How Important IS Social Media For Getting Cast?

Around this time last year, the New York Post published an article all about how “[S]tudios are now looking for actors who are Insta-famous,” a post which likely sent any classically-trained actor into an absolute frenzy.

“What does this even mean?! Where do I get followers? Why does that matter if I’m talented?” …and other completely relevant questions have swum around the heads of the social media un-savvy for quite a few years now as the line between “social media celeb” and “Hollywood celeb” continued to blur.

Quoted in the piece was Amy Neben, a Los Angeles-based talent manager at Select Management Group: “Movies and shows are commonly casting with social-media quotas to fill . . . I would imagine that nearly every digital project has some form of quota, [as do] a growing number of traditional projects.”

This means you can be up for a role against someone slightly less right for the part and wind up losing it to them purely based off of social media presence. Is it always that cut and dry? Likely, no. But casting agents are looking at your following and how marketable you are whether you want them to or not —  it’s their job. And anyone who’s ever worked in sales or marketing can tell you when there’s a lofty quota that must be met, the strategy quickly moves away from arbitrary.

Recently, during TheWrap’s annual media technology conference, Jason Newman, a manager and producer at Untitled Entertainment, explained that while not everyone considers social media during the casting process, it can be a major deciding factor. Directors depend on casting directors to bring in the best actors for those roles; the social media part is an extension.

“If I have two actors up for the same role, and it’s between actor A and B, and actor B has 2 million followers across all social media platforms and actor A has 20 million, but they’re neck-in-neck in their acting ability or maybe actor B is even a little bit better, but man we know if we convert one and a half to two percent of their social media following to buyers, I’m hiring that person,” Newman said. “I want to have a bigger ROI on my investment so of course, I’m doing that, so yes, social media is playing a massive component in all of this.”

To sum it up, while having a strong social media presence isn’t necessarily a must-have in order to be cast, it is becoming the number one deciding factor when agents are torn between two or more actors for a role. But if social media isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it just yet! You can hire people to help with cleaning up your feed and growing your following. You can also take an online course, network, or take classes at most local colleges.

And for my thrifty friends who prefer to research everything online for free, you bet your bottom dollar YouTube has a million videos on social media tips and tricks.

At the end of the day, even if you don’t have millions of followers, showing casting agents your marketability and keen eye for the content that makes you glow will ultimately help you in the long run. It’s worth the extra effort, even if you find yourself rolling your eyes while captioning that new headshot post.

Posted on April 15, 2019 and filed under Branding.

Happy 40th Birthday, Heath Ledger!

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger

April 4, 2019 would have been actor Heath Ledger’s 40th birthday. His tragic death left a huge scar on the film industry, and many were left wondering just how career would have progressed had things been different. Ledger was just becoming recognized for his talents in a significant way: his performance as 'The Joker in The Dark Night was all the buzz in Hollywood in the months leading up to his death, and the Aussie heartthrob even earned a posthumous Oscar as Best Supporting Actor that year.

But while we may never know what could have been, we can still take a look back on a few most memorable films that earned him such a place in all our hearts and celebrate the man who went from teen idol to a major source of inspo for many actors.

10 Things I Hate About You

Oh, Patrick Verona. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern take on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Ledger’s first real breakout role. His bad boy charm won over hearts everywhere, and tweens and teens taped-up poster inserts from Seventeen magazine all over their rooms just to catch a glimpse of that perfect smile whenever they wanted.

The Patriot

Ledger plays a defiant son who just wants to fight in the American War of Independence. He and his father, played by Mel Gibson, eventually team up as rebels in this epic film that had entire audiences sobbing in their seats. It was the first time Ledger had showed us what he could do when cast in a more serious role.

Lords of Dogtown

In Lords of Dogtown, Ledger plays Skip Engblom, a mentor to a group of young and rebellious Santa Monica skater bros. After his death, a journalist wrote of Ledger’s performance:  “He’s almost eerie in how precisely he nailed not only the mannerisms, cadence and physical presence of Skip, but also how he raises Skip’s spirit.”

The Dark Knight

2008 brought us the highly-anticipated blockbuster The Dark Knight, a film for which truly no one was prepared. Ledger went above and beyond preparing for that role, blurring the lines between himself and the character of the Joker a little too closely perhaps. Whatever he did, it worked, and earned him an Oscar even after he’d left us.

It speaks to the type of actor he was— the type of person, father, and human being we grew to know — that we still rave about him to this day, eleven years later. It seemed he made an impact on everyone he worked with, and I think we can all be in agreement that had he never passed away, we’d still be watching him on the big screen and applauding when he won awards.

So once again, Happy Birthday, Heath Ledger. We were lucky as heck to have you in our lives as long as we did.

So, You Wanna Be A Member Of SAG?

A SAG award.

A SAG award.

Becoming a member of SAG is a major goal for many professional film actors - outside of winning a fancy award and crying onstage about how much everyone really likes you, of course. Potential bragging rights aside, the benefits of being a member are pretty crucial: health and pension, workshops, endless resources, and, of course, SAG Awards voting privileges, among many other valuable perks.

Whether you're actively seeking membership or you’re just curious as to what it all looks like (and costs), here’s what you should know about the process:

To be a member of SAG, you must qualify to be a member of SAG.

So, no, you can’t just be an actor with a checkbook and a dream. Don’t get me wrong — those are lovely things to have. But in order to make the cut, you’ll have to provide proof you’ve completed at least three days of work as a background actor under a SAG-AFTRA agreement or have been an active member of another union, such as ACTRA, for minimum one year.

What does said proof look like? Glad you asked, my friend. Proof can come in the form of pay stubs or proof of employment printed out from the payroll company responsible for whatever project(s) you worked on that states your name, social security number, the name of the production company, the title of the production, the salary paid in dollar amount, and the specific date(s) worked. Mail it all to the address listed on their site, and wait for them to say you’re good to go.

And don’t you dare stretch the truth, Lie-sa Minnelli

It’s going to be tempting to do whatever you can to into SAG so you can go after all those parts you want right away. But you might want to read this little bit of info on SAG’s site before making any bold moves: “While it is your responsibility to ascertain the validity of your qualifying employment, the Union will be the sole arbiter in determining whether the employer was legitimate or bogus, and whether the qualifying employment which you performed was actual production work ,or work created solely to enable you to gain Union membership. Please be aware that false representation or deception on your part will jeopardize your chances to join SAG-AFTRA.”

So, as with any audition, you must do your due diligence first. And if that doesn’t scare you off, great! This next part hopefully won’t, either…

Pay up or hush up

You can’t become a member of SAG without dropping some serious cash: a whopping $3K of your hard-earned dollars, to be exact. You’ll need to be able to cover the initiation fee plus the first semi-annual basic dues. These fees may be lower depending on what area you live in, and the annual base dues are $201.96, along with the work dues which are a percentage (1.575%) of what you earn.

Still confused? There’s an orientation for that.


There’s a lot of info to digest, from the benefits to the tools and the fees and beyond. SAG is aware of how confusing the process can be, and that’s why they hold optional orientations so new members can have all their questions answered and their concerns addressed. It’s never a bad idea to research what you’re getting into before dropping a ton of cash on a commitment, and that same bit of advice will serve you prior to your wedding day or your first time buying a car, too! Good luck!

A Few Famous Actors’ Strange Early Roles

Ever been watching a random show and thought to yourself, “Wait, was that…?” Maybe you hit rewind, paused, and hopped onto IMDb for a quick scroll through a famous actor’s career highlights, and then saw it. Yep! That amazing actor you love was totally that weird unnamed cameo in the background of a show you used to watch with your mom when you stayed home sick from school, or that goofy sci-fi movie you’re not sure anybody ever paid to see in the first place. Well, everyone has to start somewhere! Some of those somewheres just happen to be pretty strange. Here are a few “Huh?”’s from some of today’s box office favorites!

Jennifer Lawrence - Monk - “Mr. Monk and the Big Game" (Season 5 Episode 3, 2006)

Jennifer Lawrence in  Monk .

Jennifer Lawrence in Monk.

Before embodying her fierce characters Mystique and Katniss, JLaw’s filmography was decidedly…fluffier. I’d be lion (wink wink) if I didn’t say I was surprised to see a young Jennifer pumping up the auditorium as a school mascot in this episode of Monk with Tony Shalhoub.

Quentin Tarantino - Golden Girls - “Sophia’s Wedding Part 1” (Season 4 Episode 6, 1988)

Quentin Tarantino in  Golden Girls.

Quentin Tarantino in Golden Girls.

None of Tarantino’s signature artistic gore or carefully curated soundtrack here - just everyone’s favorite senior ladies from the lanai enjoying matriarch Sophia Petrillo’s wedding and a very familiar-faced Elvis impersonator. Thank goodness this wedding turned out better than Tarantino’s other Bride’s!

Jason Segel - Can't Hardly Wait, 1998

Jason Segel in  Can’t Hardly Wait.

Jason Segel in Can’t Hardly Wait.

Ah, the 90s, where teen flicks ruled the theaters. Can’t Hardly Wait features several young attractive teenagers vying for their chance to have the ultimate high school graduation party. It also features Jason Segel as Watermelon Guy, where we’re treated to a short scene of the now-famous actor, well, eating watermelon.


Kristen Stewart - The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, 2000

Kristen Stewart in  The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas.

Kristen Stewart in The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas.

Your eyes will be brontosore (get it?) squinting to catch Kristin Stewart’s tiny cameo as “Ring Toss Girl” at a carnival game in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, but you’ll be glad once you yabba dabba did!


Patrick Dempsey - The Stuff, 1985

Patricky Dempsey in  The Stuff

Patricky Dempsey in The Stuff

If you’ve ever thought a movie about ice cream would make for a great horror plot, you might need to talk to your doctor about lactose intolerance. Nevertheless, this satirical dairy disaster gave the world a gift when it cast a young Patrick Dempsey as the delightfully-named “Underground Stuff Buyer #2.” Paging Doctor McCreamy!

So there you have it! Remember next time you’re gearing up for that audition as “Man in Post Office Line #4” or “Unnamed Janitor with Mop” you may just be on the brink of superstardom, too!

Posted on March 25, 2019 and filed under Celebrities.

5 things to consider before selecting your next commercial headshot

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Even the most selfie-obsessed actor can struggle when it comes to figuring out what their commercial headshot should ideally look like in order to impress those elusive casting agents. Sure, you want that photo to reflect the real you, but in a world of filters, Facetune, and Photoshop, it’s getting more and more difficult to see ourselves clearly.

Scoring the right look and vibe is, of course, going to depend on a variety of factors. Before you get dolled up for the next shoot, consider a few things first:

Is this photo neutral?

Okay, obviously it’s best to let your personality shine through in your headshot. But unless your goal is to only get submitted for one type of role, you’re going to want that image to remain a bit on the neutral side. This means selecting an outfit and background that won’t take away from what’s most important: your beautiful face!

Consider which demographic you fall into, and do let your unique self shine through while maintaining a broad approach for casting agents. You can alternatively choose a few different looks if multiple shots are in your budget, but typically, you’ll need at least one that you can use for a plethora of roles.

Is this what I really look like?

Most of us - if not all of us - would love it if a soft light filter followed us around everywhere we go. But before you ask your photographer for that mole on your neck to be photoshopped away, and for your cheekbones to look a smidge more defined, consider what the casting agent’s first impression will be of you if you walk into the room looking only slightly like that headshot.

Even if it’s the best headshot you’ve ever held in your hands, if it doesn’t look like what you look like today, it might as well go in the trash.

Can I ask anyone for their expert opinions first?

It’s 2019, and we have a world of resources at our fingertips. Step one would be doing exactly what you’re doing right now and asking the Internet for some free guidance.

If your photographer is at all experienced in working with actors, don’t be afraid to ask for the opinions and let them guide you. Taking acting classes? Talk to your peers. Ask your instructors for their input. Have an agent? Believe me, they’ll have their expert opinions and advice to offer as well.

An objective take may just help you nail down what works best for you.

Will I be able to use this photo long-term?

Maybe you have money to burn and this isn’t an issue, but for many actors, those headshots need to work for at least a year-- or until a new gig requires you to chop off your hair or shave your beard. If your current look is bound to change in the near future for whatever reason, keep that in mind before you drop serious cash on those prints.  

And finally….

Do I love this photo?

It seems obvious, but if the whole world is telling you they love a photo of you, you may find yourself convincing the little voice in your head that everything is fine. Don’t do that. Being proud of your headshot will give you a boost of confidence when you submit for roles, and as mentioned plenty of times above, you’re spending your hard-earned dollhairs on this and should have final say!

There is a world where both your colleagues’ professional opinions and your personal opinions both live; it just may take a bit of extra effort on your part to find that happy medium.

Posted on March 18, 2019 and filed under Headshots.

6 Award-Winning Film Actors with Roots in Theatre

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While it is tough to fathom, many film actors in Hollywood have risen to fame with very-little-to-no-classical training. Others, however, put in a ton of time and effort into perfecting their craft prior to doing as much as submitting a self-tape for a feature film or television pilot. And it’s safe to say that the latter paid off, as these award-winning favorites spent some serious time studying various methods while rocking a pair of super fashionable character shoes. Read on to discover how these actors went from stage to screen.

1. Andrew Garfield

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Although he’s originally from the film mecca that is Los Angeles, this Amazing Spider-Man began his career performing far less risky stunts on the stage and even won the Evening Standard’s Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer in 2006.

2. Kristen Bell

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Bell landed roles in both The Crucible and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Broadway in the early 2000s, long before we ever knew how adorably hilarious she was on the silver screen. She later went on to win an Emmy for ‘Best Actress’ on TV for Veronica Mars.

3. Jon Hamm

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It’s tough to imagine this Mad Man singing his heart out while dancing around on stage, but long before he was Don Draper and earning award after award for that performance, he was giving it all onstage starring in musicals, such as Sondheim’s Assassins, while attending the University of Missouri.

4. Jane Krakowski

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Any 30 Rock fan knows Krakowski can belt out any song at pretty much any given moment; after all, her pipes, along with insanely precise comedic timing, is what scored her a SAG award in 2009. But prior to us all falling in love with her as Jenna Maroney (or for us old folks, as ‘Elaine’ on Ally McBeal), Jane snagged a few Tony Award nominations, winning ‘Best Featured Actress in a Musical’ in 2003.

5. Chris Evans

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Evans sure did win over his entire community starring in countless plays with the Concord Youth Theatre. Watching his sister enjoy stage time and looking for some extra attention led to his love of acting, and he now wins awards for being incredibly talented at pretending to save the world with the hunkiest men in Hollywood.

6. Paul Rudd






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Although he’s heavily rumored to be a vampire, Paul Rudd has somehow managed to withstand the hottest stage lights, starring in major Broadway plays, such as in Twelfth Night as ‘Orsino’. Rudd also starred as ‘Adam’ in Neil LaBute’s play, The Shape of Things, which got turned into a major Hollywood screenplay.

An Actor Repairs: Moving Forward After a Bad Audition

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Sometimes when you leave an audition, you practically float out the door knowing you’ve totally, unequivocally nailed it. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. You blew it. Objectively, you know that bad auditions happen all the time to actors of all levels of talent and experience - heck, Peter Jackson even called Jake Gyllenhaal “the worst actor I have ever seen” after a brutally bad read for Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. As universal as failure is, it’s still tough not to get bogged down when you swing and miss. Feeling like you should just throw in the towel and never show your face at a casting call again? Try these three things instead to get back on track.

Throw a Tiny Pity Party

First, you have permission to be gentle with yourself. It’s normal to be bummed out about a missed opportunity. If you need to take some time to nurse your wounds, there’s no shame in drawing a hot bath, slapping on a face mask, polishing off a carton of ice cream, Postmating a second carton of ice cream... well, you get the idea. Who are the people you can count on to love you unconditionally and let you vent for a minute? Call your mom, text your best friend, ask your partner for an extra-long hug. Sometimes a little attention and empathy are the best balms for the sting of rejection.

Growing Pains

You came, you saw, you didn’t conquer, you cried a little. Now’s your chance to take this tough experience and use it as fuel to grow as an actor. After you’ve had some time to decompress and the pang of disappointment isn’t quite as sharp anymore, you’ll have some more clarity and can take a thoughtful look back on what went wrong. Once you pinpoint where things went awry, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. Did you keep the auditors waiting because of car troubles? Download a ride app and grab a copy of the local bus schedule to keep on your person just in case! Stumbled over your script? Check out Google and YouTube for some cold read memorization tips. Keep catching yourself fidgeting? Record yourself on your phone while you prepare and watch over for nervous tics, then practice moving more comfortably and carefully. Think of every rough audition as a learning experience that gives you new tools to hone your craft and soon you’ll be on your way to your next great role!

Get Back on the Horse 

Not literally, obviously; it doesn’t have to be an audition for a Western (but if you hear the Coen brothers have anything new in the works, let me know). No, the final and most important step of recovering from a bad audition is putting yourself back out there. If Jake Gyllenhaal could do it, you can, too! You’ve given yourself some time to wallow, you’ve reviewed what went wrong, and you’ve made some concrete changes in your prep and planning. It’s time to let those newly-polished skills shine - you’ve totally got this.

Interview with a Triple Threat: Jalen Harris

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

You’ve probably heard of the expression, “Like attracts like” - nowhere else is that more true than at Studio 27. We have a high-caliber roster of coaches and talent - Jalen Harris being one of those talents. He is truly a star on the rise, having worked in the Broadway national touring production of The Lion King playing Simba, is a singer and model, and has graced your TV sets in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and - spoiler alert - was a contestant on American Idol. Jalen sat down to chat with Studio 27 on his life in the spotlight - read on.

S27: Hi Jalen! Thank you for speaking with us today! Tell us about your career: how did you get started in the music and acting industries?

JH: First, it’s an honor to share with you some of my journey throughout my life as an entertainer. I grew up in a musically-inclined-and-church-involved family in Memphis, TN. I performed my first solo in church at age 4, where my grandfather was the pastor and founder. From that moment on, I knew in my spirit that being on a stage was where I felt safe but also purposed. Performing in many talent shows, town fairs, church plays, and sporting events as a kid, my parents helped cultivate my musical talents, which eventually led me to be a contestant on American Idol Season 10 at age 15. At age 17, I met an angel. Her name was Cheryl Harris. Upon meeting her, and working with her on a few projects, she later became my manager, introduced me to different agents in the business, and the rest is history. Since training and developing my acting skills with her, I’ve appeared in different TV and film projects, and most recently as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King Broadway tour.

S27: That’s phenomenal - you’re a busy guy! What has been your favorite acting role to date?

JH: Definitely playing Simba. Not only is The Lion King the greatest show in the world in every way imaginable, it also taught me that I was much more capable of doing things I never knew I could [be capable of]. It is my favorite, because I grew up always wanting to be a superhero. Simba is a role where the actor sings, dances, and performs stage combat and various stunt work. Thus, singing every night on stage and avenging my father “Mufasa” from my evil uncle “Scar” was the perfect combo!

S27: Okay, dish the deets - what was the most dramatic moment you had while performing with The Lion King on Broadway?

JH: The moment that changed me as a performer due to the intensity of live theater, was my first performance as Simba. I had only rehearsed for 2 weeks, and had been anticipating the next 2 weeks to complete my training for the role. So without a dress rehearsal, or experience doing the show as Simba yet, a stage manager told me after the opening number, “Jalen, you have to go on now. This is not a test”. So the team and crew rushed me to the basement, where I would have to be put into makeup and wardrobe, in time for “Hakuna Matata,” Simba’s first appearance. When I was ready to go to my cue, I waited in the wing, with the entire cast a crew cheering me on, swung out, and began singing, “It means no worriessss……” I’ll never forget that time. I felt so much love and support from my show family.

S27: Outside of The Lion King, what was your favorite performance to date?

JH: My favorite performance to date was singing the National Anthem for the NCAA Football Championship Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. With 60,000 fans watching, and my parents being somewhere in the crowd, I was so proud to open such an incredible event, televised for the nation.

S27: What are some of your biggest musical influences?

JH: Musically, some of my biggest influences include artists from about every genre! [laughs] But most notably, I am most influenced by the styles of Prince, Whitney [Houston], Brandy, and of course, Michael Jackson. But also artists like Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce [are musical influences].

S27: Tell us about your new album - what inspired you to write it?

JH: I am so excited about my new album and collection of songs that will soon be available for everyone to enjoy! Honestly, my life experiences are the true source of depth in what inspires my writing. Whether it’s from memories in my childhood, experiences my siblings or friends have had, or even my own first-hand circumstances, I find that being genuine with my pen and being vulnerable in the music is the best way for me to connect to the listener.

S27: Plug time! Tell us what you have coming up next.

JH: Coming up next from Jalen: Music, music, and more music! I am honestly so grateful for my dream team of management, production, and agents. They work tirelessly everyday for me. You will be seeing me in other projects as well like feature films, television series, and maybe a magazine or two. But I am mostly excited to release my new music and performing live bi-coastally with my band!

We’re excited as well, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this superstar!

4 Life Hacks for Actors

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As working adult actors, we have all been through the wringer at one point or another: we got a flat tire on the way to an audition; we overbooked ourselves; we shook the auditors’ hands in the audition room, even though we KNOW it’s an industry faux pas. There are a myriad of ways we can ruin our careers - or at least, that’s how it can often seem. But as actors, we are also prone to - ahem - theatrics. None of the above examples will ruin your career, per se, but it can make for a stressful day, which no actors wants, especially when he/she is in the middle of auditioning! And if you live in a bigger city like LA or New York, you may have multiple auditions in a day. The following ‘life hacks’ will make your audition process smoother and more fruitful - no matter where you end up.

The Emergency Actors’ Kit

Keep an “Emergency Actors’ Kit” in your car - this can be a makeup bag or pencil pouch filled with the essentials: a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, makeup, lipstick, mints, a token that reminds you why you’re living this insane life; whatever you think will help you nail the next audition! If you don’t have a car, keep it in your purse or “audition bag” - it helps to also pack a change of clothes for the next audition or gig.

Headshots & Resumes

You knew this one was coming: always keep at least 10 headshots with your actor’s resume stapled to the back in your car or audition bag. You never know who you’re going to run into, or how many you’ll need for an audition. These days, most auditions have gone digital and won’t ask for a headshot/resume (because they’ll already have your info on their tablets or computers!), but it never hurts to be over prepared.

Scripts

Have a go-to monologue or scene? Bring those lines with you! You never know when you’ll need to quickly review it for an audition. It happens more often in theatre, but often, auditors will ask you if you’ve prepared anything else - and you want to be ready.

Writing Items

Make sure you bring a notepad or tablet with you wherever you go - you also never know when you’ll need to take notes! Your phone works, but if your day turns into a more intensive note-taking session, you’ll wish you had more room to write.

What are your #actorslifehacks? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on February 5, 2019 and filed under Actors.

Interview with Sara Coates, Actress and Future House Name

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Studio27 Talent: Hi Sara! Thank you for speaking with us today!

Sara Coates: Hello! I am so excited to chat with you! My pup Reuben is currently lounging on my legs. I may get a cramp.

S27: Reuben is a star in his own right, and it is an honor and a privilege for him to join us as well. First off, tell us how you became an actor, and how it’s led you to where you are today.

SC: For starters, I can’t imagine doing the same thing forever. As a child I wanted to be/do everything. Vet, lawyer, cop, lunch meat seller (that is real). It took me a long time to realize that I could be all of those things and more. I also have fallen in love with the hard things about being an actor. I love auditioning, I love the grind, I don’t hate the “No’s”. I am consistent, I take the hustle seriously, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

S27: I love that, and am tattooing it on my body. Next shameless question: what’s your favorite part about being low-key famous?

SC: [laughs] LIVING MY BEST LIFE! Honestly, the things that I am recognized for are so immersed in nerd culture, and they are the greatest fans ever. That’s what I grew up with. My older brother is a gamer, and it’s so cool to be in things he likes. Also, someone made me an action figure, and it shook me to the core.

S27: Love it - quick! Name your favorite director to work with, and tell us why!

SC: Rachel Goldenberg! Her background is with “Funny or Die” and she let’s me improvise the [crap] out of scenes. She directed a few of my ZNation eps, and I would follow her to the ends of the earth.

S27: What acting techniques, tools, or teachers/coaches help you get in the zone the best?

SC: [My advice would be to] take some sort of class. Anything to stay creative. UCB is wonderful, and I met so many people I could call tomorrow to help me with an audition. But classes can get spendy, so even just gathering friends and reading something out loud is helpful. I also make sure I am so off book for auditions. It lets me be free to change it up in the moment. I always hold my script, but I never look at it. I also don’t take myself too seriously. This can be the best job, and the weirdest job.

S27: Do actors need to move to LA to make it in the biz? What tactics can they take if they’re stuck in their hometowns?

SC: I don’t think you need to be in LA. But, there is SO MUCH WORK here. That doesn’t mean you can’t book things at home. I would get close to a “hub” if you can: Atlanta, NYC, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, etc..I’m sure there are more. It’s just important to not wait for things to happen to you. Make things happen.

S27: Tell us some hot celebrity goss. We’ll never tell.

SC: I once held hands with Idris Elba at the “Beasts of No Nation” premiere, and left my boyfriend out in the car for 45 min. I have no regrets, and I would do it again.

S27: Ha! Okay, now, tell us an on-set Z Nation secret that viewers may not know, that you’re not contractually obligated to KEEP a secret.

SC: I once was crying in a scene with Keith Allen “Murphy” and I was leaning over him and a booger came out of my nose and landed on his face. I think it’s on film somewhere. It’s my greatest acting moment.

S27: I hope he kept the booger. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sara! Plug time - what can our readers see you in (or hear you in) next?

SC: I have some more video games on the horizon. I am in a horror movie called “The Parish” coming soon! I have the greatest dog in the world named Reuben Wrinkles. You can find us daily on my instagram @scoatesy ! Thank you so much. ACT my friends! ACT LIKE THE WIND!

Posted on January 15, 2019 and filed under Celebrities, Interviews.

Finding the Character for Actors

Happy 2019, everyone! Studio 27 Talent started back on January 2, and boy, are we ready to hit the ground RUNNING! Our classes this week have been focused on character work, which is one of my favorite topics in acting for film, so I figured I’d dive in fully and in addition to teaching, write a blog post about finding the character for actors. Here’s how to do it.

Photo by Howard Schatz

Photo by Howard Schatz

Listen To Your Coaches/Teachers, & Do Your Homework

There’s a reason why we assign students homework at Studio 27, and it’s not just to win awards. No, it’s because we want our students to improve their acting for film abilities and talent, and to accurately, efficiently, and effectively bring their characters to life off of the page. By working on film character analysis worksheets, acting students can work through a character’s arc and see right there on the page his or her emotional growth. It’s imperative that actors do this work before a performance, even if it’s a last-minute film, commercial, or television project, so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.

Do Physical Warm-Ups

Think about how your characters portrays themselves in a physical way: do they walk with a limp? How old are they? Where are they coming from in each scene? Where are they emotionally and mentally? Are they rich or poor? All of these details are factors in how your character carries themselves. Doing physical warm-ups, like stretching, yoga, and improv exercises can help you get in touch with your character’s physicality, and figure out how they move. Physicality is the #1 way you can inform a character, so work on that before you do anything else!

Play Some Jams

I love making playlists for each show or film I’m in to inform my character work. I try and focus on what the character would listen to, or simply add songs that remind me of my character. It helps TREMENDOUSLY for me to get in the mood while driving on the way to rehearsal or a show/performance. I generally try to avoid noise interference when learning lines, but playing music throughout my day (if I’m working on something that doesn’t require my full attention) is helpful!

Whether You’re Method or Meisner, Use Your Experience

Using your experience to inform your character work is key. Hopefully in your acting career, you’ll get to play a myriad of characters who are from all walks of life (or who knows, maybe you’ll even get to play an alien or monster - how cool would THAT be?), and you may not be experienced with said walks of life. You’ll need to draw on your own experiences to portray a character well - for example, if you’re playing a mom but have never been a mother, you’re going to have to figure out a person or animal you love like a mother would a child. It’s not the same thing, but you’ll need to get pretty close to play this character well.


How do you get into character before a big shoot or performance? What’s been your favorite character to play? Let us know in the comments!


Posted on January 4, 2019 and filed under Characters.

6 Films & TV Shows That are Shooting in Georgia in 2019

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Happy holidays, guys and dolls! 2019 is right around the corner, which means PILOT SEASON is right around the corner which means big production companies are also gearing up to shoot their features in good ol’ GA. Here’s a list of films and TV shows that are shooting in Atlanta and the surrounding areas in the new year:

Jumanji 3

Filming for the blockbuster will take place in Atlanta from January 21st - April 26th, and reports are that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan will all be reprising their roles. Keep an eye out on the casting boards - especially if you’re good at running through jungles.

The Glorias: Life on the Road

Filming in Savannah from January 14th, 2019 - March 30th, 2019, this film is an adaption of Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road. Hot tip: read the book before you audition for bonus points!

Zombieland 2

That’s right - the zombies are back, and they’re hungrier than ever! This horror comedy is filming in Atlanta January 28th, 2019 - March 15th, 2019.

Echo Boomers

A Bling Ring-esque romp, this film is about a group of twentysomethings who steal from the rich to give to themselves. Filming in Atlanta January 20th, 2019 - March 15th, 2019.

Limited Partners

I am a big Tiffany Hadish fangirl, so I was stoked to read that she and Rose Byrne (also a fan of hers!) are filming Limited Partners, a film about two women from a beauty company that gets bought out by a big tech company. Filming in Atlanta starting on June 28th, 2019.

Watchmen

Now in pre-production, this show is filming in Macon, GA in 2019. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Adelaide Clemens , Frances Fisher, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeremy Irons, Rgina King, Don Johnson, Andrew Howard, it’s sure to be a superpowered dream.

What are you most looking forward to auditioning for in 2019? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on December 17, 2018 and filed under Filmmaking, Filming.

The Best Talent Agents in Atlanta for Kids

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times - while Atlanta is a growing market, it’s not necessarily the booming mecca for roles that actors seem to think it is. Films and TV shows still do the majority of their casting for lead roles out of Los Angeles. Atlanta actors have an uphill battle when it comes to achieving their goals, and even those in LA generally have to work a long, long time before getting their big break - if that ever even happens.

But do not despair! Life has a funny way of working itself out, if you work hard and are persistent and focused in what you want to achieve. If your kid wants to be an actor, don’t discourage his or her dreams - foster them! And they CAN get an agent that will help them land commercial and film roles. In fact, I recommend submitting their headshots as soon as possible, even if they don’t have a resume - yet.

Here are the top kids talent agencies in Atlanta:

Atlanta Models & Talent

This Atlanta-based agency starts accepting talent submissions for kids as young as 4 years old, who have had some experience with performance. Kids under 17 do not need an extensive resume to submit. I always advise the parents of the students I teach to have their kids film themselves performing a comedic and dramatic film monologue(s) as well as a comedic and dramatic film scene(s) in-house at Studio27 Talent; obviously, they’ll need a reader, but this is a good way to work around not having a reel or a lot of work on your resume. That way, you can throw those scenes and monologues together into a “reel,” and use it to submit for projects, agencies, and management companies. Studio27 rates for tapings are industry standard. And trust me - you need to have some good-looking tapings in your actors’ toolbox! They will come in handy.

AM&T has placed their talent in film and TV shows like: Atlanta (S2), Ant-Man & the Wasp, Cloak & Dagger, Black Lightning, Dynasty, I, Tonya, Insatiable, and many more!

East Coast Talent Agency

East Coast Talent is the agency of Chandler Riggs, who played Carl on The Walking Dead. Their talent can be seen on, among other films, shows, and commercials: Powers, ESPN, One Tree Hills, Eastbound and Down, Devious Maids, Golden Corral, etc. ECTA also accepts kid submissions starting at 4 years old. You do not have to have professional headshots before submitting (though I would recommend it!), but you do have to get them within three months of signing a contract with ECTA.

J Pervis Talent Agency

With branches in NYC, LA, and Atlanta, J Pervis is the recognizable name in talent in the South. It is, however, a huge agency, so if you think your child will thrive in a more boutique agency, I would look to something smaller, at least to start out, so your kid can have individualized attention.

That said, J Pervis is now only accepting submissions via industry referrals only - meaning, your kid needs to have some clout before attempting a spot with this agency.

People Store

My husband used to work in a commercial agency, and when I mentioned getting our three-year-old a potential Atlanta agent, the first words out of his mouth were, “It needs to be a legit one, like People Store.” People Store is known as one of the top agencies in Atlanta, and it’s not as big as J Pervis, so you have more of a boutique feel while still maintaining legitimacy. People Store talent have worked in: Baby Driver, Get Out, Hidden Figures, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Lore, Mindhunter, and more.

Houghton Talent

Houghton is another agency with great reviews - clients call it “an all-around stellar agency!” It also accepts baby and toddler submissions, so +1 to Houghton over the others for that alone. Additionally, Houghton represents dancers, makeup artists, musicians, families, and other entertainers. Houghton has a good reputation in Atlanta, and it’s a nice, smaller agency that can really get your kids’ feet wet in this business!

The Bell Agency

Shanon Bell and her husband are the founders and owners of this agency, which specializes in being agents for kids - however, they do have a teen and adult division as well! They’re good agents, and get their talent auditions that they wouldn’t otherwise obtain through the usual self-submission process. They also specialize in “baby wrangling” for photographers!

Who is your talent agent in Atlanta? What do you love or wish they would improve? Let us know in the comments!

The Most Well-Acted Holiday Films of All Time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! In some parts of the country, it’s snowing, while in Atlanta, it’s doing the whole today-is-freezing-tomorrow-is-tropical thing that we ATLiens are so accustomed to. To me, there’s nothing like Fall/Winter in Georgia, but no matter where you are across the great U.S., you’re likely excited that the holidays are here! And even if you’re not a big holiday participant, you’re also likely to be someone in or interested in the film industry - hence reading this blog. So why not combine your love of film and love and/or tolerance of these festive days by watching some holiday movies that are ACTUALLY pretty dang good - read on to discover your new faves!

It’s a Wonderful Life

Oh c’mon - this one is a CLASSIC, and you can’t tell me that Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed aren’t national treasures. I honestly don’t think I need to elaborate any more on this, because if you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life right now, then I don’t know how to talk to you.

Elf

When asked by the New York Post which Saturday Night Live actors he knew he would cast the minute he saw them audition, long-time showrunner Lorne Michaels stated, “Will Ferrell,” among others like Kristen Wiig and Dana Carvey. Ferrell is an INCREDIBLE actor, and his 200% commitment to portraying Buddy the Elf as the wholesome content America needs is near-perfection. This movie is perfect for the whole family, and if you haven’t seen it yet - why haven’t you?

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

This film is so good - in fact, I forgot how good it was, until I started writing this post! It’s honestly one of my very favorite holiday films, and I tend to think of the 1994 version as my go-to (and Mara Wilson, is, as always, spectacular), but the 1947 version is just infinitely better - it just is. You really can’t beat classic movies, especially at this time of year. There’s just something about an old black-and-white movie that really takes me back; perhaps the nostalgia is playing too much into my opinion on the actors’ capabilities, but Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood in her first major film role, are superstars.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Is it a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? It’s an age-old debate (or, well, a 25-year-old debate, yeesh), and I would argue that it’s both. Both are good. I also realize that it’s stop-motion animation, but the VOICE ACTING in this piece is incredible. I mean, c’mon - Catherine O’Hara plays Sally - what more could you ask for? And Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman are iconic as Jack the Pumpkin King (speaking and singing voice, respectively).

What’s your favorite holiday film? What new holiday movies are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on November 29, 2018 .

FAQ's For Actors

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“Frequently asked questions” are oft-asked for a reason. It’s because the answers are basic knowledge that people need to know in order to make a purchase, start a new career, or chase a dream (to name but a few options!). I noticed that similar questions among actors kept popping up on forums for websites like backstage.com, so I figured the best recourse was to answer them here! Read on for answers to your most-asked questions as an actor:

What does it mean to select “monologues you’re familiar with”?

Many actors question whether or not this phrase, “familiar,” means to be off-book. The short answer is yes! Remember the ABOB’s of acting: Always. Be. Off. Book (that was a little Glengarry Glen Ross reference for the uninitiated). You will look so much more impressive as an actor if you’re off-book. You should also work with an acting coach before any big audition or callback, if you can. That said, feel free to keep your script on you “for safety,” but any casting director worth their mettle will much rather prefer you improvise, if needed, as opposed to reaching for your script. And “improvise,” doesn’t mean to go off in a wacky world that has nothing to do with the original script - it simply means that if you mix up a word or two or have to summarize parts of your monologue, that’s okay, as long as you get the point across! Unless it’s Shakespeare - then, please don’t try to improvise Shakespeare, unless that’s your bag!

What agents in Atlanta should I audition for?

Atlanta has numerous options for agents! It’s important to note which type of agency is right for you, whether it’s a more boutique agency with a smaller roster (less competition among the other actors at the agency, which is beneficial), or if you want to be a part of a well-known, national and global agency, which also has its perks. Big agencies like J Pervis are known in Los Angeles, and smaller agencies like Houghton Talent have good reps. You’ll also need to make sure that these agencies are accepting new talent.

How do I start acting in America, if I’m from another country?

If you moved to the good ol’ U.S. of A and want to be an actor, you’ll need to obtain an O-1 Visa (also known as a work visa) or Green Card. The Green Card actually seems easier to get, as with the O-1 Visa, an individual has to possess “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.” The O-1 Visa process seems to be a lengthy one, but so is the Green Card process. In any case, you may be able to get paid “under the table” on student films or you could always work for free to gain experience! Auditioning for SAG work doesn’t hurt, either, and can help speed along the process for a work visa.

How do I get started as an actor?

Start off by taking classes! Whether it’s on-camera acting, improv, or scene study, acting classes are a safe space where you can fail - you couldn’t ask for a better start in acting! Atlanta is a growing hub for production, so there are a plethora of classes you can take and coaches you can hire, but of course, we recommend our own, since, you know, we’ve trained in schools like Juilliard, The Groundlings, and Dad’s Garage among others.

What frequently-asked questions do you have, either as a new actor or seasoned performer? Let us know in the comments

Posted on November 18, 2018 .

10 Quick Insider Tips To Nail Your Audition

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We recently did a marketing survey for our current students and parents of students here at Studio 27, and boy, were the results insightful! One of the main interests of our students’ and their families was that they would like more insider tips on how to book those gigs. The truth is, we can’t wave a magic wand over this blog post whereupon reading it, you’ll magically start booking out - BUT, as someone who has worked in film in nearly every capacity for almost 9 years and in theatre for almost 17 years, I can tell you what the other side of the table IS looking for!

Here are our quick-and-dirty insider audition tips to [hopefully] land you your next gig!:

  1. Dress to impress. In LA, actors wear audition outfits that reflect the character they’re reading for. You may have to read for multiple characters, but come dressed as the OG characters you’re reading for, and the auditors will be super impressed!

  2. Be polite. Respect your auditors time - they have hundreds if not thousands of other actors to review! And they’re in charge of whether or not you book, not you. Don’t act like you’re above the audition, even if it’s low-budget or not SAG. Thank the auditors when you’re finished.

  3. Be off-book. You can have your script for “safety,” but as off-book as you can be.

  4. Don’t shake hands. It’s cold and flu season - yuck! Don’t spread germs by shaking hands, unless the casting directors initiate a handshake.

  5. Be nice. You can chat with the other actors in the holding area. No need to be snobby - you never know who’s going to make it big!

  6. Be humble. Be direct about your experience, but no need to name-drop.

  7. Be prepared. Bring AT LEAST two copies of your headshot and resume - bring a commercial AND theatrical headshot, if it makes sense for the role. Make sure resumes are stapled to the back of your headshots.

  8. Turn your phone off. Seriously. No one is going to appreciated a ringtone or buzz during your audition.

  9. Listen (and take) direction! If you get direction after a read, it’s a good thing. Trust us.

  10. Do your research. Do your character work before you walk in. Come prepared with smart questions. Learn all you can about the auditors/casting directors and the production company.

BONUS tip: Relax. No one wants you to be nervous - you’re there to interview them for this job, too! And have a BLAST!

Posted on November 7, 2018 and filed under Audition.

Interview: Actor/Writer Swift Rice

Photo by Fare Game

Photo by Fare Game

Here at Studio 27, we pride ourselves on fostering talent and highlighting artists doing cool work in the community. Their successes are our successes, especially when they’re local to Atlanta! We interviewed actor/writer/comedian Swift Rice and chatted about acting, comedy, and making a living from art.

Studio 27: Hi Swift! Thank you for allowing us to interview you!

Swift Rice: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be interviewed. A friend told me “it is better to be seen than viewed”...sorry, that was random.

S27: Ha, no worries, we love it! Tell us a bit about who you are, and what you do.

SR: I’m a improvisor/comedian/actor. I enjoy teaching at my afterschool program. We teach acting and improv to kids ages 10-15. I consider myself a “hustling artist.” I’m blessed to be able to make a living from my gifts.

S27: What made you want to get into acting and writing?

SR:I’ve wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember. I was an only child for many years, so I created and mimicked a lot of characters. My mom took me to a lot of plays in NYC. She also kept me involved in activities that sparked my creativity. I think when I performed at Madison Square Garden was when I really wanted to be in the business.

S27: That’s amazing - I didn’t know that about you! And you and I have gotten to perform a few times together at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta. You’re an awesome improvist - how did you get started with improv, and how does it play into your acting work?

SR: I love performing with you - your choices are so complementary to  whomever is in the scene with you. I started in stand-up, because I thought it was the fast track to acting. That’s when I met Tommy Futch. He had the idea of turning 9 urban and blue comedians into “clean” improvisers. [That’s how] The Blacktop Circus was born. It was one of maybe three all-black improv groups in the country. That was all of 20 years ago - it’s a lot more now.

I [also] use improv for my auditions and helping me to create better choices.

S27: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received as an actor?

SR: Be honest in your scenes and keep perfecting your craft.

S27: What are you currently working on?

SR: I just filmed Boomerang, which is a TV show that picks up from the 90’s movie of the same name. I will be filming a movie in Savannah next week which I can’t name at this moment, and [am] filming a TV show called ‘Doom Patrol’ that I shoot next week as well. Also, I have a project that I wrote called, ‘Black Magic’ that will also feature [Atlanta actor] Hannah Aslesen.

S27: What future projects are you most excited about?

SR: [That] project that I can’t tell you about! And Black Magic.

S27: We can’t wait to hear more when you’re able to share it! Finally, what advice would YOU give a young, aspiring actor?

SR: Being an actor is a journey of self-discovery. Be true to yourself and be true to the scene. Oh and don’t do drugs.

Posted on October 31, 2018 .

Do You Need a Talent Manager?

Definitely not a talent manager - Jeremy Piven in  Entourage .

Definitely not a talent manager - Jeremy Piven in Entourage.

Hi, I’m Anna, and I have a talent manager. I am an actor, writer, and producer. I am not SAG. The scripts I get paid to write are internal corporate video scripts for Delta or spec scripts for UNIQLO and private clients. I have two agents as well - one in Los Angeles, one in Atlanta. If you’re a seasoned actor reading this, you probably think I’m nuts, and you probably wouldn’t be wrong! Read on to find out why I like (and dislike) having both (both is good), and read this Backstage.com article for a second opinion!

To Live and Act in LA

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I thought I needed all the representation that I could get. I had gotten a list of agent and manager names and email addresses from a friend in the industry who had already been living and acting in LA for quite a while, and I reached out to all of those names on that list. I had done one independent feature film as the female lead, and had a few other short films under my belt. But film-industry-wise, I hadn’t done a whole lot. I had a theatre background, which to reps in LA means I take acting seriously - but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any good at acting for film. I think that out of the list of 20+ names, I got 3 - 4 meetings. And from those meetings, I got my management company.

Making It

When I signed with my manager, I truly felt like I had made it. But having a manager, especially one like mine who also submits you for roles on LA Casting and the other casting networks, is somewhat of a fine art. I’m Facebook friends with my manager, and I’ve taken coffee meetings with him a couple of times - but he’s a busy guy with a lengthy roster, and now that I live in Atlanta, he can’t really submit me for roles down here, unless they’re casting out of LA, and I work as a local hire in Atlanta. The A is out of his network. My management team takes 15 - 20% out of any job that I book through them - that adds up to a lot of moola! And then, if my agent jumps in to send a few emails and help me out with negotiations, I have to pay her ANOTHER 15 - 20%. All told, my paycheck could only end up being 60% of what it was originally quoted, especially if the project rate isn’t less agency fee, meaning that the studio would pay the agents separately.

So, you tell me - is having a manager worth it? I think signing on with a management company is an individual decision. I like my team, and I know they like me. I like having double the options for auditions - if my agent misses something, my management team may pick up on it. I don’t like having a smaller paycheck, but I primarily now work as a writer versus an actor, so the point is somewhat moot. But I’ll leave you with this: if you are not a celebrity, and there’s nothing to really manage, why hire a management team?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

The Three Types of Actors You'll Meet at Auditions

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It’s Fri-YAY and finally feeling like fall in the A, so why not have a little fun with our weekly blog post? As an actor with over 16 years of experience, I’ve auditioned all over the country for theatre, film, and schools, so I’ve seen my fair share of actor “types” in said auditions. Here are the top three types of actors you’ll meet in the waiting room, no matter what gig you’re auditioning for:

The Eager Beaver

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Also known as the Big Fish From a Small Pond, this person is trying EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to book the part. They typically come from a smaller market and are trying to make it in the big city - which is really what we’re ALL trying to do, but the Eager Beaver thinks that this fact makes THEM unique. They are either overly friendly with you, sizing you up as competition, or overtly cold…also because they’re sizing you up as competition. Hot tip: even if the Eager Beaver is rude to you, don’t be rude back! I guarantee you the auditors are watching, even if you don’t think that they are.

The Model

In the words of the cult classic Mean Girls, “She doesn’t even go here!” - as in, sometimes non-actors will show up for auditions that are very tall and very, very attractive. These are models who are trying to broaden their resumes and maybe break into acting. Some models actually DO have pretty good acting chops, but some are just there to, for lack of a better term, diversify their portfolio. Basically, they’re your really, really ridiculously-good-looking competition.

The Newbie

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The “newbie” is the actor that’s just starting out, natch. They’re probably pretty nervous, and looking for advice - which means that if you sit next to them, you’re gonna be sitting next to a real Chatty Cathy, more than likely. Again, niceness is always the best policy in my book - not only do you never know who’s watching, you also never know who’s gonna make it in the “biz.” Give advice as much as you can, but also, focus on your character portrayal and lines. You do you, boo!

Posted on October 12, 2018 and filed under Actors.

Interview with Actor Mike Beach

Actor Mike Beach.

Actor Mike Beach.

I first worked with longtime working actor (and my own personal favorite celebrity!) Michael Beach on the set of a small independent feature called Scrapper. Scrapper was my first foray with Grinning Man Media Group’s Ed Dougherty, and my first time working with real, professional actors. By “real,” I mean actors that are consistently working, like Beach and Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen.

Beach has been around the block several times in terms of work - notable roles (besides films with moi in it!) include: Soul Food, Waiting to Exhale, Aquaman, Dynasty, Sons of Anarchy, The 100, Crisis, Third Watch, and countless others. Studio27 Talent recently sat down with beach to discuss training, what makes an actor successful, and what he’s learned since graduating from Juilliard.