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Article by variety: Geffen Playhouse Drops Neil LaBute Play

Geffen Playhouse Drops Neil LaBute Play

Posted on Feb 26th

The Geffen Playhouse has yanked its planned production of Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig,” which would have starred Chrissy Metz of “This Is Us,” soon after Off Broadway’s MCC Theater abruptly cut its longstanding ties with the playwright. No reason was given by MCC for its split with LaBute, nor did Geffen offer an explanation for […]

Article by backstage: 6 Things You Should Know Before Meeting a New Acting Agent

6 Things You Should Know Before Meeting a New Acting Agent

Posted on Oct 19th

Much like a really good first date, sitting down with a new agent can be simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking. Sure, your date may appear to be stunning and very discriminating, and you may feel flat-out privileged to be out with them—but you still want to be sure you’re both on the same page. If this relationship is going anywhere, your meeting needs to be mutually satisfying. So, let’s assume you’re fully prepared to arrive at the agent’s front door with up-to-date promotional materials: headshots, resumé, voiceover demos, and professional reels (if you have them). In most cases, this is the reason you’ve been invited to come in in the first place. What next? READ: "Who Does What? Your Agent Is Not Your Manager" Here are six things you should know when meeting with a talent agent: This “meeting” is an audition. It’s important you understand this regardless of how you got in the room (i.e. a friend-of-a-friend, a professional referral, or even a personal submission). This is a job interview. You may think it's a simple ”meet and greet,” or pleasant fact-finding mission on your end, but the agent in front of you is reading whether or not

Article by backstage: How to Find Your True Type

How to Find Your True Type

Posted on Oct 19th

Quirky best friend. Home Depot dad. PTA mom. Ruthless CEO. Nosy neighbor. Those are all types, right? Trick question—they’re not. Those are types of roles that different actors can play. Type is more specific to each actor. Film and television are visual mediums. When the camera cuts to you, the audience must know exactly before you even speak, just by the way you look and how you are dressed. The same is true for a casting director, agent, or manager. They must be able to look at you, your headshot, or your reel, and know exactly who you are and exactly how they can work with you by the physical image you present. If you want to be taken seriously in the film and television industry, and—more importantly—book jobs, you need to know exactly who you are and where you fit in. There is nothing more attractive to an agent, casting director, director, or producer than working with a professional actor. That actor is keenly aware of their specific type and presents him or herself in an image that the industry is buying. Do you? Turn the camera around and see yourself the way industry professionals do, instead of your own preconceived notions—or those of your mother, friends or significant other (they

Article by backstage: How Long Should An Actor's Reel Be?

How Long Should An Actor's Reel Be?

Posted on Oct 18th

“Three minutes is the ideal length,” says videographer and Backstage Expert Tim Grady. There’s no need for casting directors to see excess footage; cut to the chase of it! As the actor, it’s your responsibility to deliver the singularity that will set you apart from others, but it’s also the editor’s job to reveal those qualities as efficiently and quickly as possible. By doing so, your reel will be a strong reflection of your work and be the perfect tool to book you your next job. APPLY: Check out our theater audition listings! Welcome to Set the Scene, Backstage’s video series of advice for performers. We release new videos every Tuesday and Thursday, so be sure to subscribe to the Backstage YouTube Channel!  

Article by backstage: 1 Surefire Way to Deal With Criticism

1 Surefire Way to Deal With Criticism

Posted on Oct 18th

Actors are just like anyone else in terms of the number of insecurities they have. The difference is that actors more regularly find themselves in situations where insecurities are likely to surface. Consider the number of auditions an actor attends and the high ‘rejection rate,’ take into account the emotions actors express in any given class or performance and the potential for judgment and ridicule that entails, and keep in mind the overwhelming competition that makes even great actors feel unworthy by comparison. It can be overwhelming. That’s not to say that members of the general public don’t have their own challenges, but most of them can be kept private. When you perform, yours are on display for everyone to see and potentially critique and analyze. That’s depressing stuff—but never fear. There are ways to overcome and conquer these insecurities.   When you face criticism of any kind, you have three options: 1) ignore it 2) become insecure, or 3) learn from it. I hope we can all agree that the first is foolish, the second is destructive and the third is the most desirable. To ignore all criticism is a great way to make sure that you miss even the nuggets of gold

Article by backstage: 12 Tips for Bringing Your Best Self to the Page

12 Tips for Bringing Your Best Self to the Page

Posted on Oct 18th

Before you even begin writing your first college application essay, step back and think about what you want to get across to college admissions personnel. Narrow down the traits about yourself or your art that you’d like to share. Are there elements of your application that require elaboration, or could the essay be used as an opportunity to bring something new to the table that an admissions officer might not have known otherwise? Consider writing in the first person for the most impact. The most persuasive essays are conversational in tone and contain a choice that shows exactly what type of student or performer your presence would bring to campus. The essay should distinguish you from other applicants. Use specific details that will pull the admissions reader into your world, and rely on the senses to help bring it all to life. Writing your college essay presents the perfect opportunity for you, the performing arts student, to let a decision-maker know what matters to you and why. A well-written essay can not only help an incoming freshman gain entrance to a college or program, it can also help obtain valuable scholarships from universities and nonprofit groups. With the cost of attendance at four-year universities

Article by backstage: 5 Expert Pointers for Successful Audition Sides

5 Expert Pointers for Successful Audition Sides

Posted on Oct 17th

It can’t be denied that when it comes to auditioning, sides are crucial in getting cast. What a performer brings to the table when delivering selected scenes demonstrates what they will bring to the entire project, and can seal the deal then and there.   Yes, a lot rides on the effectiveness of your sides, but that's no reason to panic. We’ve rounded up some of the Backstage Experts’ most useful advice so you can walk into your next audition confident and ready to nail what’s on that page.   1. There is such a thing as being too prepared."Do not over-rehearse your dialogue. Yes, of course, you should be prepared and make strong choices with the material. However, you must not be so attached to your choices that you can’t take direction in the room. In my workshops, I teach the importance of improv training specifically for this reason." —Danielle Eskinazi 2. Focus on relaxation. "Practice reading relaxed while sitting, standing, and walking. Check that body parts (shoulders, hands, neck, jaw, toes) are not tightening. Perform simple tasks while reading. You’ll be doing the same when auditioning or rehearsing. Avoid repeated gestures (or any gesturing, for

Article by backstage: 3 Ways to Make A Big Impression at an Audition

3 Ways to Make A Big Impression at an Audition

Posted on Oct 17th

Casting directors look at hundreds of actors for the roles they are casting. How do you keep from blending into the background as just one more actor saying the same old lines as everyone else? Surprise them. Be different! Make choices that are slightly different from everyone else’s. Obviously, you must always take into consideration what the scene actually needs to be appropriate. But there are many ways a scene could be interpreted. Often, I see actors just lay out a generic version of the scene with the basic plot and character flatly sketched out. Boring! Be brave and take a chance to make a choice that’s unique. Live dangerously. My philosophy is that I’d rather they remembered me—even as the worst actor they’ve ever seen—than have them forget they saw me because I blended into all of the other performances. This doesn’t mean that you do something that’s inappropriate for the character—don’t show up in a Superman onesie for an audition for “The Walking Dead”. It means that you take the circumstances of the character and scene and make them specific and truthful in an interesting way. Use your creativity. Be entertaining! 1. Win them over before you

Article by backstage: 1 Agent on What Casting Directors Need More Of

1 Agent on What Casting Directors Need More Of

Posted on Oct 17th

The holidays are still two months away, but I’m the type of cat who likes to plan ahead, so I just booked my winter vacation. Am I going to Hawaii with the rest of the industry? No. Been there, done that. Am I going to visit my family in Chicago? Nope. Those people are crazy. This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself on a physical level by taking an “adventure vacation.” That’s right, bitches: This dude is going cold-water surfing in the frigid Gulf of Alaska! After telling my lawyer all about this trip, he said it would behoove me to make a professional will in addition to my personal one. After looking up the meaning of the word “behoove,” I decided he was right. You see, my personal matters are in order, but after working in this business for oh, so many years, it’s time to ensure the knowledge I’ve accumulated ends up in the right hands. So thanks, counselor. I’ve done as you instructed. And I’m also taking your advice about publishing it in a public space. What follows is the last will and testament of a Hollywood talent agent. And I can assure you that despite the crazy antics of all the actors I’ve met during my career, I am still of sound mind.

Article by backstage: The 9-Step Guide to Film Fest Success

The 9-Step Guide to Film Fest Success

Posted on Oct 14th

Truth be told, I’m a creature of habit and a rabid homebody. Traveling to a place I know is no problem for me—I relish it. That said, I’ve always had a horrible sense of direction, so going somewhere I don’t know, alone, has always vexed me. Here’s a cautionary tale about travel and film fests. I arrived at the Toronto Film Festival a couple of weeks ago and didn’t think to investigate whether my cellphone would work there. Stupid move No. 1. After I landed and tried to call to arrange my transportation, I got the alarming message that I would be billed for roaming charges and the pricing would not be friendly. I immediately called my phone company and changed my cellular package. I then went for two whole days without my smartphone being even remotely smart. It wouldn’t connect to Wi-Fi, and I couldn’t retrieve my emails or use the GPS (not good for a directionally challenged person). I finally realized I had to add to my data plan so that I would get coverage. Dumb and dumber. READ: “Oscar Isaac Makes Awards Season ‘Promise’ at TIFF” I had a two-day diet from all social media and apps. In retrospect, it was a good thing, as it made me connect with

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