Saturday, February 28, 2015

The #1 Way to Beat Audition Nerves in Seconds

The #1 Way to Beat Audition Nerves in Seconds
Everyone seems to have a method or “technique” for telling you how you should battle your audition nerves. It typically involves trying very hard to convince you not to be nervous, or repeating to yourself that you are indeed worthy of success, or that what you’re feeling is perfectly normal and that you should just “use it.” While I agree with the concept of “using it,” it feels like a superficial solution to a much more complex problem. As we’re all different, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to redirecting and alleviating your nerves.

It is my belief that nerves can be completely obliterated when you are lit up and under the influence of sharp, impactful, and fun emotional choices.

One of my clients is so nervous and terrified when she walks into an audition room that she can feel—and hear—her heart pounding out of her chest. After helping her find what I call her “hook” or “light up” for the scene, I asked how many heartbeats she noticed. 

The answer was none. That doesn’t mean that her heart wasn’t racing, it’s that she didn’t notice it because she was dialed in. If you’re focused on your nerves, you’re going to feel more nervous.
What do you think would happen to audition nerves if you fell in love before you entered the room? Imagine if you were getting out of your car, walked to the elevator, time stood still, and for a solid 10 seconds the universe blinked in unison with you as you stood and stared at the person who was undoubtedly your star-crossed lover. You would enter the audition room with a far more powerful emotion coursing through your veins, having communed and finally met your soul mate. This emotion, I assure you, would be way more compelling than any simple nerves you might be feeling. Your preparation needs to be like that. When the stakes are high, your preparation has to be tighter, hotter, and stronger so that it can lift you out of the nerves. It becomes your job to discover what lights you up and turns you on about the scene, thus, kicking your nerves off center stage.

I help my clients go into the room and book the role by guiding them to their hottest and most impactful choices; these choices will unequivocally defeat your audition nerves.

If you feel like your preparation is rock solid and that you have a strong hook to launch you into the scene, but when you get to the waiting room of a casting office or a theater and your heart starts racing, you start sweating or you begin to shake, know that’s OK. You can still do a phenomenal job and you can still book the role. Some actors think that any sign of nerves means that it’s all over—it’s not. If your body starts to freak out, that’s fine. 

Let your body have its freak out. Wherever you are—in the car, on the subway, in the waiting room, walking down the hall to the audition room—tell yourself, “Hey, I’m having a freak-out.” Don’t fight it and don’t act like it’s the end of the world. Freaking out over your freak-out is the worst thing you can do, as you give your nerves more power and more agency. If you can have a sense of humor about it, it can really help take the edge off.    

Remember also that like a first date, an audition begins the moment casting/producers lay eyes on you, which can often be before you step foot in the room. You start assessing your blind date the moment you see him/her, not at the moment he or she starts talking. 

And just like on a date, you will give someone a break if they don’t look perfect, but if they radiate oodles of confidence, it can actually make them more beautiful! So radiate those oodles of confidence, particularly because there’s often a chance that the casting team might try to chat you up in order to get a sense of you. That is of course the time to let your winning personality shine (though not the time to try to seem like you are attempting to get them to like you). 

Given those circumstances of audition nerves and the actor now faced with the “conversational audition” before any acting takes place, my advice to actors is to just be yourself, but under the influence of an emotional attitude of great power and confidence. 

Before walking into the audition room, one of my brave clients lights himself up with the attitude, “I’m the fucking solution to your problem.” Another effective trick to lift the nerves out of your body within seconds is to simply say to yourself, “I already did it, and now I get to go back in and do it again.”

As with anything, confidence comes with repeated success, colossal failure, and years of flying hours. Start to adopt the attitude that, “I’ve already made it,” and live every day as if you’re already having the career of your dreams.

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!
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Joseph Pearlman is an acting coach and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Pearlman’s full bio!

Thank you Zachoria!

I Just Want To Say It Has Been A Loooong Ride There Is One Person I Want To Give A Big THANKS To. A Great Man His Name Is Art Lynch He Has Helped Me Develope My Acting Career. I Highly Recommend Lynch Coaching.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sally Fields in "Norma Ray" as shown on a mural at the SAG-AFTRA National Headquarters at Museum Square by the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles,

In Memorium at the 2015 Oscars

Oscar Winners 2015: Complete List


See below a full list of winners from the 87th Academy Awards, announced Sunday at the Dolby Theater. The show, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, aired live on ABC. “Birdman,” “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Whiplash” came out of the event as big winners.

See More: Oscars 2015: Live Blog

Best Picture
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers (WINNER)
“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” (WINNER)
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”

Julianne Moore in “Still Alice” (WINNER)
Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu (WINNER)
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash” (WINNER)
Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”

Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood” (WINNER)
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Adapted Screenplay
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore (WINNER)

“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

Original Screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (WINNER)

“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli (WINNER)

“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Documentary Feature
“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky (WINNER)
“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Original Song
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (WINNER)

“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Foreign Language Film
“Ida” Poland (WINNER)
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina

Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat (WINNER)
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

Film Editing
“Whiplash” Tom Cross (WINNER)

“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg

Visual Effects
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher (WINNER)
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki (WINNER)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins

Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero (WINNER)
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

Makeup and Hairstyling
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (WINNER)
“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock (WINNER)
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Animated Short Film
“Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed (WINNER)
“The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
“The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
“Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
“A Single Life” Joris Oprins

Live Action Short Film
“The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas (WINNER)
“Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
“Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
“Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger

Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry (WINNER)
“Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
“Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
“The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
“White Earth” J. Christian Jensen

Sound Mixing
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley (WINNER)
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

Sound Editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman (WINNER)
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
-LA Times

The 10 Commandments of Presentations

1. Identify and then tell the story

When we give a presentation, we are doing it to tell a story that has one or two goals. We are trying to inform the audience about something we know that they don’t, we are trying to persuade the audience to adopt a view that we have, or a combination of the two. We need to identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story that accomplishes our goals and then use the presentation to tell the story. A presentation should not just be a data dump. If our goal is just to provide data, then we would be better off cancelling the presentation and just sending out the data. The presenter is providing a perspective that the data cannot provide, by itself.

2. Do not present too much information

Dating back to Aristotle, speakers have known that an audience will only walk away remembering a few ideas from a speech. Aristotle called this the “Rule of Three”. Pick three ideas you want to present and present those. Each of those might be broken into three parts to explain, but don’t bother adding a fourth main point, because they won’t remember it. For a modern example, look at the Apple presentations given by Steve Jobs – they were always structured around the “Rule of Three”.

3. Do not add content unless it supports your main points

The slide is a canvas used to paint your story. There should be nothing on the slide that is not working to tell the story. Extraneous details in templates, graphs, figures, and tables should be removed. The process of absorbing and using information is called cognitive loading. Extraneous details use up cognitive load and make it harder for the audience to follow along and learn.

4. Do not use PowerPoint as a teleprompter

Do not read your slides to the audience. Do not fill your slides with everything you need to say. Do not make the audience question what value you, the speaker, is adding to the presentation. The slides are for the audience, not the speaker. If something is on a slide, it is because it is needed to understand what the speaker is saying.

5. Use PowerPoint to clarify and amplify your message

The purpose of projecting an image on the wall, adjacent to the person speaking, is to provide a visual representation of the topics being spoken of. The visuals are to augment, not repeat, the words of the speaker. Slides should convey graphically what words cannot. If the words are so straightforward that they need no clarification or amplification, then don’t use slides.

6. Do not use PowerPoint for reasons it is not intended

A slide is intended to augment a speaker – it is not intended to stand alone and serve as a document. PowerPoint slides should be viewed as ephemeral – only existing while the speaker is talking. A PowerPoint presentation is not supposed to be a permanent documentation of a topic.

7. Never give out copies of the presentation

PowerPoint slides support the speaker – they are not supposed to stand alone. When we get in the habit of handing out copies of our presentation, we get in the habit of designing our presentations to be handouts. If they become effective at standing alone, they become less effective at supporting the speaker because they become crowded and repetitive.

8. Prepare a dedicated handout

Rather than giving out a copy of the presentation, prepare a dedicated handout that includes a combination of the most important visuals from the presentation with the most important words from the speech. Written in full sentence narrative, this handout would be able to stand alone and would still make sense to the audience, three months after the presentation. For some presentations, this handout might be a simple as a one page summary of the presentation. For other presentations, it might be a full white paper that includes the supporting data that led to the arguments made in the presentation.

9. Involve the audience in the presentation

Whether your goal is to inform or to persuade, the goal will be more likely met if the audience has a participative role in the presentation. People don’t like to be talked to – they like to be talked with. Include questions for the audience. Solicit opinions and experiences from the audience. Turn the presentation into a guided discussion with visual support.

10. Ensure that the presentation is legible from anywhere in the room

Do not use fonts or graphics that cannot be comfortably understood from the back of the room. Most experts recommend not using a font size smaller than 28 points. If you find yourself needing to go below 28, you have too much text on each slide.


Robert Frost, engineer/instructor at NASA

6 Things They Don’t Tell You in Theater School

6 Things They Don’t Tell You in Theater School

Like many of you, I graduated from college with a drama degree, a fancy piece of paper that says “I am a great actor!” I was a big fish in a small pond, played lots of lead roles, and took lots of acting, voice, and movement classes. 

I studied Meisner, Stella Adler, Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen (my favorite), and I even took a class on Kabuki theater. I could recite 10 Shakespeare monologues, and mastered a British accent. 

I even knew how to do neutral mask! One of the many useful things that theater school teaches is that training is essential, and should always be part of your career.

Fancy degree in hand, I moved to New York one week after graduating with cheap headshots in my bag, a mediocre temp job, and wondered “Where are all these high paying acting jobs I’m supposed to be getting? I was a theater major at Vassar!” What do you mean I’m not playing the lead in the new David O. Russell movie? What do you mean I have to get an agent? 

I quickly realized there is this whole “business” side of acting nobody had told me about. I needed to change my approach, get humble, and come up with a game plan.

Here is my list of six things they forgot to mention in theater school:

1. You aren’t special. You may have gotten a standing ovation for playing Kowalski in “Streetcar,” but you aren’t the star anymore. You will be in the audition room with people who don’t have any training, who have never taken an acting class, and yet have huge agents. Some of them already have tons of big television and film credits. And guess what? They are up for the same parts you are. Accept it. Everyone is in the same boat now, theater degree or not.

2. Acting is business, too. It’s one thing to be a good actor, it’s another thing to be a “smart” actor. Theater school is all about the “art.” In the real world, it’s about the “business.” Nobody is going to come knocking on your door begging you to act for them. You have to do the work to get noticed. You have to combine artistry with business savvy if you want to make money doing this and support yourself. That means killer headshots, a good 2-3 minute demo reel, great audition monologues (that aren’t overused), networking (without being annoying), branding, doing “meet and greets” with agents and casting directors (a necessary evil), creating a website, making your own content, targeted agent mailings, and being the CEO of your own business.

3. You won’t be the lead on “True Blood” right away. “He went that way!” is probably the type of line you will have at your first network television audition. Yes, you were the lead in all your shows in school. Everyone told you how great you are. Now you have to go back to the bottom. The truth is, you won’t be seen for series regular roles without concrete television credits. The reality is that most actors, once they find representation (an art in itself), will have to start with co-star and guest star roles, and slowly build up their résumé before they are even considered for auditions for major series regular roles on television. This might take years, and having a survival job (or three). Patience is key.

4. You are a “type.” Not talking about dating here. In theater school, you play all types—you stretch, you play characters twice your age, and even switch genders (Just me?). If you are like me, you probably even played Stanley Kowalski at one point (no standing ovation). Now you are in New York, one of the biggest television markets in the country. You now have a five-year age range (not 40), an ethnicity, and a character “type” that defines you. There are thousands of other actors who have the same type. Own it, embrace it, be the best actor in your type. (See my previous article on how to figure out your type.)

5. You need to “master the room.” When it comes to television and film, you can be an amazing actor, but terrible at auditioning, or a terrible actor, but wonderful, confident, and charming in auditions. You have to be “good in the room” as they say. You have to learn the fine art of auditioning (eye-lines, slating, cold-reads, working with one hour vs. half hour), as that is the gateway to you getting the job, and getting casting directors to “trust” you. Take an audition class, see yourself on camera, and learn how to “pop” on screen. You have to understand tone, the rhythm of television, what works on camera, how to take down your performance for a medium shot, how to embrace your personality, make strong choices, and be authentic.

6. “Just throw it away.” If you don’t learn the art of acting for the camera, you will simply look like a flailing chicken, and your acting will be deemed “theater-y.” This is the most important, and took me months to figure out. Most casting directors for television and film will tell you “just throw it away” and “keep it natural, “ or “don’t act, just say the lines.” “But I went to theater school!” you argue, “Everything I say is important!” Doesn’t matter. You are no longer playing to the person in the back row of your college’s black box theater. You are playing to an HD camera three feet away, which magnifies everything you do, and even the smallest gestures can seem too big, and “indicating” is dangerous. Be economical with your gestures, subtle with your emotions, and use your eyes. Just think and feel, instead of showing.

College training can open doors for you. It can be amazing, and can give you the tools and technique to have a long, successful career. But being a professional actor requires an additional set of skills, which involves knowing the market and how you fit into it, so you can put your drama degree to good use. Training is an invaluable part of the equation, but it’s just that: part of the equation.

Matt Newton is a highly sought after acting coach, and the founder of the MN Acting Studio in New York City.  He is currently the on-set coach for the CBS show "Blue Bloods," the author of the book "10 Steps to Breaking Into Acting," and has been a professional tv and film actor for over 14 years.  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.
Over the course of his career, Matt has worked alongside top industry veterans, including Oscar winner Jeff Bridges, Oscar nominees Jeremy Renner and Michael Lerner, Karen Allen, Ryan Reynolds, Amy Sedaris, and many others.  Matt has guest starred on dozens of television shows, most recently THE AMERICANS, ROYAL PAINS, and UGLY BETTY.   Visit his IMDB link here.
For more information on his classes and coaching, visit  Follow @mnactingstudio on Twitter.  

You need to “master the room.

When it comes to television and film, you can be an amazing actor, but terrible at auditioning, or a terrible actor, but wonderful, confident, and charming in auditions. You have to be “good in the room” as they say. You have to learn the fine art of auditioning (eye-lines, slating, cold-reads, working with one hour vs. half hour), as that is the gateway to you getting the job, and getting casting directors to “trust” you. Take an audition class, see yourself on camera, and learn how to “pop” on screen. You have to understand tone, the rhythm of television, what works on camera, how to take down your performance for a medium shot, how to embrace your personality, make strong choices, and be authentic.  - Backstage

Join us Friday nights from 6 to 9:30 pm at Casting Call in Las Vegas for 'On Camera Auditioning / On Camera Acting."..Free Audit. I teach that class, and am available through Lynch Coaching for privates and small groups..

Art Lynch

2790 E Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Phone: 702-369-0400

15 Phrases Every Actor Should Know Before Going to Set

15 Phrases Every Actor Should Know Before Going to Set
Photo Source: Nick Bertozzi
FADE IN: The A.D. squawks, “OK, this is the Martini! You need to walk in on a banana.” If it’s your first day on a set, you might not have any idea what the assistant director is talking about. Many of these terms are throwbacks to another era that have survived generations of filmmakers. The lingo can be somewhat daunting if you don’t have a glossary handy. As always, I’m here to help—and special thanks to my friend director-producer-actor Tony Bill for his amazing book, “Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Film Set,” which not only has an informative glossary but gives etymologies.

The A.D. usually uses this term instead of saying the cast or crew member is in the “honeywagon,” a very sexy term for “bathroom.”

Automated dialogue replacement, also called looping. During the editing process the actor is called to a sound studio where her scene is played back so she can rerecord her lines, often because of outside sound. Sometimes whole roles are looped; Andie MacDowell’s entire performance in “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” was looped by Glenn Close.

Back to one
If you think of your beginning position in a scene as one, that’s where you need to return when they call cut and start the scene again.

When walking through a scene you’ll do a slight curve rather than a straight path, like a banana. You can do a right banana or a left banana. It helps the camera department get the shot they need rather than resetting. A “cashew” is a shorter banana.

Big eyes
When the A.C. (assistant cameraman) is focusing for a C.U. (close-up), he will usually ask the actor for “big eyes” and you want to provide exactly that, without blinking or looking away, until focus is set.

Camera left-right
This is from the perspective of the camera. If you’re facing the camera, camera left will be your right.

Cheat toward the camera
When you are having a conversation with someone, you naturally face him. Sometimes when filming or auditioning, we’ll ask you to slightly turn more toward the camera so that we can see your expressions—hence “cheating” toward the camera.

A large trailer with four dressing rooms. There are also double- and triple-bangers and so on. You might be very excited to arrive on set and hear that you have a dressing room until you reach your single—which is coffinlike!

When an actor needs to crouch a bit as he approaches the camera because the cameraman can’t tilt up and still focus. You can also do a “reverse Groucho.”

The meal served halfway through the shooting day. This one seems self-explanatory, but on a film set you could have lunch at three in the morning.

When the scene is shot without sound.

The Martini
The last shot of the day, meaning “the last shot is in the glass”!

Pay or play
When an actor, director, or writer gets paid whether or not the project is made. You either get paid or you’ll be “playing-acting” in the project. It’s the best kind of deal you can make.

Room tone
The “silence” recorded at a location or space when no dialogue is spoken. Every location has a distinct presence created by the position of the microphone in relation to the space boundaries. You are meant to stand still and not make a sound. Make sure your phone is turned off. Don’t be “that guy.”

Stage left-right
In theater, stage left and right refer to the actor’s left and right when facing the audience.

What terms or expressions have you heard that you can share?

Like this advice? Check out more of Marci Liroff's articles
Known for her work in film and television, producer and casting director Marci Liroff has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Mark Waters, Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, and Herbert Ross. While working at Fenton-Feinberg Casting, she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as “A Christmas Story," “Poltergeist," “E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial," “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and “Blade Runner." After establishing her own casting company in 1983, Liroff cast “Footloose," “St. Elmo's Fire," “Pretty in Pink," “The Iron Giant," “The Spitfire Grill," “Untamed Heart," “Freaky Friday," “Mean Girls," “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” “Vampire Academy,” and the upcoming “The Sublime and Beautiful,” which she produced as well.
Liroff is also an acting coach, and her three-night Audition Bootcamp has empowered actors to view the audition process in a new light. The class spawned an online course available at Udemy entitled "How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp".
Visit Liroff online at, follow her on Twitter @marciliroff and Facebook, and watch her advice videos on YouTube. You can also read her blog.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Indy Spirit Awards

Spirit Awards; Richard Linklater Best Director — Winners List
UPDATED with details: Birdman snagged Best Feature today at the 30th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. The win in the final category gave it Julianne Moore Spirit Awardsthree trophies, breaking the four-way tie with Boyhood, Nightcrawler and Whiplash, the only other pics with multiple wins under the tent at Santa Monica beach. Birdman star Michael Keaton won Best Male Lead, and Julianne Moore cemented her Oscar front-runner status with the Best Female Lead win for Still Alice.
Richard Linklater won Best Director for his 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood, setting up an Academy Award showdown 30th-spirit-awards-logo-downloadwith Birdman helmer Alejandro G. Inarritu, who took the DGA Award two weeks ago. Linklater wasn’t at the ceremony, so Ethan Hawke — who has made eight films with the director including Boyhood — accepted for him. Two other Oscar favorites won the supporting acting hardware: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash and Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.
Related Independent Spirit Awards And The Oscars — Now The Same Thing?
Dan Gilroy Spirit AwardsCitizenfour, which focuses on NSA leaker Edward Snowden, continued its awards-season march with a win for Best Documentary. Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy turned the personal daily double today, scooping trophies for Best First Feature and Best Screenplay.
Selma, which came in tied for second-most Spirit Award noms with five including Best Feature, was shut out today. Another Best Feature nominee that went home empty-handed was Love Is Strange, which was up for four awards.
Here is the complete list of winners:
BirdmanProducers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

BEST DOCUMENTARYCitizenfourDirector/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Ida (Poland), Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

NightcrawlerDirector: Dan Gilroy; Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Justin Simien, Dear White People

Tom Cross, Whiplash

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens; Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARDH., Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
Wins by film:Birdman: 3
Boyhood: 2
Nightcrawler: 2
Whiplash: 2
Citizenfour: 1
Dear White People: 1
H.: 1
Ida: 1
The Kill Team: 1
Land Ho!: 1
Still Alice: 1

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Life is more important than the 'shot'...take the pledge

One Minute of your time, to be silent, on February honor of Jonesy,,Sarah Jones.

Join us February 20th, 2015 in a Minute Of Silence, before "The Jonesy" (1st shot of the day). We're asking that all Feature Film, TV, Commercials, Music Videos etc, Stand with us, United as we remember what happened that tragic day...

There are a series of PSA's on the topic, with various industry professional, that loop once you hit play....some for all and some for film festivals to bring the message home.


 Tuesday Feb 24 or Wednesday Feb 25 at 6pm at the Henderson Nevada Convention Center, 200 S Water St. Come promptly at 6pm. We will audition both singing and dancing on each day. Please bring whatever recorded music you need (no sheet music) for the vocals and dress comfortably for the dance audition. Be prepared to stay until 8pm. Send your headshot and resume and which day you will attend via email to:

  • Note: Casting for adults over 18. Performance dates: May 15, 16, 22, 23. Paid non-equity.
  • SAG-AFTRA may audition and work, provided Equity does not set out to organize the producton. Equity organizes by production or producer, where SAG-AFTRA organizes by industry (film, TV, video, recorded sound).

Mr. Ed's Alan Young

Mr. Ed's human sidekick Alan Young (born Angus Young 19 November 1919) is an English-born, naturalised United States actor, comedian and voice artist best known for his role as Wilbur Post in the television comedy series Mister Ed and as the voice of Scrooge McDuck in Disney films, TV series and video games.During the 1930s to 1950's, he starred in his own shows on radio and television. He is still with us and turns 96 this year.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Why work union?

Why are you union or anti-union, a SAG-AFTRA member works by the rules or non-union talent?

I have, in front of me, heard actors told not to join the union. It is insulting because the people talking know that I have given twenty years on the national board of a union, SAG-AFTRA and more than that in local service.

Who was saying that? Someone who talked about what joining will keep you from doing, how it will "limit" your potential and how production is "going non-union everywhere". Right to Work laws were also misrepresented...the truth is that Right To Work laws exist so that workers in 40 hour jobs are not locked out of a position solely because they are not a member of a union. With actors we do not, for the most part, have forty hour jobs acting. Right to work does not allow you to work union jobs outside of the state without joining, as this person was told, and it does not have the same benefits as being union.

More on when you should consider joining later in this open letter...

When you do non-union work, whether union or not, you are weakening the ability of your fellow professional union talent to feed their families and earn a living. Sounds far fetched, but it is true.

You keep the union from building a base of contracted producers and directors so that the amount, and thus income from, union work can grow.

When you work non-union you are telling the world you are not a professional, and you have no interest in the profession and your fellow talent.

When you work non-union you are risking being looked upon as a hobyist by union casting directors, directors and producers.

When members work "off the card" they are violating union rules and can be kicked out of the union, or fined the amount they made on the non-union project plus any money the project makes in future.

When you work "off the card" you risk the union going after the producer to find out how much you make and will make, and putting a lean against any future earnings from that project.

If you work non-union you are providing your talents without the protection of a union.

That means no pension and health contributions (they add up fast and when you qualify it is the best possible coverage...referred t as Cadalac coverage at very little cost).

When you work non union you may have to fight. or even sue to get paid. Union talent is paid within seven days of working or there are penalties. If a producer defaults, the union distributes the production bond to actors and sues to collect whatever else you are owed. You therefore impact all actors in your area by not growing the ability of the union to protect talent .

When you work non-union you have no contract or when you do it is one that is written by and for the producers benefit. A union contract does protect the producer, but it also protects you.

You may think you are increasing your income but in fact you are limiting your income though association, reputation and loss of integrity. The industry does know.

When you work non-union there are no residual or use fee checks to follow. One check and that's it, regardless of how long or in how many ways your image is used.

When you work non-union you are impacting the unions ability to represent talent in an industry that in the past, and in more than some cases now, takes talent for granted and may abuse, misuse or mislead talent at will.

Post Sript. If you are new and are not ready to be considered a professional, your work on pre-union (non-unon) projects is trainging and the place to learn and make mistakes. It can help you gain a reel and reputation as an actor. But at some point, that only you can decide, you need to take the plunge. Well over 98% of money in actors pockets is from union work. Despite what you may hear on the street, the real professional work, quality paying work, is union.

The work that will truey showcase your talents is union.

I know, I have judged for or been on the board of a half dozen film festivals and the films that are the best made, with the best talent, most often have a union "bug" logo or a SAG Indy credit at the end of the film. Short and student and student films that win Academy Awards are almost entirely union films, under one of many unions covering talent of all types around the world. is not a fire sale but a fact. If you join in Nevada (check on the rates where you live) you pay $1,150 plus one dues period, or under $1,500. When you work on a union project in a union security state (such as Hollywood, Chicago and New York) you pay the difference in initiation fees as of the date you joined. Dues and initial fees will go up, but you never pay more than the difference on the date you joined. So Savings in the long run if you join now rather than wait.

Those up for awards, any award, this awards season are all union members. There is a reason for that. Union represents quality, fairness, workers rights and the ability to earn a living doing what you love to do.

Holding a union card high is a sign of a professional. Ask Tom Hanks or the long line of actors who have done so on award shows, at rallies. on picket lines and even at events at their own homes.

Membership has its benefits.

So think about it.

I welcome your feedback or additional thoughts in comments below or at

Art Lynch

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SAG-AFTRA cost too much

When you are ready to be a professional, and like Tom Hanks at the first SAG Awards, hold it up with pride and talk about when and why you joined, then you are ready to pay the SAG initiation and join the ranks of professionals known as union actors.

I received a message, all caps, saying SAG-AFRTRA is a rip off and that the cost of "dues" (they meant initiation) were way too high, and that there is no work.

Let me deal with these one issue at at time:

Ask are you professional enough to join the union? Do producers cast you? Do you work often or at least whenever possible in the industry? Do you take classes, do theater, spend money on listing your services on the web or elsewhere? Have you found an agent or manager? Are you investing in your craft, in time, money or both?

If the answer is yes, then ask are you ready to become a professional by joining the Screen Actors Guild? Are you ready for the commitment of joining the union, with the work opportunities as they are today and with potential for your future that union membership brings?

What you will never get with non-union work:  ability to earn Health Insurance and a Pension; Unemployment Insurance; Worker's Comp; Guaranteed Minimums;  a living wage;  checks that arrive on time and when you need them, residuals, protection of your image and talents against future misuse, and a staff working on your behalf to resolve payment issues. 

The initiation fee helps fund the union you are joining. It is needed to pay staff who make it possible for you to enjoy the wages, rapid pay, safe working conditions, food and water on the set, "bump" income increases, protections of your talent (image, voice, uniqueness) and legal fees the Guild provides for all members. The initiation helps fund organizing so that there are jobs to employ you. Our staff of paid professionals, who work at well below the rates offered elsewhere in the industry because they believe in you, is there on the set when needed or called 24/7, even on holidays. They are the muscle just as stars, like Tom Hanks, are the profile, that makes SAG the most recognized and one for the most respected unions in the world.

There are payments plans to soften the blow, with additional plans are being finalized. Initiation in some markets where there is less work, including Nevada, are one third lower than in union security states where there is ample work.

But just as with buying insurance, a car, a house, or a good pair of shoes, you have to pay to finance the costs of providing you a quality product. Nothing is free.

SAG-AFTRA has among the lowest percentage dues of any union, as SAG financing is subsidized by initiations. And unlike the "evil" way unions are being painted as giant political manipulating machines, less than three percent of your Screen Actors Guild Dues goes to political purposes, with none going to any candidate (SAG advocates for issues benefiting actors, and is prohibited from endorsing any political candidate).

It takes union organizing, the commitment of talent in any market and the reality of the business climate to generate jobs. SAG does cannot employ actors. SAG can only help productions to become union.

As talent you have to stop working non-union. The availability of actors willing to work non-union is only an incentive for producers to continue to not pay enough, to pay when they feel like if they feel like it, to not provide the contract wages, working conditions or protections a union enforces. There is no reason to go union and pay union wages if qualified performers continue to do non-union work.

You have to set the value on your talents and time that make you a professional. That value is a union contract. Only then will you be respected as a professional and given the pay, residuals, respect and credits you deserve.

The nation is in, or recovering from (definitely not in Nevada or California), the greatest recession since the Great Depression. The motion picture industry, unlike its fast recovery from the Depression, has proven less resilient this time around.

Agents, casting companies, production companies, independent producers and distributors and even large studios have folded, sold or scaled back. Many industry related, and even the restaurants and other businesses that surround the studios, have gone out of business in Hollywood much less Nevada.

States where production is booming give away the store and are now finding that incentives are a two edge sword, as tax income is down. Nevada already is business friendly and does not have the taxes or fees to put rebates or loophole for the industry into force.

The person who wrote to me seemed to blame the union for a lack of work.

Look around you at  closed business fronts, vacant condo's and homes, the increase in "street people" and you will see that there is a much larger element at work today. 90% of Nevada homes were, and many still are, "under water", owing more than they could sell for. 70% faced potential foreclosure. Our unemployment rate wass the highest in the nation.

Like the plaque on a previous presidents' desk "It's the Economy, Stupid".

But things will get better.

Production is starting to pick up.

And if you keep your instrument tuned, your heart committed and your eye on the future...the future is only limited by your ability to "tough it out" for the prize of being on a set or stage and acting.

First posted May 5, 2010

To the mother of a child actor...on all questions concerning joining SAG, must join, RTW or payment plans contact you local SAG office.  For Nevada contact
Julie Crane,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Casting Directors and Info Links

Why I serve.