How Much Training Do You Really Need?

As actors we are constantly told that we must be in class all the time.  This drives me up the wall!  It's simply not true.

Yes, I just said that!  Look, we are all different we each have our own individual needs.  Some come to Hollywood with a $60,000 acting degree.  Some have never even set foot on stage or in front of the camera.  Some of us are somewhere in between.  No matter where you come from, there are most likely parts the education you need missing.  It could be On-Camera training that you didn't receive in theatre school.  Perhaps you have no idea how to market yourself and build relationships.  Most likely, you don't even know the best legitimate places to submit for auditions.

The point I'm trying to make is we can all learn more about this industry and the career we've chosen at any given time.  However, rather than taking that acting class that doesn't challenge or thrill you just because "they" say it will look...

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How To Do A Self tape Audition - Part 4 - Editing

audition editting self tape Sep 05, 2018

Here's the transcript for this video.  Editing is so important, I hope this helps!

Melissa:            Welcome back. You made it. Part Four, How To Do A Self Tape Audition. Today we are talking about one of the most crucial elements, editing. You need to be able to send what you've just done on to casting, and Mark is going to explain it to you.

Marc:               File size is crucial. I've even read from certain casting directors that they won't accept files that are over the size recommended, and the reasons could range from that they don't want to take forever downloading them, because they might be viewing it on their smartphones, or a website that your audition videos are being hosted on that may have certain restrictions. So, let's take you through editing, very quickly. Now, the only cuts you'll be making is at the very beginning or the end of...

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How To Do A Self tape Audition - Part 3 - Setting Up Your Shot

audition self tape Aug 29, 2018

As actors it is our job to audition.  Sometimes we are faced with challenging scenarios.  It can be difficult to know what to do in these situations.  If we do too much of the action it can look weird in an on camera audition.  Sometimes there are so many other characters in the scene, we're not sure where to look.  Other times we might be in a setting like a car or lying down in bed.

In this video we show you some simple tricks to overcome these challenges and look like a pro while doing it.  You can use these tips in your self tape auditions as well as in person auditions.  One thing to keep in mind is imagining how the shot will be set up on set.  Imagine what your close up might look like.  Take into account the angle the camera will most likely be shooting from and go from there. 

It's a little difficult to explain in writing, so watch the video to get an idea.  Then, on your next audition let your imagination go and allow...

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How To Do A Self Tape Audition - Part 2 using a reader, background and framing


Below is the transcript for part two of my interview at Jive Duck Studios.  Check back next week for part three.  It'll be  a fun one!

Melissa:            Welcome back. It is part two of how to do a self-tape audition. I'm here at Jive Duck Studios in Burbank, California, to my left is Dante Swain and behind the camera is Marc Fajardo. I'm Melissa Schumacher and today we're talking about using a reader and setting up your shot. All right. Dante, tell us what are some tips to help out your reader when going into the studio?

Dante:              Well, I would say most importantly, make sure that the reader is well aware of all of the instructions. Certain casting directors can be very particular about the do's and the don'ts with their casting. So make sure that the reader is well aware of that to help them help you. With that being said, don't be...

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How To Do A Self Tape Audition - Part 1

acting audition self-tape Aug 15, 2018

I recently got to go into the studio with Dante Swain and Marc Fajardo at Jive Duck Studios.  We talked about self taping and how to make your auditions stand out.  This is part 1 of 4.  The transcript is below.  Be sure to check back next week for part 2!  Enjoy.

Melissa:            Hi, thanks for stopping by. You're here because you wanna know how to do a self-tape audition. And we're in luck, we're in the studio today at Jive Duck Studios in Burbank, California. This is Dante Swain to my left, and behind the camera, we have Marc Fajardo, everybody wave at Marc. All right, thank you so much for joining us. In this series you are going to learn how to have a great self-tape audition, whether you're in the studio with someone like Dante or you're working at home.

Melissa:            All right, Dante why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself,...

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Why Take An On-Camera Audition Class?

Isn't acting class enough?

No!  It is not.  An on-camera audition is way different than being on set or in the classroom.  And guess what… on-camera audition technique is not about your acting ability.  What!? 

That’s right, it’s about:

  • knowing what works on-camera in an audition setting
  • knowing how to control the room
  • having the self-awareness to put your best authentic self forward to create a unique and memorable experience for your target audience (the decision makers)
  • giving the buyer what they want/need
  • creating a picture that clearly puts you into the role they are trying to cast

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I came to L.A. was to waste my time doing theatre and taking acting classes that had nothing to do with being on-camera, much less being in the audition room.  Don’t get me wrong, theatre helped to sustain my soul and acting class certainly kept my craft sharp.  However, even the best actors...

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Becoming An Actor In Los Angeles - 10 Steps To Get Started

Uncategorized May 17, 2017

1. Get Current Headshots

2. Update Your Resume

3. Updated Actor's Access Profile (w/paid Showfax  subscription)

4. Updated L.A. Casting (Casting Networks) profile

5. Current Casting Frontier profile (free is OK)

6. Demo reel and/or video clips

The above are non-negotiable.  DO NOT begin submitting to agents & managers until you have these in place!

7. Enroll in On-camera commercial audition technique class

8. Enroll in On-camera Film/TV audition technique class

9. Improvisation class/training/troupe

10. Acting class (depending on experience)

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You Have To Actually PUT The Coffee IN The Coffee Maker!

acting business Mar 23, 2017

This morning I was going through my usual routine.  While drinking my protein shake, I brew the coffee.  Today, however it came out as slightly discolored hot water.  Yes, I had forgotten to put the grounds in the basket!  Small detail, but an important one.

My Point?  It's alot like get out...what you put in.

The number of times I have heard the words "my agent's not getting me out" still amazes me.  I want to shake them and say...

It's not your agent's job to get you out!

It's true, I know it sucks, but it is your job as an actor to make contact and build relationships so when those perfect roles come along, your agent can get you in the door.  If all you do is sit by the phone, then all your doing is inviting more of that.  It's the law of attraction. 

Try this out:  Commit to submitting yourself 3 times a day on LA Casting and Actor's Access for an entire month.  Aim to do it between...

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