More Casting Call Opportunities on the Horizon

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“It is time!” – Rafiki the mandrill from The Lion King 

People have long anticipated the convergence between broadcast television and Internet video, and according to recent reports, it’s beginning to happen at an unprecedented level. Over the next few months, YouTube, Netflix, Yahoo, and Hulu will be pushing into the terrain of the traditional television market with all the markers of money, talent, production value, star power, and overall quality programming. Up till now, such Internet companies have just experimented with this kind of programming. But now video sites are partnering up with seasoned professionals to push the first wave, starting this February, including:

  • Netflix will premiere its first scripted show Lilyhammer in which The Sopranos’ Steve Van Zandt plays a New York mobster in witness protection in Norway.
  • Hulu will soon premiere Battleground, a mock political documentary.
  • Also, YouTube recently launched an entire catalog of original programming, spending $100 million on the gradual rollout of more than 100 niche-oriented channels.
  • And Yahoo has comedy programming planned for February. Its first scripted entry will be Electric City, a futuristic animated series produced by Tom Hanks, who will also voice a character.

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, says the fact that Hanks is making a series for the Internet shows how the traditional TV system is “ready to unravel.”  McQuivey says the disruption in video will “unfold in front of us like a slow-mo replay of an accident.”

“The new content won’t be as good as what you watch Thursday nights from 9 to 10 p.m., but it’s going to get closer to that quality,” he adds. “And it’s certainly as good as what you watch on Thursday from 3 to 4 in the afternoon or Saturday morning from 10 to 11.”

All this is good news for actors! This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as casting calls are concerned. In addition to TV auditions, now new Internet shows are opening up casting opportunities for actors like never before. So, be prepared!

 

Casting Calls & Beyond with Technology

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Technology continues to open new doors for actors to be discovered. Novice or undiscovered filmmakers are seeking a competitive edge by sifting through the Internet looking for opportunities to be seen. Well, If you want your work to be viewed and your voice to be heard, chances are there is a platform out there waiting for you! The 48 Hour Film Project is a great way to test your mettle under the pressure of a two-day deadline. If you’re budget challenged, but have a powerful idea, maybe the Filminute (One-Minute) Film Festival is right up your alley. How about filming street theatre and posting it online? You might want to try a webisode like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; they haven’t done too badly.

The commercial market has become a very fertile place for up and comers in the film industry. Recently, Chevrolet organized Chevrolet’s Route 66 contest. It called on filmmakers to create a 30-second spot about Chevy—and the winner’s ad will air during Super Bowl XLVI, and be awarded a $10,000 grand prize.

Talk about exposure! This Super Bowl is predicted to be the most watched in the history of the game.

26-year-old Zach Borst from Long Island, N.Y., wrote, produced, and assembled a one-minute ad about a graduate receiving a Chevrolet Camero as a gift from his parents for the competition. He used his friends as actors, for production help, and to secure  locations. Talk about your DIY attitude!

Borst’s commercial was selected as the winner, beating 198 other submissions and 400 scripts. To air the Happy Grad commercial, Chevy will spend at least $3.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Check out the winning Chevy Happy Grad Super Bowl ad here.

These technological avenues empower actors to be more proactive in their careers. While you’re waiting for your next TV audition and casting call, you can get creative. Do you have a great commercial idea? Grab your acting buddies together and submit your ideas to the next contest.

 

Acting Reel Tips to Increase Casting Calls

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Just by creating an actor reel, you can stand out among the many candidates auditioning for valuable roles in the industry. But that’s not the only benefit to producing your reel. The real benefit is knowledge. When you embark upon the task of putting together a reel, it forces you to honestly assess your career. How much work have you really done? What is the quality of your acting? Are you proud of the work? How can you improve upon your oeuvre? A reel gives you an immediate answer to all these questions, and helps you get clear on how to move forward.

But what exactly should an actor include in his or her reel? And what should be edited out?  To squeeze the most juice from your reel, here are a few tips.

The first 10 to 20 seconds: Start your reel with a close up, speaking directly into camera. This will give the casting execs a real sense of  your appearance, but more importantly, it will showcase the force of your personality and the allure of your magnetism. Pick this close up carefully as it’s the first impression that often packs the biggest punch.

Secondly, put your best material in the first minute. With so many other talent choices to sort through, casting executives often decide within the first minute if you’re the right match for their particular role, and need to stop viewing before your reel can finish playing.

Next, keep your reel concise and powerful. Strive to keep it short. That means 2 minutes for those with less material to work with, and no more than 4 minutes for those who’ve accumulated particularly impressive clips. Most reels come in at about 3 minutes. But keep in mind, longer does not equate to better.

Also, make it authentically you. That means, if you play guitar or you’re a first-rate dancer, put it in. The suits should have a real idea of your passions and skills. Additionally, add original content. If you’re not a writer, consider a friend’s original screenplay or grab a scene from an off-Broadway production or a book you love. But avoid performing a scene from, for example, The Descendents. You’re performance will be compared to George Clooney’s—and you don’t need that kind of scrutiny at this point.

And finally, once it’s done, make sure to add the reel to your Casting Frontier profile and website so Casting Directors can view it with ease. To paraphrase Field Of Dreams: “If you make it, it will be seen.” Headshots, resumes, websites, and acting reels…use all these tools in your arsenal to land as many TV auditions as you possibly can.

 

 

Increase Your Chances for TV Auditions with an Acting Reel

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Imagine you were a Casting Director getting to know the talent out there in the great big world. You have hundreds of thousands of actor headshots and resumes to pour through, and limited time to decipher the crème of the crop. It’s an enormous pond you’re swimming in while looking for just the right mix of appearance and talent. Headshots are crucial as they show the clients what you look like; the downside is they only show the clients what you look like. And even this can be inaccurate, as headshots don’t always capture your unique visage.

An actor’s reel, on the other hand, showcases the actor’s presence, their acting abilities, their style of delivery, as well as their voice. They also show how an actor will appear on film. Through your reel, Casting Directors can learn so much about your focus, timing, and overall acting ability–and consequently, they can call you in for auditions that are truly right for you. It’s also imperative casting executives see more of what you have to offer besides merely headshots.

So why are there so many actors that don’t have reels? While it’s true they cost hard-earned dollars, and it can be difficult to find the right person to edit your work, those are really just excuses in the immediate digital world. There are more resources than ever to score a professionally edited reel at a reasonable charge. With the advent of modern editing software, you can cut your own reel if you’re so inclined. The point is to showcase your acting ability to the people who make the decisions, and a solid reel is one of the best ways you can do just that.

Now, you may consider yourself an artist, and this concern with reels may seem too much like a business. Well, you need to flip the script on that way of thinking! Show business is a business. And advertising is key in any business you know of. Advertise yourself with the enthusiasm and energy of a national commercial!

Consider a reel an opportunity to connect with Casting Directors and Agents, showing them everything you have to offer. The latest technology has made the reel-making process easier than ever before, so take advantage of it–and increase your chances for those TV auditions.

Casting Calls Lead to Golden Globes Nominations

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Yet another Golden Globe Awards is upon us. The Golden Globes is voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The HFPA can be an unpredictable bunch as they often honor substance over style. Meryl Streep holds seven GG wins to her credit, and the great Jack Lemmon was nominated 22 times over the course of his career. In 2009, Kate Winslett won Best Actress for Revolutionary Road, and Best Supporting Actress for The Reader. There have been many critically acclaimed,yet box office failures, that have won the coveted GG award: Ordinary People, The Hours, Babel, and Atonement to name just a few. And before any of these great films were watersheds in the industry, they were merely risky investments–because no one knows what will be an award winner and what will be a tax write off until the film is produced and distributed. No one has a magic wand that spurts out award winning films at a whim. There is an enormous amount of speculation, organization, true grit, and plenty of luck involved in a movie catching fire and lighting up the world. Think of how many great films you’ve seen that have gone nowhere. Or films that are universally reviled, but you, perhaps secretly, love. Even our greatest filmmakers like Spielberg and Scorsese, have box office duds listed on their IMDB pages; films that diminished their legacy and threatened their careers. But they kept fighting on, because film is their driving passion.

If film is your passion, go out there and get involved in one. Get your headshots up to date, post them and your reel on worthy digital casting sites, scour the trades for acting opportunities, and audition: TV auditions, commercial auditions, film school auditions, you name it! With the advent of digital technology, never before in history have so many people been making films. So go out and meet those people. Do not relent until you get working in the film industry…and then work harder! Who knows, you might even win a GG or other award.

 

Maximize Your Casting Calls with Casting Frontier’s New Year’s Resolution Sale

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2012 is off to a busy start when it comes to commercial casting! Casting Directors’ schedules are booked, and Casting Frontier’s public submissions pages are heating up just as we are offering big savings for Premium and Premium Plus annual subscriptions. During the month of January, we’re offering up to 35% off when you subscribe to or renew a Premium or Premium Plus profile.

Premium profiles allow you to post 5 headshots, a MP3 Voice Sample and a link to your website…all very helpful to casting professionals who are trying to really get to know you. Through January, Premium profiles are only $50 for a 2-year subscription!
Premium Plus profiles allow you to show 10 headshots as well as your actor reel, a MP Voice Sample and a link to your website. Show casting professionals all your talent, experience, and skill with this account. Through January, Premium Plus accounts are only $80 for a 2-year subscription!

As more and more Casting Directors are using Casting Frontier for all their casting needs, CF has become the new industry standard. With innovative, comprehensive digital tools that make casting both exciting and efficient, CF has streamlined the workflow for Actors, Agents, and Casting Directors alike. Companies are working harder to keep customers purchasing their products, and Advertising Executives and Producers are demanding that CF be used for their jobs. It’s making a difference in their workflow, they’re using it, and so you want to present yourself accordingly.

The value is unbeatable! See for yourself. Check out our services compared to the other guys’.

Don’t miss this sale. Make 2012 your year for casting calls and TV auditions!
And we hope to see your face on TV soon!


Talent vs. Skill in Casting Calls

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Some actors are auditioning for TV shows and commercials because they’ve been told they’re a “natural.” Being a natural is something to behold, it’s great fun, and it stokes the creative fires. As a natural you’ll receive a bounty of praise and often, tremendous encouragement. Being a natural is also a great foundation for anyone aspiring to a career in the arts. But relying too heavily on the nature, and not enough on the nurture aspect of your abilities is not wise. If you find yourself excelling in the acting game, it’s convenient to believe it’s easy. But the game is long, and the game changes as you play. Some of the best actors in the history of cinema were also the most gifted. But the truly great ones worked the craft like a top athlete works in the gym. Laurence Olivier, one of the most revered actors of the 20th century, was known to speak William Shakespeare’s lines “as naturally as if he were actually thinking them,” said English playwright Charles Bennett. But even after he’d experienced many years of extraordinary recognition, he was still taking vocal lessons to keep his skills sharp–even the skills he already had in the bag.

Amy Adams says of her Fighter costar Mark Wahlberg, “He has a work ethic that is incomparable. He is where he is because of his hard work, his sheer force of will.” Wahlberg trained for his role as “Irish” Micky Ward two years before The Fighter was greenlit. One day, the men who write the checks saw Mark tearing it up in the ring; it wasn’t hard to sign on the line which is dotted.

Will Smith is keen on the notion of hard work, and indeed, credits persistence for his success. Will claims to work on his career while other guys are eating and sleeping. He swears by a “ridiculous, sickening work ethic,” and states:

“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, for people who have dreams. Talent is what you have naturally; skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”

Who can argue with this philosophy? Dedicating yourself to being better each new day can be achieved by Smith’s philosophy:

“You don’t set out to build a wall…you say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ And you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.” 

Sounds like a great way to land more casting calls and TV auditions!

 

What Actresses Should Wear to Commercial Auditions

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It’s an understatement to say male business owners are happy when a casting facility goes up next to their shops. They’re ecstatic! Why wouldn’t they be? Gorgeous actresses streaming in throughout the day–day after day. That may be fine for those who are convinced every beauty who walks through the door is right for the part, but how can you make yourself stand out amongst a bevy of beauties to the people who really count? Namely, the directors and producers.

According to Glamour.com, some fashion resolutions to actually follow in 2012 include taking fashion risks like bold floral pants, hot-pink suits, exaggerated sunglasses and glitsy jewelry. But when auditioning, watch out what fashion advice you follow, because doing so could cost you the part.

Specifically, disregard the fashion tip about the shiny, bright jewelry. Rather, keep your jewelry to a minimum unless you’re auditioning for a wild rocker character with piercings. And avoid the floral patterns and other print designs on your clothing which the camera potentially can interpret as bouncing light every time you move; this is highly distracting and ultimately overwhelms your presence. Besides that, make sure to avoid wearing black which reads as unbecoming on camera, and white tops which frequently look blown out and overwhelmingly bright.

So what should actresses wear to commercial auditions?

Most importantly, dress according to your type. Think about the character you’re trying out for. When it comes to commercial auditions, it’s helpful to actually dress for the particular role –for example, an athlete or a business woman. You can keep it simple; if you’re trying out for a doctor, for example, you can show up in a professional-looking shirt and high-end slacks, but feel free to leave a doctor’s scrubs at home. In this case, what’s most important is you appear trustworthy and convey authority. Additionally, when it comes to auditioning secrets, some people swear by wearing blue. Not a bad choice as everyone seems to look good in blue. But your priority should be to appear neat and clean, avoid too much make up, and make sure your hairstyle does not cover your eyes because it’s your eyes that have the most immediate impact to draw people in. As far as fashion is concerned, learn what pieces flatter your shape the most. Take pride in who you are right now and run with it!

For a specific list of what not to wear at commercial auditions, click here.

Become a Working Actor in 2012

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It’s no secret the last few years have been tough on the American economy. Many businesses have fallen or been shipped overseas, unemployment has flatlined at 9 percent, and big banks are stubbornly holding onto their money. Watching the news has been pretty dire. But there is a silver lining in this dark economic cloud. The entertainment industry is booming! That’s right, the business you are in as an actor or are aspiring to be in is doing just fine. It’s a well-reported fact more people are watching TV than ever, and add to that the inestimable amount of content people are watching online and through sources like Netflix, and you have a veritable boom in the acting field. All this bodes well for you, humble thespian. Production is happening at this very moment all over the world. Think of the amount of films, pilots, commercials, videos, industrials, reality TV shows, shorts, etc. going on right now. Are you going to get in on it? Why not?! The table’s set; sit down and eat! Make 2012 your year. Everyone’s always talking about unkept New Year’s resolutions. Make this the year you make good on the resolution to become a working actor.

Beef Up Your Resume This Year

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Happy New Year from Casting Frontier!

Now that the holiday feasting is over, and we’re all thinking of New Year’s resolutions, we hope 2012 will open many doors in your acting career, and bring about many auditions, bookings, and surprises.

Speaking of surprises, I’ll bet you can recall many times you were struck by actors who suddenly displayed a certain skill much like the proverbial magician pulling a rabbit out a hat. When X-Men’s Hugh Jackman started to sing and dance at the Oscars, when Natalie Portman gave an interview in Hebrew, and when Meryl Streep sang in Mama Mia, we were forced to reevaluate our perceptions of these individuals.

You, as well, are full of potential to cultivate your abilities to benefit yourself both as an actor and as a person. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but for one reason or another, haven’t gotten around to it? Have you always wanted to learn to tap dance, play tennis, or learn Spanish but it seemed like such a daunting task you gave up before you ever began? Well, consider the advice of Google’s Matt Cutts, who encourages us all to try something new for 30 days. When you make small, sustainable changes, you can get yourself out of a rut, feel your confidence grow, beef up your resume, and for the rest of your life, claim the victory of having learned that skill or accomplished that goal.

Click here to watch Matt Cutts’ inspirational 6-minute talk which is a sure-fire way to start your new year off right–and increase your chances of being cast in roles requiring specific skills!