Super Bowl Bum Day: When Casting Calls for Envy

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So, the bowls of cheesy, salty snacks adorn the coffee table, fifty inches of high-def screen rests on the living room wall; all the hype, hoopla, and analysis is done, the stage is set as you tip a bottle with your best buds raring to go on Super Bowl Sunday. Then, come the commercials…gotta see those famous, infamous, acclaimed, highly-influential, much publicized, awesome national commercials! And, after all, you auditioned for one of them yourself. And then—hey! There it is…there’s the spot you went in for. And there’s the huge smiling-from-ear-to-ear face of the other guy from the callback lobby—he got the part. That guy won the spot; and you lost it. Who cares now if the Patriots or the Giants take home the trophy. Your day is destroyed.

Someone else is getting the exposure you want, they’re getting a lot of money which you need; he gets to tell his mom and friends of his success, add the gig to his resume—and you’re still struggling.

Actors are prone to career anxiety just as all careers are prone to trigger crisis at times. The acting field is notorious for its erratic earnings and rejection. Actor Hamish Linklater from the play Seminar, on Broadway, puts it this way, “In my ideal world there would be 99% unemployment for actors, and I would be the 1% that’s employed. I hear about somebody getting a job at Starbucks and I get jealous.”

According to Alain de Bottom, author of Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, “It’s a real taboo to mention envy, but if there is one dominant emotion in modern society, that is envy. And it’s linked to the spirit of equality…The closer two people are, in age, in background, in the process of identification, the more there is a danger of envy – which is incidentally why none of you should ever go to a school reunion – because there is no stronger reference point than people one was at school with. But the problem, generally, of modern society, is that it turns the whole world into a school.”

As everyone feels envious at times, it’s important to realize we’re all more than our successes and failures. We’re all a work in progress. So, accept the fact that you’re feeling this way, but don’t give in. Instead, use it as motivation, get yourself out there and work harder than you’ve ever worked. Directors, Producers, Ad Agency suits don’t give actors a big-time national commercial because they’re big hearted; they award you the spot because you audition, you’re prepared, you deliver the lines naturally, you take direction–in short, you’re a pro. That’s how you score a big-time national spot. And make sure you have an up-to-date resume and current headshots. There’s nothing a Casting Director wants to see less than an old headshot. Take care of the business of acting, and the acting business will take care of you. Remember: “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”

To hear Alain de Bottom speak with witty insight about modern-day envy, click here.

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!