someone successful in this business.  Stating the obvious would be you need to know the basic strong foundation of acting, know the technique of the venue you are working in and be aware of how the business works.  The good thing is there are lot’s of classes to take and articles to read to arm yourself to be the mighty worrier to learn what it takes to be competitive.

However, I am going to share with you the other things that makes an actor successful, that people just can’t seem to articulate.

Traits You Need To Have That You Can’t Learn In Class.

I’m excited to have identified these traits.  Check them out.  You can’t study them.  Realizing you have them and embracing them can put you in a position of strength, help you show up in a positive way and even help you through some rough patches that come up.

The successful actor has…..

Courage:  You have the ability to put yourself out there.  You go for it; every audition you go to is a risk.  You move through fear and you do not let fear stop you.  In fact fear feeds you energy.  You do not feel rejected if you do not book something.  You make choices, you take chances and commit to your choices.  Every audition takes courage.

Involvement:  You are involved all day, every day. You get up in the morning and check the breakdowns, you are aware all day of texts from your agents and managers, you get in your car, your Uber or Lyft and show up at your auditions.  You know how to act and how to approach each audition, you have a way to support yourself so you can do what you love to do.  You know the players.  You know how to balance personal time and work time. In fact you have a well-rounded life with many interests.

Enthusiasm:  Your enthusiasm, love and devotion for what you do is obvious.  Casting directors can feel it when you enter the audition room. Because you know you are the best you can be, and you know what empowers you, you are not cut off from your enthusiasm.  You love that you received an audition, you love being at the audition and you love your time in the room that you are given to audition.  You are grateful.

Graciousness:  You accept your audition times, you are happy to have auditioned.  You are not needy.  You are thankful for the opportunity.  You realize who all the players are and understand what their job is. You know you are part of a team effort with many cogs in the wheel, with everyone usually under stress to do their part right.  Because of your understanding and knowledge, you can be polite to the session runner, session director and casting director.

Positiveness:  You walk out of the audition knowing you gave it your all, feeling positive because you gave a good audition.  You are happy to have been invited to audition.

Curiosity:  Your curious nature keeps you open.  You are up for any crazy, unexpected audition situation. You are aware of people around you.  Your curiosity allows you to go deeper and deeper into your emotions and sensory work.  Your curiosity enables you to be creative.

Love for learning:  You love taking classes, learning more, delving  deeper into your craft and always getting better and better.

If you are pursuing acting by studying, building up your resume, are up-to-date with your professional photos, on breakdown services and auditioning, I’m sure you will find these traits in yourself.  In my Commercial Acting Workshop in addition to how to use the space and create a textured short scene in this space, we focus on what empowers you, which activates the traits that cannot be learned.  My best advice is to recognize and embrace them.  Owning them will be extremely empowering.