Archive for the 'Industry Pro Perspective (Monthly)' Category

22
Apr
15

New Website

We’re excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website: http://houghtontalent.com

We will continue to post all new blogs on the new website blog page.

New Houghton Website

21
Mar
12

WHAT DOES YOUR WARDROBE REALLY SAY…? PART THREE IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

We’ve found this blog is the perfect forum to make market information, ticket sales, photographer specials available to not just our talent but anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your continued support –

In 2012 we’re using the blog to serve actors in a different way–getting feedback from producers, directors and casting directors on various topics.  This way the people who make hiring decisions can tell you in their own words what they really think.  We’re covering one topic each month and posting client comments/opinions.  We hope you will use this insight to take control where you can.

WHAT DOES YOUR WARDROBE REALLY SAY…?

PART THREE IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

FROM A PRODUCER:

Frustrations:

  • all the wardrobe choices are the same (3 black shirts)
  • name brand logos – please bring clothes without logos. If I’m doing a video about fitness, I don’t want the close up shot to say “Nike” or “Sketchers”

FROM A PRODUCER:

Wardrobe spec for extras was business attire, dresses, skirts, pants, blouses, suits, One woman showed up and her only shoes were UGG boots. 🙂

FROM A PRODUCER:

Talent wardrobe is only a problem for me with low budget clients or on indie films. A wardrobe person shopping and purchasing clothing is never in the budget, but somehow I always have to send a PA out to buy stuff anyway. Would it kill the talent to check their clothing for stains, tears, and missing buttons before they show up? How does the girl who had the awesome pink angora sweater, perfect for the shot and her skin color, except for the giant stain on her breast, not notice it? It looked like she dipped that thing in her morning coffee. Then there are “the dudes” who show up with all their clothing crammed into an overnight bag. Wrinkles for days. And usually, those are the guys who bring everything from their closet except what you asked them to bring, or even better, they have shoes, but one black and one brown. This to me is actually worse than being late. It takes a lot longer for me to press your clothing or to shop for what you didn’t bring after you said you owned it. In the end, it seems to always cost me more money or time – of which I have neither to spare. So talent, check your clothing to make sure it will hold up under harsh lights – no stains on the front OR the back, make sure the edges of your clothing aren’t frayed, and please make sure you bring matching shoes and socks. Don’t tell the producer or client you have something when you don’t. And finally, make sure the clothing walks in the door ready to wear. Bringing your rumbled laundry is unprofessional.

 

FROM A CASTING DIRECTOR:

IN GENERAL: When auditioning for film and television do NOT dress in “full costume” unless specifically requested. Dressing to suggest a character is the way to go. For example, if you’re a business man, then come dressed in business attire. If you’re playing a ballerina, don’t come dressed in a tutu. Instead, choose a leotard or tank top and form fitting yoga pants and pull your hair back. Suggest the role. This isn’t Halloween.

However, with commercial auditions, there is more flexibility to go further with costuming but still dressing to suggest works just as well.

SIDE NOTE: Ladies, don’t dress too revealing . You don’t want casting (or directors) to refer to you as the ‘chick with the bazookas” or “Miss Cleavage 2012” – unless you are auditioning for the role of Miss Cleavage 2012. If that’s the case, let the girls do their thing,

TIP: Sometimes with last minute auditions, you don’t have time to change so always keep a neutral audition outfit in your car.

HORROR STORY: And finally when you are asked to bring wardrobe options for a shoot, make sure those clothes are clean and pressed and that you bring at least 3 options. If you don’t have 3 options, make sure to let them know ahead of time so they can pick up backups. I’ll always remember the time an actor was asked to bring a business suit for a print job he was booked on, He showed up in jeans and tee shirt. When asked where his wardrobe was, he grabbed his duffel bag and pulled out a wrinkled tan suit. It was the only option he brought. It was a nightmare for all involved. At the end of the job the client said, “Don’t ever send me that person ever again“.

FROM A PRODUCER

in general I have had good luck in asking talent for “suits” and dress-up stuff, the casual stuff is a little more difficult and I presume it’s because my tastes (or the client’s) may not be the same as theirs. So, I find if I’m really specific: “Dark Blue jeans, not faded out, no holes or frays” or “button-up-the-front open collar shirt, not western” etc. then the talent usually has what I need.

 

FROM A CASTING DIRECTOR:

True Story:  I was casting a SAG commercial and the actors were reading for reporters. One talent (who knows who he is!) showed up in a T-shirt and ripped jeans. Not only did he not look like a professional reporter, but the casual clothes made him look younger.
The actor did a great read and the director and ad agency loved him, but they knew they couldn’t sell him to the client based on his appearance. They even tried putting his head on another talent’s body via photoshop (the other talent was wearing a shirt, tie and khakis) but it didn’t quite work and we couldn’t alter the video.
Ultimately, this talent lost the job based on his wardrobe and the talent wearing the shirt and tie booked.
Now I am not saying to come all decked out in a costume, but at least look the part somewhat. Remember – in commercial world – the client usually makes the end decision and they only see what is right in front of them (they don’t have the creative vision of the director).

FROM A PRODUCER:

My comment would be to actors to bring a lot of choices. This actor we just used showed up with only 4 shirts that were all the same type. They were all wrinkled too. I don’t mind ironing but every actor seems to show up with wrinkled clothes. If the producer says bring a bunch of options for a “customer” role, please bring all sorts of different types of clothes – casual, business, conservative, different colors. Many options to choose from. A group of “customers” we just hired all brought green. Everyone was in green! And it’s wasn’t St Patrick’s Day.

FROM A CASTING DIRECTOR

True story:  Casting for hair product and asking for long flowing hair.

Girl shows up with hair all done up and sprayed. Said—you gonna need to take your hair down and brush it out so the client can see it better.

“My agent didn’t tell me to bring a brush”…….

FROM A PHOTOGRAPHER:

This drives photographers crazy! The worst thing in the world is trying to shoot some clothing photo shoot and when you start looking at the shots, you begin noticing the marks left on the skin from whatever tight, elastic garments the model was wearing on the way to the photo shoot. At times, this can take an hour or more to go away leaving the photographer with limited choices. 1. Cancel the shoot and reschedule or 2. Decide how many hours of retouching that will have to be done so the shoot can continue but you can’t charge the client for. I would remind the models to be aware of what they’re going to model, any wardrobe changes that may be needed, and come with a clean canvas (their body). One of the things they forget most are the sunglasses they wore while driving in… Yes, the nose counts and those little red marks left from the glasses can be very detrimental as well.

29
Feb
12

Making “Reel” Choices… – PART ONE IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

We’ve found this blog is the perfect forum to make market information, ticket sales, photographer specials available to not just our talent but anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your continued support –

In 2012 we want to use the blog to serve actors in a different way–getting feedback from producers, directors and casting directors on various topics.  This way the people who make hiring decisions can tell you in their own words what they really think.  We’ll cover one topic each month and post client comments/opinions.  We hope you will use this insight to take control where you can.

PART ONE IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

Making “Reel” Choices…

This from a producer who was hiring but no time to see talent in person:

“I’ve looked at every reel available for the group you sent over.  There are some great choices.  Also, some not great representation on the “reel” sections of what I know some of them can do.  They really need to put their best videos on there – hounding the producers if necessary to get some footage.  The ones that didn’t have any reels, I’m not even considering for this one because delivery is very important for this.” 

From a second producer, two part note on A)getting your video footage and B)making sure it’s quality.

Although it can be a big pain, an actor should have access to footage of himself or herself for promotional purposes. Personally, I prefer to give them a copy of the entire spot if it’s a commercial, but that’s not always possible as some projects are shot 6 months before airtime. On a feature, expect delivery to take time as well. The actors reels are important to us, but not the top priority. If you want something that looks good, wait til the final edit, the sound design and color correction are done…yup, that could be awhile.  Be patient, but persistent. Oh, and be NICE about your request. Don’t demand, get an attitude or get angry about it. We like to do things for those we love, not those that annoy us.  🙂

Regardless, many of the actor reels I find on any site look like they were recorded off the TV with their cellphones or are in the wrong aspect ratio. If your reel looks like crap – low quality, grainy, poorly lit, bad sound, wrong aspect ratio, 2nd or 3rd generation video – it makes you look like a hack no matter how good your performance.  It’s a bias, granted, but a real one.  Just a 1-2 minute piece is all you need – whether you put up 2-3 spots or a few scenes, make sure the production value and your performance are at their best.  If you don’t have good material, don’t put it up there.  A bad reel will do more damage than no reel.  I won’t hire someone off a reel, but it certainly helps me find new talent!


This from a casting director:

It is your responsibility to get copies of your work. Your agent may be able to assist when you encounter roadblocks but ultimately it is your job to follow up with production. I know it can often be difficult and may take multiple tries. Here is what I suggest. When you are on the set, ask who you should contact and when you should contact them to get a copy of the piece. Get the contact info then. It can be much harder after the fact. Also, make sure you have permission first before you post the work on your FB or YouTube. Most clients will not want that work to be seen until they start airing it themselves. And finally, some production companies charge a fee if they have to burn a disc and mail it out. If a quicktime will serve your purpose, that can often be more easily assessable.

 

29
Feb
12

Don’t Be Tardy to the Party!!! – PART TWO IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

We’ve found this blog is the perfect forum to make market information, ticket sales, photographer specials available to not just our talent but anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your continued support –

In 2012 we want to use the blog to serve actors in a different way–getting feedback from producers, directors and casting directors on various topics.  This way the people who make hiring decisions can tell you in their own words what they really think.  We’ll cover one topic each month and post client comments/opinions.  We hope you will use this insight to take control where you can.

PART TWO IN THE 2012 SERIES, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CASTING FEEDBACK

DON’T BE TARDY TO THE PARTY!!!

From a Casting Director

You are talking about my major pet peeve. Tardiness! I know people run late sometimes, but it’s all about courtesy. Yesterday, for example, I had a casting and we saw 148 people. We had everyone tightly scheduled. We had a lunch break built into the day and we wanted to be finished by 5PM so that we could compress, upload and email all of the videos.

Most people didn’t wait more than 15-20 minutes. Most waited less. The last time given out before lunch was 1:15, yet people were showing up at 1:30 and 1:50. They didn’t understand when I explained that we were on our lunch break, as if showing up 15-35 minutes late was no big deal.

I must say that if you had a lunch date with a friend at 12 Noon and you weren’t there by 12:30 and you hadn’t called or communicated in some way that you were running late, how long would you expect your lunch date to wait?

In our business, time is money. When I was casting a movie, we arranged a paid read-through with all of the actors. It was to begin promptly at 10AM. Everyone, including Demi Moore and three other name stars, was in their seat ready to go at 10AM. Everyone except one local actor. I had stressed to this actor that he must be on time. He assured me he would be. The producer waited a few extra minutes past 10AM and then told me to lock the door, fire him, and replace him!!!! DONE!  Those few minutes cost him upwards of $5000, not to mention his reputation.

The movie business is just that, a business. It is not a game where you can show when you feel, how you feel, and unprepared.  If you take this business seriously and expect to make your living at it, then you MUST treat it as seriously as possible.

 From a Producer:

Since you asked, I will offer my thoughts, for what they’re worth.  Just remember that I’m a aging fogy stuck in a 20th (maybe even a 19th) century mindset and have thought deeply and extensively about the effects of emerging technologies on our interactions, lifestyles and particularly our etiquette.  At the dawn of the mobile age, I discovered very quickly that appointments had become much more guidelines than deadlines where, in the minds of far too many, as long as you could call from the road to alert your appointment you were “in transit” in advance of a designated time, you were “technically” in compliance with that appointment.  Fortunately, with times so tough and competition so fierce, I rarely see this in your talent pool.  However, whenever you discover this pathology re-occurring with someone within your stable, you should take immediate steps to correct it with the underlying threat of terminating the relationship.  I can tell you that, on the receiving end of this, the message comes through loud and clear:  “my time is more important than yours”.  What many actors try to do is leverage the mystery and aura of their profession to procure greater latitude and more leniency when it comes to traditional work ethics.  After all, they are “artists”.  But, as you can imagine, this doesn’t work with me and I’ll address tardiness with an actor on site while making a mental note to carry forward.  In other words, it will not be tolerated with my productions and the violating player is “on notice”. To give you some perspective, with my technical crews, if they’re on time, they’re already five minutes late.  As I’ve told you in the past, bottom line, “if your actors look bad, you look bad”, and they need to understand that they are tactical assets to fill holes within a broader strategic framework and, as your vendors, they’re job is to make you look as good as possible with your clients.

From a Casting Director:

If you’re late, and there’s no really good reason, then you are not perceived as a professional. If you’re 15 mins late for a Dr’s appointment, what happens?

From a Producer

Actors – or any crew member – who is late should be making plans to file unemployment. Either that, or they better be so damn good that they stun audiences.

 

From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

As a commercial production studio we do not have time for “Late Talent”.  Talent who are late for auditions and callbacks are generally put at the bottom of the list.  I personally believe that punctuality is a reflection of someones work ethic.  If talent shows up late for one of my projects I take it as they do not take me, my project or my company seriously.  I understand that things happen and will generally give someone the benefit of the doubt the first time they are late to a project (depending on how late they are).  If talent continues to show up late for a shoot we will not work with them on future projects, period!  I believe that being on time involves showing up 15 minutes early.  I always plan on showing up 15-30 minutes early to any meeting, audition or shoot.

From a Producer:

Actors who are late are like the plague. They kill everything in sight – momentum, morale, the director’s vision, the producer’s hairline, the budget, the schedule, the client’s belief in the production company, their agent’s reputation, and most of all their own reputation as an actor. Why would I give that actor another chance to make me look bad? Never gonna hire them again, and if anyone asks me about them, I’ll mention the late thing. I am human, and understand shit happens. Sometimes you can’t be prepared for a flat tire, last minute child care issues, pet problems, etc., but this is a business and when you’re late you cost us money and time we can’t afford to lose. Whether it’s a high end national commercial, feature film, TV show, or freebie, it doesn’t matter. Be professional and be prompt.

If an actor is late to an audition it’s not a big deal to me. We can usually make up the time and often someone is early.

If an actor is late to a shoot it can be a disaster. Shoot days run on very tight schedules. We are usually spending between $5,000 – $10,000 an hour on a shoot day so if an actor adds 15 minutes to my day by being late they may have just cost me as much as $2,000 personally. Obviously not a good thing.

From a Casting Director:

An actor is given an audition time for a reason, actually many reasons: It helps the casting director as they have set up the audition so they are seeing select characters during a certain window of time. They have paired actors together to read so if some are late or does not show it throws a wrench in the whole process. They must have the casting completed by an appointed so they post the audition the client wants to meet you but must leave if you do not show up on time. When you do not show up on time it creates a problem. To me it does not show respect for the casting director and their time. It makes me  question will they be late on the set if they are hired? Everything you say and do reflects on you and me. If it is between two actors and I know one is dependable and can act too, who do you think I would feel lead to select? Remember that being late could be why you did not get the part, not your acting ability.  I want to look good to my client because I want them to come back.You would do the same thing.

From a Casting Director

In this business where the statement “time is money” is truly applicable all the time for everything, it is hard to find an actor trait more unacceptable than being late.  It is followed by “arriving unprepared.”  The schedule is made for you to be at a certain place at a certain time for lots of reasons.  Don’t try to beat the system because “you know best” … and “you know that you are gonna have to wait.”  Welcome to our world of hurry-up and sometimes wait.  But you don’t set the schedule, and you are paid to be there on time and prepared!  Nothing less.  Believe me, directors and AD staff remember “late and unprepared” and it will be factored into their decision to use you again.  And, oh yeah… they talk to others and share this trait of yours.  Just don’t do it!

From a Producer:

Actors who are late can throw an entire production into a tailspin.  Most delays on set are caused by unavoidable situations: problems with a piece of equipment, an unforeseen difficult in lighting a shot, etc.  Crews work very hard to reduce and eliminate these variables so that things flow smoothly on set; to have one person upset that balance by not being mindful of the time, is not only maddening, it’s disrespectful to everyone else on set, and it costs money.  Even a fifteen minute delay waiting on someone to get out of wardrobe and make-up can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in overtime at the the other end of the day.  It’s instructive that if someone is late to set, it is invariably talent, not a crew person.

From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

If it is an audition… I’m not that critical… as long as the talent isn’t in a hurry and doesn’t mind losing their place in line (if others auditioning arrived before them). On shoot day (especially when a client is present) being on-time or better yet, a few minutes early is expected. But nothing is worse than an actor who was given a script several days in advance and has not rehearsed their lines!

From a Producer:

Being late is never good not just for talent but any crew or cast member. Talent may be worse if the tardiness slows down the production schedule or causes production to flip things around. Any inefficieny in the shoot usaully hurts the bottom line because it can create overtime which is expensive. I would suggest talent leave extra time to reach locations they are not familar with and being 10 minutes early never hurts. As far as reputation if someone has a legitimate excuse like an auto accident or unavoidable problem then you can find forgiveness but if the person is habitually late it will be a problem unless their talent is so unique they simply can’t be replaced.

From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

Perhaps nothing is more annoying and more preventable than being late. On a shoot, we’re all dealing with limited time. Everything is planned to fit into the allotted hours we have, with crew starting before and ending after the talent have done their work. If you’re late, you risk sending everyone else into overtime and that bill goes to my client. I may not have the budget room to bill for overtime, so I may have to eat that even thought I was prepared. Know that you’re not the only one who is on the clock. It’s a team.

Next, being late puts you in a hole from the moment you show your face on set. You have no choice but to start you day with an apology and work your way up from there. And if you’re not on the ball with your lines, if your wardrobe selection isn’t quite right, if you’re having a bad hair day, whatever other small thing is going wrong, it’s magnified. . . because you were late. You have to be at your very best performance-wise, which is even more difficult under these circumstances.

If you are late, here are the steps to follow:
1. Call the on-set contact (if you have that number) or call your agent. Let someone know where you are and what’s up. If you’re late, we’re all generally curious as to why, but really all we care about is when you’re going to be on set so we can get our work done.
2. Give a realistic prediction of your ETA. If you’re going to be 25 minutes late, it doesn’t help if you say you’ll be there in 15 minutes. We just get mad at you when twice then, because now you’re late twice.
3. Apologize once, sincerely; then let it go. Apologizing over and over again reminds everyone that you screwed up earlier in the day. You can’t relieve the tension by continuing to bring it up. Allow me to forgive you and get on with the shoot. Something like, “I’m so sorry I’m late. It will never happen again, “ will suffice.
4. Never let it happen again.

Remember, because lots of people want you job, that you are the most replaceable person on set – even at short notice. Don’t abuse the privilege of being a WORKING actor by not respecting everyone else’s time.

04
Feb
09

Women in film save the dates

 Wednesday, February 18th    
WIFTA Monthly Program
 
Topic:
“Working Smart in 2009:
 
“Protecting your Business, your Production & Yourself in a Tough Economy”?
Guest Speakers:?Lynn Mathis – Williams Turner & Mathis & Michell Davis – Register Lett LLP
6:30 pm – 8:30pm
?Location TBA
    Cost: FREE to Members, $10 for Non-members, $5 for Students w/ valid ID?
 
Sunday, February 22nd    
WIFTA Annual Oscar Night Social & Viewing Party
 
            ?6 pm – Red Carpet Viewing / 8 pm – Academy Awards Ceremony?
The annual Oscar Night social is a grand networking event in Atlanta. Members and guests look forward each year to celebrating during the Academy Awards ceremony and having the opportunity to network during the red carpet pre-show.  A favorite event during the social is the friendly “Oscar Prediction Contest” – participate in our ballot competition for the chance to win our Oscar Night Gift Pack!?
This event is FREE to attend – $5 entry ballot for Oscar Competition
Open to the General Public
 Location: STATS, 300 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
23
Sep
08

Margie Haber Returns to Atlanta

I have known of Margie Haber for years and she and her students locally have reached out to me whenever she came to Atlanta.  But recently, at Big Break Hollywood (presented by youract.tv), I had the privilege of watching her work and availing myself of the contacts she brought to Atlanta to be on the panel.  I was very impressed and found her to be every bit what her students have told me over the years.  She’s bringing her intestive 3 day class back in November if any of you is interested.  -MB
Margie Haber is returning to Atlanta to teach her internationally-acclaimed 3-day intensive for actors. ? The intensive is taking place November 10, 11 and 12 at YourAct Studio in Atlanta from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm each day. ?We are currently accepting applications. ?Please see the attached flier and spread the word!!! ?Margie looks forward to working with actors in Atlanta!
Margie Haber, an internationally renowned auditioning coach, has trained A-list Hollywood talent such as Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Vince Vaughn, Mariska Hargitay, Kristin Davis, Kelly Preston, Heather Lockler, Molly Sims, and the list goes on… Do not miss this opportunity to study with someone of Margie’s caliber while she is in Atlanta!
To apply, email your head shot and resume to margiehaber@mac.com as soon as possible. ? Space is limited to 12 actors. ?The minimum age requirement is 18.
Best regards,
Molly Harper
Margie Haber Studio
310-854-0870 phone
310-854-0462 fax
18
Aug
08

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM WORKSHOP with Charles Van Eman

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM WORKSHOP 

with Charles Van Eman

Where are you blocked as an actor? 

Is it in expressing anger?  Tears? 

Where have you been unwilling to go in your craft of acting because of fear? 


This 7-week workshop is about discovering and breaking through those private barriers that have been limiting your success. Through improv, monologues, and scene work you will find greater emotional complexity and vulnerability in your work.  Exploring these areas of ourselves is never simple or easy but it is an actor’s job to have access to all the gifts we have to share. 


Be brave. Be daring. It’s time.

  • Personalize your work
  • Go beyond your fears  
  • Trust your emotional gifts  
  • Open up and move beyond your perceived limitations   


D E T A I L S
7–10 PM Thursdays, September 4th thru October 16th 

(7 weeks)
Limited to 10.
Cost: $350
Call 404-499-9996 to check availability and to reserve your space.

Charles Van Eman

Charlie has been working as an actor in Los Angeles and New York for over 25 years.  Among others he has performed opposite Helen Hunt, David Caruso, Gary Sinise, Valerie Bertinelli, Billy Dee Williams, Barbara Stanwyck, Charlton Heston, and Susan Lucci.  From work on the television series CSI Miami, The Ghost Whisperer, and The Colbys, as well as the feature films X’s and O’s, Sex & Consequences, No Witness, and The Joy of Sex, and the day time dramas All My Children and Days of Our Lives, Charlie has gained vast experience in the intimate art of acting for the camera.  Throughout his television and film career he has continued to work in the theater, performing in many productions including Beyond Therapy, Taproot, Spinners, and his solo show, Beginners Mind.  He has also written and acted in Louis L’Amour audio dramas for Random House Audio.  Charlie currently resides in Atlanta.