ACTORS WITHOUT DEMO REELS: WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?
- Do your homework. Watch as many acting reels on YouTube and Vimeo that you can. Keep a notebook handy and write down your thoughts and impressions on each one. Be sure to jot down what you really liked and didn't like about a reel and ask yourself, did it hold your interest until the end. If it did, watch it again and look for reasons why. Pretty soon, you'll have a general idea of what you like and don't like for your own reel.
- Make a decision of who is going to edit your reel. If you have the skills and equipment to edit your own, then by all means do it yourself. Just make sure that the finished project is professional looking. If you don't have the skills, research editors. There are as many good editors out there as there are bad ones. Ask for their own demo reel or to let you see samples of demo reels they have done for other actors.
- Assemble your footage that you want to include in your demo reel. Include your recent work as well as your past work.
- When editing your footage, make sure that you have the editor start your reel with YOUR FACE. That is the first thing that a producer, casting director, and director wants to see. Why? We look first to see if your physical traits match the description of the character.
- DON'T start your reel with a black screen and text. We want your face. (That is why number four is so important). Also, since most scenes in a demo reel contain more than one actor, by putting your face first it allows viewers to know which actor they are supposed to be looking at. It is important that you make it completely obvious to the director and producers that it is your reel and not one of the other actors. A huge tip that I like to do when editing actor's reels is to grab a still from the first scene of a close up of the actor to use as the "FACE" in the beginning of the video. That way, it is obvious as to what actor the reel is for.
- Remember, that your reel is a reel and not an audition tape, therefore; there is no need to slate.
- Put your best footage first. Avoid the thinking pattern that you will save the best for last. Your goal is to catch the viewers attention from the get go. Otherwise, they may turn it off and never get to the good footage. When deciding what is your best footage, the footage that best demonstrates your acting ability, is professionally shot or from a high concept feature film, is usually best.
- Your goal is to market yourself in your demo reel and not another actor. If you aren't featured enough, have your editor "Edit" out the other person as much as possible, and use more shots of you by layering your footage from that scene. For example, lets say, the footage shows you listening to the other character, then shows you talking, then back to the other acting talking. Instead of having the other actor talking, have your editor copy the footage of you listening on top of that so we see you again.
- Keep your reel less than five minutes. Actually, three minutes is best. This means you do not have to include every thing you have acted in. Instead, use only those parts that feature you and presents you as the actor.
- DON'T use copyright music or the latest hit song if you have a picture montage. This violates copyright infringement and serves no purpose. If music is needed, ask your editor to use royalty free music or find one on the internet that you can download and use for a small royalty fee.
- Once you reel has been edited, make copies. DOUBLE CHECK each copy on several different computers to make sure they work. There is nothing more frustrating for a casting director or director to want to watch an actor's reel only to discover it is not on the disc supplied by the actor.
- Every copy of your reel, the disc and not just the case, MUST BE labeled with your name, your agent's name, and contact information. Often, in the fast and furious world of casting, discs get misplaced from the cases. That is why it is important to label your disc as well. Also on the disc itself, have your editor place a thumbnail of your head shot that matches the one on your resume.
JUNE 21, 2012
- Begin your slate by introducing yourself by saying, "I am ________________ represented by the _____________________ agency. You can reach them at ___________________phone number and their email address is __________________________. I am auditioning for the role of _________________."
If you don't have an agent, say, "I am unrepresented."
After you slate, pause for a couple of seconds and then begin your scene.That is how easy slating is for an actor.
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin texture
- Enlarged pores
- Damage from the sun.
YOUR ACTOR RESUME
By Dr. Mel Caudle
Have you ever wondered how important your acting resume is? If you haven't, maybe you ought to. Your resume is one of two marketing tools that represents you as an actor. Your resume plays an instrumental role in casting for a couple of reasons.
- It is a reminder to producers, directors, and casting personnel, of your likeness when they begin to make decisions.
- The information on your resume provides the key contact information to the powers at be.
- It is a simple way to express your qualifications and specialty skills.
- Provides the wardrobe department (after you are cast) with your measurements and sizes.
- Use a template found online.
- Include your name, and agent and/or manager's contact information
- Be honest. Only put work on there that you actually did.
- Don't include your extra work.
- List your specialty skills.
- List your measurements, hair color, eye color, shoe size, and clothing size.
- Punctuate correctly.
- Make sure you spell check for an error free resume.
JUNE 14, 2012
THE REAL JOB OF AN ACTOR
- Review your performance by taping them and be your own “Judge.
- Make bold choices during your sessions and discuss how they translate to film.
- Get together with your peers and perform sides.
- Tape them, and critique each other.
- In the privacy of your own acting team and living rooms is the time to experiment, not in the audition.
- Don't ever let casting directors and producers catch you acting. Learn how to transcend from acting like a character and becoming that character.
- Dig deep into character and find the roots of the being. Know who that character is long before you utter your first dialogue word.
- Strengthen your audition muscle (you) and take that audition room by storm.
JUNE 7, 2012
TIPS AND TRICKS OF RECORDING YOUR AUDITION
Additionally, you don't need to spend a great deal of money on cameras, film gadgets, or invest in editing software. Most actors, nowadays, have at their disposal everything they need to produce their submission video. Actors can use:
- Cell phone camera
- IPAD camera
- Web camera on their computer
- A flip camera
- A consumer video camera
I have an actor colleague who has a special cell phone case they use for this purpose. He attaches Velcro to the back of the cell case and then glued the matching part of the Velcro to a cheap small picture frame so it can be mounted onto the wall. That way, he doesn't ruin the wall by attaching the Velcro directly to it. When not in use, he stores his special mount frame in his Chester drawer and hangs a picture up on the nail. Then, when he needs to record an audition, he removes the picture that normally hangs on the wall, and hangs the Velcro "camera mount" on the wall and attaches his cell phone. The only thing left is for him to press the record button and enter into frame and record his audition.
Another alternative is to purchase a Cell Phone Mount. There are several available on the market for under $30 dollars. The one I love is the RAM Mount Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder with the 1" ball. It uses suction cups to mount to any hard surface and attaches your cell phone. Another favorite of mine is the PanaVise 727-06-6 Slimline Series Pedestal Cell Phone Mount. Also, many of the cell phone mounts, made for cars, can easily be adapted for placement on a bookshelf in your home, your desk, or on a table top. Just use your thinking caps and improvise.
These are simple and inexpensive ways to record your own audition where you, the actor, has control without spending a fortune on a camera or a tripod. Here is a perfect example of Susie Labry's audition recorded using an IPAD. Direct lighting in the room was used as well as the on-board microphone included with the IPAD. A free editing software from the market area was used to edit to include the titles.
Before you begin taping:
- Check out the lighting where you’re making your tape - don’t stand w/your back to the window. The light should be in front of you.
- Mark your spot on the floor where you need to stand or if you choose to sit, place your chair where it needs to be in the frame once you press the record button, you will be in frame.
- Frame yourself correctly: 1. You should be in the center of the frame, 2. Bottom of the frame should be at the center of your chest, 3. Top of the frame should be barely above the top of your head.
- Don't leave to much white area above your head.
- Don’t walk out of the frame of the camera while recording. We need to be able to see you.
- It is best to stand in front of a solid background: e.g. a wall, a tapestry, a sheet, a drape, etc. NOTE: It is imperative that the background be a SOLID COLOR. No patterns be used for slating. The reason is to really showcase you without distractions. However, you can use a setting for the scene or shoot against a greenscreen and edit in a background. (Refer to the article on the page The Back Lot for information on how to make a greenscreen for less than $10 dollars.)
- Make sure there is no background noise that will interfere with our ability to hear your character.
- Have your reader speak lower than you. It is you we need to focus on and not your reader.
- Prior to the recording, please make sure the camera and microphone are ready to go. You can do this by setting it up, shooting yourself and then playing it back to make sure you are framed correctly and the audio is working.
- Don't forget to slate at the beginning of your audition tape. Make sure you speak clearly and if you have an unusual name or you spell your name creatively, be sure to spell it out when you slate.
GETTING MORE CREATIVE
WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?By Samuel F. Goldstein
|The Keystroke Killer started as a short film that went viral on You Tube in 2009|
|THE KEYSTROKE KILLER FAN SITE|
|Jamie Alyson from the original Keystroke Killer|
|Dr. Mel Caudle watching online auditions at her office.|
It hasn't been all roses for Caudle and Stroud with the online process. Some people were not only skeptics but also tried to put a thorn in their sides. "In the first couple of weeks I received numerous phone calls from talent agents and managers requesting that their actors bypass the online process," Caudle says she heard every excuse in the book as to why an agent did not want their client to follow the online casting procedures we set forth. One agent told Caudle their client didn't feel comfortable being seen on our computer monitors because they look better in person than on camera. "I laughed so hard I cried," Caudle says. "I remember sitting and thinking, why on earth would I cast an actor that doesn't come across on screen and their agent had the audacity or stupidity to tell me this. What was he thinking?" Another reason was just as humorous Caudle stated. "This particular agent told me that I was making a fool out of myself because I would only get the really bad actor," Caudle says. "He continued to say that no quality actor would ever audition this way and that my team and production company wasn't worth a grain of salt. Really? That statement really makes me want to cast their client. Again, I laughed. as a representative from Tyler Perry was waiting on the line to talk to me on the ins and outs of casting online." The opposite is true of the aforementioned statement.
Stroud was more forthcoming in relaying some of her favorites which included Jack E. Curenton and Challa Sabre's Judas audition; Nathan Lucas and Justin Little for Matthew; Robert Fleet and Julian Grant for Dr. Garrick Angela; Chris Swirles, and Tymothy Wyant as Milo Evans; Billy Mayo as Landlord, Ava St. Claire and Gino Galenti as Ima Star, Savannah Schoenecker as Meagan Montgomery; and Tina Rubin as Dr. Elizabeth Wright .
|KEYSTROKE KILLER FAN SITE MONTAGE|
|To purchase any of these books click here.|
Caudle writes and publishes a blog, drmelcaudle.blogspot.com, to keep everyone updated on the callbacks for The Keystroke Killer and provides new information for actors, screenwriters, and producers. I have a feeling it will be one of the most successful blogs in the film industry if averaging more than 8,000 pageviews a day for the first week is any indication. Dr. Mel's Message, her weekly blog, can be translated into 50 languages. The Keystroke Killer casting team and Dr. Melissa Caudle is the team to watch has they gain ground swell and a fan base for a project they believe in. Both Caudle and Stroud will have personally commented on every online audition by the time the callback list is complete. "It is a 12-hour a day job just going through every audition for the second time," Caudle says. "But, it is worth it. We believe in the process and we believe in our project." They have me believing in them too.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
|Dr. Mel Caudle getting her hair done getting ready to shoot a scene in the film Failure to Launch.|