Archive for September, 2013

Young Actor: Confidence & Casting

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Another post in our Personal Development Tips and Skills for the Young Actor series.

Today it is all about keeping up your confidence during casting.

Photo Credit Adrian K-H Production: As You Like It  Amy K-H and Paul Cockburn

Photo by Adrian K-H    Production: As You Like It  Amy K-H and Paul Cockburn

Just today I was looking at castings and was horribly disappointed to see that the only role for my age, appearance and schedule required “a couple light sex scenes” and another that suited me required I had the ability to speak Hindi, which I most definitely cannot.

This is a constant frustration which we as actors will have to face and deal with for as long as we wish to call ourselves actors. From time to time you may doubt whether you fit any role and that can really damage your self confidence.

Stay strong! There are roles out there for you.

It is not rare for people to feel this way. It’s totally normal and you will be okay.

Here are a few things you can think about when you are stuck in this little temporary rut:

1 – What are you feeling towards the job?

This is a good way to evaluate your dedication to the job. If you are feeling resent towards acting, other actors, casting directors, directors or anyone else in the business and if you feel like you do not remember why you wanted to act, then perhaps acting is not the job for you.

I have never felt this way. My feeling when I am in this position is frustration because anyone will be frustrated to see a sea of roles and realize few of them are aimed at you. That’s a painful feeling. The other thing I feel is a bit dumb. What if I had taken the time to learn Hindi? That would have been both interesting, as knowing another language is pretty cool, and may have won me that role.

There are so many roles going in French of which I completely fit except for the detail of speaking French. That is being rectified as I am currently learning French, but until the time I can speak it with confidence those roles are still beyond me.

Remember, you will be facing this issue for as long as you are an actor and you have to be honest with yourself about whether or not you can take that. I know personally that it is worth having to sift through a lot of unfitting roles to find the good ones, but I cannot say for you whether you can or not. Be completely truthful with yourself.

​2 – Get inspired!

One of the reasons that I am currently learning French and Italian (and hopefully soon Japanese) is because they could come in handy in very handy with acting. It’s all well and good being able to speak English, there are countless good roles to be had in it and you could easily get by with just that, but knowing other languages gives you access to many other roles which you would not be able to consider otherwise.

Bringing down language barriers allows for you to not only enjoy more diverse roles, but would also make working in an English-speaking role with a non-English-speaking crew a lot easier and more enjoyable. It could be useful in so many ways.

Ever seen an actor doing something truly awesome in a film, play or TV show that just left you going ‘Oh my god, I never thought I’d need to be able to do something like that!’? I have so many times and it’s always inspired me to go off and learn similar skills.

Take the time to try build yourself a repertoire of interesting skills and tricks that may some day come in handy. You never know if you will get the opportunity to juggle, break-dance or tango for a role in the future, but having those skills means that you will fit the role if the need ever does arise.

Look into ways of making yourself as talented, unique and valuable as you possibly can – where is the harm in that?

​3- Take positive action

When I feel stuck in my job, the thing I do is look at what I am doing and see how I can improve it and what areas I am neglecting. It is so easy to overlook things, approach tasks from the wrong angle or miss a step, and times like this are always good for recognizing and correcting issues.

It may feel like self-improvement is the last thing you want to do when you feel like your job is giving you nothing back, but it is in fact the perfect time.

When conducting an experiment, the best time to change approach or methodology is when an issue comes up. It prevents something going wrong and can end up giving you better results than you could have hoped for.

Acting is a tough business to be in and it takes resilience, a clear head and the willingness to work as hard as you have to in order to make it.

Not getting any calls when you send off your resume and headshot? Perhaps it is time to check your resume to see if there is anything you can change to better reflect your skills. Maybe it is time for a new look and a new set of headshots so you can perhaps get work that you don’t currently fit?

It is all about trying to be the best bet a casting director can make and part of that is constantly evaluating yourself to check you are on the right course, as good as you possible can be and reflecting yourself in the best light.

Remember that, before you get to an audition, two pieces of paper are the only insight into who you are that a casting director initially gets and you need to make an impression!

 

Please feel free to leave your replies to this article and let us know if this piece has helped you on your path to success! Good luck!

The Power of the Actor: The Chubbuck Technique

 

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Young Actor: Skills for the self-employed

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The first part in our Personal Development Tips and Skills for the Young Actor series.

 

 

Today: Self-employment Skills

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As an actor and young person beginning in the creative industries, one of the phrases I hear more than any other is “And what’s your back-up plan? You know… In case the acting doesn’t work out.” This phrase is one which, for many, sparks fierce defensiveness. I hate this question as it immediately assumes my failure. BUT, there is something to take from the idea of a back-up. If you flip the term “back-up” and view it as a kind of “supporting role” to help keep you afloat WHILE you do your job, it seems a lot better.

 

 

I have maintained that I would work as a waitress if it meant supporting my dream job. I do use the term waitress metaphorically to say that I will do a job that doesn’t give me as much satisfaction if it means I can support MY job. The thing for you to do is to find what your “supporting role job” will be – and preferably make it something you can do with a smile on your face.

 

For me, I work in a number of areas to keep myself with a positive bank balance (and make the extra odd buck). I’m a television extra, I work in admin and I write articles, such as this, to keep the money coming in. No job is as fulfilling as acting, but I can enjoy any of these jobs and they mean that I can support my long-term goal of being able to live purely off earnings from acting.

 

When in doubt about what I am doing, I keep in mind something I learnt while I was at drama school:

 

“When the hero gets to their destination, the story ends, that tells us that we need to appreciate our own journeys as much as when the battle is won.”

 

It is often difficult to enjoy being on the road, it is hard work and we are never truly sure if we’re ever going to make it to our goal, but trying to make the best is an invaluable skill.

 

So many young actors, filmmakers or creatives stick to an “I’m only ever going to do this. I don’t care if I starve, I’m not doing another job.” Idea, for fear it will waste their time or consume their whole lives away. The trick is to try and find supporting jobs which are understanding of your primary focus or are easy to leave quickly. A good area that I have been told to aim for time and time again is bar work, but I prefer the easier method of freelance jobs that allow me to work from home rather then get doused in beer.

 

Do not be afraid to do other jobs to support your dreams, otherwise they may stay just dreams because you have been too proud to use other means to stay afloat.

 

Remember:

     It isn’t failure unless you are no longer trying.

 

Please feel free to leave your replies to this article and let us know if this piece has helped you on your path to success! Good luck!

 

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Giving

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Anne Frank said something which stays with me and is a big inspiration for me. She said:

“No-one was ever made poor by giving.”

Logically, that isn’t true. If you give away all your money and things, you will find yourself financially poor, but it is a phrase which shows the generosity and desire to help which you see a lot in the world.

givingToday charities are breaking records every year, independent film and television projects are receiving funding from people generous enough to give what they can to their venture and it just goes to show how, while times are hard for many of us, generosity is still a very important part of our lives.

I do not have much money and I do not earn much, but I still make a point to give to charities, because I know that other people and causes need help more than I need the extra £5 it takes to support them. I do not get anything of financial worth from it, but it is a part of my life I feel is important.

While there are many people out there who give to charities, even ones dedicated to helping fellow humans in need, why are so many people so uncharitable to those we see in our day-to-day lives?
We may give £3 a month to a charity, but not offer the kindness of a smile to someone we see in the street? That makes no sense to me.
Kindness is free, but we would rather give money and feel like good people for that? That seems a little backwards to me.

So many people, especially those in the service industries such as stores and restaurants, are surprised when I actually look at them and communicate with them as human beings, which is just something I make an effort to do. It isn’t anything special to me, but people are very thrown off by it. This goes to show that far too few people put in that effort and just treat others like robots.

Kindness and friendliness is a habit, it takes work to develop it and it’s very rare to always be happy and friendly all of the time. But life is better for being friendly and kind.

So, I challenge you to go out into the world and make a consistent effort to smile, to thank someone when they hold a door for you and to look into people’s eyes. Talk to the person scanning your groceries at the supermarket who looks like they’re having a rough day, and maybe you’ll make their day a little better. Notice the waiter who takes your plate rather than leaning around him to continue talking. Make the effort to acknowledge the people in your life who are, whether mistakenly or deliberately, too often neglected.

Show kindness to those you encounter and not only does it make them feel good, but you feel good too!

If you have a story of brightening someone’s day that you would like to share, please share with us here and have a great day!

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