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Manual Acting In Hollywood: How to Get the Right Headshot (a MULL FOON MINI)

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Lynch said this in the Focal Press book screencraft; directing: Films can be abstract and abstractions exist in everyday life and they give us a feeling, and our intuition goes to work, and we make sense of it for ourselves…Watching a film is like standing in front of a painting. Once that circle starts rolling, the same films can be seen different ways by different people. I became familiar with Lynch in with his film The Elephant Man that he directed and co-wrote.

I was a teenager and it may have been the first black and white film I ever saw in the theater. I knew I was watching something different. I am a human being! Oddly enough that film was produced by Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles who is known a little more for his humor than his profundity.

That may explain some of the abstractness in his films. He made short films and went on to study at the American Film Institute. But then there is The Straight Story about Alvin Straight who, unable to drive a car, decides to take his riding mower miles across Iowa to see his brother who had a stoke.

Here was a guy who was a stuntman and long before he rode a riding lawn mower in a movie rode one of the chariots in Ben Hur. How fun is that? Which makes perfect sense since Lynch has been a long time proponent of transcendental meditation TM. Though there is a connection in Vedic teachings from Ancient India.

In the Jewish faith there is the concept of Shalom, meaning peace or nothing missing. The Buddhist through meditation seeks awakening or enlightenment. Francis of Assisi and Gregorian chants. In fact the mystical film Koyaanisqatsi was made by a filmmaker Godfrey Reggio who spent 14 training to be a monk years in a New Orleans Monastery before turning to film. There is a reason some films resonate with people and are discussed endlessly: You sit there nodding your head having no real way to process what they are telling you. Lynch spoke of a new cinema. The first time I saw a photo of Lynch holding a DV camera it made perfect sense.

By the way, if Fairfield, Iowa rings any bells in your head that probably means your a gamer. On July 13, Billy Mitchell set a verified world record high score on the classic Donkey Kong arcade game. Mitchell has recently been featured in two documentaries on gaming King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts.

Right there is Fairfield, a small town most people in Iowa would have trouble placing on a map. On my two and a half plus hour ride home I had to time to reflect on the day. One of the things that stuck with me was Lynch talked about the importance of the process. And actually, just driving down there was beneficial as I enjoyed the blue sky and wide open scenery, and worked through ideas for a screenplay I am working on.

While driving back from Fairfield I stopped in a Iowa City and while in a bookstore read the intro to Juno: The Shooting Script by Diablo Cody. No one is capable of doing what you do. Lynch echos those sediments: And all will be well in the garden. It is the pulse of America. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib.

It is alive from snout to tail. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. Last week a 5. Just one more way the Midwest is following those California trends. The Art Institute in the morning, a walk and lunch at the Navy Pier , see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field, ride an architectural boat tour , a sunset dinner at the Signature Room high atop the John Hancock Center , a play at one of the zillions of theater options, a carriage ride around the Chicago Water Tower downtown and a nice room at The Drake Hote l on the Magnificent Mile with a room overlooking the Gold Coast and where they welcome my golden retriever.

And if you have the weekend you can fit in a concert at Millennium Park and a list that just gets longer and longer. Chicago is a great city. And it alone has produced a wealth of creative talent that shines as bright as a city. Feel free to email me additional writers with connections there.

I have at least a dozen production books that Michael Wiese Productions has produced. A special mention must be made to two pillars of writing from Chicago: Chicago is the kind of place where probably every night of the week you could attend a film related function between the various school, colleges and professional groups.

There are plenty of ways to avoid writing if you live in the Chicago area. But, of course, your goal is probably to write while living outside L. Let me tell you about a fellow I just found out about via the DVXuser. Kyle is a radiologists living in the suburbs of Chicago. He owns a DV camera package and writes screenplays. In other words he was like every other writer with a dream…until a couple weeks ago. He has no plans to quit his job and move to L.

The next step is seeing if the film gets made and then if it finds an audience. But as far as a writer outside the system Kyle has hit the jackpot, and proves it can be done. You can read the entire thread and download a well-informed screenwriting document Kyle has put together at DVXuser. The DVXuser forum is a wealth of info for the independent filmmaker and a supportive community. If you want further proof that screenplays can be sold by screenwriters outside L. Blake Snyder sent me when I asked him about writers living outside L. I know of one woman who decided to be a screenwriter in Chicago, wrote 5 scripts, sold 2 and got an agent and manager, all while never leaving the confines of her condo.

It starts with a great concept! You have a great idea and a great poster, if you execute that well, you will get phone calls — and deals. And that starts with the step by step process I outline in Cat! Other helpful sites about the filmmaking scene in Illinois here are a few recommended sites:.


  • Aprils Fool.
  • …and Other Unlikely Places.
  • headshot Manual.
  • Acting auditioning?

So come on, if Abraham Lincoln can go from a one room log cabin to become the 16th President of the United States via Illinois certainly that should give you some motivation to overcome a few obstacles in your life to get your scripts written and sold. Or maybe to buy a camera and make your own films. Even if you live in Springfield or Kankakee. Smith , screenwriter , Seal Beach , Spirit of St.

When you think of St. Louis the chances are good that you think of the iconic St. I took this picture on one of those perfect clear windy mornings one day when I was driving through town and it is majestic to see up close. Louis list is that writer Tennessee Williams grew up there.

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Before I address the writers from Missouri let me first say that there would not be a Tennessee Williams without Iowa. Oh, there probably would still be a great American playwright but he might just be called him by his given name Tom. Much of his early childhood was lived with his grandfather at the rectory of St. The is no doubt that the Mississippi Delta shaped his imagination as it has so many others.

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Handy were born and where The Delta Blues Museum lives today. But from the age of seven through the college years Williams lived in the Midwest mostly in St. His journalism program was interrupted however, when his father forced him to withdraw from college to work at the International Shoe Company. Even though Williams is mostly remembered for his time in New Orleans, Key West, and New York, Missouri is where he would return to again and again, visiting his mother until she died in Williams died three years later and is buried in St. The play brought back many memories.

Roberts was a talented actress in her day but never became a star. Sharon Stone and Laura Dern both studied with Roberts. It was at her studio that I began to appreciate good writing. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion…. And so it began. There was much to learn in three months just beyond getting the words down. Mendoza also stressed learning about the playwrights background so we studied that as well. It would do every writer good to take at least one acting class in their life.

As I did my scene the final day of class it was the one true moment I ever had as an actor where I felt totally in sync. We sometimes look back on any success big or small with regret but I look back on that day with satisfaction. It was the highlight of my brief acting career, even bigger than the Dominos Pizza commercial I was in later. Del Toro won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Traffic. Mendoza eventually formed the Actors Theater Circle in Hollywood where he still teaches today. He was the first to open my eyes to the classic playwrights.

He threw out names of writers I had never heard of and said as actors we needed to be able to flip our pancakes and do them all. During that time I found three books at a used bookstore on Main Street in Seal Beach, California that caused a shift in my thinking about the power of writing. Best three dollars I ever spent. Strindberg did not stay with me but Ibsen and Chekhov have been lifelong friends.

Which makes perfect sense given Williams fascination of dealing with the sins of the father being visited on the son. Williams tapped into the southern-family-with-hidden-problems theme. He wrote fragile characters who were on the brink of hysteria. And he was rewarded well for such characters winning two Pulitzer Prizes along with two Oscar nominations.

Both Hannibal and Marceline are less than an hour south of the Iowa border. Exporting the Midwest for all the world to enjoy. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Louis to Springfield to Peoria to Chicago. Lindbergh the night before his historic flight across the Atlantic ocean. The Spirit of St. Major scripts are skillfully, seductively shaped, yet they are soulless. They tend to be shiny but superficial. We go to the movies… Stories are the language of the heart. And it seems like every trip I take The Shawshank Redemption is on some channel.

Maybe they should just dedicate a channel to that movie. The simple reason that film is on so much is people love that film. Movies and by the the readers of Empire magazine. The Shawshank Redepmtion is a movie people identify with. We can sympathize with Andy Dufresne and his predicament.

He wrote his first novel Carrie in a laundry room balancing a typewriter on his knees. We understand hard times. I thought you were proposing.

Archive for April, 2008

I wish I could tell you that, but prison is no fairy-tale world. Director Frank Darabont talks about getting many letters from people thanking him for making that film because it helped them through a difficult time in their life. But good stories have a way of creeping into our lives in unexpected ways. Something resonates in those films with large groups of people. I think that would be true of most of the above films. When we write we are writing about ourselves. A good part of writing is self-discovery. The odds are good that in the films you see over and over again you are identifying with a character or a situation.

This is where we tap into writing beyond the numbers. The house I grew up in had a place in our kitchen where we had a growth chart on a wall. It was fun to look back over the years and see how you had grown. If you do a lot of retouching, it will show when you walk in the door not looking like your pictures. Retouching should only be used in small doses if at all. Woke up with a huge pimple? Reschedule your session if possible. Any retouching should still look like you on an average day. Own Your Rights The cost of your headshots should include all session fees and poses, and the rights to all of the pictures taken in the session.

They are photos of you and you should own them. Not all photographers provide this option, but they should. Shame on them — I say! Keep It Fresh You need to get new headshots every couple of years as you age. And if you change anything — hairstyle, hair length, you have cosmetic surgery, whiten your teeth, gain or lose weight, etc. An Ounce of Preparation Be sure to plan your wardrobe well. Solid colors only, NO stripes, patterns, or logos of any kind! Pick outfits that demonstrate your type. Pick colors that suit you best — look at your eyes, hair, and skin for clues.

Your clothes should enhance your appearance not detract or distract from it. Make sure your clothing is ironed and ready to wear — one simple wrinkle can suggest that you are unprofessional and sloppy. One wrong color can turn your smile into a sickly grin. Those jeggings or UGG boots were all the rage when you had your pictures taken, but this year? If done incorrectly, they can cause your pictures to look awkward, confuse people, or draw them away from you.

If using these tools in a headshot composition, make sure that you do it in a way that is advantageous. Color Your World Your headshots need to be in color. Turn Them On Your pictures should invoke excitement in the people who view them. Think Type Know your type before getting your headshots done. Everything in your photo should suggest your type to potential employers — your hair, makeup, wardrobe, expressions.

If you play mom roles, wear khakis, a sweater set, and a warm, welcoming smile. For strong, silent executive types, wear a tailored suit, cross your arms, and look like you mean business. And for an undercover agent, wear something that lets you blend in while standing out, and an expression that suggests you have a few secrets to hide.

How to DIY Acting Headshots!

For an editorial shot to round out your portfolio, you can do basic costumes and props — i. Make sure that at the very least your shoulders appear in this type of shot. The second brand is your name — when you have your headshots reproduced, make sure your name appears on the front of them somewhere.

It should be big and clear enough to read, yet inconspicuous enough that all eyes are on you, not your name. One way to do this is to add a border to your photo and place your name in the border. Take a friend with you. Make a day of it. Have fun with the photographer. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel comfortable and at ease. And you will have spent all that good money for nothing. A great photographer will figure out a way to put you at ease and get a natural, easygoing look that photographs fantastically.

Break the Rules Now that you know all the rules to follow, break a few of them. Your headshots should set you apart from the crowd, so if breaking a few of the rules helps to do that, then Dare to be Different! My photographer is Eric Mull in Cleveland. If you decide to use him, tell him I sent you. Are You a "Real" Actor? The Top 5 Reasons. Now I know some of you are thinking — why would I even pose this question? There are tons of actors in the world and seemingly fewer jobs, so just getting a call back can be a shot in the dark, let alone getting booked for the job.

Every actor needs to reads this post, but for those of you asking any or all of the questions above, it is imperative that you read it! I want you all to know that there are times when you should definitely turn down a role. Before going on, let me add, that this is not something you should make a habit of doing regularly.

Ok, so think about it, do you know of any other profession where it would be in your best interest to accept every job you ever interviewed for and every job that came your way? You want to make sure that the job is a good fit, that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, that you are capable of giving it your all and have something unique to bring to the table, etc.

These are all roadblocks that every actor faces — successful actors eventually find a way to push through them and start treating their Acting like the Career that it is. So why should you turn down a role? There are numerous reasons to turn down that coveted spot! Here are what I feel are the top 5. Maybe you meet the director, crew, other actors, etc. Then you find out that nudity, politics, hot button social issues, or whatever something that crosses your personal boundaries as an actor is involved and it makes you uncomfortable.

You may lack the motivation to do the job to the best of your abilities and thus you are doing a disservice to the people who cast you and the other actors involved. And lastly, you're wasting your own time. Your time could be better spent looking and auditioning for a job that you are better suited to and will enjoy more, or you could spend that time gaining additional training and skills. Have you ever gone to an audition or a table read and got that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you something is a little off?

It began as a warning system that helped primitive man stay away from potentially deadly dangers. Allowing these gut feelings and reactions to occur in an acting situation often makes our acting much more honest, real, and just plain better. If your gut says to turn down the role, turn down the role! Ignore fear, but go with your gut. It can also be heart-wrenching.

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Our business really can be feast or famine at times. What it does mean is that you need to know yourself, you need to know what kind of time you need to prepare, and you need to know what you can mentally handle so that you can give your all to each project that you are working on. I work multiple jobs simultaneously all the time and there has never been a major issue with a Director in this regard. Through trial and error, I have come to realize that I can juggle about different roles with 1 class thrown in, at any given time, depending on the roles of course. An example of this for me would be the following: I should note that this is the absolute limit for me and sometimes it can be a bit too much.

Remember that Acting is my day job and I focus on it exclusively. When you hit 3 roles does one of them get the shaft?

Then your limit is 2, stop there. Another situation that fits into this category is when you have multiple outstanding auditions. I use the same rule of thumb for this situation as listed above. In addition, if you have accepted a role and it conflicts with another outstanding audition i. Your commitment should be to the role you have already accepted and you should almost never make the decision to bail. First being a lead role in your local community theatre. That said, remember that your willingness and ability to commit to the roles that you accept speaks volumes about your character and work ethic.

Bailing on a role should never be taken lightly if done at all. Remember that bailing on a prior commitment may have consequences, so always keep this in mind when contemplating a decision like this. And that includes taking it to the next level. Many actors work hard and strive to take their acting to the next level, but they neglect to move their job prospects to the next level to match. If you want to be a star or even just a successful working actor, you should always be striving for bigger and better roles in bigger and better companies. And then on to the next step and so on.

The important thing here is that you need to set goals for yourself and you need to monitor those goals and keep refining them. At some point, you need to being willing and able to take the next step career-wise. I have encouraged actors to do work for little to no pay when they are first starting out and I stand by this. However, there comes a time when you have to decide that you are no longer willing or maybe able to work for free. Just like setting goals for the next step, you need to set goals for monetary compensation. And again, you need to stick to them. As long as you keep putting this message out there, people will take you at your word or rather your actions.

In order to get others to value you and to value your work, you first need to value yourself. Will this result in fewer roles? Yes, probably, at least at first, and you may be cast aside rather than cast, in favor of someone who will work for free. Eventually though, it will likely mean better roles and if you can convince people that you are worth paying, your work will also be valued more. And those people who got cast because they were willing to work for free, will continue to work for free until they decide that they are worth paying.

One last thing, there are a lot of actors out there and many of them are willing to work for free. Every time an actor is willing to accept a job where they are not being paid, they are making it harder for any of us to get paid. They are diluting the market. Would you wait tables for free? Would you go buy enough food and make a dinner for people for free? Would you go to your day job every day and then refuse a paycheck? If the role is unpaid or underpaid, this is a time to say NO and turn down the job. If we all value ourselves, each other, and our work, the market will have to take us seriously and value us as well.

And that means more paying jobs for actors — we deserve them! So these are the 5 times when most actors will be faced with the decision of turning down a role. The next time you find yourself in one of these situations, come back and re-read this post. You now have the knowledge to make better job decisions going forward. Your resume tells the story of your acting history and your abilities. When you are first starting out, you may not have a lot of experience to showcase on your resume. The basics — your resume should be just a single page, neatly formatted, and clearly divided into sections of interest.

It should also fit into an 8x10 space on the page so that it can be cut down to perfectly fit on the back of your headshot. Some people print their resume right on the back of their headshots, however, I feel that this is a mistake. If your resume is printed on your headshots, you either have to write on it to change it which looks very unprofessional IMO , or you have to get new headshots printed every time your resume changes which can get expensive and is often wasteful since those old headshots then have to be thrown out as useless or you end up having to staple a paper resume to them anyway.

Also keep in mind that this is the digital age and you will often be sending out your resume in digital format. Not all fonts can be decoded by all computers. I recommend using the most simple and easily decoded font — Arial. While that may be true to an extent; if the font you choose is difficult to read, then your resume will probably go straight into the trash.

No one is going to spend tons of precious time trying to read your resume just because it looks pretty. Your first priority is to accurately portray your acting experience and career thus far. Casting Directors CD's , Directors, and even other experienced Actors can spot extra work, listed on a resume, from a mile away.

They work long hours for little pay and we should all be grateful for them. Listing your statistics may automatically exclude you from being called to audition. They may have an idea in their mind about what lbs. Personal Information This means your home address, your home phone number, your social security number, your favorite foods, etc. Remember to take into consideration what you are auditioning for and your type.

Always take these things into consideration and remember to tailor your resume to your audience. So your resume is part of your Brand Package. Here are the things that you need to include on your resume. Name Your name should be the first thing they see when they look at your resume. Format it so that it stands out. It should stand out without being obnoxious.