Saturday, March 25, 2017

Simple Tips No Actor Should Be Without If They Want to Succeed

Simple Tips No Actor Should Be Without If They Want to SucceedA career in acting can be very rewarding with the right intention and passion, but if you really want to succeed and not get swept away by the discouragement, rejection and journey, you need to remember a few key points of wisdom.  Why? Because an acting career isn’t an easy craft. It’s not all glitz and glamor; and you need to be really committed to go the distance.
I really want you to succeed, and that’s why I do what I do. So please take a few minutes and hear what I’ve got to say.
Remember your why.
Acting is hard work and you are going to experience rejection. You won’t always get the part. You’ll get yelled at. You’ll be tired. And when the going gets tough, you’ll need to remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Why did you start acting? Why do you love it? Your why’s going to keep you going.

Good things take consistent effort.
Some people born with tremendous acting talent, but the majority of actors spend years in classes and in training. This isn’t a bad thing. Taking classes and participating in workshops, or studying in full-time drama/theatre programs, can help you fine-tune your existing skills and pick up new ones. You’ll learn from instructors, directors, and other actors. It’s also good to take on as many roles as you can, so audition for student films and community theatre.
Most actors have to split their time between honing their craft, performing, working other jobs, and finding auditions. You won’t have a lot of time to be social. “To be in this business you really have to want it, commit to it, and work for it,” says actor Sarah Jean Hodkinson. “There’s going to be a lot of sacrifices.”

Be wise with your earnings and investments.
We've already established that acting isn’t usually a lucrative career, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that balancing your books is on this list. Most acting jobs are in large (expensive) cities and if you don’t live in one already, the cost of living may be a shock. Do what you can to build a safety net: Get a loan, roommate, affordable apartment, part-time job—whatever you need to.

Enjoy the journey.
Like writing and other creative activities, acting benefits from having quality life experiences—for example, it’s easier to play a character that loses someone if you’ve been through something similar. This doesn’t mean that you should cause trouble just to feel what it’s like or have a story; it just means that you should try to embrace things when they happen and appreciate the lessons you're learning. 

Of course, there is so much more to learn but that’s why it’s so important to hire a coach or take classes. So start now, and get registered for an acting class; you’ll gain new experiences and perspectives that you can apply to future roles. From all of us at The New York Acting School, we can’t wait to see you succeed!

Friday, March 10, 2017

These Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Character Development That Every Actor Should Know

These Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Character Development That Every Actor Should KnowIf you’re an actor of any sort, you know how important it is to develop your character. You need to understand your character’s past, present, future dreams, strengths and weakness and emotional tendencies. But there are certain ways to do this and if you don’t do it right, you’ll end up holding yourself back. I want to help you today by helping you know the do’s and don’ts of character development so you can just keep getting better, keep getting booked and take your career where you want it to go!

Read the script.
As soon as you get the script, read it! No procrastinating. You need to get to know and become this character and it starts now. Read the script, your lines, other characters' lines, the stage directions, the prologue, epilogue, other works by the playwright (especially any others that your character might appear in!), everything!

Do the Research.
It’s your job to know your character and the script is not the only resource you have. Learn as much as possible about your character outside the text by researching the time period, the setting, the culture and politics of the area, and all the qualities one could ever know about one's self or another person. . . but for your character.

Don't just memorize.
Many people think memorizing lines is the "meat and potatoes" of acting. It isn't! Memorizing is just the first step. If acting was like painting, the memorization would be merely mixing the colors. There's so much more to it. Rehearse many times, for different audiences. Play different objectives and look for new tactics to achieve those objectives every time you rehearse, if possible.

Don't just play it safe.
In real life, people don't just speak to one another monotone while sitting in a single chair or standing in a single spot indefinitely, so why should anyone do so onstage? Move around, be ridiculous! Honestly, be ridiculous onstage. You might feel odd doing so, but the effects will always be great! Acting mirrors life. If you play it safe, you'll most likely be "just okay" 100% of the time. But if you take a few risks, your work will always be more interesting, more dynamic, more effective, more memorable, and more inspiring. Plus, if something you try flops, you'll have many days of rehearsal to exchange it for something new.

Be a good listener.
Listening is important no matter where you’re performing, but it's something actors don't do enough of. I don't mean just hearing your director give you instructions. While in character, actually listen to the words the other actors are saying. Don't just spit out your line simply because it comes next on the page. Actually take the time to listen, comprehend, process what was being said, and then speak when the words come. Not only will this keep you in the moment, your acting will seem infinitely more honest and natural if you do! Listening is supremely important.

Don’t just recite.
But merely reciting lines with emotion doesn't take into account anything else about the character, and if your only approach to the piece is reading the lines "with feeling," you'll likely come across as just that. Your goal is to create a character who is saying each line with a distinct thought process and purpose.

Be prepared; improv isn’t always the best choice.
Don't just go up and "wing it." This is an easy trap for an actor to fall into. Preparing a monologue or scene for performance takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and sometimes, there isn't enough time to fully commit to or even memorize the piece. However, winging it hardly ever works, even for an experienced actor. More often than not, the audience will be able to tell you aren't prepared.

These Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Character Development That Every Actor Should KnowIt’s not just about playing emotions.
Instead of playing an emotion, play the objective. Your character may have just won the lottery, and that's why he or she is happy. Maybe the family dog just passed away, and that's why your character is sad. Or perhaps you just discovered your significant other has been cheating on you, resulting in a whole slew of different negative emotions. See? Playing objectives can lead to the desired emotions, but just playing an emotion itself is impossible in theater.

Don’t be a taker.
Give. Another tidbit that mirrors real life. A production, even when you're the lead, is not all about you. It's not all about any one person. A show belongs to everybody, and everybody deserves an opportunity to have their moment. When onstage, see what you can do to make your cast shine, and they'll do the same. Don't hog the spotlight. Being a diva, as it's called, is something people really disapprove of in theater. Be humble.

At the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we want you to grow and succeed. This is why we offer a range of acting classes and coaches meant specifically for your need. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Actors: How to Keep Calm When Stage Fright Hits!

Actors: How to Keep Calm When Stage Fright Hits!You’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long; the stage, the camera, the lights and the crowd. But then, at the worst possible time, you’re hit with doubt, fear, sweat and an overwhelming desire to run away as fast as you possibly can. Then what? What do you do? And even more importantly, how to you make sure no one else picks up on your fear? The truth is, stage fright is just another form of performance anxiety and the root of performance anxiety is a fear of failure or rejection.  And if you’re going to make it in this career or any that involves getting up in front of people, you need to deal with that fear and the confidence will follow.
So what do you do when stage fright hits? 

#1. Don’t take it as a sign that it’s ‘not your thing’.  Keep getting on stage. Keep getting behind the camera.  Running from what you love because you hit a few obstacles is not the action that makes your dreams come true.

#2. Face that fear of rejection you’re running from.  Understand, that it’s nothing to be embarrassed or frustrated about; it’s pretty common.  We all carry that weakness around with us in some way or another. In fact, some very successful actors have a strong fear of rejection. It's what they do with it that matters most.  It's a large force of energy.  Where will you direct it? 

#3. Learn to direct that bubbling energy toward your success. Practice performing in way that will impresses even yourself. Create small goals and small areas of focus that you can easily be victorious with and celebrate.  One example is to try focusing on your breath.  Decide for yourself that you are going to think of your normal tasks but mainly focus on your breath.  Make sure it’s where it needs to be.  Even if you are doing an intense scene, your breathe will need to be deep and full or rapid and hot, but either way - the breath will be present and you can choose to focus on it.  

#4. Imagine something different. This is something you can practice at home.Set time aside to visualize the performance you’d like to succeed at. Close your eyes and get into an emotional space of excitement.  Draw up a memory where you felt overjoyed, excited and proud.  Allow that to overcome you as you emotionally relive the experience. Now see yourself walking up to that stage or to the camera and think of how fun your job is. (visualize how easy it is to focus on your breath)  See the other actors responding readily to your character. See the audience in silent anticipation of your presence.  They came to experience you.  Just them sitting there, waiting, is a gift to you and their way of saying 'thank you' for sharing your talent of storytelling.

Of course, there are always more tips I could share, but I know you’re busy. If you’d really like to learn more, I’d encourage you to check out the classes and offerings we have at the New York Acting School for Film and Television. Your dreams matter and it’s important that as you discover your blocks and challenges that you face them with proper education, dedication and the support you need to succeed.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How To Use Online Marketing to Boost Your Acting Career!

How To Use Online Marketing to Boost Your Acting Career!The days of treating your budding acting career as a hobby is over. It’s time to start thinking on a professional level to get to the next level. So the key is to not limit your success by missing out on some of the most simple steps.  You need to do more than show up for auditions and mingling at events here and there. People need to be able to get to know who you are and what you can do. So how will they know you’re doing it?
Stop just hoping for the best and get yourself into action. Use these easy marketing and networking tips to help turn your hobby into a career.

GET ONLINE. You only need a simple website to host your bio. This is a place where people can go to see your headshots, what you’ve done  and the projects you are working on. Before you get started, grab a pen and paper and figure out the following:

  1. Know who you are; your strength and personal brand.  People need to know, for the most part, who they are going to get. Focus on your strengths and see that they are communicated on your page.  Are you bold and confident?  Are you kind and determined? Ask yourself what that means to you. What three colors best represent you? What scheme; busy or simple? Let these things show through in your layout and graphics.
  2. Keep it simple.  Your site only has to be a single page, if that’s what you want and it gets the job done.
  3. Keep your photos classy and with high resolution.  People want to feel that they are working with a professional.
  4. For the body text.   Tell a short bio emphasizing what your skills and passions are.  People are interested in your story, but more interested in what you can do.   This is a good place to put one more, different head shot.   If you create videos or audio samples, feel free to include these on the page as well, if there is room.

PROMOTE YOURSELF:  Be smart and use every opportunity you can. For example, You never know who's going to see your email, so make sure you use that free tool by having a great email signature.  Tell people a one-liner about your passions and skills.  Include links to your facebook, instagram, twitter or whatever social media is useful to find. ...website link? On top of that, there’s social media. It’s important to have a certain social media accounts to connect with people and show them what you’re up to.  Feature pictures of you on set. Show glimpses of the fun you’re apart of, being in line at an audition, or getting makeup done. Announce bookings and call backs. Get people excited about your work and adventure. As they see your progress, that circle of people will expand and more and more people will be aware of your skill.

Stop limiting yourself and take things to the next level. You are talented and have chosen performance as a career. At The New York Acting School we want to see you succeed.  Please call us and let us know how we can help you achieve your dreams!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Which Is More Important for Acting Success? Talent or Hard Work?

Which Is More Important for Acting Success? Talent or Hard Work?So many people want to become actors but they’re not sure they’ll make it because they aren’t very talented. But then others aren’t that talented at all but invest tons of time and money into classes to create their talent. So what’s more important? Talent or hard work? My answer?  Both. And at the same time, neither.

Like so many other areas in life, some things come naturally and other things need to be nourished. For the former, these situations describe the rare times where actors get “discovered” or stand in for a part and the world is in awe. (Think Harrison Ford landing Han Solo in Star Wars) In other times, people start as teens with a big dream and they go to classes for years before ever actually getting anywhere. So why bother going to classes anyway?

Here’s why. Because every actor, discovered or not, has much to learn. “Natural talent” can only take you so far. And what you don’t want to do is hit a wall and think you’ve gone as far as you can go.

Having an attitude of learning and growing is half of your success. Be willing to learn; be teachable and put it into practice. At the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we offer classes and coaching for actors looking to improve their skills and further their career. Please let us know how we can help you; we want to see you succeed!

Monday, January 30, 2017

How to Stay Cool When Panic Hits During an Acting Audition

How to Stay Cool When Panic Hits During an Acting Audition
It’s normal to feel nervous when you’re on stage. But forgetting your lines and freezing up can cost you a job. But none of that is necessary. At the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we understand that auditions can be a lot on the actor's shoulders and we do our best to provide you with the tools you need to not only survive your audition, but to succeed at it.
It’s a vulnerable place to be when you’re getting up and performing in front of people because you’re at the mercy of their judgement and choices. A little bit of stress here, is normal. However, if it's an overwhelming amount of stress each time, you may need to reconsider whether this is your true calling or not, or also consider that maybe you need more classes first, before going for the audition.
In the meantime, here are some helpful ways to keep your cool when panic hits and you’re front and center:
People want you to win. Remember that the casting director and everyone else in the room wants you to succeed. It doesn't mean you'll always get the part, but this is a fun art and the others in the room are cheering you on.
Breathe. Taking a deep breathe brings oxygen to your nerves and helps to calm the senses. Be sure to take a long deep breath in through your nose and out your mouth as soon as anxiety hits. You may be surprised at how fast this works.

Keep Going. Focus on finishing the rest of the scene calmly and confidently, and do your best, improvising naturally where needed. If the casting director needs you to do the scene again, he or she will let you know.  Additionally, choosing to move on and past the mistake, shows your ability to recover under pressure and your talent for improvisation. Of course, don't do it on purpose, but don't be afraid to do your best with what you've got. The worst thing you can do is to stop. Keep going and do your best.
Keep your lines handy but don’t depend on them. It's totally fine, and in fact, expected for you to hold your highlighted line cards in your hand during the audition. Many actors put theirs away, thinking they'll impress everyone, but then they end up forgetting their lines and slow the flow. Keep your lines in hand. If you forget a line, all you have to do is glance down and grab it. However, don't just stare at the cards or read off of them. Watch the other actors when they are talking, and when it is your turn, know your first line and glance down quickly to grab the next one. Do not simply read from the page - that's not acting and it's not what will get you hired.
You’re at the audition to show them what you’ve got. The pressure will always be there, but you are bigger than that. Don’t let it take you down! 
Trust in your talent and remember that you’re still learning and you’re in this because you love it. So have fun. Learn more tips on acting and classes at the New York Acting School for Film and Television in New York City. We'll get you on your way.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Keep Your Acting Skills Strong During Your Off Times

How to Keep Your Acting Skills Strong During Your Off TimesWhen you’re booked and  busy with different projects you have the pressure of time and memorization to keep you active. But when it’s easy to let your skills and passion get rusty. Then when it’s time for another audition, you don’t show up with the talent you know you’ve got. So don’t let your down time be what keeps you from climbing the ladder of entertainment success. Keep your skills fine tuned and fresh in your mind so you can stay strong during your off times. Here are some of my best tips for doing just that:

  1. Consider taking an acting class or joining (or forming) a weekly play-reading group to interact with other actors and keep your improvisation and character development skills sharp.
  2. Set a goal for yourself to read one to three plays a week and thus have a good working knowledge of the broad scope and style of your profession.
  3. Go to open calls. Even if you aren't called back, just view it as active practice. Brush up weekly on your monologues. You never know when an instant opportunity will come knocking. Who knows?  You may land something you didn't expect! How does it get any better than that?
  4. Read often. In my opinion, that greatest asset an actor can have, aside from talent, is the ability to read and understand the tiny nuances of what you read. Read novels and imagine being the characters. Read reviews on the internet of the plays you are reading. Read poetry. There are many beautifully written poems that are simple to understand. What's great, is these same poems will also change the way you see the world.
  5. People watch and take notes. Read expressions and emotions. All of these suggestions aim to broaden your understanding of human beings and this world we live in. A greater understanding of human nature will make you a better actor. If you take your "downtime" and use it to read, both people and script, that subsequent growth of your humanity will compensate for the loss of growth as an actor.
  6. Take care of yourself. In the ideal scenario, all actors would act all the time while also growing and developing as human beings. In an actor's Utopia, everyone would read often, seek out art and nature and listen to great music and have compassion and understanding. Actors are born actors. But great actors must be nurtured and nourished. Go to museums.  Go to nature.  Combine it with reading and rehearsing.  You'll be so glad you did.

The best person to do that nurturing and nourishing is you. As you further your skills in other ways, make sure you’re taking care of yourself and improving yourself on multiple levels. This positions you in a prime energetic state.  Casting directors can distinguish between those that take themselves seriously and those that are hoping for a meal ticket. You are in this for the long haul. All careers have a slow period, so make sure yours is optimized.

For more information on acting coaches and acting classes in New York City, please get in touch with us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television and we will get you moving forward!