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9.15.2014

Olga by Stephen Sun

Stunning Olga Jidkov by Stephen Sun. HMUA | Olga Pirmatova.

Olga Jidkov_Cast Images_Stephen Sun

Olga Jidkov_Cast Images_Stephen Sun

Olga Jidkov_Cast Images_Stephen Sun

4 Ways to Nail Down Your Type | Matt Newton

Actors, do you know your "type"? Great tips from our friends at Backstage.com...

4 Ways to Nail Down Your Type

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4 Ways to Nail Down Your Type

Let’s get honest. While it’s easy to look at others and get a sense of their natural type, doing the same for own your self can be daunting. Where do you even start?

Time to break this down. Put “range” aside for a minute and think about what look you are selling. It’s called your type and it defines you in this business. Remember: it’s not what you are,it’s what you play. You can be the smartest person in the world, and still go out for the “dumb jock.” You might not even play any sports! It’s not what your grandmother thinks of you, it’s what the “business” thinks of you. Just because you may have played wonderful parts as a character twice your age during high school and college, that does not mean you will be playing them in the “real world.” When I was 23 and right out of college (having done lots of Shakespeare), my first audition was for a 16-year-old on a soap opera. Reality check. 

We are all born a certain way, with a certain “look” and unless we want to commit to drastic plastic surgery, then we will be cast as specific roles in our acting careers. It’s up to actors to be smart enough to identify that look, harness it, and use it to our advantage. Are you the young leading man who could play the new love interest on “Melrose Place” or are you the creepy old villain on “Homeland?” Does your face say “Gossip Girl,” or does it say “Walking Dead?” Are you the smart, clean cut and sophisticated young lawyer, or the early thirties slacker type? Don’t let this assessment put you off. Later in your career you can start branching out from your type, once you start booking lots of work. 

Here are some easy steps to nailing down your type:

1. Take a good hard look in the mirror. Pay attention to your face, your weight, your ethnicity, and your personality. Do you have a receding hairline? Do you have a thick accent? Listen to your voice. Do you sound smart and articulate when you talk, or do you sound uneducated? Be. Honest. If you don’t look anything like Angelina Jolie, then that is the wrong type for you. Are you the funny chubby best friend? Tough guy? Young politician? Ingenue? Cool mom? Sassy friend? Dumb jock? Girl next door? Smug Sophisticate? Cute quirky hipster? Are you a hybrid between two of them? 

2Write down three actors who are stealing jobs from you. I mean, watch TV, go see movies, and find out which actors are playing parts that you were meant to play. Age, ethnicity, everything. That’s where your journey begins. What is unique about them, and why are they being cast in these roles? Yes, it’s about talent. But they have also cornered their market on that type. What else have they done? Have they always played this type? Some headshot photographers will talk to you about this before they shoot with you so that they can help you present yourself the right way. 

3. Write down three shows you could see yourself on. Series regular, guest star, costar…whatever. There are about 30 shows filming in New York right now. Watch them, learn from them, observe what kind of actors they are casting. Take notes. Look up the casting director and the actors. If you are right for that show, and are trained, and they cast your type over and over, then by all means sign up for a casting director workshop to meet them in person. If you are over 50 and play “extraterrestrial” roles all the time, probably don’t sign up for a soap opera casting workshop. Again, it’s all about being smart and knowing yourself. 

4. Finally, ask your close friends, an acting coach, or anyone who will be honest with you. Your good friends will be honest with you. Coaches will be honest. In my classes, type identification is an important discussion. Each person sits in the front of the class, while everyone else shouts out their different opinions on that actor’s type. It’s very eye-opening, very honest, and is an essential tool to presenting yourself the right way in this business. After all, it’s exactly what casting directors are thinking from the moment you walk into the room. It should be reflected in your headshots, your audition monologues, your demo reel, your attitude, your personality, the way you carry yourself, and ultimately strongly impacts your marketability. 
Remember, always be authentic, and don’t try to be something you’re not. Just own who you are, and that will separate you from the pack.

Good luck!

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.

Matt’s students have booked roles on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, HOSTAGES, UNFORGETTABLE, BLACKLIST, ROYAL PAINS, GOSSIP GIRL, THE FOLLOWING, DO NO HARM, REVOLUTION, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, UGLY BETTY , BOARDWALK EMPIRE, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, SKELETON TWINS, HAPPY BABY, DELIVERY MAN, and countless other films and TV 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 www.mnactingstudio.com.  Follow @mnactingstudio on Twitter. 

9.05.2014

Commercial Actors Should Never Fail to Trust the Casting Director. | Laurie Records

We sometimes hear from actors who are worried that they don't "fit the specs" and don't want to go to an audition. Don't make that mistake! Trust your agent, trust your casting director, and read this from our friends at Casting Networks...


Commercial Actors Should Never…

Sep 02
Acting isn’t a profession for the weak.  I admire all of you out there who do what you do.  I just had a conversation with a director (while sitting in a session) about the audition process and the courage it must take for an actor to come in day after day hoping to have the right look, voice, amount of funny, WHATEVER it is we are looking for to book the job.  I know a fair amount of actors, and talk to them on a regular basis.  Too many times I hear actors questioning the reason they are being brought in for a certain role, certain that they aren’t right for it.  They either feel they aren’t the right age/look or don’t have the requested skill–e.g. comedic timing.  Trust me (and I’ll be asking this of you many times in the next few paragraphs) this isn’t helping the cause.

Commercial actors should never fail to trust the casting director.

First of all, bad self-talk is bad self-talk.  I am the person who believes that when you tell yourself that you aren’t right for the role or that there’s no way you’ll book the job… you won’t.  You just made it so.
Let me help you to silence that negative voice in your head with some behind-the-scenes knowledge.  You should know at any given time, it’s highly likely you aren’t totally in the know.  I write pretty detailed projects/breakdowns.  I try to give the information I have.  Sometimes it is a lot, sometimes not so much.  Sometimes I’m waiting for more information.  Sometimes the information I receive changes. A LOT of times the information I have changes.  Commercials happen in such a crazy fast way… the casting director doesn’t always have the time to make their breakdown match exactly what’s being asked for in the moment.  Updates are a waste of precious time if the submissions received will cover the updated request.  If you’re a Midwest mom type and your being called in for an upscale urban mom… don’t talk yourself out of booking the role before you walk in the room.  There was likely a change (or conflicting ideas between the director’s vision and the agency) and the casting director went with the submissions they had with a new focus.  You would think Midwest mom types wouldn’t have been submitted for an upscale urban mom role.  Unfortunately there are plenty of agents or assistants who go solely on gender, age and ethnicity and submit the whole roster.  It’s maddening for me.  Confusing for you.  Just read the wardrobe instructions (maybe a clue can be found there) and do the best you can.  TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR.  There’s a reason they are calling you in.
Sometimes we are looking for funny people.  You don’t feel like you are particularly gifted in the funny arena, but you have a comedic commercial audition.  It’s doubtful you will get to know the inner thoughts of why the casting director brought you in.  Perhaps they know you are a strong actor and they know they can get the desired performance from you.  Perhaps the director has asked to see great actors while avoiding the overseen regular comedic commercial actors.  It’s possible you are exactly what has been requested all while you are talking yourself out of the job.  You don’t know everything. TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR.  There’s a reason they are calling you in.
Still have your doubts?  Then I’d ask you to double (triple!) check your acting tools.  First and foremost, are your headshots an honest and accurate representation of who you are? TODAY?  Do they tell the Casting Director how to cast you?  If you are a Midwest mom type, you should have a Midwest mom headshot.  Is your resume 100% honest and up-to-date?  This includes all your stats… ahem, weight and height.  This also means your list of extra work on all those sitcoms shouldn’t read as principal work.  You have to do your part, and this is it.  If you have bad/out of date/dishonest tools… pretty soon you won’t have any auditions to talk yourself out of.  Nothing drives a casting director more bananas than when they call someone in (based on their headshots/stats/resume) and another person walks in the room.  And sometimes it’s an ENTIRELY different person.  Don’t be that person.
Do you go in for a casting director on a regular basis?  TRUST THEM.  Are you seeing a casting director for the first or second time, and you’re positive that the person walking in the room is the same one depicted by your headshots/resume?  Then TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR.  You aren’t always in the current loop and things are always changing… trust that you are right for the job, and that you can book it based on the fact the casting director has called you in.  Give us your trust and be careful not to break our trust in you.

Haley Sutton | NYFW SS 15 Day 2

Day 2, NYFW SS 2015. Lovely Haley Sutton for Simon Miller, courtesy of WWD.

Haley Sutton - Cast Images - WWD - Simon Miller - George Chinsee

8.29.2014

Just in case you need a little more cuteness in your day...we present our newest little one, Ariana.

Photos | Mandy Draper.

Ariana - Cast Images - Mandy Draper

Welcome Clair!

A big Cast Images welcome to Clair!

Clair - Cast Images - Mandy Draper
Photos | Mandy Draper