Synopsis by Tracy Weisert
Our May 31st Industry Guest Seminar guest speaker was Emmy and Clio Award winning casting director, Stuart Stone. I particularly enjoyed Stuart’s honesty and humor. We were his inaugural audience for his new, recently completed visual PowerPoint presentation. There were a few clerical bugs to be worked out but the information was very valuable. The presentation also helped the packed room of attendees stay on task. Since Stuart does seminars nationwide, some of the information would greatly help new actors moving to Hollywood.
Stuart also gave out his revamped website address and sited the success of his recent (and third) PERFECT HEADSHOT DAY where a small group of actors consulted with a headshot photographer, stylist, manager and Stuart for input BEFORE the headshot session, then consulted afterward.
Per Stuart, “The only way I keep doing things is if they work.” He also told us the reason he started teaching is because “somebody else’s workshop sucked!” “My idea is to give you as much information as possible to further your careers in this volatile time.”
Some highlights of the very interactive morning include-
BE EDUCATED- Take commercial workshops, improv and scene study, but Stuart stressed to take classes learning current techniques. Look at the “Big Picture”. Be educated in all areas.
SET YOURSELF UP AS A BUSINESS (otherwise you will be out of business) – Have an in-house office area with a desk, personal phone with features, your headshots, updated resume, datebook, files and tracking capability of auditions, callbacks, what you wore, who was in the audition room, etc…
WORKSHOPS/TRAINING- Audit any non-commercial acting class you are interested in taking to find the one that works for you. What are the instructors’ or coaches’ background? Do they teach the class? If not, who does and what are their credentials? What technique do they use? Find current methods.
SEMINARS- Take advantage of working casting directors, agents, producers, directors, or even session operators when available. Also, motivational, spiritual and self-development seminars are helpful.
RESEARCH- You must research everyone you come into contact with. Be wary of scams, rip-offs and deceit. For every legitimate person, there are a dozen or more out to separate you from your money.
BOOKS- "Acting Out E-Book" by Stuart Stone revised in 2008. "Acting Is Everything" by Judy Kerr and reference books.
Stuart emphasized “You need to work your business as a business.”
WHAT IS THE PERFECT HEADSHOT?
Stuart said, “You as you are, right now. You at 3:00PM on a weekday. Remember Color Forms when we were kids? [Flat plastic paper doll-like forms with changeable clothes?] Don’t just change the clothes and keep the same facial expression.” If you don’t look like your photo, you can really alienate many casting directors and you don’t want to do that. Your headshot; Is it meeting the quality of the city you work in? Who picked the headshot? Pick your roles and parts. (When getting headshots) Also, only do minor retouching of your photos and avoid studio backdrops.
REELS-The more professional they are the better your chances of getting the job. If a casting director sees your reel and it’s professional, it gives you that much more credibility. They compare all of your reels against each other. LENGTH? “One to three minutes. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is huge in this business!” (Crowd laughter.)
AUDITION DO’s and DON’T’s- Don’t wear perfume or cologne. Don’t have a bad attitude and expect special treatment. Don’t be unprepared for your audition. Don’t get distracted in the waiting room. Don’t use the cell phone. Don’t act as though you have no idea what is going on when entering the audition room. Don’t cruise casting offices and try to crash auditions without asking the CD first.
DO- Do wear the correct wardrobe. Do keep out of small talk. Do read all information posted.
BACKGROUND WORK- (An actor) gains on-set experience and it’s a way to make money.
Stuart added, “If you’re in here today, you’re proving you want to get ahead.”
Thank you Stuart! www.commercialactorslink.com