Yearly Archive: 2015

10 Ways to Support Your Young Performer in the New Year

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New Year’s resolutions are chock full of fitness goals, new diets, and vowing to be less stressed. Usually, we revisit these same goals year after year, although each time, we vow to stick to them. As the parent of a young performer, a large part of your life is devoted to helping your child’s dreams become a reality. Use this year to further your child’s career and help yourself along the way. 
1. Encourage your child to take control of their career. There comes a time when your child needs to be an authority of their dreams. As their biggest advocate encourage them to follow up with their agents and look for audition opportunities on their own. Talk about the kind of roles they see themselves in. Hands-on involvement is a great way for children to recognize that you value them as individuals. 
2. Make sure their photos and résumés are up to date. Kids change and grow quickly! Start off the new year with up-to-date headshots that are refreshing for casting directors. The holidays are a busy time, and sometimes we forget all of the great things our performers did! 
3. Sign them up for a class outside of their comfort zone. Maybe your child is interested in marital arts. Sign them

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1 Exercise for More Fluid Transitions

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I can still to this day hear my teacher Bella Itkin yelling at me across the rehearsal room from her wooden chair in her thin Russian accent, “Robert, you’re missing the ‘tranzeets!’ ” Exposing the organic process by which one thing becomes something else eluded me as a young actor. I’d learned how to read a script and break a scene into beats (so-called because of Stanislavsky’s own Russian accent pronouncing the English word “bits”), but there was something in between that was missing. It was a few years later that I had an experience playing Viola Spolin’s “Begin & End” game, which helped me better understand transitions and reveal the actor’s ability to amplify the rising action of a scene. 
As we head into a new year, I’d encourage you play “Begin & End” to illuminate the “bits” of a scene, or whenever you want help with transitions. It is fun and simple. 
Here’s how it works. Play a scene three times. The first time, put your focus on the scene’s basic circumstances: where, what, and who. The second time through, focus on recognizing and building each beat. Spontaneously break the scene

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Backstage Experts Answer: 15 New Year’s Resolutions for the Successful Actor

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New year, new you! This is a great time to reset your career goals, and as industry professionals spanning various areas of the business, our Backstage Experts know what tools actors need to succeed. That’s why we knew they’d be the perfect group to ask the following question:
What New Year’s resolutions will help actors succeed in 2016?
Here are 15 resolutions to set you up for a prosperous new year! 
(And if you missed the last installment of this column (and didn’t get what you wanted for the holidays), check out “15 Great Stocking Stuffers for Actors” and see how to get your acting questions answered at the bottom of this article!)
Paul Barry, L.A.-based acting teacher and founder of Acting 4 Camera When was the last time you made a resolution to do something radically positive in your life? If it was last year around this time then please read my thoughts in “7 Honest Resolutions Worth Making.” 
Declan Donnellan in “The Actor and the Target” speaks of “concentration versus attention.” By concentrating on one specific outcome we may overlook experiences along the way that could help us get there another way. Sometimes the

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5 Red Flags When Selecting an Acting Class

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Choosing to engage in a relationship with an acting class/coach is like dating. You’re entering into a potentially long-term relationship that must be mutually beneficial, healthy, and free of mental and emotional abuse. The No. 1 factor when considering joining is the results of the work: launched careers, booked roles, awards, nominations, etc.
The following are basic assessments I encourage all actors to employ when selecting an acting class. 
Red Flag #1: Classes are jam-packed.In addition to the teacher not knowing your name, you will be lost in a sea of students, forced to work with a scene partner, and may only get up to work once every four weeks…if you’re lucky! I describe my classes as “private coaching in a class setting.” Because our classes are small, our actors get up and work every single week on a new major film, TV, or theater piece until they have an undeniable acting breakthrough and transformation, or else they don’t sit down.
Red Flag #2: You’re forced to work with a scene partner.When actors are required to partner up, it means the teachers can pack the class like sardines. What sucks about this imposed dynamic is the inevitability that your partner doesn’t

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3 Ways to Personalize Your Marketing Emails

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Actors should absolutely be using email for their career. While social media marketing is highly effective, it’s not always seen by the entire audience you’ve gathered. Email is more direct. People rarely change their address and are always checking their inbox. 
That being said, I’m not really a fan of actor email newsletters! They’re hard to do well. Consider the offline snail-mail equivalent. Would you be more likely to open/read/accept an invitation that was a mass-printed brochure or a personal hand-written note? 
It’s subjective, but I think the personal hand-written note will always win. For personal brands such as actors, I believe that personal emails are always going to be better than personalized email marketing!
While it saves you time to send out one mass message, it reads as marketing to the hundreds or thousands who receive it. Many people don’t even open email newsletters! They may send them to junk or trash right away.
Today, I want to campaign that you (re)consider how you’re using email for your career. If email marketing/newsletters are working for you (as in getting responses from the VIPs on your list and/or creating offline results), keep on doing what

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9 Tips to Kick off 2016

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Here we go with the New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, read more books, run five miles a day, take up online dating, buy a French Bulldog, get more Instagram followers, stop being crazy. Once we get past the awkward holiday conversations—(“When will I see you on TV?” “Why don’t you just get a part on ‘Blue Bloods’?”)—we turn our attention to the new year, and how to push our career forward. 
What can you do to move your career forward in 2016? The business is always changing, and it’s important that actors keep up with the current trends.
Here are nine tips to start the year off right:
1. Take a class with a working professional. Actors need to know how to book jobs in today’s market. Plain and simple. Learn from someone who knows the business, who works in it, and understands current trends in the casting landscape. Athletes are constantly training so they are ready for the big game. You should do the same. Take an audition class and practice auditioning for the camera. It’s a different muscle, and must be exercised all the time so you are ready when the next one comes along.
2. Update your headshot and résumé. Take off the

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James Brolin: “I was a person who was really unsuited to be an actor”

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“I would go to five different workshops a week, spending every nickel I had, trying to be just decent at this side of the camera” – James Brolin

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