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We have been featured!!!

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Our acting blog is featured on FeedSpot’s Top 20 Acting Blogs list! We have debut at #11!

Feedspot is a Modern RSS Reader. If you’re trying to keep up with news and content on multiple web sites, you’re faced with the never ending task of visiting those sites to check for new content. Feedspot allows you to put all of your reading in one location!

How do you prefer to catch up on blogs and industry information? Let us know in the comments!

FILMCOMM IS INTERVIEWING ACTORS!!

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It’s that time of the year again…..the busy season! Our actors are auditioning and booking projects back to back!! We need to add a few more to our roster.

MUST Have a very flexible schedule to accommodate auditions. 
MUST Be extremely dedicated to this industry
MUST Be serious, passionate and professional

UNION/SAG/AFTRA/UDA and NON-UNION!

Send us your resume, age, and a picture (doesn’t have to be professional) and an Agent will reach out to set up an evaluation.

agents@filmcomm.ca

Giving Yourself an Edge

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We keep ‘warning’ you about the busy season. Actors who have been active in the industry for more than a year understand how truly busy and fast-paced June all the way through November can really be! New actors – take note!
Having all of your actor profiles up-to-date and completed in its entirety can help you in more ways than you can know.
Casting Directors and their clients are visual people. They want to see how you can embody their vision to bring their project to life. The more you have available for them to see, the better your chances are of;
                         *being selected for and audition
                         *being short-listed for a role
                         *booking a project right from your headshot/profile!
First things first, make sure your basic information is correct and up -to-date.
                         *Contact Info, Headshots, Size Card, and Resume
Next, make sure your talents, skills, and unique abilities are highlighted in each of your profiles. Casting Workbook and Actors Access both have different styles of layout, but the information should always be the same. Do you have video footage of any of your skills? (ie) playing hockey, horseback riding, or snowmobiling. Have these files readily available, you never know when casting might  need a little extra.
EXTRA CREDIT!!
Make your profile stand out, and give your Agent more materials to work with at the same time
Slate Shot – a simple 5-10 second video of you introducing yourself and stating what agency represents you. **Free service on Actors Access and Casting Workbook
Demo Reel – a 3-5 minute film of your best work! For new actors, this could be a monologue that you have prepared or a filmed portion from a workshop you have attended. **This may require additional payment**
Voice Demo – with the animation sector growing exponentially, their search for voice actors is growing just as quickly. Upload your file (no more than 1 minute each) to your profiles. **This may require additional payment**
​These are very small things that can make a huge difference in your career.
If a casting director is booking a project from headshots it means its a last minute ​urgent request. At this point the will require an urgent selfie (to make sure you look like your headshot) as well as up to date sizing. This is why it is crucial that all actors headshots are up to date and true representation of them.
How do your profiles stack up? Do they stand out? Are you as prepared as you can be to maximize your visibility? Agents can only remind and suggest so many times before it becomes redundant. Be as prepared as you can be; your career and its path is directed by you!

ACTRA Forms

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As all of us Agents and Agencies get ready for the busy season to begin (ample amounts of caffeine and the promise of long nights ahead!), we want to make sure that you actors are as completely prepared as possible. Recently, we have covered self-tapes, the importance of training, and resume formatting. Another aspect (weapon if you will) that you must have in your arsenal is the knowledge of your responsibilities. Today we’ll cover ACTRA forms!
If/when you book a UNION project, you are responsible for finding and filling out the correct form with ACTRA (on time no less!). The following is a brief tutorial of the ACTRA Toronto website and how easy it is to navigate!
2.Click on ‘Performers’
3. Choose ‘Paperwork’
4. Choose ‘Permits’
5.  Choose what suits your needs!

Once the permits are filled out, they must be sent to ACTRA direct along with your Agent authorization form. This form directs all of your union mail, T4’s, cheques etc. to your Agency. This is necessary to ensure the cheque amounts are correct, commission owed is documented for you so there are no misunderstandings. Some Agencies will cash your cheques and send you your portion, other Agencies (Filmcomm) will allow you to cash your own cheques and invoice you for their portion. Every agency has their own policies regarding how they handle union cheques.

There is always an ACTRA steward assigned to each project to answer any questions you have regarding permit amounts etc.

Ensuring that your permits are applied for BEFORE you start filming will ensure no delay with your payments.

Guide to Self-Tapes

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With the busy season just around the corner, we want you to be as prepared as possible!

Self tapes are becoming more popular and in demand. Knowing how to properly execute an eye-catching and dynamic performance is a skill all actors need to have.

There are two ways to film a self-tape.

1. Rent a film space designed for this exact purpose – this can be costly, but options can include a reader, coaching, and editing.

2. Film in the comfort of your own home at your convenience – this requires a little extra dedication and some basic equipment, but is still a VERY easy process.

Equipment Needed:

* Digital Camera with a built-in microphone OR a cellphone with recording capabilities and a relatively good mic.
* Tripod – your camera ​must be steady
* Clear, neutral space (or backdrop)
* Good lighting – natural lighting works well, NOTHING harsh​, no​ shadows
* A reader​ (unless they specify otherwise)​! Unless you excel in ventriloquism, you cannot possibly play all the ‘characters’ in a script. Nor does casting want to see you attempt to do so. Grab a friend or a family member

Follow the directions given in your audition correspondence. Casting is pretty good at giving explicit information on how they want you to film (long shot, from the waist up etc).

* SLATE! You MUST slate before you begin with any lines or actions requested
* Make sure you are off book. No papers shuffling, this is still an audition. Professionalism is required and if it isn’t acceptable for an in-person audition, it isn’t acceptable for a self-tape audition.
* Always film in landscape
* Use a self-tape program or app to record. It allows for seamless uploading and some apps even have basic editing capabilities built in. (My Selftape App or Casting Workbook App)
* DO NOT send your agent a Dropbox link or a Google Drive link, casting cannot and will not open these. Upload directly to the requested site (Actors Access or Casting Workbook). If you are required to send a link, make sure it follows the instructions given by casting.

* Use time management skills! DO NOT leave anything to the last minute. By default, this is when your internet connection will be its slowest and when your laptop will automatically update.

There are tutorials and workshops offered and available to teach you how to create a professional quality self tape. These are highly recommended!

The deadline for your self-tape is non-negotiable. There is no room for error! With websites and technology being a necessary tool, their rigid set up does not allow for a late submission.

 

Make sure to upload your tape well before the deadline (remember our note about time management?), the earlier casting receives it, the better your chances of securing the booking or at the very least a call back. Uploading it ahead of time is also in your best interest as it needs to be viewed and submitted by your Agent before it makes its way to casting. ​Agents will not stop their meetings, interrupt their dinner etc to hit the submit button at the last possible minute.​

Eco casts and self tapes should always be uploaded within business hours for two reasons. One, if there are any technical issues, there will be an operator ready and available to assist you if you need to call the helpline. Two, your Agent does not work 24/7 and is unlikely to take time away from their family at 7pm on a Sunday because you were not prepared.

​Eco cast invites really show which actors are truly dedicated to this industry. Actors that fail to send on time, send tapes to agents expecting them to do YOUR uploads despite directions,​ forget their slate, pay no attention to their lighting and angles, and actors who send the quickest possible first attempt and actually hope to get booked are actors that do not belong in this industry.

Self tapes save YOU money, time, parking etc….they give you a lot more time to prepare then in person auditions, they are sent to you out of respect for your time and money. Casting requires, in return, your best effort at all times!!

Maintaining Industry Relationships

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​In the tight-knit community that is the film industry, you are bound to make friends, allies & meet mentors. How you maintain and balance these relationships is truly integral to your success.

  1. Remain Professional – Casting Directors, Producers and their Assistants are people too, and many of them are down to earth and awesome, who most likely frequent the same events and areas that their actors do. Your impression is lasting. Make sure it’s one worth remembering.
  2. Friendly, not Besties – Having a working relationship is crucial. However, the audition waiting room (or any set for that matter) is not a place to gossip. Keep small talk to a minimum, and be aware of the volume in the room, it should be kept professional. You are not speaking to them at an event or bar, you are in their office wanting to be hired by them.
  3. Stay Humble – You are an actor and are brought in to a casting studio for one purpose. Your audition is a job interview, and you should treat it as such. Be 5 minutes early, be prepared, and NEVER expect special treatment. Texting an assistant or the director personally sends a bad message. Maintain a professional protocol when working by not bypassing your Agent with regrets or delays etc. Whether or not you are on a personal level with a casting director, you are at work…not play.
  4. Do not assume that due to your personal relationships that you can bypass protocol. Self tape deadlines are still firm, audition times are firm, materials requested are firm. Casting directors are loyal to their clients…they have a job to do. If you are a respected friend to them then you are the last person who should be messing with the job they have to do to service their client’s properly.

As Agents, we have seen it time and again….as actors become established they build relationships with industry personnel, its a given that your Agents, Casting Directors and Producers will get to know you on a personal level. This simply cannot affect how you do your job. This can very well be your downfall if you dont maintain a professional relationship along with your personal one.

We take it even more personally when one of our favourite actors, who we know well, regret auditions at the last minute. When they take for granted the policies of the Agency and think they no longer have to follow protocol. We have a strong feeling that casting directors are the same. They are friendly and courteous out of respect but they will not take kindly to actors getting so comfortable that they dont follow professional protocol.

Actors should schmooze, they should be as friendly as possible and they should build as many relationships in the industry as possible. They should not ever forget that they have a job to do as do their new industry friends. Stay professional and on point! This is the real way to maintain your relationships properly 🙂

Dedication

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Acting is your calling. Performance is your muse. You live and breathe the artistic life. But how much time and effort are you ready and willing to commit?

Your level of dedication is personal; it is dependent upon your own unique situation. Your family, transportation, health, and employment status (and their degree of flexibility) will all factor in when you allocate your time.

Actually sit down and plan out your goals and a game plan to reach them. Can you dedicate 10 hours a week? 35+ hours a week or are you just dabbling? There are industry solutions that fit your needs, but remember you need to be completely honest with yourself and your intentions before you commit.

Once you know how much you can dedicate, start researching Agents and how they can work for you.

*Principal Agencies are a full time job; you need to have an incredible degree of flexibility, open availability AND a deep seeded drive to make a living as an actor.

*Background Agencies can keep an actor quite busy depending on the project, their credentials differ from a Principal Agency. Although background actors work long hours, the notice they are given is far more than a Principal actor. Background actors do not have to audition, they are booked from their headshots. There are no day before calls to attend auditions, there are no lines to prepare.​

*Boutique Agencies that specialize in skills (fire eating, contortion etc.) These gigs are also a little more flexible as they are specialty categories with far less competition.

Dedication is a cornerstone to becoming successful. It starts with being dedicated to yourself and your goals. If acting as a profession (instead of a hobby) is a goal, you have to give over to it.

Be a man/woman of your word, attend all auditions you are requested to be at, take classes to better yourself and manage your time wisely. Book out with your agent so that there are no discrepancies, complete self tapes on time (or better yet, ahead of time!) and ALWAYS be in constant communication.  Read every line of an email twice BEFORE asking questions, 90% of the time, the information is provided. However, if you are unsure or need clarification, please ASK. Your Agent is not a mind reader, they can’t answer questions if you don’t ask them.

​To avoid misunderstandings with your Agent be HONEST from day one about your availability or lack there of. There is nothing more frustrating to an Agent then being retained by talent to get you work and then having ​you turn down the work that they get you. This results in termination and hard feelings. Actors ask agents to make them busy, make sure this is actually what you want BEFORE you sign with an Agent.

Key Points for Dedicated Actors:

  1. Pay attention to wardrobe outlined in audition emails.
  2. When asked to bring a headshot and resume, dont arrive with excuses and no materials.
  3. Be on time: most casting directors are very friendly and will make it seem as if its no big deal that you arrived a little late. It is a big deal, it isn’t professional and it reflects negatively on their view of your dedication.
  4. Self tape deadlines are firm! They will not be sent to clients late, casting wants their tapes when they have requested them.
  5. Always be off book with your script. Tape yourself rehearsing your lines to get an idea of how casting will see you.
  6. Train, train, train…..you can always learn more.
  7. READ ALL AUDITION INFO THREE TIMES TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE DATES, CALLTIMES, WARDROBE, SCRIPT, CONFLICTS, ETC. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR AGENT ASKING QUESTIONS THAT ARE ALREADY EXPLAINED IN YOUR EMAILS.

Dedication and commitment shows to casting. If you do not make the effort to do the above, no matter how charming an actor is, how well liked in the community, how talented, you will not be successful. Actors reap what they sow!!

6 Key Guidelines to follow BEFORE your child signs with an Agent

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Becoming a performer in any capacity is a big undertaking at any age. It is even more so as a child.

Entering your child into the film industry is new and unexplored territory for most parents. It is a full time commitment, and the possibilities are limitless. To help navigate your way through the beginning processes, we have a few pieces of advice!

* Do your research! Most agencies have all of their policies and expectations readily available on their websites. Are you and your child ready for the expectations that come along?

* Enroll your child in a class or workshop, have a coaching session with an acting teacher BEFORE you contact an agent. The Coach has industry experience and could help point you in the right direction, whether it be to continue with classes first, or to jump right in and get an Agent.

*Just like any activity, is this a passing phase? Are you and your child ready to make this career decision?

* Look into workshops for parents of child actors, these information sessions are worth their weight in gold! An industry professional guiding you with insider information and teaching you etiquette on how to hone your child’s craft as well as teaching you how not to get too involved (Stage Moms…’nuff said!)

​* Understand that this is not like registering your child in a sport. You cannot opt out when you don’t feel like attending auditions. Agents are not coaches; we are not paid to represent your child. If you sign a contract with an Agent you are agreeing to be committed and do your part to ensure your child’s success. Children can’t decide they don’t feel like preparing for their audition, they don’t feel like studying their lines etc. You must explain to your child that they cannot decide not to put in the effort on a given day. It is a job, it is a commitment and getting auditions are like winning the lottery so to speak. They must be prepared and they must be eager to succeed.​

* The amazing thing about this industry for Children is that it can aid a parent with secondary school funds, it is the only activity that you child can do that has the potential of making money not just costing money. If you register your child in hockey, figure skating, dance etc. the chances that they will make an income from their sport is very slight. The chances they can make an income for your efforts in this industry is great! Children that stick with this, parents that do their part by getting their child training, following their Agent’s guidance etc reap the rewards and they can really help with savings for College and University.

At the end of the day, becoming an actor is a full time job. It has both benefits and drawbacks and can set your child up with amazing life experience. Interview skills, self-confidence, and public speaking are all transferrable. Learning to control the room at a young age can set them up for huge success in the future in any industry as well. It can also mean rushed/missed dinners, late nights of learning lines and time off of school.

​Know the facts before jumping in….read online, speak to actors, speak to coaches! Send a question or two to an Agency….collect information to make an educated informed decision.

Investing in Yourself – Acting Class

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Insanity is defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
Practice is defined as “performing an activity or exercising a skill repeatedly in order to improve or maintain proficiency”
I find acting to be a fine balance of both! Learning and growing are crucial to your career. You will never improve without consistently honing your skills. Whether you are a fledgling actor not even knowing where to start or a seasoned and well resumed actor, small carburetor adjustments (if you will) could be the tipping point to help you stand out from the crowd.
There are many avenues to explore within the industry; workshops, weekly classes, webinars, and private coaches just to name a few!
The first step is identifying your weaknesses. Do you know them? Don’t allow ego to get in the way! ​If you are attending auditions and not landing them you must find out why, or start off with the basics! Auditioning 101.
​It could be your actual initial impression to casting or lack there of that is the issue. It could be your skills at improv, it could be your skills at delivering a script. There are many things that could need tweaking and sadly, casting directors are way too busy to tell Agents why an actor isn’t being booked.
Casting Directors see hundreds of actors in a week, they cannot be expected to give feedback anymore then an employer can tell unsuccessful interviews why they didn’t get hired.

If you are not getting hired then you must take matters into your own hands.​

The ​first​ step is to find a class or course that works for you. ​Does it focus on what you need to learn? Is it run by a seasoned and reputable industry leader? Speak to your agent before you invest in anything as it could be a waste of time and money.
Some classes offer auditing. This is a great way to get a feel for what is being offered. Remember, not every coach will work for every actor. Sometimes its about finding a connection more than the information. Anyone can deliver a message, its going to take a certain personality to be able to deliver the message to you in a way that helps you grow.​Don’t forget to add the course/class/workshop to your resume! Just as with a corporate resume, furthering your range and skill set shows not only your dedication but that you are willing to be taught.​
We will not list workshops as there are many that our actors have gained benefit from…it depends on the actor and their experience. Our message to you is to make sure that you invest in yourself and find out any issues right away. Don’t wait until your audition skills become habit as you could be doing the wrong thing over and over again.

CALLING ALL ACTORS

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As many actors are aware, the Christmas season is one of the busiest few months in this industry. This is the time of year that Agents really see who their dedicated actors are. Who have consistent regrets for auditions, who is diligent with their availability emails, and what their actors landing ratios are compared to the number of auditions they have attended. Christmas season yields over 80 auditions a day most days and casting has a very hard time juggling several clients at the same time. Casting Directors tend to get lots of regrets from agents and they are working day and night to cast their final projects before shutting down for the season.
 
With this being said, at the end of the Christmas season, agencies tend to take this time to release actors from their rosters that have proven to be unreliable and inconsistent throughout the busy months.
 
Actors who dont get their Eco cast auditions uploaded on time or simply ignore them.
Actors who have back to back regrets due to personal errands etc.
Actors who forget to book out and leave for long vacations without notifying their agents.
Actors who dont take advantage of several workshops offered by directors to tweak their audition skills for the new year.
Actors who still have not updated their resumes or updated their casting profiles despite multiple requests.
 
It is a sad task for Agents to do their releases but a necessary one to ensure their team of actors are solid going into the new year.
 
It is even more upsetting to release talent who turn down multiple audition opportunities when there are actors out there that would die for an audition.
 
 
FILMCOMM WOULD LOVE TO SEE SOME NEW FACES, SOME EAGER ACTORS THAT WANT TO WORK! PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL WITH YOUR PHOTO AND RESUME. WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE NEW ACTORS A CHANCE TO WORK WITH OUR TEAM. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE BEGINNERS AND RESUMED ALIKE.
 
 
WE ARE ONE OF THE BUSIEST AGENCIES IN THE CITY. WE HAVE DOMINATED THE INDUSTRY IN ALL NON-UNION SERIES LAST YEAR, WE ARE SIMPLY LOOKING FOR DEDICATED AND PROFESSIONAL ACTORS TO REPLACE THOSE WHO HAD TO BE RELEASED.
 
UNION/NON-UNION
AGES 3-80
ALL ETHNICITIES
 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU!
 
PLEASE EMAIL US : AGENTS@FILMCOMM.CA
OR
APPLY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE WWW.FILMCOMM.CA
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.
 
 

Professional Resume

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Writing your résumé is an art form. There are courses taught in schools, seminars, webinars, and even a specific industry of professionals that will  write one for you. The audience to whom you intend to give your résumé will weigh heavily on the style and content you choose to include.

A corporate résumé can include many more attributes and space fillers than that of an acting résumé. Lengthy and wordy paragraphs describing mundane tasks to make you seem like the ‘bee’s knees’ is acceptable and even encouraged in the corporate world.

We all know the acting world is far too fast paced and blunt. Brass tacks, that’s all. No fluff, no filler, just fact.

​When writing your acting résumé, there are three key factors to consider:
 

Layout – it’s pretty universal, stick to a simple template
How current it is – update as soon as you film a project. More on that here.
Your agent‘s requirements​ – does it follow the guidelines they have asked you to adhere to?

When it comes down to writing it all out, make sure you follow the layout:

Film/Television
Commercial ​-more experienced actors won’t list them, they will state “available upon request”​
Training

When writing your projects, fill them in chronologically with your most recent project first. 

Project Name/Role/Production House 

 
​Do not list the title of the role (eg. man on the bus). Instead list the category of role i.e actor role, principle role, co-star role, lead role etc.
 
When it comes to commercials the same is needed (SOC, PP)​
 

Here is an example of a knock out résumé by one of the most accomplished talents here at FilmComm. 

 
 
 
Parents of actors are always eager to include notes on school plays, drama club awards etc. Please do NOT do this. It is not something that any serious director wants to see. Less is more when it comes to an acting résumé. (Check out our blog on children’s résumés!) When you are starting out it seems right to try to pad your résumé with music videos, stock photography shoots, etc. Directors are wise to this and it only shows them that you are a BEGINNER and more so, somewhat unprofessional. It is alright to be a beginner! It is okay not to have a whole lot to put on a résumé, we all have to start somewhere. By not listing ‘Mickey Mouse’ projects, you are at least showing them that you are well trained, well informed, and have an idea of what a professional résumé should look like. Simple, clear, and listing only projects that are relevant to Television and Film.​
 
Never ever list background on a principal résumé. This only shows directors that you are background performer not worthy of a principal role. Actors assume that it shows on-set experience but it works in the reverse. It highlights to casting that you are a background actor.​

Tools of the Trade

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All tradesmen and tradeswomen carry a toolbox. Your trade will determine the type of tools required.  A mechanic, for instance, will require wrenches and sockets; an electrician requires marettes and non-conductive hand tools. While as an Actor, you may use a less physical type of tool, your online tools and presence are just as vital to your career.

Your actors’ toolbox should allow you to have crucial bits of information readily at yours or your agent’s disposal. These are just guidelines! Discuss with your agent what they require of you, or go one step further and dig through your welcome packages and past correspondence to see what they have already requested.

Actors Access Profile – www.actorsaccess.com Some MAJOR key points, make sure to link your representation to your profile, or all your work will be for naught. Choose one of your photos and set it to ‘default’, otherwise it may not show on your profile. Complete all aspects of your Profile, Resume, Slate Shot, Size Card, and any other media if you have it.

Casting Workbook Profile – www.castingworkbook.com follow the same guidelines as Actors Access. The difference with this site, is how you update your resume. Casting Workbook requires a pdf version of your resume whereas Actors Access builds it for you.

Professional Headshots – Your business calling card if you will. Anyone can take a picture, it takes an industry professional to make a 420p thumbnail a work of art. Choosing your photographer and by extension the photos rendered could make or break your attractiveness to casting.

The following are pieces of information that your Agent needs to have on hand. Make sure you have everything updated!

SIN – It allows you to work legally in Canada. Don’t have one?! APPLY ASAP. Children included! Everyone who works in Canada is required to have a Social Insurance Number. Why does your agent need it? They are the one who set up everything between you and Production; make sure they have everything they need so that there are no last minute mistakes. Production waits for no one, you could even be passed over for a project if you do not have one readily available.

Valid Mailing Address- Production will take months to re-issue lost cheques if the mailing addresses are not correct. Your Agent will forward your cheques to you if they are payable to you direct. Your information MUST be up to date.

Passport – For most of the same reasoning you need your SIN, and you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity because you didn’t have the foresight to apply before you needed it. There are lots of gigs that fly you to other countries to shoot.

CAVCO –  Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office Personnel Number. It is a federal tax credit program the CRA. It is free to apply, click here. This is becoming a requirement for most Canadian Content productions, as it circumnavigates a lot of red tape for production.

It is crucial for parents of actors to update their children’s sizes consistently. Agents do not know your children’s sizes as they change and they cannot have their time wasted with incorrect submissions.The quality of your tools will directly impact your ability to even secure an audition. Make sure all your profiles are complete and up to date. Check them regularly, and add to them just as often!

Self Submission

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Remember my post on An Agent’s Purpose? Check it out here if you haven’t! Your Agent works tirelessly to land you auditions. They spend their ‘off hours’ submitting you and fellow actors on their roster to any and all projects you are a fit for. 
 
There are SO MANY factors to add in; location of filming, whether travel is required/compensated, age range, pay scale, your experience and of course your dedication level. Are you available full time, part time, or are you simply treating this as a hobby? (Another post on that another day!) 
 
For as diligent as you may be to respond to your emails and punctuality for auditions, we all know, being an actor means that you are self employed. You get to take charge of your own career as well. Did you know that you can self submit yourself to projects?! It is a tedious task that requires a certain level of time management and communication. 
 
New, inexperienced actors often make the mistake of self submitting to paid projects posted on social media sites. DO NOT DO THIS! Agents are given all breakdowns for all paid projects at least a week before they hit social media. If you are a fit for the project then you have already been submitted. Trumping your agent’s submission by double submitting will put you in a pile of self represented actors by casting. This will ensure that you are the LAST to get pulled in for the project. 
 
Actors also make the mistake of self submitting to Principal roles in union television series. This makes you look very very silly and unprofessional to the director. A certain resume, certain union credits and experience are needed to be submitted to union shows. If you do not have these specifications on your resume you are wasting the directors time by submitting yourself as you are NOT a fit for their specs. This is why you have an Agent, and Agent makes sure that you are submitted to projects that you will get called in for and that your reputation stays professional in the industry.
 
There are ground rules to self submission though. Hardened and fast rules that MUST be heeded when doing so
 
1. It must be a non-paying role. 
    That means you can submit for student projects, and Indie films. You are
under contract with your agent, any monetary compensation is subject to
fees.
2. Check ALL details before doing so. 
    You wouldn’t want to submit for a project in another country without having
the proper documentation, nor would you want to make a poor choice that
may affect your reputation within the acting community.
3. Tell your Agent! 
    Communication is key. Make sure you are letting them know you have
upcoming auditions/bookings. It could affect the auditions you are able to
attend through your agent.
4. Scheduling
​    Don’t over book yourself. Organization and time management is absolutely
    CRUCIAL! Adding to your resume and experience is important, but not at
the cost of losing out on paying jobs.
 
Grow your experience and your dedication to your career, just remember that you have an Agent doing the same! Working on the same goals will only help to propel you further and faster.

MONEY MONEY MONEY

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Money makes the world go round, it doesn’t grow on trees, and it cannot buy happiness. Money can, however, buy coffee and biscotti, which is just about the same thing!

 
All joking aside, we all want to be compensated for our hardwork and effort. Sooner, rather than later! When it comes to being paid in the acting industry, the speed of which your cheque is received depends mainly on the project and the production company​.
 
 
Union projects are paid out according to union rules. SAG-AFTRA and ACTRA each have their own union specific policies. You can check out the links provided for their up to date information! Union cheques arrive quickly, usually within 3 weeks.​
 
 
Non-Union projects are really at the mercy of production. ​The law in Canada for payment of services is 90 days.​ ​Non union productions take their time, an Agency will submit the invoice the day after you shoot and then wait.​ There are a few production houses that are amazingly swift and on top of all accounts payable that pay out within 30 days. This is unfortunately not the norm. Some sage words of advice? Anticipate the worst but hope for the best. 30 day payout is a welcomed surprise, 90 days is the expectation.
 
 
​When it comes to buyouts it can be very very frustrating in the non-union world. A buyout is only paid to the actors that survive the final edit.​ So when you see a session rate and buyout listed on a breakdown, it doesn’t mean you will necessarily make the buyout amounts. An Agency has to wait for production to inform us on who made the edit and who’s buyout invoices they need. There are times when the campaign has started airing and they have still not requested the invoice for the buyout. There are few production companies that are very very slow moving to pay out buyouts. Buyouts are usually large sums of money and its hard for the actors not to assume it is their agency that is delaying payment. This is simply not the case, when the cheque arrives, you are notified, end of story.
 
 
While neither you, nor your Agent can control when your payment is issued, you can help the process by providing your information and having all necessary applications/contracts/paperwork done ahead of time or at least in a timely manner. General information to have on hand , and ideally already submitted to your agent:
 
 
Your email address 
Your Phone # (house & cell)
Your address – mailing and physical if applicable
Your SIN
 
Make sure all of your information is up to date, and let your agent know as soon as there are any changes.

The 10 minute fix!

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Thats all it takes, just 10 minutes! AS SOON AS YOU SHOOT anything; print ad, photo campaign, commercial etc. Hop on to Casting Workbook and Actors Access and update your resume. All the details that you need are right in your booking email.

Don’t make the mistake of getting so excited about booking a project (I mean, you’re awesome, of course you booked a project!) that you forget to update your CV. Star everything that is linked to the project so that is is easier to find. We all know how it goes, the email gets pushed down, the project name changes from a generic ‘Project Cookie’ to a more meaningful title, and you forget the original details.

Going back through mountains of correspondence to search for the production house name can be a nightmare. The more traction you make in the industry and the busier you get, the more this small step is crucial.

Adding to your online resume only helps you. The more resumed of an actor, the more casting directors and producers look upon you with respect. It shows your ability to take direction and produce quality work.

Just as with a corporate resume, your acting resume is just as important, if not more so. How often do you apply for a ‘job’? My guess is not half as often as your agent submits your headshot and resume for consideration. This is why updating is crucially important, it helps both you and your agent make the best impression you can.

Don’t forget the format!

  • Television/Film
  • Commercial
  • Print
  • Training

Project name-Actor Type-Production Company:
Children’s Aid Society – Principal – Phanta Media

An Agent’s Purpose

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An Agent’s entire job is to get you an audition; to run an efficient and effective business where their entire roster is accountable and reliable. When a casting house calls or emails, they know without a shadow of a doubt that (barring hospitalization and already being booked for another project) the talent they want to see will be unequivocally available. This business never stops or even takes pause for sleep. 

Lets break down the purpose and directive of an agent; their sole purpose is to promote their signed talents. An agent is a full time, 16-20 hours a day communicating machine. Your agent is in constant communication with casting houses, production teams and directors. 

They already have the relationships built, they know the nuances, and they have committed themselves to being your biggest cheerleader. They only get paid when you do. The more you get paid, the more they get paid. Everything they tell you is to help push you in the right direction for your career. This is a well oiled machine! Don’t reinvent the wheel! And at the risk of adding in one too many tacky cliches, They know what they’re talking about! They would NEVER steer you in the wrong direction, their job and livelihood literally depend on it.

The risk isn’t ‘will your agent work for you’, the risk is, ‘will you work for your agent’? Once your goals align with each other, the sky’s the limit! Aligning your goals may take some time, but here are some surefire ways to help the process:

  • Be Punctual; with emails, confirming auditions, and attending meetings/auditions 
  • Always email. Phone lines are lighting up at all hours of the day and night, and are  reserved for casting/production/directors   
  • Read EVERY line of an email twice before emailing questions. The answer is 9/10 right in the correspondence 
  • Time change requests – Your agent doesn’t set these times, so no, they can’t change them 
  • Schedule yourself as though this were your job (it kind of is, right?) Write down (and have it easily accessible) all your Confirmed shoot dates, Outside dates if you are booked, but no dates have been confirmed and Auditions 
  • Do Not confirm conflicting dates 
  • Be accountable                 

Acting agents utilise a unique blend of customer service and marketing skills to give their talents the tools they need to succeed. Be receptive to their advice, and give them back just as much dedication. Your efforts won’t go unrewarded!

Video Reels/Demos

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The acting world is a media based beast. Everything we use, do, and intake revolves around an electronic submission.

As actors, our careers are navigated by any number of media outlets. Our electronic footprint either moves us towards our goals or stagnates our results. Its no wonder that presenting our best selves online contributes directly to our achievements and advancements (or lack thereof).

One way to showcase our talent is with a video clip/demo reel. It is uploaded to our agency recommended casting websites (Actors Access & Casting Workbook) and serves as a highlight and preview for Directors and Casting Agencies.

Just like adding pictures to a social media profile, it increases our chances of being viewed and short listed as your skills are physically highlighted. What do we add in our demo reel? A number of options depending on your experience!

A slate is recommended for everyone. It showcases your voice and presentation capabilities as well as your personality. All of which can secure you a role before the audition even starts.

For those actors just beginning, or who only have print campaigns and SOC roles, workshop and bootcamp recordings are great material to showcase your range. 

Once you have a few projects under your belt, you can edit a few of your clips together to make your own demo reel. Depending on which site you are posting to, there may be an editing option available directly on the site. Alternatively, I recommend learning an editing program (or at least a few basics!). iMovie is a great program for the technological apprentice, or if you are a diehard Windows User such as myself, I use the free version of LightWorks. It is a bit more complicated (the amount of time I have spent watching tutorials vs actually editing is kind of embarrassing!) but it does not limit your final product, and has a plethora of editing options.

Adding video clips and demo reels to your acting sites aid your chances, and can help propel you to bigger roles and opportunities. Remember, this is all up to you to do. You are a self employed contractor, your product is yourself. The better you sell your brand, the more people will come and knock at your door!

Acting Wardrobe Do’s and Don’ts

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Here is a handy – dandy pocket sized guide to your ever growing wardrobe.

While this may not be an exhaustive list of *every* rule a director or stylist could abide by, it is a great general resource for quick reference!

Do’s Avoid
Be comfortable!

If you can’t sit, or walk with confidence, there’s no way you’ll be able to convince anyone you are the right guy/gal for the job!

Loud patterns

No stripes, zig zags or anything flashy. You are there to show them what you’ve got, not what you’ve bought

Have a variety

Bring multiples in varying shapes and colors to a fitting. Shading can mean the world for that exact right look

Sparkles/Sequins

While these are a fav of every little girl (and lets’ face it, stage moms too!), they play tricks with the cameras and are not recommended

Always bring back-up

Spilt your coffee? Splashed by a passing car? Another actor in the same Aritzia top as you? Always be prepared with a ‘just in case’ outfit

Anything Neon

Pretty much for the same reasons as sparkles and sequins, neon is not flattering unless you are specifically styled that way by your wardrobe team

Keep it simple

Fussing and mussing about isn’t only distracting to you, but to the directors and casting agents as well. Showcase yourself, not all those extra layers

Showing *too much* skin

Especially for kids! Avoid spaghetti straps and short shorts

Always be cleaned and pressed/steamed

Whether you prefer an old fashioned iron, or a new styled hand steamer, make sure you are wrinkle free. It shows you have put effort into your appearance without showing the effort behind the thousands of auditions and late night commutes

Logos/Words/Team names

These have been copy written by their respective affiliates, and cannot be shown or photographed without explicit permission

Lead with confidence

Sometimes thinking outside the box is the best course of action. Your acting, attitude and confidence will sell your audition far more than a carefully chosen t-shirt

Red!

It does not show well on screen, there is this horrible orange aura! Accenting with red is ok, but nothing overbearing

Shopping for your acting wardrobe doesn’t have to be a laborious chore, scope out second hand and vintage shops. Above all else, remember to HAVE FUN!

Here is a printable option for you! Acting Wardrobe Printable

Seeking New Talent!!

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We are seeking new actors to add to our amazing team!! We are strictly Principal and are looking for the following categories. This is the busy casting season and Filmcomm is a little bit light in the following groups.
 
No experience necessary. Just a flexible schedule to attend auditions in Toronto and a strong desire to be on Television.
 
 
African American boys ages 8-18
 
Asian moms and dads ages 30-85
 
Native actors ages 3-85
 
Attractive but real men and women ages 25-50
 
And of course, all resumed experienced  actors​.
 
 
Please email us your information