Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Self-Taping Auditions Advice

The Art of Self-Taping

Andy Henry's POV: Self-Taping

So, last installmentAndy Henry contributed a great POV on self-taping and all the equipment actors need to have (and master using) to get their work in front of more and more buyers, these days. This time through, he's going to talk about the elements essential to your actual read, so that you can self-tape like a pro!

As I said in the last installment, in the past few years, it has become more and more common for those of us on the casting side of things to ask actors to put themselves on tape. Whether it is because you were on vacation or out of town working when we wanted to see you here in LA, or the film is casting in another part of the country or world, or even that we just don't have time to pre-read everyone but told your agent, "We would be happy to look at a self-tape," it is becoming more and more common--and thus more and more crucial--to know how to put yourself on tape in a manner that makes our lives easy and sells you in the best possible way. 
For more click on "read more" below or go to POV at Actors Access by clicking here.

The nuts and bolts of preparing for an audition

Auditioning: basic preparaton when you arrive for your audition

How To Prepare For Your Audition

Ensure that you have all the important information you need:

Audition time
Type of audition
What to wear
Any other necessary information as specified by the agency
Questions to Avoid Asking Your Agent

How do I get there?
What is the job paying?
Who else from ENT1 is going?
How many people are they looking for?
How did I get this audition?
Note: Please have a map of your city and surrounding areas as well as the telephone number for your local transit service.

At The Audition

Arrive at the casting 10 minutes early, an hour in LA
Upon arrival, introduce yourself to the person in charge "Hi, I'm Jen Doe for Virgin Mobile for 6pm." 

Sign in for your audition, be sure you put the time.
Wait quietly in the casting waiting area
Be selective with the topics of conversation you choose
There should be no gum chewing or eating on the premises
You should have your portfolio book, comps and resume handy unless otherwise instructed
You will be given an information form. Please complete it correctly. 

Information Form

Include: Your name, measurements, agency information
Always put down the agency phone number as your contact number.
Most people are non-union when they first begin modelling/acting
Complete all information and hand back the form
You will be asked to pose for a Polaroid
You will then be called by your name
The Audition Exercise

You will be called into the audition room with others where you will be instructed on what is expected. Please listen carefully.

You will be asked to "slate." This means you must say your name (first and last) and your Agency as "Hi, my name is Jan Doe, and I'm with ENT1."

The casting professionals will let you know what else you need to include in your slate

They may ask you to turn your right and left profile to the camera

You may have to interact with other contenders.

Remember to get into your character as much as possible and have fun!
After the Audition

Politely say thank you and then leave

Contact your Agent! Reasons to call include:
-we need to hear of any changes that happen while you are at the audition
-we need to hear your feedback
-we need to document our records
Once the audition is over, do not dwell on it

If you're to be used the Agency will contact you

Do not call the Agency to check up on the job, because it is impossible for the Agency to give an account to every Model about every individual audition

The Clients do not usually call to give feedback (only in special cases), however if there is something you should know, then the Agency will tell you
When You Get the Job

Make sure you have all information you need

Anything you are unsure of should be addressed with your Agent
Release Forms and Payment

A release form is a document which outlines the job you have performed as well as the use details

You will need to sign the release form. If you are under 18 years of age, then a guardian must sign for you

You need to hand back the release form form once it is signed

TNT Tribute to those we lost, December 2013 to November 2014...

C: 2009 Glossary draft

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



CAA - Creative Artists Agency, one of the larger talent and talent management agencies in the country.

CALLBACK - Any follow-up interview or audition.

CALL SHEET - A sheet containing the cast and crew call times for a specific day's shooting. Scene numbers, the expected day's total pages, locations, and production needs are also included. Usually equipment and location details are also listed. The call sheet serves as a method of assuring that the basic details of each shoot are met in advance and proper preparation are made. It is often important to collect call sheets and reference them in preparation and research for future work.

CALL TIME - The actual time an actor is due on the set. Also known as “call”, this usually includes details on where to be, when to be there and to whom to report.

CAMERA CAR - The camera car is used in filming moving shots, usually of actors while they are in vehicles. A camera is mounted to a car or truck to film other moving objects or vehicles.

CAMERA CREW - With the D.P. (Director of Photography) as its chief, this team consists of the camera operator, the first assistant camera operator (focus puller), the second assistant camera operator (film loader and clap stick clapper) and the dolly grip.

CAMERA OPERATOR - The member of the camera crew who actually looks through the lens during a take. Responsible for panning and tilting and keeping the action within the frame.

CAMERA REHEARSAL - A rehearsal in television to determine what cameras to position where and when, and plan ahead what shots to capture for the final product.

CAMERA RIGHT - A direction used to refer to or tall actors to move to the right of the camera, from the perspective of the camera and camera operator. This is the opposite of stage right. Camera left is to move or refer to the left direction from the viewpoint of the camera.
Camera right is also referred to as right frame. Camera left is left frame. Stage right is camera left and stage left is camera right. Stage directions are given from the perspective of the actor, while camera references are given from the perspective of the camera/viewer.

CAPITALIZATION BUDGET - in theater this is the budget to determine the amount of money that will be needed up to the opening day of the show, including all aspects of production and marketing.

CASTING AGENT- There is no such thing. In the words of acting coach Scott Rogers "Casting Agent: to the best of my knowledge, there is not now nor has there ever been, any legitimate job in the entertainment industry known as a “casting agent” (although I have heard it used in many scams and by many neophytes trying to sound knowledgeable). When people use this term, their ignorance is showing as they’re probably referring to a casting director or possibly an agent. On rare occasions you may find an agent who has an exclusive deal with an advertising agency to cast a commercial, too. If you do, you can call them a Casting Agent, if you really want to..."

CASTING DIRECTOR - The producer's representative responsible for choosing performers for consideration by the producer or director. The job of a casting director is to weed through the forest of potential talent to portray a role and find the handful that come closest to meeting the vision of the producer or director. In some cases casting directors also negotiate with named actors or working actors who are offered the role without an audition, find alternatives should negotiations fall through and help keep the talent part of the ledger within budget and under control. Casting directors do not work for actors. They are management.

CASTING SOCIETY OF AMERICA - CSA is a voluntary association of professional casting directors, formed to assist in bringing positive ad uniform standards and practices to and industry soiled by the ‘casting couch’ image. To place CSA after their name on their business cards members must qualify to join through sponsorship by existing members and actual major casting credits. Since participation is voluntary, there is no guarantee that even members abide by their own guidelines, however membership is a first test in determining how legitimate and professional a casting director is. As a disclaimer, be aware that many working casting directors who are legitimate choose not to become members of CSA. The CSA web site also contains information concerning the industry for actors and those interested in careers in acting, casting or production.

CASTNET - One of the two most reputable and used Internet casting submission services. This subscription-based service allows actors, agents, managers and other individuals to submit talent for specific roles or general consideration directly over the Internet. Unlike The Link, actors may submit their own work (The Link requires photos and support materials be submitted by a union franchised agent). The service also provides scripts, interviews, on-line chats and other services to assist actors and other talent in learning more about the field and networking. For extra fees additional photos, résumé’s, audio, video and even personalized web pages may be linked to the service, which also allows casting directors and others to search for talent from their end. This is a well-financed service, used by an increasing number of younger casting directors in every entertainment field. The caution is that since the Breakdown Services are close to monopoly in status and that service is attached to Castnet’s competitor, The Link, there is a significant portion of the industry that cannot be reached through Castnet. How serious is the company’s investment in the industry? They occupy much of the first floor of the office building in which AFTRA and Equity have their west coast offices, and where SAG’s national offices are located. The office is also close to the offices of Billboard, Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

CATTLE CALL – A casting session similar to a modeling “look see”, where large numbers of actors are called to the set or a casting location at a single time, were casting professionals select or weed out groups until they eventually find what they are looking for. As a rule union actors must be paid if they are at a cattle call for more than an hour. However this contract only kicks in if there is an actual project being cast. If the cattle call is for general talent files or recruitment, actors may face long lines or waits. An alternative definition that is also used is the the actual time you are due on the set, however most actors identify with the first definition while the second may be referred to as “call time.” The most interesting “cattle call” story come from Billie Crystal, who tells of the time on the set of “City Slickers” when the director took one look at the calf selected to “play” Norman, and decided it was too ugly. The calf was of the same breed as the herd, but that did not matter. One by one calves of every breed they could find were paraded to the directors trailer until one was “cast” as Norman, the cow Crystal helps bring into the world and later adopts as a pet.

CATERER - Responsible for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a set. Different from Craft Services, which provides food and drink on the actual set available all crew working hours.

CATV - Community Antenna Television, also known as cable television. Transmission over cable television networks or local use fall under different contracts than broadcast networks or local stations, and traditionally pay talent at a negotiated lower rate. As of this writing courts have determined that transmission over satellite and over the air on the  “side band” or “multi-plex” signals using high definition television falls under the cable contracts and compensation, despite being “broadcast”.

CD - Compact Disc. A 4.5 inch plastic disc containing digital audio recording, and sometimes additional data, played back optically on a laser equip disc player.

CD-G - Compact Disc with Graphics. In addition to audio, this format captures and allows the end user to view graphics such as text or still images. Also known as “enhanced CD.” Sometimes used in storyboarding, this technology is not uses as often as CD-RW or other computer based formats.

CD-R- CD Recordable - A home or small studio recordable CD, used for demonstration audiotapes in the voice over and music industries. Also used to copy music, voice and other audio files for achieve or future playback.

CD-RW - A format where CD’s can be recorded on more than once. This format is also used for transfer of CD computer data and programs. DVD-RW is used for video.

CD-ROM - Compact Disc Read Only Memory. A compact disk that holds text, music and images. One of the principal new venues for interactive video games as well as for full motion video films. Acting for CD-ROM's is a new arena for actors. SAG 's Interactive Media Contract covers salaries and working conditions for this new medium.

CG - Computer Graphic or Computer Generated image. This refers to the words or images added either during recording or on “post” editing. The most common use of CG’s is in commercial or news programming and in rolling ‘credits”. CG space refers to leaving room on the visual image to superimpose graphics at a later date or in “post”.

CHALKS - Chalks are another name for ‘marks’ or anything used to remind the actor where to stand at a specific time in the sequence of a scene. Chalk, tape or objects are used during rehearsal. They may or may not be in place while the cameras are rolling.

CHANGES - Outfits worn while performing. The number of times a performer must change wardrobe for different shots and/or character portrayals.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION - a description of the character usually found at the beginning of the script or just before the characters first appearance. Character descriptions are guidelines subject to the creative interpretation of talent and of the director.

CHARISMA - An exceptional quality or magnetic power an individual has that allows them to stand out in a crown or draw followers to that person’s cause, talent or career; a characteristic that often leads to stardom on stage and screen.

CHEAT - The actor's adjustment of body position away from what might be absolutely "natural" in order to accommodate the camera; can also mean looking in a different place from where the other actor actually is. Also used to “open up” the performance so that the camera or audience may best read the emotions or intentions of the scene or shot. In its historic and simplest definition, “cheating” refers to the tendency for action upstage to grab attention from downstage action, and a series of techniques used to compensate and direct the audience where the direction feels their attention should be.

CHECK AUTHORIZATION FORM - The CHF is a standard form used by production offices for actors whose contracts require, or who choose, to have the check sent to their agent, who then deducts the commission or fees and issues the actors an agency check. This is not required, but is a common accounting practice with working actors.

CHECKING THE GATE! - A verbal command to check the lens on the camera; if the lens is  “OK” the cast & crew will move on to the next scene or shot.

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN - Heads the electrician crew; also called the Gaffer.

CINEMATOGRAPHER - Director of Photography (DP) or in larger productions the DP’s boss. The cinematographer is hired to add their vision or to execute the creative vision of the producer and director onto film or video tape (where the same job is often referred to as videographer, shooter or shootist). All camera operators and camera crew are responsible to the DP. Cinematography is an art form that simply means images with film, as opposed to photography, which means capturing images with photographs.

CLAP BOARDS- Clap Boards are most commonly known as “slates” because at one time they were made of blackboard slate. These boards are used to mark significant scene information for the camera, to allow for the director and editor to find specific takes or camera “rolls”. The most common information includes the production name, production number, date, scene number and letter; take number and letter and the director’s name. Additional information can be added. Today clapboards are mostly digital, including a synchronized digital time code read out with the camera and any audio recording device. The clapboard itself is on top of the slate and makes a ‘clapping” sound at the start of each camera toll. The clapping of the board provides an audio and visual marker for both sound synchronization and film or video editing. In motion picture work the audio is usually recorded on a separate device from the camera, often called a Naugra  (after the manufacturer of audio equipment most popular within the traditional film industry). DAT equipment and digital sound stripping on film and video are replacing Naugra style multi-track tape in most production.

CLEAN ENTRANCE- a clean entrance or exit means moving in a natural fashion completely in or out of the frame of the shot before breaking character or changing the way you walk. It is one of many marks of professional talent.

CLOSE-UP (CU) - Camera term for tight shot of shoulders and face A close u (CU) is usually head an shoulders, or inclusive of not much more then the actor’s face, or whatever item is specified in the script. Extreme Close Up (ECU).

COLD READING - Unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at an audition.

COMMERCIAL - A video or film used to advertise a product or service, generally with a “call for action” which request or requires the consumer to buy, do, support or believe something. Lengths vary, but the most common durations are one minute, 30 seconds, 15 seconds and 10 second. In union production each version is considered a separate commercial. Compensation may vary by market or length of time used on the “air”. Contact SAG or AFTRA with any questions or for details.

COMMERCIAL COMPOSITE - A commercial composites is an expanded version of a “headshot” containing more than one image. Usually two sided, the commercial composite usually features four to six images of an actor in different characters. It is important that real emotions be present, instead of simply changing clothing and props. Composites go in and out of popularity in the commercial production industry. A rule of thumb is that the primary shot should be “friendly”.

COMMISSION - Percentage of a performer's earnings paid to agents or managers for services rendered.

COMPOSITE - A series of photos on one sheet representing an actor's different looks.

CONFLICT - Status of being paid for services in a commercial for one advertiser, thereby contractually preventing performing ser ices in a commercial for a competitor.

CONTINUITY – Being able to match scenes, keeping action, props and all aspects of the physical identical for the purposes of editing or matching shots. Continuity also refers to the keeping of detailed notes and records for use by the director and the film editor. The work of the continuity crew is vital to the final editing and production process.  Continuity is also the British term for the Script Supervisor.

CONTROL ROOM - the room where all technical is run in theater or television, including decisions on lighting, camera movement, deciding what is goes on tape or film and in the case of live broadcast, what goes over the air.

COPY - The script for a commercial or voice over. The actual words in a commercial script or any body of print advertising.

CORPORATION - A form of business structure that offers protection for individuals involved and their personal assets from most liabilities and lawsuits. Creates a new entity capable of doing business in its own name. Owners are free from most personal liability for the obligations of the business. Artist as individuals are often encouraged to form personal corporations or limited corporations to protect their own interests and assets.

CO-STAR - On screen credit below the star or series regulars. When a performer has a major roll, their agent negotiates the “billing” or positions the performer places in the credits (in fact not all actors under the Theatrical Film and Television Contract are guaranteed on screen credit, so it is vital an agent negotiate proper screen credit). Regardless of on-screen credits, “co-star” can be used in professional resumes and credits for major roles performed.

COST PLUS - An approach to business that allows the actual production costs to be paid for by the studio, distribution company or record label. This approach allows the entity paying the costs considerable creative control and a larger interest in any potential profits.

COVERAGE - multiple cameras shooting the same scene or additional shots taken of a scene to cover all possible editing uses. For example close up reaction shots may be needed, long shot establishing shots, two shots, close up of action with props, point of view shots or static shots to be used as inserts. All camera shots other than the master shot; coverage might include two-shots and close-ups.

CRAFT SERVICES - On-set beverage and snack table. Different from the Caterer, as while it sometimes may provide breakfast food or sandwiches, craft services is primarily to provide snacks, access to energy foods and beverages for the cast and crew during filming (all work hours for the crew). Catering provides three full, in most cases, hot meals a day and must meet union contract requirements.

CRANE SHOT - A camera shot raised over or above the set or the action.

CRAWL - Usually the end credits in a film or TV shot which "crawl" up the screen.

CREDITS - Opening names in a film or TV show; also refers to a one's performance experience listed on a resume or in a program

CREW - anyone who works behind the scenes on a production. Crew includes, but is not limited to, camera operators, lighting technicians, make-up and wardrobe, sound technicians, drivers and production assistants.

CROSS - Movement or blocking from one point to another. Often done for emphasis or to balance the stage or camera frame.

CUE - Hand signal by the Stage Manager. A cue can also be a spoken word of physical movement which indicates when a performer is to say a line or taken an action.

CUT - The verbal cue for the action of the scene to stop. At no time, may an actor call, "cut!" This is usually the sole responsibility of the director or of someone delegated the authority by the director.

CUTAWAY - A short scene between two shots of the same person, showing something other than that person. Cutaway may also refer to a set specifically designed with a portion of a structure or vehicle missing to allow for the unobstructed filming of the scene.


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

Acting Classes

My acting classes are a way of giving back to the town and encouraging new talent to develop and stretch its wings. Rates are reasonable and payment is through two separate employers (unless private lessons or semi-private small groups are desired). I do allow a free audit, however each employer may have their own policies when you contact them.

Acting Classes With Art Lynch
Casting Call Entertainment
2790 East Flamingo, Las Vegas
(Weekly Class part of full week multi-class package

Includes all classes offered Monday to Saturday
at Casting Call...
Art Lynch class is on Friday 6 to 9:30 PM
Master Class and private lessons available
(702) 369-0400


Lynch Coaching

Private and Small Group Lessons
$50 an hour in BC, Casting Call sets rates at their studio
($ 100 per hour –negotiable- at your business or home)
Rates as low as $10 if in groups of 4 or more.


Lynch Coaching
(702) 682-0469


Boulder City Parks and Recreation
For more information, contact the Recreation Department at 293-9256,
Specify they should contact Art Lynch to set up classes.

Netplosion or direct through Art Lynch

Also Public Speaking, On Camera PR, Improvisational Workshops, and Confidence Clinics on Request.

Art Lynch
(702) 454-1067 • (702) 682-0469 cell

Thank you from

Hello Group members,
do you find yourself to grow as an actor everyday, of course you do and personally speaking i find myself everyday researching, continuously studying, stopping at mirrors and just breakdown re-creating new character performances for auditions and film roles that have past and say damn now that was wayyy better should have used that, hey next time thats all we do our best at the time we have to see fit one should never dwell on your short comings we live, breathe, learn, grow and most of all have fun with it, not the end of the world so don't give in keep at it and entertain the world the audience needs us likewise. ~Christopher Alan
Good website/blog with alot of info check it out, Happy Holidays !

Am I the Presence of an Actor?

Am I the Presence of an Actor?
A director friend of mine saw an independent film at an art house cinema. He said, “It is always pot luck with these kinds of films. 

But this time, I knew in the first 30 seconds that I was in good hands. The director truly was a filmmaker. I could relax and enjoy the experience.”

The same applies to auditions. When you walk into the audition room, you need us to think, I am in the presence of a capable actor. I am looking forward to their audition.”

And we have this realization before you say a line of the scene. 
Every time I audition an actor in a bigger role or in a better production, the actor is taking a step up. 

What see written large on their face is: “Oh my God, if I get this part…” And if that is you, then your chances have just dimmed. 

Nerves are one thing. But if you are overly excited or simply too eager, then doubts are forming in our mind before you stand on the mark. Perhaps you overcomplicate the set up, or maybe you are simply too pedantic in your preparation. These things cast doubts in our mind about casting you.

So what should you do? 

Firstly, I urge you to approach an audition with the firm belief that you are not being tested. We are not judging your ability. In fact, we are judging your suitability. Does the marriage of the character, the size of role, the director, the co-star and you fit harmoniously?
We are seeing a lot of people. We have most likely already viewed your work for you to be getting a big leg up. We have faith in you. 
Now you need to become part of the team. You need to think, prepare, consider, and engage, so the time in the room is for you to connect

What you must do is avoid the thinking that you are belittled by the thought that you are performing for assessment for people who sit in judgment. Instead, see these people as your associates, your coworkers, your team. We are all here together, helping you to create the character. And we all have an equal share in the outcome—in the journey.

The character is not yours. It is ours. You are the one who stands on stage to collect the awards sure (and don’t forget to thank us!), but until then, we are all here helping the character fit you like a favorite pullover. 

You are the best person for the role. But don’t show us. We already know.

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!
Greg Apps is an Australia-based casting director, creator of The Audition Technique, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Apps’ full bio!

Should I Do Theater

‎"Should I do theater? 
Local filmmakers are telling me not to."

Idiots in the film community may tell you not to, but they do not work with the quality of actor I have worked with or serve with on the National Board of SAG-AFTRA.

A student wrote me and said they were advised by the "film community" not to do theater.


Why do you think almost all of the key National Board I serve on are actors who work regularly have theater experience and do theater whenever they can, including Broadway. James Cromwell of "The Artist" does far more theater than he does film or television. Tony Shalhoub, "Monk," recently completed a one man show on Broadway, just as one example. Former national SAG president Melissa Gilbert has done "Little House: The Musical" and other shows over the past few years. Current National SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard is a regular on Broadway, in London and LA on the stage.

Actors are actors and should do it all.

Actors act.

We come alive when we are acting, whether on stage, on film, at auditions or in classes. Heck, we are acting in real life more often than not!

What unprofessional or amateur filmmakers are really saying is that for film you need to be "real", "fresh" and "flexible." They do not know what it is like to work with real professional talent, not self proclaimed "real actors," but those who love the craft and have trained and are skilled in the craft.

All actors who are pros know and can do both. Beginners and what pros call "community theater" actors have a hard time toning down the character and letting the eye and expressions do the work...yet these are skill developed with theater.

A good on-camera coach can help stage actors with film technique, although as we increasingly use microphones on stage and big screen video of the events on the boards, theater is increasingly morphing into a form of film or video, with audiences expecting an almost film like experience.

Casting directors vary...but most know that theater trained actors understand the craft, are always learning will listen to director and that theater teaches an actor the skills needed. Casting Directors may test you at the audition to see i you can tone down to what they are looking for (often not as natural as most actors think).

I do not sing my own song often.

I am Chicago trained and experienced in theater. I studied and also have a degree in theater, with some of the best instuctors in Chicago. I went back to UNLV and almost completed an masters in theater before shifting to a PhD in education. I have a solid stage background.

My passion and experience in the craft are why I love to teach, share and see others reach for their own potential and their dreams, even if they use it in church and community theater or film, or if they move on to study in LA, Chicago or New York and enter the industry.

Do not let anyone ever tell you not to do theater or that film actors do not do theater.

It is simply not true, except for flash in the pan one reel wonders. And they do not have real acting careers.

And do join the union when you have the chance.

Be serious about this if you seek to make it your life and career.

Click on "read more" below to continue reading.


The First Lady of the American Screen began her film career unspectacularly in the same 1931 motion picture melodrama that would also be the first movie for fellow Broadway actor and future co-legend at Warner Bros., Humphrey Bogart. The film was called The Bad Sister, and Davis would later refer to it in one of her autobiographies as a wicked thing. Despite co-starring Sidney Fox, Conrad Nagel, and Slim Summerville, The Bad Sister would otherwise be an inconsequential early talkie if it did not feature two of the four signature stars of Warner Bros.—working under what would be an abbreviated contract at a rival studio. Despite its primary significance being as a historical document, it does contain one truly fine sequence, which I have excerpted here. Perhaps this manifestation of unrequited love at its most painful was the scene that prompted legendary gossip columnist Hedda Hopper to take notice of Bette one year before her first film at Warner Bros. - Source: YouTube

Make sure you list to be a professonal background performer

Extras / Background Artists

The Extras: Background Talent

   The people who populate the world in which the principal or primary actors tell the story are known as extras, background artists, and background talent or background actors. While there are those who do make their modest living as background talent, primarily in Los Angeles and New York, most background talent are either actors who also do background work or those who are seeking entry into the entertainment community through the relatively unchallenging work of portraying real people as a backdrop for the action of the film, television show or commercial. While relatively unchallenging, being a professional background artist does require discipline, the ability to appear natural (an acting skill in and of itself), an understanding of wardrobe, characters and the ability to contribute to a production rather than distract from it.

   Background talent (the preferred term on both coasts is now Background Actors) are provided through local talent agencies, advertisements in the newspapers, listing with casting directors, as well as various managers or talent representatives. Historically the primary places to register for work as a background actor are Lear Casting, Baskow Agency, Wildstreak Talent, Nevada Casting, Casting Entertainment and through the Screen Actors Guild Office (which keeps a file but does not actually cast). As with the casting of roles, it is best to keep on top of the sources elsewhere in this package, since companies will come into the market and do their own background casting.

   Union background talent should list with viable background casting companies, but have the additional support of iActor and Cast SAG, an on-line interactive resources offered to producers and production professional free of charge. The union-only benefit lists actors and background talent in a searchable mode by geography, specialty and a number of other traits. Names, photos, even video and audio are available on line at little or no cost to the union member (no cost for photo and listing, cost for additional listings, photos and other add-ons). iActor is one of many programs launched by the unions to help counter alleged corruption and bias in the casting process and to add added value to joining a union, even in a Right-to-Work state like Nevada.

   Union work is intended for SAG union background talent. When such talent cannot be found to meet a specific need, producers are allowed to take advantage of the Taft-Hartley laws and Taft-Hartley a non-union person. That person gets all of the benefits, including pay, working conditions and pension and health contribution, of a union actor, After three Taft-Hartley’s as a background extra, or one as an actor, in Nevada talent has the option of joining the Screen Actors Guild. There is no requirement to join the union once doing or before working under union contracts in a Right-to-work state. In a union state, such as California, they must join the union before accepting any additional work. In addition, there is every indication that it will become much harder to join the unions as background talent starting as early a next year. The toughening of entrance requirements comes as the industry, through new technologies, is finding it less attractive to go on location and shoot and ways of generating background crowds and action using only a minimum of actual actors are being brought into regular use. The first phase of a technological revolution in on-camera talent is the phase out of live background performers. Synthespians, image duplication and alteration, even the reuse of old “B” roll are being utilized with greater and greater technological success to replace the expense and operating hassles of utilizing group of live, human actor/background professionals. In addition if large numbers are needed, there is a trend to film in countries where background actors are exempt and will work for nothing or almost nothing.

     Before you jump to conclusions, answer this question. Have you ever really watched background performers. When they look natural and do not distract from the experience of your viewing the film, they are most likely actors, professionals. Films shot on location in New York have a higher minimum on number of background artist and historically New York City actors will accept background work for what it is, income and contributions to pension and health plans. So most of the background you see in a film shot on location in NYC are union. Now really look. You will see that it does make a difference to use professional union background talent.

Click "read more" below for additional information and casting company list.

Short Cuts to Success


The birth of the ‘Short Cut to Success Once a Week Class Workshops came into existence in the early 70’s. Prior to this period if a serious and dedicated person wanting to study the craft of acting he went to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Neighborhood Playhouse, The H.B Studio, The Actors Studio. They studied at legitimate theater programs at the Universities and Colleges like Yale Drama School, and Northwestern University in Chicago.

-Vic Perrillo

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Film Basics Part 1 and 2


Cinematography involves the choice and manipulation of film stock or video, lighting, and cameras. Some of the main issues in cinematography are film grain, color, lenses, camera distance and angle from the subject, and camera movement. As with other aspects of filmmaking, the choices made in filming affect how viewers respond to the film.

Film Stock
 Film stock, which is unexposed and unprocessed motion-picture film, influences the film’s finished look, including its sharpness of detail, range of light and shadow, and quality of color. Often professional cinematographers use different film stocks or videotape in different parts of the same film to support certain effects.

 Generally, the wider the film gauge is, the larger are the film frames and the sharper the projected images.

 Slow film stock, which requires more light during filming than fast film stock, can produce a detailed, nuanced image. In older films, fast film stock usually produces more graininess than slow film stock.

 Color associations vary from culture to culture, and a color’s impact depends on context—where and how the color is used.

 In most Western societies, warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) tend to be thought of as hot, dangerous, lively, and assertive. Greens, blues, and violets are generally characterized as cool colors. In Europe and the Americas, cool colors tend to be associated with safety, reason, control, relaxation, and sometimes sadness or melancholy.

 Color may be saturated (intense, vivid) or desaturated (muted, dull, pale), and saturated and desaturated colors can be used to create or intensify countless possible effects.

 Hard lighting comes directly from a light source, such as the sun or a clear incandescent electric bulb. Soft light comes from an indirect source. Hard lighting is bright and harsh and creates unflattering images. Soft lighting is flattering because it tends to fill in imperfections in the subject’s surface and obliterate or lessen sharp lines and shadows.

 Low-key lighting involves little illumination on the subject and often reinforces a dramatic or mysterious effect. High-key lighting entails bright illumination of the subject and may create or enhance a cheerful mood.

 The direction of light reaching the subject—for example, from below or from only one side—can change an image’s moods and meanings.

 Like light, shadows can be used expressively in countless ways—for example, to create a mysterious or threatening environment.

The Camera
 During filming, one of three types of lenses is used: wide-angle, normal, or telephoto. Often all three are used at different times within the same film. Each type of lens has different properties and creates different images.

 Choice of lens, aperture (or opening), and film stock largely determine the depth of field, or distance in front of the camera in which all objects are in focus.

 Diffusers may be placed in front of a light source or in front of a camera lens to soften lines in the subject, to glamorize, or to lend a more spiritual or ethereal look.

 Camera distance helps determine how large the subject will appear within the frame, what details will be noticeable, and what will be excluded from the frame.

 By changing the camera lens and the camera distance between shots or during a shot, filmmakers can change perspective: the relative size and apparent depth of subjects and setting in the photographic image.

 The angle from which the subject is filmed influences the expressiveness of the images. There are four basic camera angles—bird’s-eye view, high angle, eye-level angle, and low angle—and countless other angles in between.

 In point-of-view (p.o.v.) shots, the camera films a subject from the approximate position of someone, or occasionally something, in the film. Such camera placements may contribute to the viewer’s identification with one of the subjects and sense of participation in the action.

 A motion-picture camera may remain in one place during filming. While filming with a camera fixed in one place, the camera may be pivoted up or down (tilting) or rotated sideways (panning).

 Panning too quickly causes blurred footage. Such a result is called a swish pan.

 Ways to move the camera around during filming include dollying, tracking, using a crane, and employing a Steadicam. Like other aspects of cinematography, camera movement can be used in countless expressive ways.

Digital Cinematography
 Film and video images can be scanned or transferred into a computer, changed there, and transferred back to film. Computers can be used to modify colors and contrast (digital intermediate), correct errors, and change the images in ways impossible or more troublesome and costly to do with film alone.

 Mainly for reasons of economy and convenience, more and more movies are being filmed in high-definition video and transferred to film for theatrical showings, though the results do not yet match the detail and nuance of the best film stocks.

Film Basics pt 1

Intro to Film pt I notes

In this and other publications, the term mise en scène signifies the major aspects filmmaking shares with staging a play. It refers to the sel setting, subjects, and composition of each shot. Normally in complex film productions, the director makes final decisions about mise en scèn 

■ A setting is the place where filmed action occurs. It is either a set, which has been built for use in the film, or a location, which is any plac than a film studio that is used for filming. 

■ Depending on the needs of the scene, settings may be limbo (indistinct), realistic, or nonrealistic. 

■ A setting can be the main subject of a shot or scene but usually is not. Settings often reveal the time and place of a scene, create or inten and help reveal what people (in a documentary film) or characters (in a fictional film) are like. Throughout a film, changes in settings can al changes in situations and moods. 

■ In films, fictional characters or real people are the usual subjects, and their actions and appearances help reveal their nature.

■ Performers may be stars, Method actors, character actors, or nonprofessional actors. There is some overlap among these categories: a st 

example, may also be a Method actor. Depending on the desired results, actors may be cast by type or against type. ■ Usually film actors must perform their scenes out of order, in brief segments, and often after long waits. 

■ Effective performances may depend on the script, casting, direction, editing, and music. There is no one type of effective performance: w judged effective depends in part on the viewers’ culture and the film’s style or its manner of representing its subject. 

Composition: The Uses of Space 
■ Filmmakers, especially cinematographers and directors, decide the shape of the overall image. They also decide how to use the space wit image. They decide when and how to use empty space and what will be conveyed by the arrangement of significant subjects on the sides of in the foreground, or in the background. Filmmakers also decide if compositions are to be symmetrical or asymmetrical. 

■ Composition influences what viewers see positioned in relationship to the subject and how the subject is situated within the frame; what in revealed to viewers that the characters do not know; and what viewers learn about the characters’ personalities or situations. 

■ Many films are seen in an aspect ratio (or shape of the image) other than the one the filmmakers intended, and the compositions, meanin moods conveyed are thus altered. 

Mise en Scène and the World outside the Frame
■ Mise en scène can be used to promote a political viewpoint or commercial product (the latter practice is called product placement). 
or a text (such as a film). It can also be used to pay homage or tribute to an earlier of one. 


The section of settings, subjects and composition in film is referred to as mise en scene, or the directors’ choice.

A setting is a place where the filmed action occurs.

The scene is a section of the action, often separated from other sections by location and/or the narrative.

The take is one shot of one section of a scene.

Settings may be limbo (indistinct), realistic or unrealistic.

Throughout the film changes in settings may reflect changes in character’s emotions, moods, situation, position in the story arch, and / or specific story points.

Subjects may be the actual people (documentary), characters, topics, overall meaning, or topics of a project.

Performers may actors or real people who advance the story line, help us to understand the subject or provide other on an off camera services using their voices, actions, images or performance talents.

Films are made out of sequence, usually based on using a location or being close to other locations to reduce set-up, travel and other production costs.

Films are an ensemble product, with many artists and technicians contributing. Films depend on writing, directing, casting, cinematography, video shootists, editing, computer and other effects, Foley, lighting, sound, set designers, continuity, actors (or talent), costumer, make-up, researchers, crew, transportation and all tied to budget.

Usually the editor and/or director, and/or producer are responsible for the final product.

Composition: the use of space.

Shaping the overall image to tell a story, paint and emotion or have the desired effect, overall for the film, scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame.

Aspect Ration: the final image height and width as a ratio.

Mise en Scene can be used to promote political viewpoints, in advertising, advertising product placement, in comic contrast, to parody human behavior, to parody text or content, and/or to pay homage or tribute.