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Audition with Authority
Why Join Sag?
Acting for Money
Audition With Authority
From The E-Mail Course: ACTOR'S TOOL-KIT
by Bob Fraser
I am often asked about auditioning - "what's the secret?"
There really aren't any secrets, but there is a checklist.
Here is my memory word, a word you can use to make every
audition more successful - by going through the checklist.
The word is PARADIGM.
PREPARE. Preparation usually involves several steps.
Here are just a few: Know what you are auditioning for.
Ask questions, get information, listen carefully.
Familiarize yourself with the script (if there is one).
If there is a script (or sides), study the character and
make a couple of solid choices as to how you will perform
it. If there is no script, but you have a general
description of the character you are trying out for,
again make some choices. Plan your trip to the place
where the audition is taking place. Have your outfit
picked out. Make sure you have gas in the car - or
correct change for public transportation. Plan the day
ahead of time. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
(hair, make-up, etc.).
The number one element in a successful audition – that
most casting directors point to – is preparation.
ARRIVE EARLY. This is VERY important. When you arrive
early you accomplish two crucial things: First, you are
"on time." This is a must in our industry. People who
show up late are a pain in the ___ (fill in your choice
of body part). Producers hate late. Directors loathe the
lackadaisical. Other actors don't like it much either.
Casting directors are unlikely to form a favorable
impression of you if you are late. That's because if you
are cast (on their recommendation) and then you show up
late for production, they will get yelled at. CD's don't
like getting yelled at. They are unlikely to recommend
you if you are late. (Don't "sign in" early as this will
cause problems. Get there and wait nearby.)
The second thing that happens when you arrive early is
you have time to do the next part of a great audition
RELAX. Being relaxed is important to your results.
If you are keyed up, stressed, rushed or still coming
down from the trip to the audition – it will cost you.
Almost everybody needs some time to "get ready." Only
you can know how much time you will need, but whatever
it is – that's how early you have to get there.
There are about as many techniques for relaxation as
there are humans on the planet - so I'll skip listing
them. The bottom line? The relaxed actor is the more
successful actor. Why? Because if you are relaxed, you
help relieve the natural anxiety the casting director,
producer and director are also dealing with in the
audition process. Oh, yes, it's tough on them too. If
they don't get it right it can ruin an entire production.
So, believe me, they are stressed. Relax and the whole
world relaxes with you.
ACT. A lot of actors forget the purpose of an audition.
The CD's, directors and producers are looking for a
performer – which means it is important to perform. This
is another reason to relax. It's easier to remember to
do the job when you are at ease.
DEAL. Every audition is just one of the many you will
have in your career. If you are a normal human being you
will "fail" 80% of the time. Not just at auditions either.
The best piece of advice about this failure business is
given by one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates;
"If you want to be more successful, double your failure
The most difficult thing to 'deal' with in the entertainment
industry is the inevitable – "I didn't get it" realization
You must understand that this is going to be the case much
more often than not. Rejection is not an easy thing to deal
with, but if you want to be a successful actor you must
learn to deal with it.
It's a central part of a professional acting career.
As I have pointed out, more than once, even successful
established actors are rejected a lot. Every time a part
is being cast (say, Batman or Scarlett O'Hara) there are
hundreds of professional, money-earning stars who are
dismissed as possibilities and dozens of others who meet
with the producers and find out later that – "I didn't
Dealing with rejection is crucial to your eventual success.
So, deal with it.
IMPRESS. If you accomplish the goals on this list, you
will impress the people doing the casting. You will be
considered a "pro." Professionalism is the word you want
attached to your efforts. This will happen if you are on
time, prepared, entertaining, relaxed and able to deal
with the inevitable rejection that follows most auditions.
That's your goal in every audition – to impress them with
your professional attitude.
Even if you don't get this one, when you impress the CD,
the director or the producer with your pro attitude, they
will think of you for something else. Guaranteed.
GRACE. Gracious people have the edge. We like them, we
trust them, we want to work with them. Be polite. Remember
people's names. Be helpful. Listen carefully. Follow
directions. Don't impose your 'neediness' on the CD. You
will always leave a good impression if you are gracious
to other people in the business. Think Cary Grant or
Your mantra should be; "I'm nice ... to other people."
MANIPULATE. If you hope to succeed you will probably need
to manipulate somebody.
Of course, there is only one human being you really have
any control over – and have any hope of manipulating:
If you are a poor planner, you must manipulate your mind
set to correct this deficiency.
If being turned down puts you in a deep funk, you must
manipulate your reaction.
If you panic, you must manipulate your mental state until
this is no longer a problem.
In other words, don't waste a minute of your time trying to
find the "reasons" behind someone else's decisions and attempt
to change her mind. Take a step back from every 'failure'
and discover what needs manipulating in your own actions and
You can only change the world by changing yourself.
That's my audition PARADIGM.
Is it easy to do all these things? No way. If it were easy,
everyone would be a successful actor and it would be difficult
to find people to type up annual reports for $6.75 an hour.
But make no mistake, you can accomplish all you want, once
you set your mind to it. Of course, the important words in
that last sentence are "set your mind to it."
Go ahead. You can do it if you really want to.
Reprinted from ACTOR'S TOOL KIT, the email course just for
subscribers of Show Biz How-To -- The Free Actor's Monthly.
Get your own free subscription by going to:
Why Join SAG?
I just wanted to clear up a few things that have been said here so everyone gets the correct information.
First, the SAG 3-voucher system is still in place, it has not been eliminated. SAG’s national board has not yet approved the proposed new plan that would replace the
Second, our Georgia Branch does not have jurisdiction over extras on feature films, only on commercials. This means that no extras on We Are Marshall or any other feature film shot in Georgia are being hired on a union contract. All the extras on Marshall are non-union. Vouchers would be given for background work done on feature films in areas like LA or NY where SAG has jurisdiction over film extras.
SAG commercials shot in Georgia do hire SAG background performers and you would get a voucher for that. Under the current system, 3 of those vouchers would make you eligible for SAG membership.
As far as whether or not you should join, this is my feeling on that. Living in a right-to-work state makes that a difficult question, I will fully acknowledge that. Why join if you don’t have to?--is a question I hear all that time. Initiation fees are high and those dues bills come twice a year and are not easy to pay.
But while I know that you don’t have to be a union member in a RTW state to work union, nothing is free. You as a non-member may not have to pay to administer, enforce and negotiate those very lucrative contracts, but somebody has to. It costs money to support our local office and pay our tremendous staff that does such a great job for Georgia actors. Resources like our legal and claims departments that handle disputes for every actor who work under our contracts, member or not, must be supported. Those areas and many more are where the dues money goes. And that does not include the Pension and Health Plans that are supported by producer contributions for every actor, member or not.
The other part of the cost is this---when a large number of non-members are working these contracts and not supporting them, it weakens our ability to negotiate them and make them stronger. Producers for years have tried and sometimes succeeded at lowering rates or benefits because they have either produced more non-union or seen more non-members work the contracts. In other words, if they know there are actors who will take less, why should they pay our rates? If there was no “scale”, there’d be no bottom.
I know it’s a bottom line issue for every actor. Actors don’t have lots of money and must spend carefully, no question. But I view this as an investment in your career. If you have big ambitions to do film and TV and work beyond the Southeast, you must join when the time is right. When is the time right? When you’re working regularly and a good portion of that is union work. Another thing to remember is that if the majority of actors were union, the rates would be better for everyone. Now, I know that’s idealistic, but I’ve seen the excitement in the audition rooms when actors discover that the job is union. Their enthusiasm shows that they know it’s potentially a lucrative deal for them. More union actors = more union work!
Now if you’re planning on staying here in Georgia and are content with doing local work, joining may not be for you. But improving compensation and benefits for actors has historically been achieved when they have organized. Focusing too much on what you as an individual can do without having to commit to the union may serve to hurt you in the long run.
This is my opinion and I’d be happy to discuss this further with any of you, as would Melissa or Alison in our office (404-239-0131).
All the best
President, SAG Georgia Branch
from Atlantafilms.com forum
ACTING FOR MONEY
by Bob Fraser
One of my hobbies, during my active career, was watching the
results of other show biz folks. I kept journals for about
5 years, then I noticed that I didn't need to keep a journal
because it was becoming redundant. The fact is, that all the
successful people I met over 40 years, (and when I say ALL I
mean 100%) were capitalists.
I don't mean that in a political way - I'm talking about
store-keeper capitalism. All the successful people I've known
in the show business are successful because they are good
business people. Good store-keepers.
The other side of the coin is the unsuccessful actor, writer,
director, producer, etc. Believe me, most of them are not
untalented, or unlucky, or unconnected. Generally, their real
problem is that they are just lackadaisical business people.
The biggest mistake I see is the total time and energy the
unsuccessful actor puts into the business. This amount of
time can be described as: NOT ENOUGH.
IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT
If we are not working at our business to keep things running
smoothly on a daily basis, if we ever sit back and wait for
things to happen, stop marketing and promoting, or quit
trying new ideas to get people into our store (to buy our
product) well, every business around us will say a big thank
you - and grab our customers.
If we don't devote enough time to our business, if we don't
plan what we're doing, if we don't put in a lot of thought
and energy, if we don't have vision, if we're not excited
by it all, then, then the sad truth is that we're just not
going to get very far. we're going to be crawling along,
while all around us, sincere, hard working capitalists will
be charging past.
What can you do to become a better capitalist? A good start
is to understand the difference between actually being in
business and just having the store open.
The number one way to improve your business is to improve
your product. The best product is not always what the
customer buys - but it's always the product the customer
wants. Your odds improve as your product gets better.
Be sure to advertise. If one kind of advertising isn't
working - try something else. (Get new headshots until
you get one that works.)
It doesn't hurt to keep the store open 12 hours a day.
Don't worry about hiring a salesman (An Agent) until you've
done a lot of market testing and selling, yourself.
You want a smart salesman and a smart salesman knows better
than to try to sell an untested and unproven product. An
agent cannot afford to sell one of his customers (studios
and producers) a sub-par product. Keep in mind that your
salesman will probably represent a lot of different "lines"
and he will give more attention to the better ones.
Always present your product (you) in the best possible way.
The key to good business is to accentuate the benefits of
the product and work hard to eliminate any reasons for the
customer not to buy. This requires a lot of thought.
After all, your product is a human being and we all have
flaws - which sometimes (after some thought) - turn out to
WORKING HARD AND SMART
That's what capitalism is: Taking your product out into the
marketplace, defining your customer base, doing good product
testing and research, hiring good salespeople, advertising
well, and keeping the store open late.
Watch the capitalists around you. You know, the folks who
run their own dry cleaning store, sandwich shop, or quick
print center. If they are successful, study them carefully
and find out how they run their businesses. You will
discover that most of them WORK VERY HARD.
Is it worth working very hard?
Well, their dream is probably just security. Our dream, on
the other hand, is fame, fortune, respect and a bit of
Don't kid yourself, it's a capitalist's dream ... with a
twist and a cherry on top.
The question is - how hard are you willing to work to achieve
Keep in mind that the number one benefit of capitalism is the
money - and money equals freedom.
I think that's a dream we can all get behind.
Reprinted from ACTOR'S TOOL KIT, the email course just for
subscribers of Show Biz How-To -- The Free Actor's Monthly.
Get your own free subscription by going to: showbizhowto.com
Copyright © 2006 Bob Fraser Productions All Rights Reserved