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6 items from 2009

Acting Nuts

14 December 2009 1:02 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

Actors who leverage layering are the actors moving ahead of others.When I work with my students, either at Nyu or privately, I always cover audition technique and scene study. Often when I venture upon this acting avenue with thespians—viewing what acting skills they have to show—the first presentation foray is just that: presentation. Either the actor plays a singular emotion ('Johnny-one-noting' as I call it) through the entire piece, or the actor gives me a one-dimensional take on the role. When either happens, I begin to immediately lose interest. I light-grid. 'Light gridding' referring to when I zone out at a theater, looking to the light grid, when the action presented on stage has less excitement than watching dead grass grow.Whenever presentation happens I'm asking, "Where's the depth? Where are the layers?" The more evolved the choices, the objectives, the twists and turns, the more exciting »

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Sex Behind the Scenes

30 November 2009 6:02 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

Showmance. It isn't one's love for the latest stage hit that has developed a cult-following accompanied by a marketing campaign that includes relentless merchandising of the show on T-shirts and towels. But it's similar to what happens between two emotionally and romantically charged people involved in a show who are attracted and then collide. And sometimes even an airbag or condom can't provide safety.First of all, in full disclosure, I must admit that I am not unblemished when it comes to my past sex life (no comment on the present). So no morality play here. No holier-than-thou-evangelical-Prop 8-bedroom-interference. My last showmance was over 20 years ago. It has continued ever since with my partner who I met during a national tour of "Annie" (o.k. ... stop the giggles).Sex: It's the entertainment of nearly anyone involved in entertainment. It's our hobby. If you haven't dabbled in the backstage intrigue that is showmance, »

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Finding an Agent: Timing

17 November 2009 10:03 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

"It's the most wonderful time of the year When casting comes stallingAs actors are bawling'Why is my calendar clear?'It's the most wonderful time of the year"Let me explain.My adulterated Andy Williams brings to question: When is the best time of year for seeking an agent? Now. For unrepresented actors—or those wishing to change agencies—this is the most wonderful time of the year for finding your champion. (Plus another point in the talent rep's calendar.) But first let's revel in the cornucopia of opportunity for representation presented as gifts that exists between Turkey Devotion Day and the heralding of holly instead of headshots.The regionals and Broadway castings have gone through their first rounds of the season (August through October). Episodics are on hiatus. Pre-production of films will begin after the start of the New Year. And talent reps are bracing for pilot season—reviewing their roster, »

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Worshiping a Technique and/or Teacher (aka The Cult Factor)

2 November 2009 6:02 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

"Everything I say is right. Everything I say is wrong. There are many conflicting opinions in this industry. Don't take one person's word as gospel. Including my own. Take what works for you."Anyone who has read my book will recognize that quote of mine. It's on the first page.Recently I was teaching at one of the schools that I was invited to. (Possibly dangerous having me corrupt the minds of young actors.) We were working on audition technique beginning with the dinosaur of auditions: monologues.The first student, while presenting her monologue, stood as if her feet were glued to the floor. She gave an occasional gesture, then ended the piece with the word "scene." My reaction? "What the f__k?!" Why the explosive expletive? Plow on. I began to work with the student. I told her that in the professional world of auditions, actors can use the space—that is, »

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Innovative Marketing Tool for the Actor

19 October 2009 4:01 AM, PDT | | See recent Backstage news »

I'm surprised this hasn't been utilized by actors when it comes to marketing and hustling to get work. What is "this"? Journey onward via my musings and discover.In my 30-year career as a director, casting director and former actor, I have never once come across an actor (including my past self) who had a reduced, easy-to-pocket, up-to-date resume on them at all times.As I wrote earlier on this column, there have been many occasions when I encountered actors who had no form of picture and resume (i.e., their business card) with them. I'm not talking about just at auditions (though actors without a P&R while in the job search mode is unfortunately not uncommon). I'm offering a solution to those who foolishly go without their P&R for whatever reason, including "it's too big to handle." To be an actor without some form of a picture »

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Headshots: Border or Not?

5 October 2009 1:02 PM, PDT | | See recent Backstage news »

To border or not to border... that is the question.Recently a reader sent me a question about the latest headshot trends. He had been hearing many conflicting opinions (shocking in our industry) about whether a headshot should have a border or be full bleed (i.e. no border). Every five or so years the "in" headshot format alters. Who the hell determines this? I have no f-ing clue. The start and persistence of some trends is as mysterious as Donald Trump's reddish-blonde mop.As to who cares about the headshot trends? Actors and photographers. Who doesn't care as much? The people who don't hire photographers but hire the actors. The casting decision makers want your talent. Your headshot is an introduction and/or reminder to us of who you are.So the question... to border or not to border? It doesn't much matter but the current trend is full bleed. »

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