Sunday, October 3, 2010

Last Minute Cancellations & No Shows

Emergencies! We all have them at one time or another; causing us to miss appointments, be late, or having us to rearrange schedules at the last minute!

I am going to address this issue from the production side. What happens when you don't show up?

Let's start at the audition:

When you are late or don't show up to an audition, this immediately makes us ask the question.... if this actor was hired, would they be late or not show up to their shoot day? Is their excuse a valid emergency, or just something created on the fly to make the actor feel better about the no show? Do you get a second chance? Sometimes - if we don't find who we are looking for in the first round auditions, we may give you another opportunity to come in. If you miss this second time, don't count on a third.

Next let's talk about other pre-production meetings such as read-throughs, costume fittings, or other things that you need to show up prior to your shoot day. Unless it's a "just show up anytime between such and such hours" type of deal, you have a scheduled appointment time. Whoever you are meeting with has set aside time just for you. You should respect this person's time, as well as any other actors who are coming in after you for appointments and not be late, or call at last minute to rearrange your time.

What about being late on a set day. This covers both actors and extras. Yes, I have had several times that the actor shows up to set late, unprepared, and expects production to just wait on them to get their act together. This is not only highly unprofessional, but you are costing the production company money. This does not reflect well on you and could jeopardize future opportunities (especially bigger, more significant roles). You should always come to set early, and prepared with lines memorized, and any requested costumes in tow.

As far as EXTRAS. Yes, there is a lot of "hurry up and wait" while you are there, but if we tell you that Call time is 10am, you should be there by 9:45am checking in, ready to go. Hair done, makeup done, and appropriate wardrobe in tow.

On extra days, we invariably seem to have someone who is late, cancels at the last minute or just basically doesn't show up. When we are asked to provide specific numbers, especially small days, this is highly important, and will definitely impact your future work, especially audition opportunities. Being an extra is your first step, your "test" of sorts. Can we count on you? Are you a person of your word? If not, then why would we risk calling you in for a role of more significance than an extra?

What about other seemingly minor appointments? Headshot appointments for one. You can expect to be billed at least half or in full for your session even when you don't show up for a photography session. Getting a headshot is a key element of your Actors Tool Kit, and if you can't be professional and take care of business, how do you expect to be taken seriously? Photographers that are recommended do let us know the complications that occur with each headshot session.

You show me that you respect my time, are on time, reliable, and someone that I can count on to show up, then you will see yourself getting booked for smaller scenes, and given more opportunities than those who complain, are always late, or who blow off commitments because it becomes inconvenient for them.

You may think "oh well" or "I'm tired" or "It doesn't really matter" but it does matter, it is a reflection of your work ethic, and the movie biz is oftentimes strenuous, stressful, and fast paced... if you aren't someone who can we can count on to be there, be adaptable, flexible, and go with the flow, then we need to replace you with someone who is.

A good motto to adapt: "I will strive to be a person of character, true to my word, and conscious of my commitments. Knowing that the opportunities allowed me can be taken away at a moment's notice."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Can I get a Line?"

On every set, I hear this question at least one time: "Can I get a line?"

It's as if I can just easily make additions to the script and say "Sure! How about you say .... (whatever)"

In order to get this elusive "Line" that all new actors are in pursuit of, one needs to realize that more often than not, these things don't "just happen."

Very rarely will you show up to set (as an extra) and be bumped up to a speaking role. It does happen! Just not on a regular basis.

I do remember on a set earlier this year, we had about 100 high school extras, and suddenly we had to "recast" 3 minor roles due to various issues. This is one instance that the Director walked amongst the crowd and selected who he liked(based on look), gave them a mini-audition of sorts, and then cast them on the spot! So - it does happen!

But what I am going to talk about in this blog is how you get a line, the right way: The Audition Route.

As you probably already know, an audition is a 3-5 minute "interview" of sorts where you are called in before the Casting Director, Director, Producer, and possibly others. Most of the time you will have received a scene in advance to practice.

When you show up, you will see your competition, other actors, sitting in the waiting room preparing to read for the same role that you are reading for.

When it is your turn, you show us what you bring to the table. And you better be hitting the mark from the beginning! I hear many actors complain that they didn't have enough time in the audition, or they weren't given the chance to "get into character."

If it takes you 5 minutes to "warm up" or "get into character" you probably already lost the role. We want actors that can grasp the character quickly, immediately be immersed into that character, and be flexible enough to evolve the character based on direction that we may give you.

A good actor is "on" from the first breath of his audition. A good actor can pull the audience in and tell a story within a 3 minute audition.

On one particular show that I worked on, I would tape the initial auditions and then show the Director the footage. Did you know that most decisions for callbacks were made within the first minute of the actor's audition. Therefore, if it took you 5 minutes to really get into character, the Director never even made it to that point. You were axed within your first minute of time.

Once you impress the Director in the audition, you are invited back (a Callback) and we expect for you to do the same thing again, and then see how well you follow direction.

Callbacks usually narrow the casting process down from 30 competing for the same role to 5. If your performance is more convincing than the other actors, you will get the line(s). If not, you will have to start the entire process over again for the next project.

Performing well in an audition can be a challenge for a new actor, that's why we recommend taking audition workshops, practicing with friends, and enrolling in an acting class to get yourself familiar with the protocol and process. The Production team does not have time to explain to you what you should already know. We call in professional actors for auditions, and until you get some experience behind you, and are confident from the moment you step out of your vehicle.... you need to look at auditions as real life practice. And keep going and going and going. Eventually, if you are doing everything right, have a top notch headshot and professional resume... you will get your "line." And you will be very proud of it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be Prepared - What you should bring to set!

On more than one occasion I have had to book extras on days that turned out being adverse weather conditions. Last night was one of them. At least it wasn't as cold as the last movie!

Unfortunately I don't have time to specifically write out every single thing you should do, bring, etc before these shoots. So I am creating this blog, that hopefully will be a reference for you on the next set you are booked on.

You should always be prepared:
1. Check the weather / road conditions - The show must go on. Rarely does a show cancel because of weather.

2. If we say you will be needed until 1am, don't expect to leave early. Rarely does a production finish ahead of schedule.

3. Bring a backpack of snacks / water / anything else you might need. Some sets provide craft service, some don't. I have no way of knowing until I get to set. If you think you might want to nibble on something, bring it with you. Better safe than sorry!

4. Wear shoes you can walk or stand in for hours. You don't know what your scene entails. And it's not our fault that you wore shoes that are uncomfortable. Very seldom will your shoes actually be shown in the shot, so go for comfort above style.

5. Parking. Each venue has different parking situations. Some you will park several blocks away, some you can park around the corner. Very rarely will you get front row parking as an extra. So be prepared to walk. Some sets put out "CREW" parking signs, so that's where you would park.

6. Chairs. Depending on the venue, we may or may not have available seating. Purchase a camping chair at walmart and keep in your trunk. Always better to be prepared.

7. Purses on set. Leave your purse in your trunk. If you decide to bring it to set and stick it in some random corner, we are not responsible for it going missing. Please don't bring it! I can't commit to watching it when I have other things I am doing pertaining to what the production company has hired me for. Unless you are specifically bringing a parent or someone to sit in the holding area to watch your valuables, don't bring them.

8. Bring 3 changes of clothing. Unless we specifically say there is no place to change, and to wear your outfit, you should always bring 3 different clothing options. This way you can be used in several scenes (representing different days) as needed.

This is just a short list of what you should bring / not bring to set with you.

Being prepared shows me that you are taking your job seriously, and are reading beyond the lines.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Katz Kasting Group Cruise

Over the years I have had many conversations with Actors & Extras on set about my cruise experiences, and just my overall love for cruising. There is just something amazing about standing on the vacant top deck at night looking out into the vast expanse, seeing nothing on the horizon, but the moon reflecting on the water and hearing the soft sound of waves crashing against the ship. It's so peaceful. I remember one night I was standing out there in the late hours of the night, and off in the distance I could see a thunderstorm. It was beautiful where I was, but I could see the lightening crackeling across the sky. The clouds illuminated with each bolt. So beautiful! And you might ask, Where was everyone else on the ship? Good question... because when it gets late it seems the ship kinda clears out (except maybe the Casino & the Kareoke bar). Other than that I think most people actually head to their cabins. It's the perfect time to explore and feel like you are on a voyage by yourself! :)

I've taken several cruises with my family and have always thought it would be a new experience to go on a group cruise, so I began researching specific group cruises that I would like to be a part of, and realized they are somewhat pricey, considering I am taking a 12-day Eurpoean cruise for the same price as some of these group cruises! So I decided to see about organizing something like this myself, and how fun would it be to actually KNOW alot of these fellow cruisers! So hence the Katz Kasting Group Cruise idea was born!

How many of you have always thought of taking a cruise, but either thought it was too expensive, or just didn't want to go by yourself? Or perhaps you are a seasoned cruiser and would just like to explore a new experience on a group cruise.

Whatever the case may be, I hope that you will join my friend Adrienne & I on this group cruise! We are inviting some of our friends as well, and so you may feel free to invite yours. The more the merrier!

I was thinking of having a Meet & Greet on the first ship day after the ship sails, or before... so we can meet everyone we don't know and who knows what new friendships you may create out of the group!

So if you think you might be interested in going, I invite you to join our Facebook Group so that you can ask questions, and perhaps find a room mate (if you need one) or excursion partner.

I spent a bit of time getting together the page on the website to answer more basic questions, so please take time to read the entire page if you have never cruised before. It will definitely give you a clearer picture of what to expect.

I will be posting more about the cruise later.

Deadline.... I don' t know.... soon as you can. The deposit to lock in your room rate is $200 per person. You pay the rest out in increments or at one payment later on. I do know that the prices quoted won't last long, doesn't mean you have to book immediately, but you may be paying a little bit more, as through summer the prices usually rise, and to be a part of the group you must have a full paid booking by Aug 8. Or you will be cruising on your own with no group perks!

So if you are interested, EMAIL ME ASAP and let me know when you would be able to pay your deposit. You won't pay it to me, but to my PVP from Carnival when he books your room.

See ya on board!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Listen MORE & Talk LESS

Acting Tip of the Day:

Listen MORE & Talk LESS.

Talking = Socializing = Networking

Talking is a key element to Networking. However, it's very important that you learn to recognize when you have said enough.

I'm trying to think of the nice way to say this.... and forgive me for being tactless, but I can't tell you how many actors have lost a callback or perhaps even a role because they talk too much. Or how many times an EXTRA leaves set and someone from crew says "Please don't have that person back, they are distractive because they TALK TOO MUCH."

From the Production point of view. You talk alot... you socialize.... you will probably end up costing us money if we put you on set, because you may end up socializing with the crew (instead of them working) or socializing with other actors (when they want to be studying) or you may be talking and miss an important cue. It's just basically disruptive, may cause the scene to run longer than expected, and it's ultimately costly to the production. You may get jobs, but they more than likely won't be ones that have you on set for many days. Some productions think they can "deal" with a big talker for a single day or two. But wouldn't it be nice to just avoid that "big talker" stigma altogether??

So here is a simple tip I offer you in regards to networking functions/events/on set ...

The 5-minute rule.
Meet someone. Talk 5 minutes. Make sure you have let them talk 3 of those 5 minutes. Unless the person is actively asking you genuine questions, then close the conversation and move on. Even when the person is seemingly interested in you and what you have to say, unless the other person keeps the conversation going, you should close the conversation and move on after 10 minutes max. Any amount of time after that you begin creating your negative impressions... so stop while you are ahead!

Remember, if you are at a networking event, people are there to meet lots of people, not just one.

How do you END the conversation? "I've enjoyed meeting you, I am going to let you visit with others, but look forward to seeing you again. "

And if you do see the person again throughout the evening don't ignore them, but give a friendly guesture of some sort and that will help create a positive impression. (That you are a pleasure to be around, talk to, and are respectful of my time)

Yes you may have a very interesting life story to share, but unless we ask, we probably don't have time to hear about it. Even if we ask, keep it short and sweet. When you end an audition, just say THANK YOU. That's all that's necessary. Don't hang around in the waiting room, and don't talk to everyone that's there.

If you attend a class that allows you to ask questions, make a list of your most important key questions and ask those. Don't be a "question hog" but allow everyone else adequate opportunity to ask their questions. And perhaps they will voice one of your concerns. If you have a million questions, space them out over time, don't expect to get them all answered the first time. That can be overwhelming for the teacher as well as the other people who feel that they didn't get their own personal time to ask questions.

I have talked longer than 5 minutes so it's time to end this conversation and move on :)


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Attend a NEW ACTORS Class

If you are New to Acting or still have lots of unanswered questions then perhaps you should consider attending one of my NEW ACTOR Classes.

Your goal is to become an Actor, let me help you get the basic questions answered so you can begin your journey!

These classes consist of basic lecture info and then a Q&A where you can ask any relevant questions and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge. Remember, I can only speak from my own personal experience, not the entire Casting world :)

Each class is $25 (in advance) or $35 at the door.

They are hosted at a Restaurant in Dallas, so you can grab dinner before or during the class.

LEVEL 1 CLASS: How to Get Started Acting In Film or TV
LEVEL 1 CLASS: Extras Meet & Greet / Q&A

LEVEL 2 CLASS: Audition Skills Class / Q&A
LEVEL 2 CLASS: Cold Reading Class (Participation Class)

Other classes may be created as time goes by. If you are interested in attending either of the above classes, please send me an email requesting info. I typically host 2 (of the 4) classes per month.

Make sure you include which class(es) you want to attend, and don't forget your name.

Welcome to My Blog!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Please click the link to "follow" the blog so that you can keep up with what's going on!

I will post various Acting Tips, Advice, Casting Info, Project info, etc as things come available or as thoughts pop into my mind!

Feel free to invite any of your other "Movie" friends to join the fun! :)