Acting 102- Always more acting info..


 There are a few acting schools in the Metro Detroit area, The Michigan Actors Studio, The Actors Loft, The Dramatic Arts Studio, and a few more.  Make sure you check them out and, if you can, sit in on a class before you sign up. Most long time actors will continue training through classes, workshops, and private coaching. The first thing casting directors look at is experience, then they look at what training you have.
            Another tip is to tape your self doing scenes and monologues. You should also be doing this in your acting class.  Beg, borrow or steal a camcorder and rehearse in front of the camera.  It is nerve racking the first time you see yourself on film, but it is invaluable in learning how your body moves and maybe how you don’t want it to!

storyboard sketch of my son in Dark Fields with David Carridine
 Next you need a headshot and representation. There are three Screen Actors Guild (SAG) registered agencies in Michigan and it is competitive. If they are SAG, this means they will be able to send you on auditions for SAG movies, etc. You want your SAG card folks. But if you get a Taft-Hartley waiver (A waiver to make you SAG eligible so you can say a line) on a movie set, don’t rush out and pay the fee. Stay SAG eligible as long as you can because once you get your SAG card, you cannot do anything that is not SAG. And if you don’t have a large resume you will need to do the small films that will get you the experience you need.

On Set of Memisis, role of reporter
           The three SAG registered agencies are Productions Plus/The Talent Shop, Charlie’s Talent Agency and The I Group. After you feel comfortable enough (i.e. have done some extra work, some indie’s, a few classes, and/or workshops) give them a call and ask for an audition with their film department. You might have to send in your headshot first and resume, it’s considered rude to email it. Put a stamp on an envelope and send it snail mail with a query letter explaining how you would like to work with their agency and want to set up an interview.  You can follow up a soon after you send it, but if you don’t hear back, just get some more experience, maybe a new headshot and try again!

Photo by Jason Gessert of Me! untouched
             The best headshot shows how you truly look in real life, on a daily basis.  Do not use too much make-up, if you have a gap in your teeth or they are crooked, SHOW IT.  Most movie roles are not for the model types and directors need all kinds of people.  Show your personality (If you have one!); Make sure you are shot, head on, one ¾ length, so they can see your body type and one just of your shoulders and head.  And if someone photo-shopped you 20 pounds lighter or with more hair, they will just laugh you out of the room and never call you again. One last thing, please do not use a fly by night photographer, usually an actor with a SLR camera.  Make sure they mostly do headshots, if not specialize in them, and check their work. The going rate is usually $200-$400 for 3 looks.  Keep a folder with your resume and headshots in your car, as you never know when you will need them.
              If you follow these “simple” rules, you should find yourself out there pounding the pavement like the rest of us.  Good luck and break a leg—then you will not be my competition! Ha!


Victor Pytko said…
I've spoken to a lot of extras about moving up in the ranks and for the most part, they are content to being background. No aspirations for stardom, Walk of Fame, or the Red Carpet. Just give them a package of cheese crackers, an apple, water and a decent nolding area and they will be happy...up to the 14-hr limit when most peter out. Avoiding the decision about SAG, continual training, and ego-wrecking cattle calls, means more fun doing background.

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