Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Film Lexicon: Study film and acting by studying the best

Building A Film Lexicon
Expand your viewing to include films worth watching for acting, interpretation, because Hollywood refers to them and as the base for building an understanding of roles, films and the society the art form reflects. Use these films. Add them to your bag of tricks. Also stay current on film releases and television program trends.
A Partial List of Films Worth Adding
To Your Experience Bag of Tricks

See Also AFI Top 100 (click here). 
See Also 2011 Award Season Links (for current)
Top 232 Movies by theater attendance (not box office)
For the complete list from the British Film Institute click here.

Click read more below to review several lists and consider films to branch our your tools as an actor, 
a fan or a member of this industry. Click "read more" below to continue. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The 7 C’s of Auditioning

The 7 C’s of Auditioning

Everyone gets nervous in auditions. Some of us show it, and some of us know how to cover it up. When you walk into a room, your body language can say, “I’m really sorry for the audition you are about to see,” or it can say, “This is going to be fun!” Some of the best actors can crumble in the audition room, and an actor with very little skill but lots of confidence can come in and book the job. It’s important to learn how to master the beast that is auditioning, and understand what makes an audition stand out. 

Here are seven things that are essential to every good audition. If you keep these in mind, you will be grounded in the scene, focused, your nerves will dissolve, and you will stand out from the pack.

1. Confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. The audition starts the moment you walk into the room, so find a way to be relaxed, and project unshakeable confidence. 

If you don’t have it, fake it. 

This is all about body language and eye contact, so walk into the room with your head up, shoulders back, with total focus and relaxation. It’s the kind of confidence that makes people trust you, and allows them to feel they can put you on set or on stage tomorrow and you will be fine and not waste their time. You are prepared, know your job in the scene, your lines, and believe in the circumstances. Even if you are freaking out inside, you have to “act” like a confident person. (You are an actor, right?)

2. Character. Don’t worry about what they are looking for. It’s your job to show them your unique interpretation of who this character is. Your character has a point of view in the scene. What is it? Think of three adjectives to describe this person and write these at the top of the script (annoyed, frustrated, in love, etc.). If there is a chair in the room, how do they sit in this chair? What is the character’s body language? How do they speak? The clearer you are on the character, the more your nerves dissolve, and you can disappear into this person’s world. 

3. Conflict. At the heart of every good scene is conflict, even if it’s from within. What is at stake in the scene? What are the characters fighting for? What are the circumstances around this scene? Find out what that is, and put that nervous energy into how your character deals with it. If you are very clear on your conflict and objective, it will dictate the rhythm, inflection, and tone of each line, and avoid the trap of playing the “result.”

4. Concentration. Take a breath before you begin the scene. Quiet your mind and concentrate on the moment before. This involves total emotional and physical commitment, to the character, to the words, the thoughts, and being totally prepared. 

It’s not enough to just know the lines, you have to live them, and understand what’s behind the lines. If you are worried about what people are thinking, or your next line, then you are not fully in the scene. 

Find a way to disappear into this world and make the reader the most important person in the room, so there isn’t even room for you to be thinking about anything else. You have to be true to the emotions, and personalize them, so that your eyes, voice, and body are reflecting those feelings. 

5. Connection. Eye contact. Look at the reader. Who is that person? How do you feel about them? What is that relationship like? It’s important to listen in a very active way, as if you are hearing the words for the first time. It should feel like a real, improvised conversation, not a scene for an acting class. 

You have to absorb the lines and respond from moment to moment. It starts with the thought that triggers your first line, how you feel at the top of the scene, and where your character is coming from emotionally before he or she even starts speaking. It allows you to jump right into the scene with a strong connection. It should feel like you are the only two people in the room, and that we are witnessing a private conversation.

6. Clarity. Be clear with your choices. There is always more than one way to say a line. Pick one. This doesn’t mean make bold, crazy, irrational choices, it just means make a decision with each line based on what your character wants. Don’t be safe, and don’t just glide over the important moments. Do the work at home, but then be open to direction and flexible on the room, in case you are given an adjustment. 

7. Charisma. This is what makes good auditions stand out. It’s your essence, your personality, your authentic self. It’s what you have that nobody else can offer, even when everyone is reading the same exact script. It’s the magic that you bring to the lines that make them interesting, unique, and different, with your own spin on it. It’s that fire in your eyes, alive and energetic, the thought “behind the eyes”—the art of getting people to want to watch you. 

Good luck!

Matt Newton is a film and tv acting coach, a professional actor, and the founder of the MN Acting Studio in New York City, which offers on-camera classes for all ages and levels. He is also the on-set coach for the CBS show "Blue Bloods," the author of the popular book "10 Steps to Breaking Into Acting," (available on Amazon), and teaches classes and workshops all over the U.S. Matt has coached Golden Globe nominees, Emmy award winners, has worked as an on set coach on feature films and TV shows, and has been a guest talent judge on several reality shows. Most recently Matt was the acting coach for the film “#Horror” starring Chloë Sevigny and Timothy Hutton, to be released in 2014. 
As an actor, Matt’s credits include: “Ugly Betty,” “The Americans,” “Royal Pains,” “Drake and Josh Go Hollywood,” “Criminal Minds,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Guiding Light,” “Dragnet,” “Men Who Stare at Goats,” “Van Wilder,” “Poster Boy,” and numerous other TV shows, films, and commercials.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Actors Resume Essentials

SAG-AFTRA Magazine

Keep it simple, easy to read, simple, straight forward
and without any frilly extras, colors or gimics.

On the average casting directors look only five to seven seconds at the resume.

Make it easy to read, to catch the highlights and in a standard format. Use the format and stile your agent recommends.

Keep the format simple.

Keep the font easy to read.

Never lie.

Make sure you have talking points.

Keep your resume up to date.

Keep resume to one page.

Avoid typos.

Your resume be structured with film on top,
then TV, then theater, training and at the bottom
special skills.

Keep your credits current

Leave off anything that is not directly relevant -
and that includes high school drams credits.

DO NOT LIE! It is easy to verify information, and
if you are caught, you will ruin your reputation. Word gets around very quickly.

unless you are a beginner or less experienced in a location market
where this is considered the norm. Clearly label as a local hire
if you choose to take this route and do not list the "roles" as anything
IF YOU MOVE TO LA OR NYC drop all reference to background work.

If you are not a dues paid members of a union, do not list "eligible"-
it labels you as nor serious enough to join and become a professional.

And finally do mention that your are a SAG-AFTRA member
but do not use the union SAG-AFTRA logo.

List your contact information.

Clearly indicate your role in the industry language.

List if you are a local hire.

Make sure you are good at anything you list as a special skill.

Source: SAG-AFTRA Spring 2013 Magazine.

See also the following:

A few sample resume sites:
actor sample 1  

Feel free to share additional sites, your resume or to share info at:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Time to Fix Your Résumé

Time to Fix Your Résumé
Photo Source: Pete McDonnell
It’s almost 10 p.m., and I’m out on my patio enjoying a glass of red wine. I just got home from a workshop, and I’m going through the pictures and résumés. It’s amazing. After all these years, I still see the same mistakes over and over. 

I’d like you to break this pattern, so here are my inner thoughts as I go through these résumés:

Actors always go too far with their statistics. All I really need to know is your height and weight. Eye color and hair color should be fairly obvious from the picture. And your inseam and suit size aren’t important. I’m not a tailor.

There’s absolutely no reason to include your home address. Doing so marks you as a clueless actor. And it could attract unwanted attention if you’re a young lady who’s easy on the eyes.

There’s also no need to include your age range, especially when most actors are so unrealistic about their appearance. No one, and I mean no one, plays 35–50. That’s just absurd.

I’m often handed résumés where the actor has written their phone number or email address. This means they forgot to include it when they typed up the résumé and that implies a drinking problem. So be careful. Have someone proof your final draft. And if you have to write any contact information by hand, please make sure it’s easy to read. Some of you write like you had your fingers broken in a North Vietnamese prison camp.

You shouldn’t list the name of the character you played in a movie or a series. The fact that you were hired to play Lance on “Criminal Minds” means nothing. But if you list that part as a Guest Star or Co-Star, then I have a better understanding of what you booked. 

The only exception is your theater section. It makes more sense to use the name of the character there, especially if it’s a famous play like “Death of a Salesman” or “Rent.” 

Speaking of the theater section, here’s a common mistake: Actors often list the director of the play but don’t include the name of the theater. Unless a famous Broadway director worked on your show, odds are I won’t recognize the name of your roommate who directed that last waiver play you did, so make sure you include the name of the theater.

There’s one mistake I see all the time and it really bugs me. Actors list “recurring” roles as “reoccurring” or, worse, “re-occurring.” 

Those aren’t real words. The correct word is “recurring.”

 To be clear, extra work is not acting and shouldn’t be included on your résumé. And don’t even think about lying by listing an extra job as a featured role. I will find out. I always do.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to list student films, as long as you include the name of the school. You can’t just write “Student Film.” That doesn’t mean anything. UCLA or NYU does.

I want all of you to look up the meaning of the word “fluent.” Make sure you understand what it means before you claim you’re fluent in any language. I’m fluent in three, and I always test actors when I see one of those languages listed on their résumé. Care to guess how many couldn’t respond to a simple question in the language they’re supposed to be fluent in?

And that’s about it. It’s time to hit the sheets. Tomorrow is another day, one I’m sure will bring another stack of résumés that will set me off on yet another rant. Good night and pleasant dreams.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ten Rules for Beginning Actors

From my own observations and Las Vegas Actors on Facebook:

1. If you DO NOT have an Actors Resume and Headshot, you shouldn't be submitting for work.

2. A reel is now digital, kept short and easy to submit (under 1G, under two minutes. Speed reels are picking up in popularity but actors need both.

3. No negativity in any capacity! The business is negative enough and does not want you adding to it. Keep it positive and keep it optimistic.

4. For Posted Casting Calls please understand Many Agents, Casting Directors, Production Companies, do NOT like comments or questions. If you meet the requirements and are available, they want you to submit. NOTHING MORE- NOTHING LESS! 

5. They definitely don't want to work harder by watching, reading, or answering anything! So please try not to give updates, tell your availability, make jokes, or ask questions. Proper etiquette would be this only- Submitted, Booked, Thank you. 

6. Study your craft. No matter how much you think you are a natural, remember that there is a reason successful actors take classes, graduated from quality schools, are always practicing their craft. It is like exercise for the mind and your abilities. To be ready you need to be fit. As an actor that means trained and prepared.

7. Do your research and in depth work on character, place, scene and the full value of or real value of a role to the overall story and script. Never go in unprepared. You may be lucky more than once, but for a career you need to be prepared and ready to become what they need when they need it.

8. You do not need an agent or manager, but they can help. Actors self submit all the time and land work. If you have an agent or manager make sure they have the proper connections, relationships and know what they are saying when they give advice or direction.

9. Network. It is who you know, or what friends and associates share with you. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. But do not lie, cheat, steal or misrepresent yourself in any way. You will be found out, and the results can cost you a career.

10. Be true to yourself. Find time to relax. Enjoy family and friends. Love what you are doing. Be a good person others want to now and work with. If you are not...then use who and what you are to the best of your ability and take what comes your way.

Creating Your Résumé

AFFILIATIONS (if any) such as SAG / AFTRA

William Morrison Agency
Height: 5' 10"
Bob Smith
Weight: 160 lbs.
Telephone: 213-555-1212
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Dir. James Cameron
Over the Hedge
Lou (voice)
Dir. Tim Johnson
Star Wars
Hans Solo
Dir. George Lucas
Hart's War
Lt. Hart
Dir. Gregory Hoblit


CSI New York
Lab Tech - Featured
Dir. Rob Bailey
Other George
Dir. J.J. Abrams
Grey's Anatomy
Bob the Orderly
Dir. Shonda Rhimes
Mr. Kahn
Dir. J.J. Abrams
Head Injury Patient
Dir. Christopher Chulack


Catch that man
Theatre of the Arts
Mental case
Elite Theatre
Lovely Tom
The Clash Theatre


Conflicts available upon request


UCLA, BA Dramatic Arts

Brian Reise
Scene Study & Cold Reading
Los Angeles, CA
Howard Fine
Comprehensive Technique
Los Angeles, CA

Specials Skills

Basketball, African Dancing, Martial Arts, Mime, Extreme Biking, Rock Climbing, Hip Hop, Singing, Stunts, Basketball, Football, Diving, Precision driving, Fluent French, Cry Easily, Current Passport

See also:

From Showbiz Extras

Published by Cheryl Woolsey
First of all let's differentiate between a résumé you would use to get a job in an office environment versus the type of résumé you would use as an actor. A business résumé will contain your name, contact information, work experience and skills relative to the corporate world as well as education. An acting résumé will include your name, your contact or agents contact information, personal details about you, the film, television, theatre projects you've worked in, what role you played, any acting training/education you've completed and any special skills you have to bring to a role. As you can see, the only information they have in common is your name and contact information, unless of course you choose to use a stage name instead of your birth name or you have an agent. Other than that, the two are fairly dissimilar.

Click "read More" to continue reading...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Acting Glossary and Industry Directory (draft 7-21-09)

c) Art Lynch

May 12, 2003 (update 07-21-2009)

Professor Ellis Pryce-Jones
Department of Theater
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


    The following document represents the second of two documents to be submitted for fulfillment of the requirements of THA 795 for the spring semester, 2003. I have broken it into three parts: The Craft, Terms of the Craft Glossary and Things Actors Should Know From Working Professionals.

    This text is a work in progress, prototype of what I hope to be a useful text or interactive resource for use by anyone interested in entering motion pictures, television or commercial acting as a career, particularly from Las Vegas.

    The glossary is meant to be casual, as complete as possible, covering many aspects of the motion picture industry. It is not a dictionary, but a teaching tool, complete with honest evaluations and web or e-mail citations for further study.

    The advice sections (including casting directors, agents, actors, directors and general entertainment professionals) will be expanded and updated over time. These are based on interviews I conducted or on seminars I attended or coordinated, primarily through the Screen Actors Guild. It is my intent to add additional Nevada and national industry interviews and references. I have additional interviews already set in May, June and later in the summer.

    The directories, charts and lists are designed to suggest further study and to compliment the opening introduction to the industry and craft narratives.

    While some of this work was completed prior to the semester, a great deal of additional information has been added, updates made and the first steps of creating a single document text begun.

     In preparation and research for this project I completed TCA 497 (Performing Arts Representation and Management) on-line and did an unofficial instructor permitted audit of TCA 496 (Entertainment on the Road), also on-line. I also conducted extensive interviews, both this term and achieved from my SAG Conservatory and teaching experience.

-Art Lynch

To read the document, click on "read more" below.

Acting Resume


Keep it simple
Tell your story.
Use an industry format.
Ask your agent for their preferred format.
Do not lie.
Do not exaggerate.
Show your best.
There is no such thing as SAG-Eligible. 
Make sure you have talking points.
Resume and Photo must be kept up to date.

    Resumes are talking points for those you audition for, much like a professional employment resume. They should follow one of several accepted industry formats. 

They should never lie. 

Do not represent background work as acting work. 

Do not list teachers or coaches with whom you only took a few hours or few days of workshop. Rule of thumb: will they now you and recommend you if asked?

As a rule, once you have the credits, drop smaller roles, coaches you have studied with for less than a full year and talents or abilities at which you could not claim an expert level of proficiency. 

Do list your talents and abilities, because they can be used as ‘talking points’ or may qualify you for consideration of specific roles. Las Vegas talent has historically abused resumes and photographs, by not looking like their photograph when they show up for an audition, by keeping half truths on the resumes, by not investing in the proper tools and by not making both their name and their agents’ name and number or personal contact number easy to find and read. Resume and photographs are part of why Las Vegas has the reputation it does have, beyond specialty entertainers found in shows on the Las Vegas Strip.

NEVER list SAG-Eligible, as done above. It simply tells professionals who hire that you had a SAG role or extra slots but are not professional or serious enough to join the union.

There are many formats for resumes. As a rule include your name and a contact number plus union affiliation at the top. Start your credits with film, then TV, then theater, then training and special skills (make sure you are good at these, at least far above average if not a trained professional). If multi-lingual, list languages as special skills. . Do not include commercials, or if you must simply put "commercials on request". This is done because commercials listed often are considered, without asking you, conflicts and may keep you from even been seen for the work. Also, modeling resume's are separate. As a rule (rules can be bent or broken) modeling should not show up on a TV/Theatrical resume. 

In some markets commercial actors are no considered for film or television roles and visa-versa (although this trend is being eroded by celebrities doing commercial work).  

If you have an agent or manager, prepare a resume exactly the way they request, then make a separate document (never to be used if you are submitted by the agent for work) for your own use.

In this computer age there are also formatted forms to fill out. They may or may not showcase you at your best, but this is the society we now live in.

Resumes submitted electronically should be submitted as pdf or as a photo. Word may change formats depending on the computer settings on the receiving end. If "word" is requested, then submit word.
Note: Do not put SAG-Eligible...its shows you are not ready to be a profesional (either join a union or remain non-union / pre-union). 

Now a few Theatre Resume samples:

See also the following:

A few sample resume sites:
actor sample 1  

Feel free to share additional sites, your resume or to share info


This site is a work in progress, and will be a part of an expanded web site under the home address of www:// Any additions, corrections, ideas, guest material are greatly appreciated. Please also review the material located along the right hand column, then contact me at No funds are collected or directly solicited by this site. Google Ads are used to expand Google search and tools reach. Web assistance and a web master are also being sought. Thank you in advance. -Art Lynch