It's been a day. Let's check in.
Did you put up all of your materials on Backstage
, Actors Access
, Casting Networks
, and NYCastings
No? Then stop procrastinating, and go do that. No soup for you.
Yes? Then congrats! You're ready for Step 2.STEP TWO
It's time to submit.
Now, the way you go about self-submitting is completely dependent upon what you're looking to get out of these projects.
Answer the following:
Are you new to acting and just looking to get some experience under your belt (experience on set/on camera, experience acting in general)? Or are you more trained and trying to build your reel? Of course, the answer may very well be both, and both are equally important, but it is useful to know which is your priority.
Here's why:I'm Looking for Experience:
If you're purely looking to get some experience under your belt, you may very well submit yourself for anything and everything. Submit for more legitimate nonunion projects as well as any of the college-class postings (NYU Sight and Sound is great, there's also several classes at SVA, New School, and LIU constantly looking for actors).
Your focus is on getting cast and getting your feet wet. The college class projects are GREAT. You work with students passionate about making film and television and get the chance to work in a safe, welcoming environment. It's also a great networking opportunity. When you're up for anything, you also have the chance to submit for characters you'd never think you'd get in a million years--this is all about taking risks and exploring yourself as an actor. No film or project should be below you, every experience is experience and every opportunity will in some way broaden your understanding of acting and the filmmaking process.I Want to Build My Reel:
If your focus is solely on building a reel
, your focus while self-submitting may be a bit more strategic. You're trying to build your reel, so you're trying to compile samples of your work from various projects that will show an agent precisely what you have to offer. You're discovering and building your "brand" and figuring out what about you is marketable and desirable to an agent. For you, spending time in an NYU class may not be as helpful, because even though you'll meet great people, you won't be getting the quality footage you need for your reel. For you, you're better off solely submitting to projects with higher quality production values--things like undergraduate/graduate thesis films and the more legitimate nonunion projects. You also may not be as concerned with trying any and every role out there for your gender/age range. I'd even suggest solely submitting for parts that you think you'd NAIL because those are the types of roles you'll want for your reel. Sure, take on projects that will show your range
but don't lose sight of who you are as an actor what you think you offer this industry. Make sure that you have a sample of work for all the types of characters you think you're perfect to play. A Final Note:
Others may disagree with me, but if a post on Mandy is barely written in english, with typos, terrible grammar and incomplete sentences and the character description is "GIRL: lead's girlfriend" I say move on. If someone can't take the time to write out a real synopsis and a real character description, why should I take the time to submit and potentially work on their project? I don't care how desperate you are for footage and/or experience, every project you take should in some way get you one step closer to building your career as an actor. Doing projects with film students who are studying and serious about their craft is a perfect way to spend your time, acting in some random guy's film with his friend that he's barely put any thought into...is not.
So spend some time perusing your options, check out what each site has to offer. Start to figure out which roles and projects appeal to you.
Ponder all that and meet me at Step 3 where we'll discuss the nuances of submitting and staying persistent week after week.
I think it's time we had "the talk".
You've been out of school for six months now.
You haven't acted since that time you roasted your friends in a perfunctory skit, under the influence, during Senior Week.
You're constantly complaining that the world just needs to discover you already.
...It's time to self-submit.
I know what you're thinking...
...but you got this.
YES it's overwhelming. YES it's tedious. YES it is a @#$!ing pain in the ass to have to keep entering your less-than-impressive resume over and over into each site's ridiculously counterintuitive "resume" template.
But you need to do this.
Set aside an hour or so to get your resume and headshot(s) up onto each of these sites:
Once you've done that. You're ready for STEP TWO.
Thanksgiving's tomorrow! It's also Hannukah!
Family can be tough. They think you're great, they want you to succeed. But, they also can be overwhelming.
You sure this isn't a phase? When are you going to go to Law School? When am I going to see you on TV? Why aren't you on Broadway yet? My friend's granddaughter already booked a sitcom on TBS, why haven't you?
Stay strong. You got this.
Flash that smile and make that last student film you were in sound like the greatest thing to happen to cinema since "Citizen Kane".
As someone who considers herself a comedic actress, I've always struggled with really 'emotional' scenes. (Yes, the problem already is that I think of them as 'emotional' scenes, but bear with me.) I'm not someone who has the all-encompassing depth of human emotion available at the drop of a hat. I envy those who can so easily tap into their feelings and dive head first into their characters' realities.
Me? I struggle. I shut down. And struggle some more. I'm terrified of my own emotions. Thus, it's the block I'm working on most in my work here at MN Acting Studio.
For years it's been the same thing: everyone's always saying you need to "GO there", I know I need to GO there, I don't know how to let myself GO there, so I try my best to get to my preconceived notion of THERE, and never feel like I GET there. (Surprised?)
So, when I am presented with the task of doing a more difficult emotional scene, I automatically start panicking. Yet again I'm not going to GET there, if I try and GET there I'm going to be constantly evaluating if I'm "there" while I'm "there", everyone else is going to be watching to see if I GO there, I don't even know where 'there' is, why am I even doing this, can I even act, what am I thinking, where is my life going, who do I think I am calling myself an actor, etc....
Have a headache yet? Me too.
I got sick of my own self-sabotage and decided to find some answers.
What I found was the glorious human that is Jack Plotnick.
I don't need to get anywhere, I just to need to take it from where I am.
See here: http://www.jackplotnick.com/resources/Take+it+From+Where+You+Are.htm
Read the rest of Jack's work here: http://www.jackplotnick.com/10.html
I still struggle to let go and give all of myself in my acting, but with the help of Jack and the Masterclass, each week I get one step closer.
As actors, we are sensitive beings. We feel things. A lot. Sometimes we feel like crap (see here
). Sometimes we feel elated. Either way, it is our job to constantly understand how we are feeling and do our best not to avoid or suppress our emotions.
Sometimes, that entails welcoming negativity and allowing your negative self-talk to take its course. Anger, disappointment, despair---these are all valid, integral emotions to feel and experience.
However, sometimes we cling
to our negativity for dear life. It becomes a crutch. We complain. We think we're doomed, talentless, and alone. We see our friends' idealized lives on social media and resent that #*&@ friend of ours that just posted "Just booked another lead in an indie!!!!! So blessed."
Remember, being positive is oftentimes a choice,
and more often than not, it's a good one.
Check out this Backstage article about it here: http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/how-keeping-positive-can-help-actors-grow/
Brilliantly directed by Francis Lawrence and featuring some killer performances by the film's stars, Catching Fire is absolutely worth seeing. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a beautifully subtle, yet emotionally raw (and even at times hilarious!) performance in the much-anticipated Hunger Games sequel. She carries the film with grace and captivates us from the very beginning with her fearless portrayal of Katniss' psychological struggle as she deals with living post-Games.
Harrelson and Sutherland both nail their characters, per usual. Hutchinson captures our hearts with his ever sweet, ever compassionate Peeta. Seymour Hoffman is a welcomed addition to the already incredible cast. But it is Tucci, Banks, and Malone who steal the show with their aptly executed humor and sass, providing much needed levity to the otherwise grim and tempestuous film.
If anything, see Catching Fire for the final frame. Jennifer Lawrence will make your heart stop.
This girl won an Oscar. We see why.
Check it out now.
Everyone has their own idea of the best way to learn to be an actor. Some people think you can't learn it at all.
Oftentimes people insist you can't learn acting from a book. It's something you need to do. You need to act to act.
That is definitely true. Learn acting, by acting: take classes, study with a private coach, audition audition audition, and get some roles under your belt. But, don't underestimate the importance of books.
You acting texts should be your teachers at home, your personal trainers. They're the safe place you can return to again and again at different stages of your process when you've reached a block and need some TLC.
Always have them at your side, always go back to them. Constantly read and reevaluate your approach.
Guskin. Hagen. Meisner. Shurtleff. M. Chekhov. Brooks. Adler. Boleslavsky. Stanislavski. The list goes on and on.
Find who speaks to you and discover something new about acting and yourself. Whatever block or funk you're going through, give these books a chance before you dramatically pronounce from a rooftop that you're through with acting forever. What you learn may surprise you.
Always go back to the text.
You wake up feeling like crap. Swallowing feels like someone's stabbing your throat with needles. Your body feels like lead. You can't remember the last time you had a night off, and last night's shift at the restaurant was especially exhausting.
But here's the real problem: you have an audition and/or rehearsal and/or class today. There's NO way I'm acting today. You protest.
You aren't just going to act today, you are going to act brilliantly.
The biggest problem actors come across day after day is themselves. We constantly stand in our own way. We over-think things, we protect ourselves, we shy away from being present, and do anything to avoid actually affecting and being affected by our scene partner.
When you're so overworked/sleep-deprived that you can't think straight you simply DON'T have enough energy to get in your own way. Some of your most brilliant, honest, don't-give-a-%#(@! acting can come when you just drop all your defenses and just do. the. scene.
So get out of bed. Get to your audition. Welcome your terrible mood/physical state as a gift to your acting that day and DOMINATE.
Or, realize you're not just tired/pissed off, you're sick. In that case, stay home. Get better. And next time you're about to head out without a coat--don't.
Welcome to 147 West 35th Street, the official new home of the MN Acting Studio! I am writing to welcome everyone to my new space, which has been a dream of mine for many years. I started coaching out of my little apartment in Brooklyn Heights four years ago, then moved to Ripley Grier, and I am so happy to now have a space to call home, where the students can feel comfortable, focused, and do their best work. All I ever wanted was a wonderful place where actors can feel creative and free, and I'm proud to say that we finally have that. It's a really convenient place to get to, right near Ripley Grier, Penn Station, all major subways, and right in the heart of the Garment District. I am feeling overwhelmed by the response it has been getting. Thank you to all of my students from the bottom of my heart for coming on this journey with me. Check out the pics below! When actors walk in there is a cool little waiting area with benches, where you can hang out before class starts and browse through some of my favorite acting books. We also have water for sale, as well as copies of my book "10 Steps to Breaking Into Acting." Actors can hang up their coats, charge their phones, and hang out here going over lines while they wait for class to begin.
When you walk into the main classroom area, there are 12 chairs, and a "filming area," where actors feel like they are on a real set, with professional lights, furniture, a huge backdrop, a 32" TV monitor, and a camera. Last night we had our first class at 147, and before class started, we projected a scene from the film "The Accused" onto the wall (see pic below). It was amazing, and very inspiring to start the class this way.
I'm excited to share this with you!!
It's 1 am. You're on set. You have five minutes until you and the crew are kicked out from this location. You need to get this shot. Your director is screaming at you that your face looks dead, "I NEED TO SEE IT IN YOUR FACE". See it in my face?!
You wonder. But I thought film acting was all about being subtle?!
Film requires subtlety. Yes. However, when you allow yourself to truly give in to the scene you're in and let the emotions read all over your face, something brilliant can happen.
Don't believe us? Take a look at this incredible photo shoot by Howard Schatz. Sure, most of these are purely entertaining, but some of them are incredibly moving and exemplify how masters of acting can access emotion and aren't afraid to let it show.
Check it out: In Character: Actor's Acting