It's ok to get it off your chest.
Hey guys. I have a question that might be a little tacky…but mostly if this site were owned by actors access. Which it's not. So here goes!
So, you know how actorsaccess/breakdown express has that Actor Slate company that charges $200 to get a minute of footage on your profile? Well I'm interested in getting something like that on my profile, but 1. It's super expensive (though I've heard it's worth it?), and 2. Their website says there aren't any dates available in my city. I know it says "beware of imitators," and tells us that they're the only company who can REALLY get a well edited slate video…but is it true? Have you found this to be nothing more than clever advertising to dissuade us from trying to look for competitors? Are there competitors out there that do comparable work…ones that are a) cheaper, and b) available?
Actors Access charges $22 per minute of footage. As far as the "slate", I'm fairly certain you get one free one, and every one after is $5. Is that what you're referring to?
You should definitely have some kind of clip or reel on AA. I've heard the slate is nice, but not 100% necessary. But it does bump your submissions to the top of the pile.
I'm now realizing I may have completely misread your post. My apologies if that's the case.
To clarify, I'm talking about this (which is directly linked from part of the video section on actors access…they seem to be affiliated somehow, but haven't really done my research into that):
Yes, I agree that I should have video available on my AA profile. I don't because I want to be considered for musical theater, commercials, and straight theater, and I just couldn't decide what I wanted to spend my money on! I'd heard good things about this service that lets you just show your personality, because that could potentially get you called in for a wider range of projects. Just wanted to learn more about my options if I take this route.
So, I have a gripe. I took a class with a casting director and basically she ripped everyone apart for not coming dressed for the part. For example, if it's a Sex and the City style show, you aren't dressed "Stylish enough" for the show. WTF? Aren't you a casting director? Aren't you suppose to see the vision? Why do I need to come in with a full on costume and design look? That makes no sense to me. And this is was for a MAJOR casting team. Messy. It just angers me. Do you have no vision? If you have no imagination you're in the wrong business?
Well, dear Audra, in that case they'll all just have to agree to leave it and find a profession at which they're competent, if a CD can be competent at anything. You sound like a seasick sailor criticizing the ocean-how dare it have waves! This unfortunate aspect of being an actor is simply and unalterably what you will always have to deal with, so for your career's sake make the mental and emotional adjustment to do so as there's no other way. No, they don't have an imagination, and therefore you should turn up at the audition looking like the part was written for you and you just happened to walk in. If you want practical advice, dress to SUGGEST the part, not in an authentic costume- in your case and for example a long dress for a Shakespearean role, not a full Renaissance gown, and your most fashionable outfit for a society part, rather than an excruciatingly expensive creation by Monsieur Bitschee.
Eliminating or at least learning to conceal your completely justifiable anger at those acting as an impediment between you and the person who will actually direct the project means you can just get on with the audition itself, and sincere best wishes for that.
CDs see SO many people, that
dressing appropriately is just about helping them help YOU to be cast in the role. No, please DON'T show up in costume (ugh, no), but if you can "dress to suggest", as my agent says, it simply helps the process along, especially if you are auditioning for people who are just getting to know you as a performer.
If you ever find yourselves at a point saying "why am I not getting cast?", my bet is because you have such disrespect for what casting directors do. There are a lot of great ones. Maybe you should take their advice. Or don't. But my bet is that you'll probably see better results of you stop seeing them as "incompetent". Which is just plain mean and unfair.
Most casting directors can't see past the bagel they're scarfing down while we are auditioning let alone the"vision." The upcoming generation of CD's are even worse. Soon, to play a murdered, I'll be coming in with a hatchet and a bucket of blood. NOW YOU SEE IT???? Also, I have NEVER seen callbacks posted here for any EPA for a play--only musicals. Please tell me i'm wrong!!!!
I might get flack for saying this, but CDs are becoming an increasingly unnecessary and gratuitous expense.
Specifically on small projects, it reeks of lazy Artistic Teams.
I get it for major tv/film and Broadway, but small LORTs with CDs? Please.
Do you have a blog, Laughing Artistic Director?
I had this happen to me at a seminar once... the CD insulted what I was wearing in a very high school way... I was dressed very neutrally (for film/tv) and apparently should've been dressed more fashionable.... I say take it with a grain of salt. During the period where that happened to me, thankfully I was at a point where I was getting callbacks from another network CD on a fairly regular basis (even wearing my non-designer duds) - I just made a mental note to try to put on my best for THAT CD. I get the OPs point though - honestly in my case, if they want sex-in-the-city chic - there ARE people in NYC who just plain are that - I'm not going to kill myself trying to be someone I'm not (and probably would feel uncomfortable trying to be someone I'm not). I suspect you had the same experience I did - I also think my audition was just used to make the "dress the part" point to the class. Sorry it happened to you - but now you know what to wear in that office I guess.
You have to realize that casting directors aren't the ones making the final decisions on who is cast. They are trying to help you get the role and looking the part is the #1 priority - especially in tv/film. They want someone who IS the person. So go in and show them that side of yourself, clothes and all and book that shit!
"Also, I have NEVER seen callbacks posted here for any EPA for a play--only musicals. Please tell me i'm wrong!!!!"
I'm afraid, lanatom, that there is no Santa Claus. An equity official told me she's never known it to happen for a non-musical EPA, I on the other hand have actually been called in for another play by a CD who saw me at an EPA, and once for a regional by the AD attending.
But this is extraordinarily rare because for the most part CDs send a powerless associate or suchlike rather than attending EPAs themselves. The team of Daniel Swee and Camille Hickman are notable examples, and Ilene Starger herself attended the No Man's Land/Godot understudy auditions, but for the most part unless it's a smaller (much smaller) or remote production you'll be out of luck unless invited to attend the Agent Auditions. (And do dress the part...)
^I have only ever gotten one callback from an EPA, and it was for a straight play with the director and playwright ITR.
Don't mean to say ALL casting directors suck, etc. I was just fired up after taking this class. I understand "looking the part" like don't come in for Les Miz in a tank top and tattered jeans, but on the same token, I'm sure if you had a great body, good face, and a good voice, they aren't going to care what you're wearing, ya know?
"Help us help you" seems like such class bs to me.
"An Equity official told me she's never known it to happen from a non-musical EPA" . . .
What?!?! Many of us get called back (and cast!) from non-musical EPAs, I got my Equity card on a LORT contract years ago after attending an EPA, and earlier this year I was called in to audition for a major Broadway revival after attending an EPA.
Not sure from what "official" you are getting your information.
@LaughingArtisticDirector: "I might get flack for saying this, but CDs are becoming an increasingly unnecessary and gratuitous expense. Specifically on small projects, it reeks of lazy Artistic Teams. I get it for major tv/film and Broadway, but small LORTs with CDs? Please.
This is where tax/grant money tends to go when a theater is granted more funds. It never seems to get anywhere near the actors or the actual production, but instead is used to create yet another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy betwixt performer and job.
I really have to say that if you genuinely feel that way about the CDs you are in the room with, no matter how hard you try, a piece of that is sneaking into your performance. CDs are your biggest advocates for a creative team that can very often not know what they hell they want.
The sentiments being expressed here just screams that you really don’t have an understanding about what the CD does. Saying that they artistic team can do the job of the CD is akin to saying the stage manager can just step in for the actor because the know all the entrances. Give me a break. Small companies shouldn’t hire CDs because they often can’t pay them what they are worth, not because they don’t need them.
It is a CD's job to have three or four versions of exactly what the director wants at any given time. They are there because while the director has sat in 3 auditions that year, the CD has sat in 100 of them and has WAY more performers on their radar. If you can’t understand the value that brings to the table, I don’t know what to tell you.
"It is a CD's job to have three or four versions of exactly what the director wants at any given time."
In practice the CD will provide what he or she THINKS the director wants, or worse and more commonly who the CD THINKS the director should cast. This can be very much at odds with what the director would actually be happy to see or who s/he would employ. If I'm turned down after auditioning for the actual director, too bad. At least I've had an opportunity. If, however, a CD consistently refuses to have me in for something I know I'd actually have at least a chance of booking were the director to have any choice in the matter, I'm going to draw the conclusion that my letters are being intercepted by a niece/nephew intern unfamiliar with both non-American drama schools and joined-up writing, my resume/reel unviewed/unwatched, and invitations to shows in town ignored.
Ok, I've been meaning to make this post for awhile. PLEASE STOP ASKING ON THE FRONT PAGE WHETHER NON EQ WILL GET SEEN AT AN AUDITION OR NOT THE NIGHT BEFORE OR A FEW DAYS BEFORE, WE DON'T KNOW. It annoys the shot out of me, no one will know until the day of and even then who the fuck knows.
Actually, that's not true. Based on past calls, people can make an assumption if non equity will get seen or not. If it's for a season, or for a popular show like Les Mis, non equity will not get seen. If it's for a show like Once where actors also have to play instruments, or a new off broadway show, or a show like Soul Doctor where the type is so specific, non equity usually do get seen. So I don't agree with you there.
I've been called back for plenty of non-musical EPA's...from SPT to Broadway contracts. Whoever is feeding you that bullshit is wrong.
A friend of mine wrote this article and I'm curious to read your thoughts, especially those of you who actually are minority actors.
My view is that it's so difficult to book work as an actor, that unless actors are successful enough to be able to turn down work, why would they? If someone doesn't accept the role of a sassy black nurse, someone else will. The role will still exist, as will the stereotype, even if the actor in question chooses not to do it.
Well, I am not a minority actor, and I hope many of them chime in, but I take issue with:
"My view is that it's so difficult to book work as an actor, that unless actors are successful enough to be able to turn down work, why would they?"
Why WOULD they?!? Because actors are intelligent, complex beings, gifted with the ability to portray a three-dimensional human soul on stage or on screen, and therefore to advance philosophies for good or for ill, and we have discernment and integrity, and there may be many reasons other than the paycheck that we may choose to refuse, or indeed to take, a role.
I get your point that the stereotypical role will still exist, and be played by someone else. But it won't be *that* actor playing it. And that might serve them, both professionally and more importantly personally, in a much greater way than grabbing any old part for a paycheck might.
I made a horrendous mistake in word choice and completely agree with your statement. My issue is with the expectation that an actor would turn down a role solely because it fits within a stereotype that is not (meant to be) offensive.
All a bunch of nonsense. I think you have an obligation to make sure your art reflects the values that you hold dear, but hyper-sensitivity to stereotypes (or STOCK CHARACTERS as we like to call them in the theater) is not going to get you very far in performing.
I have a close friend who is an Acting Professor and she has a black student who won't play black roles. Not offensive roles, BLACK roles. She wouldn't do Clybourne Park!
Hyper-sensitivity in artists is never a positive thing. We need to be honest and open, save the drama for the really offensive stuff…like Kirk Cameron movies.
To further clarify my point, change the phrase in the above post from "an actor" to "ALL minority actors." #brainisnotworkingtoday
Bookmarking the shit outta this to read later.
^You're exactly who I was thinking about when I decided to post this article here.
I've had my share of auditioning for and even getting cast in stereotypical Asian roles. I don't think it's a duty for minority actors to reject a stereotypical role just on the grounds that it's stereotypical. The question I ask is, "What is the purpose of this role being a stereotype?" If the stereotype doesn't do anything to move the story, define the world of the play or film, or further the arc of the character, then I wouldn't do it.
Although there is a relatively small number of specifically Asian roles, there are also thankfully roles that are open to any ethnicity. In the journey of it all, I think it's better for me to reject the roles that further a stereotype just for the sake of displaying the stereotype. This would be better than narrowly looking at the short term and choosing to accept a role just because I've gotten it and someone else would get it if I don't accept.
Like Shylock the vengeful Jewish moneylender? Or Othello the emotional and impulsive black? Or the primitive and barbaric Asian, King Mongkut in the King and I?
This was an interesting article. At the end of the day, I just do what I want. I'm technically a minority actress, but I'm always pushing against it. I'm American as apple pie, grew up in a suburb, speak no other languages (not sorry either), and can't do authentic ethnic accents to save my life. I'll accept a stereotypical role if it's advantageous to my career because my ethnic heritage means literally nothing to me. I don't have a duty to any community based on ethnic heritage.
Sidenote: Sometimes I've had the pleasure of being cast into a completely different ethnic stereotype than my actual ethnicity, and it's always been an absolute blast!!
I also think about similar questions for women and sexist roles
As a white actress, I can't speak about taking roles that are racists depictions. But as a woman, I can speak about my experiences with hyper-sexualized roles. I have thought a lot about whether or not I would do nudity, or play that hooker who has no lines but gets murdered in the first scene.
Everyone has their own personal line that they won't cross. It just varies from person to person. I won't do nudity or rape scenes unless I feel that they are vital to the development of a well-structured storyline. Or it would have to be something that would really propel my career forward. Unfortunately, I rarely find roles that require nudity/sex scenes that are also tasteful.
Do minority actors here find that the majority of roles they qualify for are stereotypical representations? Or is it a rare occurance? I'm honestly curious about this.
If one was in final callbacks for a project, would it be acceptable to send a thank-you email? even if they haven't made offers yet (that you know of?) We got an information sheet at the end of the final callbacks and it had the email on it, prompting us to ask any questions we needed to. I'd like to email and say thank you but I don't want it to look like i'm making any assumptions that I didn't get it and have it sway any decisions. Thanks so much for any advice.
Totally! I think it's thoughtful.
Just keep it short and sweet, and remember that you're thanking them for their time, not for the role (as of yet).
Write a thank you note when YOU feel it would be appropriate to thank someone!
I understand that you don't want to seem like you're taking yourself out of the process, but the decision will (or should) have nothing to do with whether they get a note from you while decisions are still being made. It makes my heart heavy when I see people being so strategic about courtesies. If you are genuinely grateful, and want to express it. . . do so.
Thank-you emails are appropriate when they are exactly that: thank-you emails. No ulterior motive. Just a nice sincere thank-you. I usually go for the handwritten card route, but I will email if I want them to receive it right away. I don't think any CD in the world is going to DISLIKE a thank-you note :)
I went back and forth about posting this because it will probably curb my anonymity, but I'm still mad, so here goes.
Was at a callback today for One Day. Went through the dance and was asked to stay to sing and read after.
Sat next to a girl that was very clearly going in for the same track (it's ethnicity-specific) who told me she just got the appointment last night. After I went back into the room to do my thing, she actually asked if she could HAVE my sides since I was "done with them".
I'm fuming about this for several reasons:
1) You got the appointment last night. Yes, it's a time crunch, but you had AMPLE opportunity to find a way to print the sides. What's more, we were sitting twenty feet from computers with printers.
2) What if I wasn't done with them? What if the CD calls me in an hour asking if I can come back to read with a different scene partner and suddenly I don't have my materials?
3) WHY would you ask a girl going in for the SAME track to share her materials with you?
For fucks sake, even at my GREENEST I knew to print sides! You can NOT count on materials being provided for you like that. What's more, I spent DAYS with those sides, shaping the character to what I wanted her to look and sound like. The paper has notes and scribbles all over it, and those are now in the hands of someone else. Yep, I was actually nice enough to give them to her, which is partly why I'm so upset. I should have said, "no".
Guys...handle. Your. Goddamn. Business. You have no right to expect the people competing with you to simultaneously take responsibility for you.
To the girl that I'm talking about: Yes, I put this on a public forum because I'm upset. Sorry if it hurts your feelings, but you are an adult in a professional business and you need to take responsibility. If actors can't take their job seriously enough to prepare properly, why the hell should a creative team take the actor seriously?
Audition was a couple of days ago, and there were posts on there. It's still listed under Trending. But there's nothing on the page. It says "back to all posts". (which when you click it, the new page has backstage university and trending on the left side, but nothing else.) My guess is that this was a casualty of a change in the website?
Nothing like not getting to audition for the team member you know who knows your work because they are half an hour late to their audition.
When you are cast in the ensemble and also as an understudy for a lead role, you can list “Ensemble & U/S for Jane” on your resume. But let’s say you actually end up performing once or twice in that lead role….can you actually put that on your resume? If so, how would you list it?
I think the appropriate way is:
Sound of Music Ensemble, Maria U/S (Performed)
However, if you had to fill in for a decent chunk of the run, I think it is fine to just say that you played the role.
Please don't say you played the role you understudied.
You didn't get that part.
Someone else did.
I once saw an old friend from a production at an EPA. I looked down at the resume in his hand and realized he'd listed himself as playing the role he understudied at the last theater we worked at together. The role I actually played.
Now one of us looks like a liar in front of the team.
Fudging your resume is like using too much Photoshop in your headshot: it's a lie.
Has anyone ever used the online resource calltime? I was asked to set one up in order to submit myself for celebrity cruise line. It seems as though it is like a mini version of backstage..where you can see breakdowns and submit for projects. It's $30 a year to use the full version. Has anyone done it and is it worth it??
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