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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